31 Oct


Who taught: Jessy and Ashka



Hey there! How have you been? I really wish all of you are doing well. Hurricane Sandy hit the northeast of the U.S. and a lot of people are without power now. Hope my friends are fine there.

I live in Pittsburgh, PA. A few weeks ago, Jessy and I were taking a walk and we talked about things we are missing, living in a small city. So, Pittsburgh is still a city with around 300,000 people. But, to me, that is nothing. Why? it is because I am from one of the cities near Seoul, Korea and my previous work was in Seoul.

The population of Seoul itself is around 11 million and if we consider the metropolitan area, the population is around 25 million. It is a huge city. To give you an idea about how big it is, it is bigger than New York City. There are a lot of things we used to enjoy, especially at night. Don’t get me wrong. We do like Pittsburgh a lot.

So, the thing we talked about is that it is very different living in Pittsburgh from living in Seoul. When we used to live in Seoul, we call people from small cities or towns “Chon-Nom(μ΄Œλ†ˆ)” in Korean. “What is Chon-Nom in English? What people call people from rural areas in the U.S.?”

Jessy and I did some researches and found this word, “hillbilly.” Let me guess its etymology! I think this is referring to a person whose name is bill (one of the most common names just like Joe) and who lives on a hill. How perfect is it? Hope my guess is correct.

Anyway, after that conversation, I thought I would remember it. But, I forgot.

Luckily, Ashka posted the picture that you see here on her facebook timeline. Wow! Wow! It was a moment of eureka for me. Thank you, Ashka, for posting this because this totally refreshed my memory. And, of course, I do need to thank Hillary and Bill Clinton. Than you guys! Because of you guys, now I feel pretty confident that I will remember this word.

What do you think? Actually, if you yourself are a hillbilly, then you should totally know this word. Hey, after all, I could consider myself as a hillbilly too. Pittsburgh is a small city. One may argue this but at least to me this is true. πŸ™‚

23 Feb

rediscovering a word series 2: flash

Who taught: Melissa

There are three rivers that run across or around Pittsburgh, PA. And there are more than 29 bridges cross the three rivers in Pittsburgh city boundary. That is a lot of bridges. Don’t you think? Do I know the names of all of the bridges? Not at all! I know a few such as the Liberty Bridge and the Fort Pitt Bridge.

Because of these crazy number of bridges and the three rivers, there is a very interesting aspect of the city. People in the South and the North do not get along with each other. Also, they do not even think about taking a trip to the other side of the town. They stay where they are from. In my opinion, because of this, people from Pittsburgh always come back to the city after a few years of living in other states or cities. They just love the city, or I should say the area they are from, either South or North.

Where do I live? I live the Eastern part of Pittsburgh. Kind of neutrality zone, I guess.

Well, today’s story is about another experience of rediscovering a word for me. Everybody knows what “flash” means. It is a light or something that reflects light that shine in a bright but brief, sudden, or intermittent way. Like camera flash.

That was the only definition I have known till this morning. Today, I was briefly checking my facebook feed and I found a very interesting youtube video shared by Melissa.

The title of the video is “Have you ever flashed someone?” I thought this question should be related with taking a picture at night or something. But then next thing I thought about was what is so interesting about taking a picture at night? Not much, right? So, I decided to watch the video. Oh My …..

What the heck? Flash has that kind of definition? No way! Here I am embedding the video here. You should really watch it to understand it.

Oh.. also, you should watch it till the end. If not, you would not be able to understand what it means. At the end, there is a lady who shows what it means by really doing it.

Hey, have you watched it? If not, watch first. …


By now, I assume you did watch it. Do you get it? Can you feel it? Here is the definition of flash:Β To show an “inappropriate” body part by quickly moving an object or article of clothing out of the way then back “flashing” the part at someone.

So, the thing is I do not think it is “inappropriate” body part if a woman flashes. What do you think, my friend?


11 Nov

get hold of

Who taught: Tami and Sujata

Pittsburgh Winter (source: http://dashdingo.org/)

Sometimes, I hear the same expression from a few people around me in a short period of time. That happened last week. My colleague, Sujata finally switched to a Mac from her old PC. While I was talking to her the other day, I asked her, “Hey, How’s your Mac? Are you getting comfortable with it?”

She said, “Yeah. It is getting better but I think I still need some time to get hold of it fully.”

Last week, Tami and I were having a conversation with students from other schools. We were talking about the Pittsburgh weather which is pretty bad in winter as you can see from the picture. As she was explaining the winter weather, she said, “It usually takes some time to get hold of it, especially for international students.”

At that point, I was like, “Huh! Same expression!” So, I thought that I should really remember and try to use it later.

I believe you would get what it means through these two examples, right? The word, ‘hold’, means to retain or control. Basically, ‘get hold of something or someone’ means the same thing.

One good usage is that, if someone is impatient and you want him or her to calm down, you could say, “Hey! Get hold of yourself!”

There is an issue though. When I was researching about this expression, I found this expression interesting. The reason is that ‘get’ is a verb and I am pretty sure ‘hold’ here is a noun. Then, where is an article. Shouldn’t I put ‘a’ before ‘hold’ all the time? Like, “get a hold of yourself or get a hold of it.”

There seems a little bit of debates going on even among native English speakers about including ‘a’ or not. I am not sure which one is correct. What do you think, my friends? Which one sounds correct to you?

24 Aug

heavy foot

Who taught: Tami

Heavy Foot (source: http://www.redbubble.com/)

Last weekend, I drove down to Blacksburg, VA with Jessy and my brother-in-law’s family to help their move. It takes 6 hours from Pittsburgh, PA to Blacksburg, VA. 6 hours are not bad in the U.S. to drive but it is still hard for me to drive alone. So, I let Jessy drive for 2 – 3 hours.

Well, during those hours, I wanted to take a short sleep but could not. Why? Because she drives aggressively. She also displays some road rage. I had to try to calm her down. And, at the same time, I was tightly holding on.

It was a rough time. As soon as we decided to take a break, I took the key away from her. πŸ™‚

After the long and tiring weekend, there is an orientation for the new students. When I had lunch with my colleagues, I talked about how much I was afraid of Jessy’s driving to Tami. As she heard the story, she said, “So, Jessy got a heavy foot, right?”

One good news! I was able to feel the expression right away. How about you? Can you feel it? We, mostly, use our right foot to push the accelerator, right. Now, imagine your right foot is fat and heavy like an elephant’s foot, it would be really hard to slow your car down, right? What a great expression! I like it a lot. So, when someone uses heavy foot, think about an elephant foot. You will never forget what it means.

Hope you all do not have a heavy foot. Let’s slow down and calm down when driving, shall we?

P.S.: I will do my best to take care of Jessy only when she is driving. Most of the time, she takes care of me. πŸ™‚

21 Jan

my knee’s been singing all day

Who taught : Manny

Pittsburgh’s winter must be really great for kids. Why? Schools are closed many times due to heavy snow and icy rain. Yesterday, we got snow again and schools are closed today. Not really good thing for parents at all. They need to figure out how to take care of kids and work.

I have to be honest. As much as I like PGH, I do not like this heavy snow at all. I know it sounds weird. But really hope one day PGH had mild winter! Maybe next year?

Speaking of weather, let me ask you a question. Do you feel a lot of pains during bad weather? Like in your back or ankle. Back in Korea, my mother used to say, “Looks like it is going to rain tomorrow. I have a lot of pains in my shoulders.” She was usually right. I am not sure whether this is scientifically true or not. Does anyone know?

A few weeks ago, I was watching a TV show, Modern Family. It is one of my favorite shows. So hilarious. Every episode is also very short like less than 30 mins. In the episode I watched, Manny who is a kid but acts like an adult used a very interesting expression. He said, “Do you think it is going to rain? I think it is because my knee’s been singing all day.” It was very interesting that he used a verb “sing” to describe that he has been feeling pains on his knee. Is it typical or is it just his way of speaking? I honestly do not know. Does anyone know? Or do you say in the same way?

A few weeks ago, I got injured on my knee, playing soccer, and I now feel pains. Not sure it is because of bad weather or my getting older. πŸ™‚ The thing is I need to walk to the school today. Oh…. no!