Old News

February 16, 2007


Yesterday, after finding out that my Yonsei midterm listening score was a not-so-low 94%, I went over to Sogang and took their placement test, just in case my other Yonsei scores sucked. I fully expected to have to repeat Level 3. Instead, the teacher asked "why did you come here? Your Korean is already good enough." Then I explained that I wanted to enter a Korean university, so my Korean had to be more than just conversational, and she asked me if I'd rather be in Level 4 or Level 5. Yes, that's right, she thought I was good enough to skip! I decided on Level 4 because she said it has more listening practice than Level 5, and because admittedly, I'm a little bit suspicious of skipping 300 hours. Going into Level 4 about three quarters of the way through Level 3 is a lot less risky. She said she'll put me into the fast Level 4 course. Basically, if I can transition successfully from Yonsei to Sogang, I'll finish my Korean studies in mid-November instead of Mid-December, and my tuition will be lower, and supposedly, the quality of instruction will be better. I decided to transfer to Sogang, and went ahead and paid my tuition today (1,210,000 won a term instead of the 1,423,000 a term that Yonsei charges).

Today, I got back ALL of my midterm scores. Here they are:
Listening (already known): 94%
Writing: 83.2%
Reading: 92%
Speaking: 83% (composed of interview [81%] and Sam-bun Iyagi [90%])

Average: 88.14%

In short summary, I got nothing below a B, and this is Level 3! My midterm scores for Level 3 are slightly better than they were in Level 2, so I'm quite satisfied. This will buffer me well when I'm transitioning to Sogang and attending both schools at once. My speaking score was low. I lost five points during the interview for not understanding her question. I do no test prep for speaking either, because I already feel satisfied with my speaking ability. However, if I don't tone it up a little bit, Sogang, with its conversation-focused curriculum, might just nail me.

As for other news, I took a nice nap, but had an extremely detailed and somewhat grim dream. I dreamed that the North Koreans invaded. Their invasion was preceded by two bombing raids, but people knew in advance, so most people were able to hide in underground areas and survive. Then there was a land invasion. In the dream, I survived, but wasn't able to leave. I also dreamed that the US stood back and did nothing, so I was essentially trapped in North Korean territory indefinitely. That was quite a dream. I can't really describe it that well, because it happened inside my head, and some silly things happened, but it was a long and detailed dream. Maybe this is an omen that they're going to invade tomorrow. It's always a possibility.

The only other piece of news worth mentioning is Dane (the Air Force dude in my class) has organized a Namsan Village field trip tomorrow and those who want to attend can. I decided it'd be a great photo-op, so I'm charging my camera batteries and getting ready to go. Expect some awesome pictures tomorrow, complete with my class and a historic Korean village!

February 15, 2007 (Update)


If you read my posts from before, you know that I predicted a 64% on the midterm. Looks like I was wrong by a small, 30% margin. Oh well, I'm not complaining. Now I'm actually interested in sticking with Yonsei again.

As for the other scores, I will find them out tomorrow. I don't expect any of them to be that high.

Nevertheless, I will go to my Sogang interview. Maybe all my other scores will suck, and I'll want to change to Sogang for a different reason. We'll see.

February 15, 2007
It just turned Thursday about three hours ago. I am pleased to report the following piece of information: the level 3 midterm listening comprehension test wasn't that difficult, so it seems. All the questions were multiple choice or true or false, except for the very last question (which seemed pretty easy).

Nevertheless, I'm going to go to my interview at Sogang today. Until I have my score in-hand, I have no way of knowing that I didn't bomb it. Therefore, readers, wish me luck for my 3:00 PM interview! Teacher Jeong said I will either get the score tomorrow or Friday, but there's a good chance that I'll get it tomorrow. I told her simply that I needed to make "an important selection" tomorrow so I needed it tomorrow. She said she'll see what she can do.

I just became a member at an internet cafe with 3.2 GHz computers with a gigabyte of RAM each. The hourly fee since I'm a member is 600 won (about 60 cents). I'm thrilled. My foreigner registration number wouldn't go through, so the guy gave me his username and password. I thanked him, of course. Koreans have a lot of jeong.

February 13, 2007 (Update)
Well, I've taken half the tests, and I'm going to say this definitely isn't the best day of my life, but I've had worse. The speaking test was the hardest I've done. There was absolutely no practical way to integrate the advanced grammar that we've learned in class into the conversation. Therefore, grammatically (except for using [i]raseo), it was a Level 2 interview. I think I only used a tiny bit of Level 3 vocabulary. I don't think I failed or anything, but it could definitely be my lowest speaking score yet. The teacher said "you answered well." Then again, they always say things like that. What I really hated was that she asked this weird question and I couldn't figure out what she meant. She asked me what my first impression was of Daiki (a classmate), and I told her my first impression. Then she asked me something involving "opposite." It sounded like "do you think there is anyone with an opposite first impression of Daiki?" How the f--- should I know? Or are you asking if there's anyone in the class for whom I had an opposite impression? This made no sense, so we skipped the question, which will cost me points (though I don't know how significant). So I guess that my understanding is now so bad, it's spilling into other areas. That's f---ing wonderful.

Then we had the reading test. It should have been dead easy in theory -- it was almost completely based on a few short stories that we'd read in the book. The problem is that often they'd ask questions in which there were two correct answers (and it's a multiple choice test). I'm pretty sure I passed it, but I doubt I got a 97.5% like I did during finals last term. The problem with Yonsei's reading curriculum is that they throw stories at you that are readable if you learn a bunch of vocab, but the grammar is unbelievably complex (lots of not-yet-learned forms). So you go home and look up the grammar, right? No, you can't. You can try, but that'll involve cramming 20 pieces of new grammar a day. There just isn't enough time in the day to do that.

The best part of the day was the Sam-bun Iyagi (Three-Minute Story). I recited a three-minute story in front of the class that I had memorized. I stumbled briefly a few times (the teacher confiscates your notes before you begin), but I think I did comparably to everyone else. It seemed shorter than three minutes, but when I asked her if it was too short, she said it was okay.

Then I got home and got a text message from Yun-jeong, the girl from MSN Match with whom I was to have a date on Valentine's Day.
Literal Translation:

Her: Hey Charles Sorry but it looks like I will not be able to meet tomorrow (haha) My friend Jim had an accident, so he's in Asan Hospital (ha) He entered surgery

Translation After Removing Feminine Frills:

Her: Hey Charles Sorry but it looks like I will not be able to meet tomorrow (haha) I met this soldier named Jim who's 1,000,000 times hotter than you, so I'll be spending Valentine's Day in a motel room with him rather than having dinner with you. Having a date with the likes of you would be comparable to having surgery.

Me: Understood. I hope that your friend recovers quickly.(the same)
Her: Yeah (haha) Thank you.. Next time when you have a lot of free time get in touch. I will buy the foodHer: Yeah (haha) You're so gullible. Rather than me suggesting an alternate time to meet (because I blew you off), I'm going to let you try again with me, so I can farther boost my ego. I'll offer to buy the food, but that won't actually result in me losing any real money because we'll never actually meet. Have a nice day!

In short summary, I love women.

February 13, 2007

Staring into the Dark Maw of the Midterms

Yes, that's right, midterms commence in a little more than eight and a half hours. I will not be getting a full night's sleep tonight. At this stage, I need to use my brain to the maximum extent possible. This post will help me organize my thoughts:
- 9:49 AM: Speaking Test
- 11:10 AM: Reading Test
- 12:00 PM: 3-Minute Story

Okay, so for the speaking test, I'll write down five key points that we've learned this term and commit them to memory before tomorrow morning. That way, I won't have to worry about my grammar and vocab sounding too Level 1 or Level 2. She'll notice those five sophisticated Level 3 points and that'll boost my score.

For the reading test, I'm going to use my custom computer program to review all words learned between the beginning of the class and 2007/2/2. I feel I must know at least 90% of them, so I may be up for a while reviewing!

For the 3-minute story, I will memorize the whole story that I wrote. It should be roughly three minutes.

I also need to do one more tape tonight. I wish I could do another, as well, but there just isn't time. See you all later!

Here's the receipt that I got for registering at Sogang, yesterday. I would have posted it yesterday, but PEOPLE WERE ON THE COMPUTER NON-STOP.
February 10, 2007
Today, the site was visited by Joint Intelligence Center Pacific/RDON. I don't know why I'm getting all these visits from these threatening-sounding agencies. I just want to let you guys know that if you're scoping my site out, there are more confidential ways to do it than from a computer marked "Joint Intelligence Center!"

I'm trying to study for about eight hours today. I'm behind on my vocabulary and my listening comprehension tapes (especially the tapes). Yonsei's listening comprehension tapes are HORRIBLE. It's not really clear what you're supposed to do with them, so I just type out everything they say. This usually takes about three hours per one-hour tape, and I have several tapes. Supposedly Sogang and Kyunghee have more comprehensible CDs (come on, who even uses tapes anymore). I guess I'll find out soon. Even though I'll probably end up repeating Level 3, it'd just make me feel messy if I hadn't learned as much of the material as is considered reasonable.

February 9, 2006
Well, here I stand, at an important crossroads. Today, I went to Sogang, and in an unexpectedly short amount of time, I got admitted to their Korean program. The guy took a look at my papers and gave me a receipt right on the spot. My interview is next Thursday at 3:00.

I asked the guy what level he thought I'd go into, and he said probably Level 3, although he can't be sure, because he isn't a teacher. Well, considering that I've completed two levels of material and am slightly less than halfway through Level 3, I think that sounds about right.

He said I can pay my tuition after the interview. That way, if they do anything utterly ridiculous, like put me into Level 1, I can stick with Yonsei, or investigate another option, like Kyunghee University's program that starts in April. All I've lost so far is some time, 60,000 won, and the cost of the trip to Sogang.

So basically, I show up for my interview next Thursday (the day after midterms, when I will have just crammed a ton of information, and when my Korean is at its all-time best). It'll be interesting to see what level they put me into. If they put me into Level 3, I'll be repeating a level, but since the tuition is cheaper, I'll only shell out an additional 639,000 won in tuition (less than half a term's extra). I signed up for the three-hour-a-day class, because it doesn't have a writing component (cheaper, gives me more free time each day to self-study, less likely to oversaturate my brain the way the current course does, lets me wake up one hour later).

Now, I'm going to have to work out a plan to pass at Yonsei and prosper at Sogang. There are a total of 13 days that overlap. I need 80% attendance in each class. I'll give preference to Sogang, and probably attend the bare minimum at Yonsei (just come in for finals, and the first hour of each day, perhaps).

Well, I actually feel kind of guilty, like I'm betraying my school, or like maybe I could have made Yonsei work. However, if I'd stayed until Level 4 at Yonsei, I could have easily failed out. I can't tell you all how many times I kicked myself for entering Yonsei again this term (I KNEW in Level 2 this wasn't going to work, but I signed up for Level 3 anyway). I feel especially guilty because our teacher, while definitely not perfect, is such a fun, nice person, she might feel like she failed when she finds out (and she will, when I end up missing upwards of 10 days of Yonsei classes). On the other hand, though, not once has she (or one of the many other Yonsei teachers that I've talked with) offered to stay after and help me with my problem, or given a valid suggestion on how to improve.

February 8, 2007 (Update 2)
Okay, I took the third listening comprehension practice test today (the last one before the midterm). I got a 58%. That brings my projected midterm score down to a 64% (barely passing). I think it's probable that I'll pass this level, but given my downward trend, I think we can pretty much count on me failing out if I sign up for next term. Even if I don't fail next term, I don't want to give Yonsei KLI any more money. As far as I'm concerned, they've gypped me, because they made promises about my Korean ability that I'm not seeing, and that's after forking over 4,269,000 won. Therefore, I am determined to enter Sogang and see if they give a rat's ass about whether I get good at Korean or not.

The problem is, Yonsei's current term overlaps the beginning of Sogang's spring term. I cannot register for Sogang's summer term and sit around for two months doing nothing. The Immigration Bureau told me today they won't allow that (unless I go to Japan and come back on a C-3, which would disrupt my visa continuity and cost money). There are two ways to address this problem:

Method 1:
Get my butt in gear, get that application in tomorrow, and hope Sogang will admit me in time. Sogang classes start on March 5, meaning that for 13 days, the two schools overlap. I'd still like to pass at Yonsei, so I'll attend enough class at Yonsei that I can still have 80% attendance and not automatically fail. I'll budget as much time as possible to Sogang, though, because that's the school that will matter more in the future.

- I can keep my continuity of stay in Korea. I would someday like to get the F-2 visa, and if I don't break my continuity in Korea, that will shave almost a year off the time I have to wait for it.
- Since I'll go right into Sogang instead of waiting a couple of months, I'll reach proficiency in Korean faster, which will mean less money (and life) spent.

- Attending two schools at once is a recipe for failure, because the concept, by its very nature, requires absence at both schools.
- I will have absolutely no vacation. I'll go from one stressful term right into another, meaning nearly 19 continuous weeks with few holidays or long weekends. I'm going to be a bit frazzled at the end of it.

Method 2:
In this scenario, I register for Sogang's summer term. Basically, after Yonsei lets out, I have a nice 2-3 month break. Immigration doesn't allow me to do this on my D-4 student visa, so I'll have to leave Korea, go to Japan, and apply for a lame tourist visa (meaning that I reset the clock on my future F-2 visa, and I lose my Alien Registration Card and the rights that go with it). Then I begin the summer term at Sogang, well-rested.

- I can start Sogang well-rested and give it the best possible chance.
- I won't have to worry about my frequent absence at Yonsei causing me to fail there.

- I ruin my continuity. In other words, I'll have to wait longer for the F-2, many years down the road.
- This will take more time overall. This means additional expenses, in addition to the expenses of the trip to Japan, etc.

Now, you are all going to think I'm irrational, but I'm going with Method 1! Yes, that's right, I'm going to fill out that application right now, dammit! I'm going to go to Sogang tomorrow as soon as Yonsei lets out and hand it in, and see what happens! I refuse to fork any more money over to Yonsei, so I'm going to attend Sogang, learn Korean as quickly as possible, and not break my continuity, so I'll stay on track for that F-2!

February 8, 2007
Well, it's been a few days since I've updated. First of all, I want to criticize the women of the world for giving this picture a fairly high 6.5 on HOT or NOT:

I mean, I look like some kind of dumbass gangster poser, and yet, you all gave me a 6.5, and gave my other picture (which was GREAT, by the way), a 5.4!

Furthermore, I have finally ingested GOLD! Yes, one of the guests at the youth hostel had a type of liqueur with gold flakes in it, and she let me drink some. It left a tingly metallic taste in my mouth. A gold beverage -- what a novel concept! Furthermore, it would appear that the 2:1 gender ratio in KLI's Level 3 is working to my advantage, as yesterday, I was asked out (though I'm not going to say who, because I don't want her to get embarrassed). Valentine's Day is coming up, and not all those girls are going to get asked out, so I guess she had the stroke of genius to be pro-active. I applaud her. Women of the world, be more like her.

Finally, I'm at Yonsei right now, and I'm about to go to have my final listening comprehension practice test, so I'm probably going to be in a really bad mood this afternoon. Bye-bye!

February 5, 2006
This post will be short. I went to class, which was barely tolerable, and I sat in the classroom for about 30 minutes after class writing about my trip to Mani-san in Korean for the meeting with Junhyeong (she'd said she'd read my paper). Well, she cancelled again, rescheduling to Thursday. So I guess I'm not meeting her today. Well, I'm not too distressed, since I LIVE with Koreans now. Im Bang-ul at Yonsei has said my writing is better than many Level 6 students, which means I'm university level, so honestly, my focus shouldn't even be on my Korean writing right now. Tomorrow, I can look forward to an evening with Hyoyeon. If she stands me up, I'll post her picture on here for you all to see, so that she may be ridiculed by the populace. Well, aside from class, today was pretty much just a long nap to repay some debt to the sleep bank.

We went to a Noraebang. From the left, there's Tingting (from China, really hot), a girl from Jeju-do whose surname is "Kim," (though I've forgotten the rest, so I'll call her Lil Kim), and Bongdo.
February 4, 2007
Well, today has been quite a day, socially, though I've gotten little done that was actually productive. Today (and by "day" I mean from midnight onward) started with a trip to the noraebang. All the greats were there: Jeongho, Bongdo, etc. We also invited Tingting and the Jeju Island girl. Tingting has a fabulous voice. She did songs in three different languages (Chinese, English, and Japanese), and did them all extremely well! In Korea, being able to do songs in multiple languages at noraebangs is always a plus. Of course I did some English songs ("Born to Run," for example), but I also did a couple of Korean songs ("Black Glasses" and "Sarangseureoweo"). However, mere bilingualism is not very impressive in these parts, so I had to up the ante even more, so I did "Besame Mucho." I had remembered the entire song being in Spanish, but actually, most of it wasn't, so I was disappointed. However, it still went reasonably well (Tingting asked if that was French, which I guess is a good thing, because people generally consider French to have a sexy sound).

After that, Jeongho decreed that he was taking me to a club to find some yeoja. He told me "only 5,000 won" so I agreed. I found out at the door that it was 10,000 won. Oh, that's great. Fortunately, there were unlimited drinks. I was too shy to dance around at first, but some kind of grape juiced infused with some kind of booze changed this, and I was Lindy-hopping like crazy pretty quickly. However, the experience wasn't that great overall. I only danced with a couple of random Korean chicks, and only for a short amount of time (they seemed uninterested in dancing farther, perhaps because I'm a bad dancer, or because they're shy). We stayed to the point where it was pretty much all guys. I don't think I'll go to another club unless there's a darn good reason. Clubs are pathetic places. Besides, I can't really dance.

Then, today, I met with my language exchange partner for like four hours. We had a lot of fun. She wants to take a community college course or two in English before going to graduate school in the US (just to make sure she's ready), so I was helping her find out information about that (I showed her the Northern Virginia Community College website). However, for non-residents, it's so expensive, I don't know if she'll do that.

Well, it's time to study. Until tomorrow, see y'all later.

Us standing atop Mani-san, in front of the building built by Dangun.
February 3, 2007
Well, yesterday, me, Mijung, Peolpeol, and Bongdo ascended Mani-san (a mountain) to see a building that Dangun (the child born in the Korean creation story) had allegedly built. According to Peolpeol, the building is approximately 5,000 years old.

The hike was pretty easy, but since it was early February, it was quite cold. When we got to the top of the mountain, we discovered that Dangun's building was completely sealed off from the public with sturdy, high fences, and barbed wire (both at the top and bottom).

However, as I quickly learned, a couple of layers of barbed wire and a high fence with an angled portion doesn't keep any "true" Koreans out of that structure. I was not brave, and stayed on the outside.

As we went down the mountain, again, we saw some shamans (I believe that's how you pluralize it, because they were actually women, not men) who were ascending to put offerings in the building, but they do so after dark to avoid detection by the government (climbing over a barbed-wired fence in the dark -- is that fanatical).

The imperialistic guests at the guest house are making me cater to their every whim again, today, so I am writing the remainder of this update in "self exile" from an internet cafe in Sinchon (I wrote the first half on Mijung's computer, until the nagging of one of the guests and the noisy atmosphere made me want to head somewhere else where I could have peace). Here in Sinchon, I re-upped my phone. It expired this morning and I could no longer send text messages, but I had no problem recharging it, despite the fact that it had expired. The woman at LG Telecom spoke really simple Korean. What I liked the most was when, at the end, I asked her "when will I be able to call?" and she said "directly" in Korean, which I didn't understand, so she said "right now" in Korean. I liked that because rather than reverting to English, which is rude and condescending, she used a simpler word in Korean. That was pleasant.

Also while in Sinchon, I visited Paul, and we talked about Sogang. He showed me some textbooks, etc. It sounds like a better place than Yonsei, so I'm 75% sure that I'm going to move there.

Anyways, I have some more stuff to do on this computer, so I'll bring this post to a close. I need to change the logo of my site, because it shows me with a girl, which is misleading, because it portrays me as not being the single pimp master that I am. I will upload some Mani-san pictures, as well, and maybe answer a PM on zKorean.

February 1, 2007
Today, instead of doing third and fourth periods, we went to have a "cultural experience" ("munhwa cheheom"). We went to a place with traditional Korean musical instruments ("gugak akgi"). I don't think I've discovered a new hobby or anything, but it was still somewhat interesting.

I chose the gayageum (traditional Korean drum with two sides -- one that you usually beat with a drumstick and one that you usually beat with a reed). For those of you WORTHLESS RAT TURDS who don't know how to play a gayageum, I'll explain it for you:
This symbol is called "kung." It means that you beat the left side of the gayageum with the drumstick.
This symbol is called "dda." It means you beat the right side of the gayageum with the reed thing.
This symbol is "deong," which means that you beat both the left and right sides of the gayageum (it's equivalent to a kung and a dda performed at the same time).
This symbol was grouped together with "kung," so I'm going to call it "kung 2." It means that you use your left hand (and the drumstick) to beat the RIGHT side of the gayageum.

Try reading this piece of music for practice:

Yes, that's right, it's deong, deong, kung-dda-kung-dda!

As for other news, I'm going with "the gang" to an island off the west coast tomorrow, for the purpose of mountain climbing. Expect some MAJESTIC pictures.

You can observe the official Golden Pond logo in the upper right hand corner, and the "golden fish" that me and Mijung made out of dried mango underneath (I drew the eye, she attached the fins).
January 31, 2007

Bring me my sedan chair!

We've had some rather imperialistic guests at the guest house lately. I'm not going to get much more specific, because if they know who they are, they won't come back here, but it's somewhat grating.

Today, I'm mainly just trying to straighten up my "room" and catch up on my studying. My new "room," in case you haven't been informed, is actually part of another room, sectored off with curtains. It's generally okay, except when Mujin's alarm keeps on going and won't turn itself off (he must be able to sleep through anything).

I wish this guest house would get some youth (I guess we don't call it a youth hostel because of this). I could definitely use some dudes my own age to sit around and drink beer with, or some chicks who are less than 25 and not engaged. We had some a few days ago, but this has ceased to be the case.

Here's some homework that I got back today. I slipped in a word from Making Out in Korean to see if the teacher was paying attention. She was. Here's the translation of the homework and her comment:

A: Because we have come to be in the exact same class, I am glad.
B: I'm not glad! You're a peasant bastard, so I am not glad that we have come to be in the exact same class!

Teacher: (X) It's a bad word. Don't use words like this! We do not write it on our *homework*!

January 30, 2007
Okay, first of all, my site has been mysteriously visited by "Admin OFC US Courts." This was revealed when I checked my almost-hidden tracker (courtesy of extremetracking.com). Why is the US court system viewing my site? Okay, I admit it! I jaywalked a couple of times back in Fairfax! You can't get me as long as I'm here, though!

Today, I went to another class. We practiced "sadongsa" ("sa verbs"). I also tried something fancy on my homework, as you can see in the panel on the left.

I've also come up with a plan to transition over to Sogang and start learning some LISTENING COMPREHENSION! Here's my plan:
Stick it out until the end of this Yonsei term, hitting the tapes as hard as I can, etc. Maybe a miracle will happen.
Apply to Sogang for the summer term. This will leave roughly a two-month gap between the end of my Yonsei term and the beginning of my my Sogang term. I don't know if immigration will allow this, but I'm going to try.
During the two-month break, I'll sign up for Ganada. Hopefully, this will allow me not to have to repeat a level at Sogang.
Finally, I'll enter Sogang and start learning some LISTENING COMPREHENSION. If I don't, well, probably no one can teach me.

January 29, 2007
I'm getting more and more irritated at Yonsei University Korean Language Institute. That's what this post is going to be about.

Basically, they completely, altogether neglect listening comprehension (and I say this having completed two terms there, and being in my third). If you didn't grow up with Korean parents, you're not going to learn to understand Korean here, unless you're an extremely talented Japanese person.

We have taken two practice listening tests this term, and I made a 68% on the first one and a 66% on the second one. Those are passing scores, but not by a whole lot. To summarize my fears, let me show you some figures to show you what I mean:
Level 1 Listening Score: ~99%
Level 2 Listening Score: ~84%
Projected Level 3 Listening Score: 67% (based on two practice exams)
Projected Level 4 Listening Score (if I even make it that far): ~51% (failure)

Why on earth am I irked at Yonsei University?
Well, let's see. I give them 1,423,000 won a term. I have now paid for three terms, yet seen very little return on my money in terms of listening comprehension improvement (what I came here for).
They offer a listening comprehension elective class, which I am signed up for. It doesn't seem very useful. The things we learn in that class are not related to what's going to be on the exam, so even if it somehow allows me to better my comprehension of on-the-street Korean, it's not going to save me from failing.
The teachers say "don't worry, you'll be fine" WAY too much. I have heard "it took me ten years to learn English!" twice. Okay, I realize that Korean people are not very aware of their own immigration system, but it is almost impossible for a non-college graduate to spend 10 years in Korea, learning Korean (you need a job, and the visas for jobs almost always require a four-year degree, which I do not have, so I can't stay here for the next 10 years).
The exams get progressively harder each level, yet my listening comprehension level is not going up despite extensive effort (listening to the radio regularly, spending time with their horrible tapes, living in the same room with three Koreans, etc). I guess they just expect me to learn listening comprehension through self-study. I'm trying to do this, but it's not working. I think that part of the 1,423,000 won that I pay every term should be going to remedying this situation, but it's not.
The university has no awareness of whether its program's graduates are successful or not. I asked the school and they said they have no idea what the pass rates are for Yonsei students taking the KLPT and the TOPIK standardized tests. Well, without standardized test scores, how can they possibly know if their students are actually understanding Korean or not?
The university has no guarantee. If you graduate Level 6 and can't pass the KLPT or TOPIK, there are no free classes to make up for what the program failed to teach you.

In short summary, Yonsei University does not deliver what you pay for. I will transfer to Sogang or Ganada as soon as possible and hope that they can fix my situation.

Yes, I believe that it's possible to learn to understand Korean in less than 10 years if, like me, you live in a room with three Koreans, listen to the radio every day, go to Korean class four hours a day, and spend several more hours a day studying at home. However, Yonsei seems to just accept that it'll take 1/7th of an ordinary person's life. It looks like it's time to find a school that doesn't think like they do.

January 28, 2007
Okay, it's time for a new update. Yesterday, I did very little besides helping Mijung move some beds and some desks, and writing a couple of English e-mails.

I met with my new language partner for the first time today (they aren't exactly hard to come by here). Her name is Jiyeon. Why are all my language partners girls? I'd actually consider having a male language partner -- indeed it would be less confusing. I guess guys just don't study English as much because they're in the military instead. Women go and do study abroad in New Zealand, the United States, or Canada, and men spend two years in the military where they're forced to eat feces and get beaten up. In short summary, women are oppressed by men and it's a man's world.

Anyways, Jiyeon is pretty shy, and has numerous bouts of nervous laughter when she doesn't know what to say. This is actually kind of refreshing, because I'm tired of these girls who think their shit don't stink who treat me like I'm 12 years old. She's three years older than me, but she's cracking up out of nervousness and I'm just keeping my cool. That's always nice.

Just now, this crazed woman entered the house and started arguing with Mijung about her trash disposal method. That makes it twice in the span of one week that someone has come into this guest house yelling about some transgression of ours. It must be a pain to have to deal with neighbors like that so frequently. As it turns out, Mijung was buying the wrong color of prepaid trash bags. They were color-coded for a different locality, so the garbage man wasn't picking them up. Mijung had been buying them across the street, which is in a different locality. Therefore, the trash was starting to pile up. This was cause for this ajumma to get really, really mad and come into the guest house and get really irate. Wow, being a Korean may mean you have a lot more rights here, but being a foreigner does kind of give you a protective shield from lunatics like that ajumma.

January 26, 2007

Charles Wetzel is back on the market.

I just broke up with my girlfriend! "What girlfriend?" The one I met approximately two days ago! Yes, that's right, for those few of you who were even aware that I had a girlfriend, know this: I now don't! This post will be short, to reflect the short duration of the relationship.

This is not a cheap imitation, this is a real riot police hat, which most likely fell off the head of a conscripted Korean dude in his early 20s, then got run over by a car (it has tire marks on it).
January 24, 2007
I FOUND AN OFFICIAL KOREAN RIOT POLICE HAT IN THE TRASH HEAP! Once I get this thing washed and start wearing it around town, the intimidation will never end!

Today, I also spent six hours partying with my buddies from Level 2. We went to a restaurant and had samgyeopsal, then we went to a bar (the one where I put the two oranges in Yeja's jacket hood and she was too drunk to notice), then we went to a noraebang, where I sang a reasonable rendition of "Born to Run" by Bruce Springsteen. I also sang "Cocktail Love" (a Korean song) which I had heard before but never tried singing. I did a mediocre but acceptable job at it -- I missed very, very little, and was mostly able to keep up -- when the song was over, I got 100! So I'll probably be singing that one again.

It was nice to see my buddies from Level 2, and I really should hang out with them more -- the Level 3 people aren't nearly as inclusive or cool. Kanemoto Kazumi is going back to Japan, unfortunately (that's why we partied -- it was a "songbyeolhoe," or "going away party"). I haven't even started my homework and it's almost 1:00. Aren't I a genius?

There's an arguably more impressive picture of kimchi jars if you go to the most recent photo gallery (January 1 - Present)!
January 20, 2007
I did some updates to the website which I hope will be well received by the tiny trickle of visitors who come here. I did the navigation in Small Fonts size 7, so while people with poor eyesight (or the blind, with screen readers) may have difficulty navigating the page, for the rest of us, it'll mean that the moment the page loads up, you should be able to view the latest news article if you're running a decent resolution. I also made a new logo. The old one was obviously drawn with markers and photographed with a digital camera, whereas the new one has nicer, scanned drawings, and three photos that I took myself (or that include me) that aren't available anywhere else on the site.

I have also added some new pictures that I took on the campus of Ewha Women's University. There are some great views (and I'm talking about scenery -- you will not see a single chick in any of my photos, because that would be rude). I got a great picture of the campus kimchi-making area.