Kenneth R. Hoy (1948-2007) of Cedar Falls, IA and South Korea, my uncle-in-law, would be 60 years old today.
Ken loved teaching English to students in Korea. Both in memory and in fun, I’d like to share a classroom exercise of his devising – it has a lot of his personality in it.
Act I Incheon National Airport
Emily: ( She comes out of the air terminal and looks around.)
Eun-bi: (Waves her hand) "Hi, Emily; welcome to South Korea! I’m really happy to meet you. Do you recognize me? I’m your key pal, Eun-bi. Ko."
Emily: "Sure, I recognize you. You often sent me your photos by e-mail. Thanks for coming to the airport to meet me in person. It means the world to me."
Eun-bi: " It’s my pleasure. Did you have a nice flight from Seattle, Washington?"
Emily: " I had a great flight without any major problems or lay overs. It was a long flight,approximately 8 hours to arrive here. Other than long hours of air travel, I had a really comfortable flight without severe weather nor air turbulence."
Eun-bi: " Awesome! The luck of the Irish was on your side, along with the rabbit’s foot you’ve attached to your key-chain on your hand-bag. Please follow me out of the airport terminal to the parking lot, Emily."
Act II ( Walks out of the Incheon Airport Terminal carrying Emily’s luggage.
Emily: "You mentioned to me in your e-mail that a big holiday is right around the corner?"
Eun-bi: "Yeah, I did. It’s Seol-nal. It’s the day after tomorrow."
Emily: "Seol-nal. What is it?"
Eun-bi: "On New Year Holidays, we’re off for three days,including the day before and after it."
Emily: "Oh, I see."
Eun-bi: " On New Year Holidays, we get together to play tuho. We like to eat rice-cake soup and make neighborhood visits. However, the townspeople can’t always afford to enjoy the holidays, because some people must work everyday to earn money to live on."
Emily: " Do they work on New Year’s Day, too? When I visited Germany once, I noticed that the Germans enjoy their holidays for a straight week,taking it off to rest and relax. Hmmm….,perhaps it’s different from one culture to another?"
Eun-bi: "Actually,we don’t work on that day. On that holiday,we’ll come together for large family re-unions to pig-out on rice-cake soup and chew the fat around large wooden tables. It’s a fond memory we remember every New Year’s Day."
Emily: " That’s the pits."
Act III Emily and Eun-bi are waiting for a bus to Bucheon in front of the
Incheon National Airport
Eun-bi: " Here comes the bus to Bucheon. Are you ready to go? Let’s take this one. Ok?’
Emily: "Sounds like a great idea to me."
Eun-bi: " We’ll be arriving at my house in one hour,that is if there isn’t any bumper to bumper traffic on the express-way. Our destination is my hometown, Bucheon,where I live with my family."
Emily: "No problem." (On the highway) Are we on the highway now?"
Eunbi: "Yes, we’re on the the highway. This highway will take us straight to Bucheon."
Emily: "Unbelievable! How can there be buildings alongside this street?"
Eun-bi: " Could you repeat that again? I spaced off for few seconds. Oh Yeah; Those aren’t buildings you’re looking at, but high rise apartments, Emily"
Emily: " I was told that there would be lots of apartments here. I didn’t realize that they would be so tall in size! Everywhere you can see, it’s an asphalt and concrete jungle outside."
Eun-bi: " These apartments can be seen for miles alongside of the streets. At one time, they were the objects of envy by many Koreans who couldn’t afford to own one of them."
Emily: " Wow! You can see a winding road in the far off distance."
Eun-bi: " We’ll be arriving at our destination soon. We’re coming into the outskirts of Bucheon right now, Emily."
Emily: " Hooray! There’s lots of English signs I can read everywhere on restaurants,beauty salons, supermarkets,convenience stores,and many other buildings."
Eun-bi: " Fantastic, Emily! An artificial bedroom community,the towns-people of Bucheon are accustomed to visitor’s reactions when they see English display signs for the very first time."
Emily: "Oh Really! ( She is pointing to some places) " I can see several stores have already closed for this evening."
Act IV At Eun-bi’s house in Bucheon
Eun-bi: " Emily; I would like to introduce you to my cousin, Young ha Choi. She is my mother’s older sister’s daughter. She is in the ninth grade at a co-educational school in Bucheon."
Eun-bi: " Young-ha: this is my key-pal from Seattle,Washington, Emily Baker."
Young-ha: ( Dressed in Korean traditional costume. Emily and Young-ha are shaking each other’s hands.) " Hello; nice to meet you, Emily. Nice to meet you,too,Young-ha."
Eun-bi: " As I mentioned to you earlier, you’ll be staying with her at her parent’s house, Emily." Her parents are away for the Lunar New Year Holiday."
Emily: " Thanks for the kind-hearted gesture to stay at Young ha’s house. By the way you look gorgeous in the traditional silk Korean gown. What is the name of the gown?"
Young-ha: " It’s a hanbok. Isn’t it breath-taking to look at, Emily."
Emily: " That’s really beautiful ! I’d really would like to try it on."
Young-ha: " Try this silk gown on. My sister used to wear this hanbok. Go ahead and try it on, Emily. I’ll help you put it on."
Emily: "Awesome! Thanks for giving me a hand putting this hanbok on."
Young-ha: " No big deal! It’s my pleasure, Emily. Hand me your suitcase. Let me carry it to the bedroom we’ll be sharing together."
Emily: " Far out!"
Young-ha: " What are friends for? I’ll help you anyway I can." ( Picks up the suitcase and carries it to the bedroom.) " Do you have any questions,you want to ask me,Emily?"
Emily: " I’d like to learn some things about the Korean culture. On my way over here, I couldn’t understand any of it’s culture,because of the borrowed characters and words from China and Japan. Korea was occupied by Japan from 1910–1945. Koreans were forced to speak only Japanese for thirty-five years."
Young-ha: " Okay, I’ll teach you lots of neat stuff about Korean culture, in exchange, you must teach me English annunciation, pronunciation, and intonation. I’m preparing for a TESEL exam to enter a foreign language school."
Emily:" No sweat".
Eun-bi: " Holy Cow! You put on the hanbok. You look very feminine and stylish. It looks very comfortable on you, Emily."
Emily: ( She poses in front of Eun-bi and Young ha like a fashion model.)
Young-ha: " You look spiffy in the hanbok, Emily!"
Emily: "Ha! Ha! Ha! I don’t look too bad in a hanbok, even though you can’t see my hour glass figure underneath it."
Act V ( In the kitchen at Young ha Choi’s house.)
Eun-bi: " Young-ha; go get and bring Emily to the dining room table. She must be very hungry right now. Emily and Young ha, please sit down and make yourselves comfortable."
( They’re sitting down at the dining room table
Eun-bi: ( Scooping soup into a bowl with a ladle.)" Aren’t you dead-tired from the long air-flight from the Seattle? Try a bowl of rice-cake soup,Emily. The soup will re-charge your batteries, and give you some much needed lift. Ha! Ha! Ha!" " Help yourself, Young ha"
Emily: " You’re joking; you really think rice-cake soup will perk me up?"
Eun-bi: " Yes; by all means,try eating a bowl of soup."
Young-ha: " It looks delicious!"
Emily: "Yummy!" It’s mouth-watering and isn’t hot like kimchi!"
( Eun-bi and Young ha are smiling at each other.)
Act VI ( After dinner, Eun-bi washes the dishes. Young ha brings
( yut sticks to the dining room table.)
Emily: " What kind of sticks are you holding in your hands?"
Young-ha: " These are yutsticks for yutnori, a traditional Korean game. Family members play this game on special holidays."
Eun-bi: " Yutnori is a game I enjoyed playing last year."
Young-ha: " That’s good to hear, Eun-bi. My Mom plays the game like a pro. It’s a piece of cake for her to play yutnori."
Emily: " I’m too nervous. Could you show me how to play yutnori?"
Eun-bi: " It’s kind of a board game. You throw four sticks on-to the board, to determine how many points you make, and how many spaces you can move your die."
Emily: " It sounds like an interesting to play."
Eun-bi: " Don’t be a party-pooper. Give it a shot and try tossing the sticks, Emily."
Emily: ( Throws too high, the sticks fall off the game board.)
Young-ha: "Oophs!" ( She gives some explanations on how to toss the sticks.) " Do you understand how to toss the sticks, Emily? We can’t make a point if any stick out of the four isn’t inside the line on the game board. Let me show you how to play,Emily."
Emily: " Hmmm…., I see,now."
Eun-bi: " Try tossing them one more time."
Emily: ( She tosses again.)
Young-ha: "Gyeol !"
Emily: " Girl"
Young-ha: "It’s not "girl", but gyeol."
Eun-bi: " Should you get gyeol, you can move your die as many as three squares. Doh is one square,gae is two squares, yut is four squares,and moh is five squares."
Emily: ( She is pointing to the squares on the game board.) " Is this doh, gae, gyeol, and moh."
Young-ha: ( Silently thinking to herself ) " Emily is smart! better concentrate on yutnori."
Eun-bi: " It’s my turn to throw the die."
Emily: " Doh, gae, gyepl, and yut! Four squares. Gotcha"
Young-ha: " I’m becoming a nervous wreck from playing yutnori."
Eun-bi: " So am I." ( After a few seconds, Emily tosses the yut sticks.)
Emily: " Hooray! I’ve finished the game." ( She is surprised when Eun-bi and Young ha have finished the game,too.)
Young-ha; " Unbelievable. I can’t believe my eyes! Shall we play one game?"
Eun-bi: " Yeah; let’s play one more."
Emily: " Sounds like a great idea to me."
Eun-bi: " Shall we play tuho?"
Emily: " What is it?"
Eun-bi: " It’s a Korean traditional game. We throw a stick like a spear and land it inside a bucket." ( Young-ha brings out an umbrella bucket )
Emily: ( She throws a stick the first time, landing it dead-center inside the bucket.)
Eun-bi: " Beginners luck! Emily plays tuho better we do
Young-ha: " Yikes! It’s midnight! It’s past my bed-time."
Eun-bi: "Mine,too. It’s time to call it a day and hit the hay." " We had a great day of fun."
VII ( Young-ha, Eun-bi,and Emily are making preparations to use the bathroom and go to bed.)
Young-ha: "Yeah, we had a great time, didn’t we, playing games." Emily; do you need to use the bathroom, first? As a matter of fact I do; Mother Nature is calling me now, Young-ha."
( Young-ha shows Emily where the bathroom is.)
Emily: " I shouldn’t be in the bathroom too long. Give me fifteen minutes to take a shower, and then it will be your turn, Young-ha."
Young-ha: " No problem. I’m too tired to take a shower. I’ m going to bed now. After you’re finished in the bathroom,I’ll relieve my bladder,so I won’t accidentally pee in my bed while I’m sleeping. Good-night,Eun-bi. Sleep tight."
Eun-bi: "See you two, bright and early tomorrow morning,
Young-ha and Emily. " Sleep tight and don’t let the bed-bugs bite you. Sweet dreams."
( She points to the bunk-bed where Emily will sleep and turns off the light switch.)
Emily: " Wow! This bunk-bed is nice and comfortable on my back. Just out of curiosity,could you teach me a little Korean?"
Young-ha: ( She’s singing a Korean alphabet song.)" Listen to me sing this Korean alphabet song,
Emily. "Gah, Nah, Dah, Lah, Mah, Bah,Shah, Ah, Jah, Chah,Cah, Tah, Pah, Hah" " Now you try saying,Gah."
Emily: " Hmmm…., Ca-ah?"
Young-ha: " Nope! Wrong sound. It’s not Cah but Gah."
Emily: " Let me try and say it again; Nah."
Young-ha: ( She sings the Korean alphabet song slowly to Emily. " Okay; let’s try singing it together. It will be fun singing a duet with you, Emily."
Emily: " Wow! That was a lot of fun!
Young-ha: " Yeah! It was great!"
Emily: "Oh Really! I’m looking forward to having lots of fun."
The girls are fast falling asleep. At the end of the day,Emily and Young-ha are becoming friends with each other. New adventures are awaiting for all three of them in the up-coming weeks of winter vacation. They’ll be going to see Celine Dion perform at a live concert in the Seoul World Cup Stadium.
** THE END **