27 Sep


Who taught: Jeff, Phil and Jake



I am thinking of getting a puppy. I mean, I have been thinking about it for a while but this time it is a lot more serious.

Why? I blame Mandie. 🙂 Last week, she sent factbook messages with some links to breeders of basset hound, the kind of breed that she has. Looking at puppies, Jessy and I got side-tracked to other breeds too such as labrador retriever and golden retriever. We saw some videos of different puppies. So adorable.

We want a breed that is really patient and friendly with children. To make sure, I searched for it and there were some other people asking the same question. And, naturally, there are many answers to those questions.

Many people said “Mutts are great with children.” Well, I thought mutt is another kind of pure dog breed. Surfing the web to find what mutt is, I found that it means a dog of many mixed breeds. In Korean, we say 잡종 (Jap-Jong).

After I did those researches, I talked to some of my friends that I would get a dog. And, they (Jeff, Phil and Jake) did ask me whether I am going to get a mutt or a pure breed.

Had I not done any research, I would have not been able to understand when they said “mutt.”

I am sure most of my friends in Korea would think by now I would be totally fine with English. Well, not yet. Look at this word. I had no idea what it means until I get into this serious process of getting a dog. Every time I try to do something new here in the U.S., I get to learn new words and expressions. Fortunately…. (I am being sarcastic here)…. I have a lot that I have not tried in the U.S.

Oh… here is another thing. Mutt does not just mean a dog. It could also be used to describe a person. In fact, it is also the case that Korean people say “잡종” to describe a person. As you can imagine, you would want to be careful to do so. In the last 6 years, I have never heard any of my friends using this word to mean a person. So, be careful!

I would get a golden retriever puppy. If I did, I will definitely update you. Stay tuned, my friends!

03 Apr


Who taught: Steve

Two days ago, I was so surprised by my friends at the church. They prepared a surprise party for Jessy and me. Well, two weeks ago, they gave me a heads up by asking me to be in the church on that day but I had no idea that there would be lunch and a special song and a game.

Do you know this song called Rainbow Connection? The song is beautiful and I like the lyrics. So, what Tim did for us was rewriting the song and singing it for us. Another thing that they were being so considerate for us was that Mandie sent me an email with the link to the video of Rainbow Connection Saturday night so that Jessy and I would know what song Tim sings for us. Aren’t they so kind?

It was one of those days you cannot forget. I am so happy that I have these amazing friends. Pittsburgh is my home and I am glad that I can stay here with you, my friends. The lyrics is so funny. You can find it at the end of this post.

After lunch, Steve and I had a little chat and he used one expression, “egghead.” You know what’s so funny now? These days, most of my friends know that I am trying to learn new expressions and, when they say those, they stop for a while to make sure I actually understand it or not. If I do not, they start to explain them to me. How amazing! So, I am telling you, my non-native English friends. Don’t be afraid to ask and make mistakes. They will help you out.

Anyway, when I heard it, my first feeling was that it would only describe shape and size of a head and probably refer to baldness. You know what I mean. Haven’t you seen those heads that are just like an egg? Where do you usually see those? Why don’t you think for a while? ……. Come on! You know where. It is usually at colleges. Think of your professors! Now, can you get what I say?

So, I was pretty sure that egghead means that kind of head and it does not have anything more than that. As usual, I was very wrong. I mean shape and size do play an important role but it has a deeper meaning. Can you guess? Here, I will give you a hint. One of its synonyms is geek. That’s right. That is what egghead means.

Fortunately, Wikipedia has everything about this expression. It even tells you historical background of it.

Ironically, both Steve and I teach at universities. Am I an egghead?



“The Green Card Connection” by Tim

I know of somebody who’s staying in Pittsburgh, the place where they’ve longed to reside.
It’s been a long, hard, tumultuous process, not knowing where they’re going to be.
But finally, they have it! The Green Card connection, for Terry and Jessica Lee.
Terry and Jessica hail from Korea, a place they’d lived all their lives.
One day they realized they don’t have Primanti’s or bridges seen far and wide.
After they got here I guess that they decided they like Yinzers more than Kimchi.
Now yinz guys got it: The green card connection for Terry and Jessica Lee.
They’re “Learning English from Friends” like nebby and gumband and slippy.
Now that you’re permanent. It’s time to get real: There’s things we expect from you.
We have a cleaning list and grass that needs cutting . And the new guys buy donuts, too.

All this to say, That we’re really excited . You’re staying here at BHBC.

Cuz finally you have it: The green card connection for Terry and Jessica Lee!
La da da dee da da dog, I hope that this gets on your blog!

**Disclaimer** I am well aware that Jessica’s last name is Sim.  However, Sim does not rhyme with “eee”, so instead I chose to use “Terry and Jessica Lee”.  Please, just deal with it.


26 Jul

sunday dinner at Browns Hill Bible Chapel

Who taught : Emily, Rachel and Liz

Cake for Leah and Zac's farewell dinner made by Mandie

When I knew that I am coming to the U.S., my father asked one of his friends who is a missionary from the U.S. to find out the church for me to go. He recommended Browns Hill Bible Chapel to my father and me. Since then, Jessy and I are going to the chapel and it has been such a blessing for us. If you are interested in coming, please tell me. We should go together.

A few weeks later from our first visit to the chapel, Debby asked Jessy and me after the church service, “Hey, do you guys want to have dinner together?” I responded, “OK! What time do you want to meet? Maybe around 5:30 pm?” She said, “No, it is now!” “But you said dinner,” I asked again. She then realized and explained to us, “Oh.. we use dinner for Sunday lunch.” I was quite surprised. I have always thought dinner is a meal we eat in the evening. Do you guys really use dinner, meaning lunch or something?

And, yesterday, we had a special Sunday dinner after the service at church to say good bye to our friends, Leah and Zac. They are moving to Spain because of Zac’s new job. They will be staying there for about 5 years and COME BACK to PGH. Right, Zac? They have to because we all miss them so much and I am pretty sure they will miss us too.

Right before the dinner, I was talking to some friends and Emily and Liz were talking to other friends. But we were pretty close. And for some reason, I felt that Emily and Liz were talking about me. When I looked at them, they were like, “Nothing! How did you know we are talking about you.” I said, “I do not know! I just felt it.”

Then, we sat down together to have dinner and Rachel was right next to me. So, I said to Rachel, “Hey, Rachel. You know what happened? Emily and Liz made fun of me.” And Emily said, “No, we did not! We were just teasing you.” At that time, I was kind of confused and thought about the previous post about “Popular VS Famous.” Again, make fun of someone and tease someone have the same meaning in English-Korean dictionary. Thus, it is hard to find out the proper usage of them in a proper context.

So, here is what I learned. Tease is pretty much same act as making fun of but it does not really involve a bad intention.

Am I right? I am still kind of confused. This kind of subtle difference in expressions is so hard to catch.

01 Jul

icing on the cake

Who taught: Andrew

Mandie's cake! How cute is it?

Mandi, one of my church friends, has magical hands for making beautiful cakes. Every time there is an event at my church such as baby shower or farewell party, she brings a beautiful cake. A few days ago, there was Leah’s baby shower at the church in which Jessy participated. She took a picture of the cake Mandie brought and showed it to me. That was awesome. Amazing thing is she has 4 little children. How could she make a cake surrounded by 4 children? Well, she taught them really well. Every time she is trying to make a cake, she tells the children, “OK! if you guys are gentle and not touching the cake while mom is making it, I will put more and delicious icing on the cake. If not, I will not put any! Do you hear me?” Well, they hear really well and, based on their experiences, they know that mom is telling the truth. So, they become so quiet and watch her making cakes. Isn’t it awesome? Mandie, I think you should run a business, customized party cake business. I can set up the web site for you and we can be co-founders. What do you think?

For your better understanding, here is the definition of ICING.

Icing is a sweet substance made from powdered sugar that is used to cover and decorate cakes.

Yummy! I love great icing but the most important thing is the cake itself. I mean if the cake is not really good, what is the point of having a lot of icing on it. I think it is the worst cake ever! Having this concept in your mind, icing on the cake is a good expression for you. The definition of the expression is ;

What makes a good thing even better, although it is not something essential.

Like I said, the cake itself should be good to make icing on the cake even better to have. Andrew used this expression the other day but I forgot in what context he used it. Andrew! Do you remember?

Hmm… What would be a good example for you? What about you are having amazing cup cake and suddenly I brought you a cappuccino. Would it be icing on the cake? Well, maybe, it should be icing on the cup cake??? 🙂

Korean equivalent : 금상첨화 (錦上添花) Geum-Sang-Cheom-Hwa. The literal translation is “flower on top of silk.” Silk itself is already beautiful but if you have flower on top of it, that should be really stunning.