Nonsense, horsefeathers, and idle musings from a decade in South Korea (2002-2012).


09 May, 2007

See Aaron Fritter

By Aaron
09 May, 2007

Before marrying my wife I made her promise that she'd shoot me if I ever had to wear diapers. Screw the money, the assets or the non-compete clause, but I insisted on this one being in the pre-nup. In the last year, though, I've become less committed to this premise and, as a result, now spend my time running away from a shotgun-toting spouse. This, as you may know from experience, makes changing one's own diapers damned difficult.

If I were Korean, I'd now be speaking at the level of a three year-old, such are the skills I acquired in my first term of Korean language studies at Seoul National University. Given that I was barely at fetus-level in early March, this isn't bad and at least I can ask people to change my dirty diapers now, whereas before I just sat down and cried and waited for the first woman in a nurse's outfit - though she didn't have to be a nurse - to come and change them.

Today, in a fresh pair of Depends, I took the last of my final exams for this spring semester, putting an end to ten weeks of time frittered away. At the lowest levels of language study, you generally learn just enough to make you realize how much you, in fact, don't know, and I'm not sure I even learned that much over the course of this term. I am a master of not taking advantage of the opportunities at hand and at no time was this more evident than the spring of 2007. How else to explain the fact that, even with a Korean wife and Korean in-laws who don't speak English, I didn't have a perfect score on my final exams. No excuse for that.

And anyway, explanations don't excuse and excuses don't explain.

But...

I've had to overcome the fact that unlike Scarlett Johansson when I first met her, the Korean language hasn't charmed me yet. That most irritating element of Korea - hierarchy - is built right into the language, such that you can't, for example, refer to your grandfather's house as his "house." No, you have to use a different word for house, one that translates best into English as "silver-guilded igloo in the sky." Nor, come to that, can you say that your grandmother eats. No indeed, she merely thinks of food and thereby finds sustenance, after which she sleeps, though, in the Korean language, she doesn't actually sleep. I'll stop there but the list, to my daily chagrin, goes on. Oddly enough, though, there doesn't seem to be a special noun for my grandparents' toilet or a verb for their actually crap-taking. Nice to know that Grandad can still drop a deuce like the rest of us.

Fortunately, my wife has guaranteed me that I will pull perfect marks in the upcoming summer term, but if not, she's promised to shoot me.