Last night I returned to the Kyobo Tower bookstore in Gangnam for the first time since February in search of a book I had seen then. Didn’t find it, but bought two others: Handbook of Korean Vocabulary: A Resource for Word Recognition and Comprehension. It divides Korean words into two categories: those based on Chinese and those pure Korean words, then it organizes them by roots followed by morphemes and compounds. Why it took me a year to realize such is the best and most efficient method to learn I’ll never know, but at least I know now. The other book is Looking at the Koreans Behind Their Masks which is a comprehensive look at Korea, Koreans and the culture in graphic novel form. It’s an entertaining and illuminating book and an essential addition to my collection.

Moved into the dorm today and had to get some bedding, so I took the bus into Daegu. A middle-aged women who got off at the same stop looked as if she wanted to speak to me, so I asked her where I could purchase a pillow and sheets. She said there was a market nearby and she would take me. She spoke absolutely no English, and I did all the talking, just asking what foods she liked, if she liked drinking, easy questions. She was very patient and not only did she help me select a decent design, she also haggled the price down quite a bit. When we left, she smiled and said, “Can you do it/Is it possible?” and walked away in the opposite direction.

Asked the worker at Family Mart where I could buy a bus ticket and he was speechless. A typical reaction by young people when I speak a full sentence in Korean. The older people almost expect me to use Korean, so they’re not surprised and will actually indulge a conversation. The younger ones though, for some reason, clam up before answering in English.