Thursday, November 8, 2007

Bloody Coffee and Hundreds of Roses

In Korean, the vowels 어 (romanized "eo" and pronounced like the "o" in dog or mom) and 오 (romanized "o" or "oh" and pronounced like the "o" in wrote or post) sound very similar. There is also no letter for the "f" sound, so many adapted English words use "ㅍ" which sounds like English "p." So the word for cellphone (they call it a "handphone") is 한드폰, and is pronounced something like han-du-pone.

I tell you this because yesterday in my very strange class (these ridiculously smart 2nd and 3rd graders--the one with "Teacher, this is not typical" Billy), we were doing a lesson about giving reasons that involved the dialogue:

Teacher: Why do you boil the water?
Students: Because I want to make coffee.

But the Korean word for coffee, 커피 (Keo Pee), sounds a lot like another pair of Korean words, 코 (Koh), meaning nose, and 피 (Pee), meaning blood. So 코피 is a bloody nose. Of course little ones find this HILARIOUS. (Honestly, so do I, as most English speakers will frequently mispronounce their order at Starbucks, instead asking for the barista to punch them... I do it, too.)

But these little would be geniuses took it to a new level yesterday. One formed his own little dialogue adaptation:

Teacher: Why do you punch the Sam [Sam is his female cousin who is in the same class]?
Jason: Because I want to make a 코피!

And then Terry broke out the red marker to illustrate for me, you know in case I didn't get it the first time:

Even better, Eric (just as a side note, he is Sa Beom Nim's son), broke out the GREEN marker to make an alien 코피. Unfortunately, he got a little camera shy.

And though I can mock the kiddies for their obsession with silly words that sound like other words in Korean, I couldn't get out of my head the fact that nose bleed sounds a lot like nose pee to me in English. Tee hee. Maybe my maturity level is about at their level. Is that good or bad?

Finally, one of the Korean teachers had a birthday this week. Apparently she is quite popular, as this arrived for her on that day:

I asked if it was from her new boyfriend (she may have a new boyfriend this week), and she said no, but that he gave her 100 roses last week.

That's right. One hundred.

She then took out her handphone picture of it to show me the bouquet that put the above monstrosity to shame. It's a little shocking.

I mean, roses are nice and all, but 100 is a little creepy. Especially when they may have only been dating for a week or so. Reminds me of the guy in high school I dated who gave me over 40 roses during the 25 days or so we dated. And then proceeded to stalk me for about four months after we broke up, including telling my physics teacher (who I really liked and respected) lies about what we had done together sexually.

I hope he isn't like that guy... Eek!


  1. Maybe it was their 100th Day celebration? That's a thing here. I'd like a hundred roses - but I'd split them up into diffferent bouquets!

  2. Yeah, are you sure it's not their 100 days? We had ours and did nothing, which is apparently a terrible thing according to what all of my coworkers told me.

    I would find 100 roses sort of creepy too, unless it is something REALLY special.

    But I am the girl who asked for--and got--cheese from her boyfriend for her birthday, so I'm probably not a good judge of these sorts of things.

  3. I know a little about the 100 days thing... this is more like 5 days. She was dating another guy last month. The guy who gave her the 100 roses has been her friend for a long time and confessed to her on her birthday that he likes her.

    I don't think a birthday justifies 100 roses...

    Think of all the plant carnage. My delicate senses cannot handle seeing such atrocities.



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