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!

31 Aug


Who taught: Kelly, Phil, Amber and Tami



Let me ask you a question, my non-native English speaking friends! When you are tired, what you do say? I know I know… It’s a dumb question. You have said and would say “I am tired,” right?

Have you ever tried some other ones?

To be honest, I personally have not used any other expressions than “tired” because I do not know them until two days ago.

Two days ago, I invited my friends, Phil and Kelly, to my house to have dinner together. It was perfect to grill. We had a great evening together, eating steaks and talking about how long it has been since we met for the first time five years ago. It is so precious to have wonderful friends. Thank you, Phil and Kelly, for always being there! It’s been so awesome and I am sure we will have great friendship for a long time. One day, when we are all over 80, we will have a lot to talk about. Hope that day would come very slowly! 🙂

So, it was a long weekday and naturally, after dinner, we all felt tired. At that moment, Kelly said, “Oh… I am pooped.”

When I heard, it was pretty clear what she really meant but I wanted to make sure. “What did you say, Kelly? Pooped? P O O P?,” I said.

What would you think when you heard someone says, “I am pooped?” The first thing I had in my mind was that someone really threw poop at Kelly and she got covered with poop. Oh no… that’s terrible, right?

But, it turns out that’s just another expression to mean “tired.” Why? I do not know but I also heard from Tami and Amber that people also say “I am too pooped to pop” and that expression is from the old cartoon, “Tho Popples.”

I have never seen that cartoon and I feel like I should watch it to be able to fully understand and feel this expression. If you can find any video of the cartoon where any character uses this specific expression, please share it with us?

I am sure we all feel pooped by the end of today but thankfully it is Friday. TGIF! Hope you get to enjoy a beautiful weekend! See you next week, my friends!

09 Jul

three sheets to the wind

Who taught: Phil, Kelly, Kaley, Rachel and Shawn

Sometimes, life is so funny. We plan things and try to prepare for the future ahead. Yet, we do not know what is ahead. Every day is full of surprises.

Really should enjoy a new day given to me. Nothing to complain about at all! Carpe diem!

Last week, Jerome and Patricia threw a party to celebrate the acquisition of the company that I used to work. I used to work at the company for three years before I joined Carnegie Mellon University. It was so fun to work with smart people there. I got to solve a lot of interesting problems which eventually made a lot of clients happy. No wonder why another company wants to buy this great company.

It was so nice seeing all the people including current and former employees at the party. There were great foods, drinks and music.

I walked around, talking to as many people as possible and at some point I sit down with Phil, Kelly, Kaley, Rachel and Shawn. And, Phil told me something which I had no clue at all. I had to say to him, “what did you say?,” many times.

He said, “Hey Terry, Are you three sheets to the wind?”

Let me challenge you, my non-native English speaking friends! Can you guess what it means? Even after I got the words that Phil said, I still was not able to understand. Worse, I could not even guess.

Well, my friends told me that it simply means “are you drunk?” Of course, I was not. But, the question is why does it mean drunk? Well, no one knew why.

Once you use a language as your mother tongue, you use a lot of expressions without even thinking about why, right? In my opinion, it is because people learn those expressions by just hearing and trying to use later. That’s actually amazing. So, these days, I try really hard to learn English as if I am a new born child. You know what I mean? Just listen and use them.

Well, about 30 minutes later, I had to sit again. (You know, I am getting old.) I sit next to Kaley and she actually googled for its origin and showed it to me.

Not surprisingly, the expression is from sailing. There are a lot of expressions that originated from sailing and this is one of them. Here is a very good one for you.

Sheets actually refer to the ropes that are used to secure a ship’s sail. If the 3 ropes used were loose in the wind, the sail would flop around, causing the ship to wobble around, much like a drunk.

As soon as I saw this origin, this expression totally made sense to me. What a perfect one to describe “drunk!” Wouldn’t you agree, my friends?

So, next time if you have a drink with your friends, you should try to say, “are you three sheets to the wind?” instead of saying “are you drunk?” They will love you. 🙂

08 May

homeboy or homie

Who taught: Phil, Shawn and Jake

Homeboy (source: http://faloutboylover.deviantart.com/)

While living in the U.S. for the last 6 years, I have made very good friends. Many of them work or used to work at Vivisimo, my previous company. About two weeks ago, IBM announced to acquire Vivisimo. Wow! Great news! As employees, my friends and I got some stock options. Due to the acquisition, we got to know that we will make some money. To be clear, it is not a lot at all. 🙂

Anyway, as we heard the news, Phil tweeted about drinking out of a brown bag. I replied one of his tweets and he said, “Don’t forget to pour one for your hommies.”

My initial impression was that it has to be my wife. Hommie sounds like “home” and my wife and I live together at our home. So, I thought it means wife. But, to make sure, I replied to him, asking “What is hommies?”

A few minutes later, Jake replied, “It’s spelled “homie”. Short for “home boy”. OK… sounds good. But then what is home boy? Here is what I thought. This should definitely mean my children, especially my son. Hmm…. I do not have a son. This does not make sense at all again.

So, I replied again, “What is home boy? Are you my home boy?” Shawn replied to this tweet, saying “I am most definitely your home boy.”

At that point, I had to look it up. As I was seeing the definition, I was like, “Oh…. I get it.” Can you guess what it means? It means a close friend. It makes sense, right? If you have a very close friend, you would spend a lot of time with him at your home or his home, right? A home boy! Nice expression, huh?

My last question! How about girls? Do people also say “homegirl”?

Phil, Jake and Shawn, you are definitely my homies! Patrick.. don’t feel left out. As you can see from the pic, you are my homeboy too. 🙂

01 Nov

cheer up vs cheer on

Who taught: Phil

Cheer on (source: http://wehearyouamerica.readersdigest.com/)

Yesterday, I once again realized that a proper usage of the preposition is so hard. Mondays are soccer days for Phil and me in winter. It is so fun to play a soccer game with good friends. Jessy usually stay at home while I am away playing soccer. But, yesterday, I managed to allure her to come with me to watch my playing. 🙂

It was my turn to pick Phil up on the way to the sports complex where we play soccer. To let him know that Jessy is also coming, I texted him, “Jessy might go too to cheer us up!” Sounds very fine to me. How about you, my non-native English speaker friends? Do you see anything wrong with what I said to Phil?

After Phil hopped into my car, he told me how native English speakers would feel as they hear ‘cheer up’. For example, if Phil told Patrick, “I need to cheer Terry up,” then Patrick would think I am sad or depressed now so that Phil has to be with me to cheer me up. Once again, let’s try to feel it. Where is up? Up means above you like sky. Then, cheer someone up means make someone who is so down to be up by your cheering.

So, it is not correct to say ‘cheer up’ for soccer players who do definitely not feel depressed. In that case, you need to use ‘cheer on.’

As I was researching about the expression, I found that there was no ‘on’ part at first. And, in 1800s, this expression was augmented by having ‘on’ in the end. Well, I am not sure how I can feel this one. Probably, let soccer players stay on where they are already excited. What do you think, my native English friends? Do you guys have that feeling when you say ‘cheer on’?

For Korean people and my own reference, “cheer up” means 격려하다(GyukRyeoHaDa) whereas “cheer on” means 응원하다(EungWonHaDa).