06 Jul

helicopter parent

Who taught: Sangeetha and Alex

Helicopter parents (source: http://morethangrades.com/)

Being a teacher, Sangeetha has a lot of experiences with many different parents. A few weeks ago, when we had dinner together, Sangeetha told me this expression, “Helicopter parent.” It sounds easy to guess what it means and I am sure you can also get what it means by just hearing it.

As a South Korean, I know what it is like in Korea. I could probably say that majority of Korean parents would be considered as helicopter parents. They would do anything for their children and, some times, it is gone too far. I am not sure what percentage of American parents are hovering over their children all the time.

If I were a parent, how would I be? I would care about them a lot.

This expression is pretty new. It is an early 21st century term and was coined by Dr. Foster W. Cline and Jim Fay. As I research about this expression, I learned another one which sounds like talking about parents who are trying to do even more for their children. It is lawnmower parents. The space between lawn and lawnmower is so close whereas helicopter requires a lot more space.

Also, all the acts done by helicopter parents or lawnmower parents are called to be “over-parenting.” Let me make my own expression here. How about “well-done parenting?”

If I had a choice, I would rather be a helicopter parent than a lawnmower parent. Also, I hope I can try to stay at medium-parenting. Rare-parenting or under-parenting sounds also not good. I guess being a parent is not an easy thing at all.

17 Jun

red herring

Who taught : Alex and Sangeetha

That's what I am (source: http://www.imdb.com)

Have you seen this movie, that’s what I am? A few days ago, Jessy and I watched it and I personally like it. In the movie, there are a few slangs and one of them is ginger. There is a student who is called the Big G by other students in the movie, basically in the context of bullying. So sad to see it happening just because of his hair color. And, later in the movie, he mentioned a word, tolerance. He said, “I like this word because of its definition.” Here is the definition he used in the movie.

sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one’s own

As I hear this definition, I thought about it. How much do we judge other people every time and every day? And, the worst thing is that we judge other people by their looks or behaviors without even really knowing them. Why can we have sympathy or indulgence to each other? It is just something I would like to suggest you to think about today.

OK… so two days ago, Alex and Sangeetha visited my place and we had dinner and watched a movie. It was fun. As always, I also learned a few new expressions. Let me tell you one of them that I think it is very interesting! It is “red herring.”

Here, herring is a kind of fish that is blue. Now, why there is “red” Β in the expression. If you salt or smoke herring, its color is changed to be red from blue.

Knowing that, would you be able to feel what it means? There is no way you can feel it unless you really know the meaning of it. Here is the meaning of the expression. Oh.. actually… before I talk about it, let me give you a perfect situation that you can use this expression. Whenever you watch a thriller or read a mystery fiction, the story always leads you to believe that one character must be a criminal or killer but, in the end, you find out that the other character that you never thought about suddenly becomes the killer. Now, who is the red herring here? The first character you believed to be a killer is the red herring. OK. now, here is the definition for you.

diverting attention away from an item of significance.

Alex said something to Sangeetha and Sangeetha sort of disagreed to what he said. As she tried to argue about it, she said something that is not really connected to what Alex said. So, at that moment, Alex said to Sangeetha, “Now, that is a red herring.”

When Alex told me that story, my feeling about the expression was that it must be from fishermen’s sayings. Well, I was not even close. The etymology of this expression is very interesting. Let me give you the best link you can visit to find it out.

Next time you watch a thriller with your friends, why don’t you try to find out who in the movie is the red herring? It will be fun.

06 May

hammock and banana hammock

Who taught: Sangeetha, Alex, Phil, Pat, Mark and Kelly

banana hammock (source: http://www.sampa.com/)

Last Saturday, I moved all of my stuff from my old apartment into the new house. Many friends showed up to help the move. I would like to thank all. It was a lot easier with their help. Luckily, the weather was also amazing. To take advantage of it, I bought hot dogs, pizzas and some drinks to have a small spontaneous party at my house.

The move was done pretty quickly and we hang out in the backyard. Hack ya! That was something I have always wanted to do with my friends when I buy a house. Yay! Finally, it happened. And, I am sure there will be a lot more parties. It was so great to have them in my place.

At one point during the party, Phil said, “You guys should sling a hammock in the backyard here. That would be perfect.”

Do you guys know what hammock is? Here is the definition!

A bed made of canvas or of rope mesh and suspended by cords at the ends, used as garden furniture or on board a ship.

I am sure you’ve seen this when you were on a vacation at a resort. The most important thing you should keep in mind is that the shape of hammock, especially if someone lies in it. It becomes very narrow because of the weight of the lying person and its shape is very round. Can you imagine? I am sure you have a great imagination here.

As we talked about hammock, Sangeetha said, “Hey, speaking of hammock… Terry, have you heard the expression, banana hammock?”

I said, “I have but I totally forgot what it means. Does it have something to do with sexual stuff? Oh, does it mean a banana-shaped penis?”

Phil said, “Good guess but not that one.”

Actually, I was pretty close because it has something to do with penis. So, instead of telling you the definition of banana hammock, let me remind you of the shape of hammock when you lie in it. Imagine yourself being a penis, then what is hammock? It is something men wear but very tight. It’s a speedo or male thong.

What a great expression! It is so perfect. I am sure somebody, looking at the shape of a hammock with a person in it, thought of speedo or thong that men wear. Don’t you think they look exactly same?

Now, what if I go to a department store and ask a sales person like, “So, I am looking for a banana hammock? Do you carry them?” Would they understand what I mean? Would they look at me like a crazy person? Probably yes in the U.S., right?

22 Dec

Chivalry is dead

Who taught : Alex and Sangeetha

Chivalry is dead? (source: http://www.motifake.com/)

It is inevitable to experience so many different things by moving to another country. What is the most difficult thing to live in America as a Korean? I would say, it is English, English and English.

1. First of all, English itself is hard to master. Pronunciation, Vocabulary, Slangs, Listening… You name it. There are so many things to continuously practice and it is never ending.

2. And, because of English, it is hard to make American friends. Let’s face it! It is really hard to have a conversation for a long time in just English if you cannot listen and speak fast enough. Honestly, I used to have a headache after a long party with my American friends or a long conference call with customers. This then can definitely affect your work or study.

3. Due to the reason number 2, it is hard to learn new cultures. This creates a vicious circle. If you do not have many American friends, then you usually stay with people who came from the same country you are from. In my case, it is Korea. Then, you lose your chance to learn new cultures and, thus, you feel awkward to be surrounded by American people. As a result, your English cannot get better at all and you do not have any American friends and you do not learn American cultures.

Now, what is the solution? Well, there is only one thing I can say here. WHEN IN ROME! You should really be proactive to make as many American friends as possible and learn new cultures from them. You should also be honest. If you do not understand what they are saying, feel free to ask them. They will help you out.

Speaking of culture… When Jessy and I first moved here, she and I often took a walk after dinner. Talking about trees, animals and houses, we had fun. (FYI, there are squirrels, deer, and rabbits all over here.) But, something bad also happened. πŸ™‚ She saw a guy opening a car door for a lady. I tried to ignore it. (As far as I know, guys in Korea usually do not do that for a lady.) But, she was like this is the time I need to say something. “Hey.. look at that. Don’t you think you need to do that for me? You never done that,” said she. Oh great….

Last Saturday, Jessy and I had lunch with Alex and Sangeetha. After lunch, the server came with checks. Sangeetha said, “You can give them to the guys.” Following it, Alex said, “I guess chivalry is not dead.” I did not get it.

So, chivalry itself refers to the medieval institution of knighthood. And it is often associated with ideals of knightly virtues, honor and of courtly love. For your better understanding, here are the examples of chivalry.

1. Open a car door for a lady or open a door of any place like a mall for a lady.

2. Pay for a lady’s meal

Now, if it is dead, it of course means no one would do it any more. Researching about this expression, I found a lot of arguments about whether chivalry is really dead or not on the Internet. There are some people who say women killed it because of feminism movement. What do you think? Is chivalry really dead? I guess it is a very subjective matter to answer, though. Let me put it this way then? Is chivalry dead in your marriage? Hope not!

01 Nov


Who taught: Jessy

Candy-ass (source: www.flickr.com)

Yesterday was Oct 31st, 2010. It was Halloween. Based on what I felt, starting from Halloween, the whole U.S. gets into the long holiday mode. They decorate houses with pumpkins and scary toys for Halloween and, in November, it turns into the Thanksgiving mode. Finally, there is a Christmas in December. Christmas decoration is the best. You should really try to be in the U.S. and see them. It is amazing.

Along with the decorations, there are certain things happening on Halloween day, such as trick-or-treating, wearing costumes, and parties. Jessy and I did not wear costumes or trick-or-treat. But, we decided to go to a haunted house with Alex and Sangeetha for the first time in our lives. It was fun and kind of scary. Jessy decided to be the last one in our group. Bad choice! (She also admitted it.) All of the scary characters in the house were following us but, since she was the last one, they basically followed her. πŸ™‚ So, if you ever go to a hunted house, try not to be the last one in your group!

Speaking of scary stuff, there is an expression I learned from Jessy. Do you know what sissy means? Last winter, when I went snowboarding, there was a friend of James who was with me. He was trying to follow me to do a big air which basically jumps over a huge jump area and flies like 10 – 20 yards. (Yes, that is what I do with my snowboard.) It really requires the guts to be able to do it. By the time we got to the starting point, he said, “Oh man! I do not think I can do it. You go ahead. I think I will be sissy this time.” Now, you can get the feeling of the word, right? It means a pejorative for a boy or man to indicate that he fails to behave according to the traditional male gender role. The expression I want to tell you today, though, is a different one. It is candy-ass. It is the same meaning to sissy. But, I like candy-ass one more. I think it is not a word or expression you would use a lot. But, try to find the proper time when you are with your male friends and use it. It will be fun. Every time you, as a non-native English speaker, use this kind of expressions to your American friends, they will be so impressed. Am I right, my American friends?