10 Jan

drag your feet

Who taught: Al, Carl and Obama

refreshment room? (source: http://www.freefoto.com/)

Yesterday, at my church, Al talked about one word that I have known for a while. He was announcing an event and he said, “There will be refreshment after the event.” I am sure you know what the refreshment is here in this context. Just for those of you who might not know, it is light snack or drink provided at a public event. Al also talked about what are the things that can refresh your spirit or body. Well, yesterday, we sang songs and prayed. They were definitely very refreshing and I was so refreshed. As I think of this way, I got to really like the word, refreshment. You know what I thought about? I thought about the person who used this word to mean light snack or drink for the first time. I imagine that he/she had food like fruit and water after a long work or talk, then he/she said, “This food and drink are very refreshing. Really, these are refreshments for me. Let’s call these food refreshments from now on, shall we?” What do you think? I am very sure that is what happened and from that moment people started to call those food refreshments. I love this word a lot because we all need refreshments from time to time. Not just from food. It could be fresh air in the morning or everything depending on how you think. Hope you all find a lot of refreshments today and in your life.

A few weeks ago, I was watching news and President Obama was talking about Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) policy. For your information, here is what DADT is.

the policy restricting the United States Military from efforts to discover or reveal the sexuality of closeted homosexual or bisexual servicemembers or applicants, while barring those who are openly gay, lesbian, or bisexual from military service. (source : Wikipedia)

More specifically, he was talking about a bill that was passed to repeal DADT. Even though the bill was passed, there are still procedures to be done to make it effective. In the interview, he said, “We will not drag our feet here.” As soon as I heard that, I remembered that Carl used the expression when he and I had meetings with customers in almost same way. Whenever I hear the word, drag, I think of computer mouse. I am sure you have a mouse and drag it every day, don’t you? Now, what if you think there is your feet on your desk and you drag your feet just like you drag your mouse. How would you feel? It feels very slow and just something that you do not want to do so that you intentionally do something very slow. Here is my famous question! CAN YOU FEEL IT? 🙂

Here is another challenge for you in 2011! Let’s not drag our feet and be proactive! You know what! If you do that, then you yourself could be refreshment to others. Excited? I am excited.

19 Oct

Have you ever eaten humble pie?

Who taught: Jessy and Carl

source (listsoplenty.com)

Humble pie! Sounds yummy? As a matter of fact, it is a pie. I mean there is a recipe and you can make and eat it. But, have I eaten it? No. I have never seen it. The original recipe says it should be filled with liver, heart and other offal, mostly of cow but often deer. Now, it does not sound like yummy any more, does it?

In medieval times, people called this “umble pie.” The word, umble, originated from the French nomble which means “deer innards.” Since it has all of the inner parts of beef or deer, not the meat, you can figure out that it is not a food that higher-class people would eat. That is true. Humble pie was considered as inferior food. (source: wikipedia)

Writing this, I started to doubt that this food would still exist with the original recipe. People here in the U.S. would not eat it. Does anyone know that this pie is still out there?

The point is this is not just a food anymore. It is an expression! Let’s close eyes and think about we are all back to the past, medieval times. You are in front of me and looking at my eating humble pie. What would you think? You would be like, “This poor Terry! How could you eat that dirty humble pie.” And, I would be like, “What the…. I am eating this stupid pie in front of him. It is so humiliating.”

That is exactly the feeling you would have if you use this expression. The meaning of the expression is;

To eat humble pie is to apologize and face humiliation for a serious error.

In conclusion, you do not want to eat humble pie as little as possible in your life. So, if someone ask the question, “have you ever eaten humble pie?,” your answer should be, “No!” or “Maybe once!” But there is a time you have no choice but to eat humble pie. For that case, I found one article for you, “how to eat humble pie!”

26 Sep

English pronunciation

Who taught : Andrew, Jake, James and Carl

There is a new tv show started last week. It is called, “Outsourced.” I love it. It shows a lot of cultural differences between America and India. You should really try to watch it and let’s talk about it later.

Do you know what file type I hate most? It is zip file.

Do you know why? Well… it is so hard to pronounce. A few months ago, I was having a meeting with a client and there were James, one of my old coworkers, and Carl, my old boss. After the meeting, I went into Carl’s room to have another meeting and, at the end of the meeting, he taught me how to pronounce zip correctly. And, interestingly, when James and I had brunch together last Saturday, he mentioned about his feeling about my pronunciation of zip file. It is actually kind of frustrating to have the feeling that I would never be able to have a correct pronunciation for some of the alphabets or words.

There are a few other alphabets or words that are hard to pronounce correctly. (Here, I mean really correctly like Americans, not like mimicking the sound!)

1. v and th

A lot of Koreans, or Asians, pronounce this incorrectly so that many American people think we are saying “b” instead. For example, when you are looking for a “vase” but if you pronounce it incorrectly, then it becomes “base.” The other example is any word having “th.” More specifically, if you trying to say that you are “thinking” now but, if you say it incorrectly, then it becomes to mean that you are “sinking” now. Then your American friends would be like, “to where are you sinking down?”

2. wood

This one looks pretty easy to pronounce but it, in fact, is very hard to pronounce correctly. Jessy has a friend who came to the U.S. around 20 years ago when she was around 25 years old. She has children who of course are native English speakers. One time, she had a conversation with her children and she said “wood.” As soon as she said that word, her children said to her, “Mom, that is not correct. Say it again!” So, she tried again and again but still the pronunciation was not correct. You know what happened eventually. Her children said, “Mom! You are never gonna be able to pronounce it correctly at all.”

How frustrating it is! Remember! She has been living in the U.S. for 20 years. 20 years!

3. Square or Squirrel

Well, I had a very similar experience with what Jessy’s friend had. I live in a neighborhood, called Squirrel Hill, in Pittsburgh. One time, I was talking about this neighborhood to Andrew and Jake. As soon as I said it, they were like, “Terry! What? Say it again!” So, I kind of realized that I spoke it incorrectly and tried really really hard to pronounce it correctly. Then, they said, “That is pretty good. Before, it was not correct.”

Then, a few days ago, I was talking about something and I said “Square Root” to Andrew and Jake. Then, they were like, “Hey! Terry! Say it again?” Yeah, they challenged me again. So, I tried again. Andrew and Jake! How was I? Do you think I need more practices? I guess so, right?

So, as a non-native English speaker, what is the hardest word or alphabet for you to pronounce? I think mine is “Z” alphabet and any word having it like Zoo or Zip. The real hope I have now is I wish I can speak those ones really good so that no one can recognize me as a non-native English speaker. There must be some ways to practice. Does anybody know how to practice to pronounce those alphabets correctly?

07 Jul

How do you think?

Who taught : Carl and Andrew

Jessy and Me

So, this is my 100th post! Yay! I am pretty excited about it. It has been 4 months and 7 days since I wrote my first post. To commemorate this milestone, I would like to share one of my personal stories. It is about my wife, Jessy. First of all, I am not telling any lie here. Jessy and I went to the same university in Korea. We both majored law. And, back then, she was one of the most famous girls in the school. (I am not saying she is not any more. 🙂 ) Many times, a lot of guys waited for her outside of classrooms where she took classes to see her. How about me? I was just a normal guy whom no girls showed any interests in. Then, I am sure you would have a question you would ask. How the heck was I able to woo her? (The word, “woo”, here is a good expression you can use when anyone is trying to make a girl or a guy fall for him/her.) Well, I actually do not know. The only thing I know is that she was the one who hit on me. She actually told me, “First time I saw you, I just felt that you are the one for me.” What did I do? Well, I think I just did not pay attention to her a lot. Do you know why? I had to study hard to recover my bad GPA. 🙂

So, college students out there! Believe it or not, here is today’s lesson for you.

Girls dig a guy who is enthusiastic about what he does! If you do your best at what you are supposed to do, you are charm enough to woo the best girl!

Now, let’s get to today’s expression, shall we? About three years ago when I first started my work, I was pretty nervous about having conference calls. And, one day, I was in a conference call with a few people from a client and my boss, Carl. They asked me a few questions and I provided a few suggestions. Following the suggestions, I said, “So… how do you think?” Why I use “how” instead of “what”? Probably, it is because I was translating Korean into English. In Korean, we say, “어떻게 생각하세요? (Eu-Dduk-Ke Saeng-Gak-Ha-Se-Yo ?)” and literal translation of “어떻게(Eu-Dduk-Ke)” is “how” not “what.” After the meeting, Carl grabbed me and said, “Terry, you should say ‘what do you think?’ If you say ‘how do you think?’, it is almost like insulting because it would mean like, ‘do you even have brain to think about?'”

Man, I was so embarrassed. On that day, I repeated ‘what do you think?’ like 100 times on my way to home. Now? I never even think ‘how do you think?’ at all.

20 Jun

taco wheel

Who taught: Carl

Definitely, I am going through American childhood. Yesterday morning, I went mountain biking with my friends for the first time in my life. It was about 1 hour and 30 minutes riding. All the way, I was following them. The scariest part of it was downhill. Sometimes, it is so steep and there are so many tree roots I need to go over which makes me hard to maneuver the bike. Also, there are so many steep hills on my side that, if I make a small mistake, I can easily fall down. Isn’t it scary? One big tip for you! If you mountain bike, you do need to wear bike gloves. Due to the lack of gloves, I get two blisters on my thumbs, one on each. Can you picture me having two bandages on my thumbs right now, typing this post in front of my computer? Yeah, that is what is happening now. Poor Terry! 🙂

Yummy Taco

But, one good thing was I did not wreck my bike. My friends told me that there are high chances that the first time mountain biker would wreck his/her bike. (Even though I add ‘her’ here, I strongly doubt that mountain bike is a sport that women like or enjoy. Am I right?) After the first round of bike was done, Carl, my boss, told me, “Terry! You did good for your first time. You did not taco your wheel.” I asked, “What is taco wheel?” I guess you can kind of understand it if you think about the shape of taco. Oh, I just realized that I have not had any tacos at all when I was back in Korea. Here is the definition of taco from the Wikipedia.

a traditional Mexican dish composed of a corn or wheat tortilla folded or rolled around a filling. A taco can be made with a variety of fillings, including beef, chicken, seafood, vegetables and cheese, allowing for great versatility and variety. A taco is generally eaten without utensils and is often accompanied by garnishes such as salsa, cilantro, tomatoes, onions and lettuce.

Mexican food is so popular in the U.S. now. So, if you come to America, you should try to find a good Mexican restaurant or safe bet would be Chipotle. You should be able to find a Chipotle in any of the big cities.

So, if you taco your wheel, it means basically you got your wheel totally wrecked. This is an example of biking jargon. There must be a lot more than this. Do you know any?

I kind of like this sort of expression. You know, using some of the food or any object to describe some situations. I guess we all can make one as long as it is reasonable and acceptable by other people. Here is a challenge for you! What is your own expression with food in it?