Friday, April 17, 2009

On learning Korean part two

Thus far, I have discussed the hazards of speaking Korean, but it is just as dangerous going the other way--when Koreans speak English.
Scene Two: Mike is one of my foreigner friends who lives in Pyeontaek (the city 10 mins from my apartment). He is a huge grizzly bear of a man but most likely has a stash of romantic comedies under his bed. Mike, Misha (my connection to the group) and their Wonderland buddies (a Hogwon/private English school) have dinner at Mike's apartment almost every weekend. Mike has a roof, grill and inhuman ability to create meat marinades. One time, he made barbecue sauce from grape jelly, Tabasco sauce, and a few other secrete ingredients...for the entirety of the meal I wanted to have his cubs, yes folks it was that good.
Anyhow, Mike bought an oven for one of these weekend meals . Ovens in Korea are not standard, in fact, they are a relatively new phenomena. Those few foreigners who have them, are "the cool kids." Mike was in a second hand store, the sales men told him it was an oven, they spoke "good" English, Mike bought the oven and bragged ceaselessly.
Ok the scene is set. I missed this meal I was out of town. Everyone is gathered in Mike's frathouseesk apartment. He makes chicken with his usual divine seasoning then puts it in the oven. He waits thirty mins, the chicken is not cooked. The red light indicates it is working, so Mike waits another 15 mins and checks it again. Still not cooked. Starvation calls Misha into the kitchen, who also checks the chicken. He looks at the oven, then looks at Mike.
"Mike, are you sure your bought an oven?"
"Yeah dude, three sales people told me it was a f* oven, it just takes a while." (note the defensiveness in Mike's voice)
"Mike there are no working parts, you bought a cup warmer."
"No way dude."
Mike inspects the oven with fresh eyes. He silently removes the chicken from the cup warmer then throws it on the barbecue. I wish I hadn't missed this meal, but the moral is...learn Korean.

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