I Don’t Speak Korean for Business



I have been doing (almost) planned posts for this blog. But, I also miss the days where I share you bits and pieces of my thoughts of my learning process.

Indonesians call it: “curhat (: pouring out/telling someone things that you have been keeping in your heart)”

So yes, I speak beginner-intermediate Korean. No I’m not THAT fluent. Yes, I can converse with my friends. I can read, write, speak, and understand Korean. I know a lot of expressions. I have been learning on my own *autodidact* so I imitate and pick up sentences here and there, but, I am super lacking in the grammar side of the language. That said, no, I can’t use it for business purposes. As you are reading this blog, you might figure that I am still learning.

OK, maybe not to this extent


Here are some background stories of this curhat: The nature of my work requires us (the employees, or at least those in my team) to be bilinguals/polyglots, we support clients from all over the world. However, we only support a number of the official languages.

I met this super kind and nice sunbae (ㅋㅋㅋㅋ 언니 읽고있죠)

Just imagine that my sunbae IS Jun Ji-Hyun ㅎㅎㅎㅎ

and started practicing my Korean with her everyday = people thought I speak fluent Korean. One day I was assigned to a special task to help in Korean *which wasn’t, and still is not, one of the officially supported languages*.  And for some reason, the whole team thought that we do support Korean and that every Korean related works/issues should ALL be directed to me. This has been the source of stress and 부담 at work.


Ummm… na ah. I did not (and have not) signed up for this.


OTL 금지


Here goes the frustration of a non-native Korean  who is expected to understand everything. Whenever my colleagues asked me to help them for Korean clients/related issues. It always feel like I am caught in the middle. They know I can speak Korean. But I also know my capacity/the limit of my ability. Like literally, everything. Imagine that you just know how to swim, and you are able to swim laps. But, people just throw you to join an open water swimming competition.




So I’m faced with two roads:

The road that allows me to feel embarrassed that apparently I am not THAT good vs. The road that will whip my ass off so I could level up.

I think, I decided the second option (but still feeling a bit defeated *my human ego being crushed*).

I came to an understanding that despite of being able to understand some percentage of the language, learning languages – or learning anything really – should all come to this:




Only if you have humility, you will accept the fact that you are not good enough yet. The uncomfortable feeling of discontentment of where you are now (in terms of level/skills/ability) will sip in. And with humility, you’ll find the courage to seek ways to be better.

Accepting that you are not able to place yourself on the higher level than you are right now is also a form of humility. Knowing where you are lacking, to be able to focus on working on it/fixing and adding whatever necessary.

Unless you know yourself – and your capacity, other people will not be able to understand and will only assume that you are THAT good.

dream big


Coming back to my curhat, I know that I’m still not capable to handle Korean language for business. It is way too different, in terms of grammar-terms/vocabs , with the everyday Korean with say my unnies/friends. It honestly hurt my pride a little bit.

I signed up for a Korean class in Langara College Continuing studies. Since it’s a formal class form, all the other classmates have that thing that I’m lacking: 문법/grammar. It honestly hurt my pride a little bit well.


I know I have other qualities that my classmates do not have and by learning together, it will be fine. I will just believe that I have the potential to master this language. Even to the Korean for business/politics/reading news, etc. One day.


If you Korean/Intermediate Korean speaker. Here’s how you could help your friends dying to learn the language *if you care enough to do this, of course*:

Never. Ever. Be silent about the mistakes they make. Let them know which parts/words that need to be fixed and how. Don’t assume that they are good enough. “Oh, you’re good enough for a foreigner” will never help them get anywhere far enough to where they would like to be.



Let’s keep on learning.


Here’s a song for all of you dream-chasers out there:


Until then,






#PracticeMakesPermanent: K-Drama vs K-Show

Happy Spring-is-still-2-months-away Wednesday!

Ever since I started revamping and trying to resurrect this blog I have not really shared with you, any of my Korean learning experiences. I did try sharing them in the past posts, and it is not like I want to keep it as a secret. Trust me there is no secret whatsoever. But, the way I learn Korean is not a studious kind, and more like unconventional one *as you might have figured by now*.

But today I will try to share one of them anyways. Who knows you will benefit from it. Sharing is caring right? 😉

One of my learning methods is by watching a lot of Korean dramas , movies, and Korean TV Shows. Like a lot of them. Everyday *well, almost*. Throughout the years, though, I feel like Korean drama (k-drama) and Korean TV show (k-show) each has different, how should I say this, “qualities” than you can take for your Korean learning journey. Trust me, I have been doing this circa 2002!


K-Drama vs. K-Show


So here are just a few of the different qualities of learning Korean by watching k-drama vs. k-show that I could come up with (and why sometimes I prefer one over the other):

If you’re watching k-drama, most of the time, the pace that the casts have when they’re reciting their line is quite the same*if not slower* compared to a regular conversation. This way you catch how a sentence is formed better than if it said in a k-show *try to catch what the nation Yoo Jae-Suk is saying in most of his shows. Yep. Good Luck!*. Plus Korean drama they might have OST songs playing in the background, but so much less background noises *yelling, laughing, sound effects* that would distract you from catching the lines/sentences being said.

To add unto this, since k-drama lines are more scripted than k-show *less improvisations/ad-libs, you might be able to pick up more grammar lessons there.

I just mentioned that you might be able pick up grammar lessons more when you’re watching kdrama than kshow. But, I have a problem with the choices vocabs they use. They’re just kinda iffy to be used in daily life.

Simple and most common used word that people might picked up from a k-drama is: 당신 (dang-sin). Imagine calling everyone 당신 for “you”. It might be described as the standard polite way, but I rarely hear them being used in daily life *unless you’re ahjumma-ahjussi couple calling each other, or if you’re really angry and trying to pick up a fight*.

Itching to say the word “dang-sin” now? Just sing this song:
당신은 사랑받기 위해 태어난 사람~


For this one, you can benefit from both of them. Need to learn proper intonation 반말 (banmal/informal figure of speech) and/or 존댓말 (cheondaemal/formal figure of speech)? They both could teach you that. Remember that k-show will be more casual and day-to-day; whereas k-drama will be filled with the character’s emotions, but slower and easier enough for you to pick up (and imitate).

Repetition and on screen captions

Have you heard exclamations or one word that you could catch being said over and over again in a k-show? Have you seen letters written all over your screen while the words are being said? Like big letters. Repeated throughout the show like this:

Yeah, you have seen this a lot on TV shows, right?!

To me this is a great benefit *especially for beginners* as they are repeated, and most of the time, written in big and flashy colours. They are usually written to emphasize exclamations or reactions like 대박 (Daebak) or ㅋㅋㅋㅋ(kkkkkk). You’ll usually get to know the meaning by watching what’s going on when they are displayed. They’re often repeated, you’ll grasp the meaning in no time. But if not, and if you’re lucky) it can make it easier for you to remember the pronunciation and how to say it exactly as how it means (try: 대~~~~~~박!). Since it’s an exclamation, you’ll hear someone saying it at the same time the word(s) is displayed. It will help you remember how to say and read the word. BUT! Because they’re mostly adjectives and/or exclamations or reactions, they can’t help you make a good whole sentence. Some of them are actually captions of what is being said. but, they’re more like summary or the short version of it. Oh well, enough to impress your Korean friends and to text them in style tho.

As for k-drama. When I started to watch k-dramas, I remember I often tried to read signs or any letters popped up on the screen during a scene. But, man, I had to pause a lot because they’re so small and they go by a scene so fast. I feel like I could not check my pronunciation nor could I understand the meaning unless I looked for it myself. However, I still it is a good practice to know your Hangul!


K-Drama or K-Show, as long you’re picking up bits and pieces *and not just plain adoring the casts and watching ’em for entertainment purposes only*, I bet they will help you in your quest to master the language!

Which one do you like watching more? Do you feel like you can learn more from K-drama or K-show? Spotted more good points? Share it with us on the comment below or tweet them my way @edreaMJ!

Just remember, #practicemakespermanent

Happy learning,

The Beginning

In the beginning, there were these books:

Korea-Indonesia Dictionary and the simplest grammar book

I got asked this a lot: “how did you start learning Korean?” which usually followed by this comment “Is it from Korean dramas?”

Yes, I got to know South Korea, its language and culture from their first drama that got into Indonesia: Autumn in My Heart… or was it Winter Sonata? well it was one or the other. But, I did not start learning from watching.

When in high school, I joined the theater club. I did not know whether it was because of funding or something else, the school were not able to get a coach for us. The club were about to be canceled that year; However, under the lead of one of my high school senior, We persisted that we wanted to save the club.

When there were school open house, where all the clubs display their activities, we begged the school principal and teachers to get a room for our club. Luckily, our language teachers were all behind us. That exhibition bore one good fruit: One of the student’s parent were a serial drama director and apparently he were pretty impressed with what we did. He then became our first coach.

While waiting to get a new coach, we had nothing to do. We came to the scheduled block for the club activities. But we really had nothing to do. Right then, I got to know hangeul/Korean words.

One of my hoobae (후배)/junior were dating a Korean guy. FYI, there are a lot of Koreans living in my neighbor hood. They even had a small version of Korean Town in Karawaci area. Anyways… This girl religiously brought a paper to each class. Each time filled with new words in Korean and the translation, mostly bad words =P. She would take our questions and asked them to her boyfriend. Her boyfriend even taught us the bear song that came out in Full House: 

곰 세마리가 한집에 있어 / There were once three bears living in one house
아빠곰 엄마곰 애기곰 / father bear, mother bear, and baby bear
아빠곰은 뚱뚱해 / father bear is fat
엄마곰은 날씬해 / mother bear is slim
애기곰은 너무 귀여워 / baby bear is so cute
히쭉히쭉 잘한다 / shrug shrug, you’re doing it well!

I was really interested, and felt that this method was not enough for me to get to know korean. So one day I went to the Lippo Karawaci mall by myself to go to the Gunung Agung bookstore. Why? because weeks before that I saw a Korean-Indonesian dictionary but I did not buy it. Then, I felt like I needed to buy that book, so I bought the two books you see in the picture above.

Since then, I started learning new Korean words. The dictionary has a table of the Korean alphabets and how to read it. I self taught how to write my names, my friends and family’s names, any words that I could write in Korean. Every time I watched the Korean dramas, I would forced my self to *slowly* read the signs that appear on the screen. I tried and tried even though I did not understand the meanings of what I read.

And that was how I got started with my self-learning process.

Hearty Lunch

Two weeks ago, I made a hearty set of lunch at my friends’ apartment. That day, after a lot of thinking, asking, wondering, I decided to go Korean. =D For 7 people.. the recipes I picked are quite easy and fast.

I made 2 things.. Korean Seafood Pancake and Beef Bulgogi. As I have posted the Seafood Pancake recipe long time ago, I will not write it down here again. But insteadm you can click >>Here<<

Before I tell you how to make beef bulgogi, let me tell you a little bit background of this delicious but simple meal.

Bulgogi can be literally translated as bul: fire and gogi: meat. Therefore it refers to the method of cooking variety of meats in open fire. Bulgogi can also be differed in seasoning method.

According to Mr. Wikipedia bible,

Bulgogi is believed to have originated during the Goguryeo era (37 BC–668 AD) when it was originally called maekjeok (맥적), with the beef being grilled on a skewer. It was called neobiani (너비아니), meaning “thinly spread” meat,in the Joseon Dynasty and was traditionally prepared especially for the wealthy and the nobility class


Woah, I never knew that it has been around for a long time. Bulgogi nowadays could be made by grilling or pan frying. Although it has a wide variety of flavors and seasonings, Bulgogi in general will consists of cloves garlic, onion, and green onions, sesame oil and soy sauce.

Without further due… Here is my own recipe of Beef Bulgogi


– Thinly sliced beef

– soy sauce (the thick one that used for marinating meats)

– honey

– pepper

– onion

– garlic

– green onions

– Korean pear (shredded)

– veggies (I used mushrooms and zucchini)

– sesame oil

Hot to make

– marinate beef with honey, salt and pepper, shredded pear, soy sauce and minced garlic

– saute onions

– add marinated beef with the sauce

– add sesame oil

– add green onions and other veggies

– cook until meat is done and the sauce is reduced a little bit

– serve

– enjoy


becareful with the zucchini, if you don’t clean it properly it will add bitter taste to your bulgogi

pear will add flavor and natural sugar


Pictures to be uploaded after I come back from school =)


the pause button

Woah.. I just realized I haven’t written anything since April. And that was nothing about Korean, except for the fact that the singer is Korean-American.. ha..ha.. nice try!

You see, this one whole year is a big beautiful mess for me. I dealt with a lot of stress and anxiety, I faced changes in my life. All that has taken a big toll in my dream-in-the-making-real.

Nope, it’s not an excuse! Maybe some, if not all of us, have ever wished to have a pause button to stop the time to get things done on time. But we can never have that! All we can do is to take things one day at a time. And sometimes it’s worth the wait for whatever you decided to put it on hold.

I don’t want to share you a big chunk of my private life as I already share you my dream. But let me tell you this.. I was faced with the darkest days of my life. And then I have to compromise with changes my environment (places I live, family members moving in with me, knowing my self better, managing my self better, yadidada..). It all resulted in me.. not focusing so much on my Korean study. I could not even watch all that variety shows and dramas and movies and all that K-entertainment that I love so much, which I argue to be my *stress relievers*.. However, I am grateful that it all happened. It forced me to know my self better. It helped me in ways that I can plan better to get what I’ve been aiming for.

During this ‘break period’, however, I’ve made more and more networks (read: friends) who are Koreans. Yay ME! hahaha..but really! what could be the best way to get involve and to understand better of a culture than to get to know the people better?! new found positive attitude + new friends = Great motivation!!

They kinda forced me to practice my listening as they all assume that I pretty much understood what they said! *sigh* Hey.. It’s all good… this could mean: Edrea! get your self together and get back to work! couldn’t it?! =)

So… all you dream catchers out there. don’t be araid of the pause button.. take it one day at a time, just don’t forget to get back on it when you have it all together!!

Oh, right..  if you happen to be in Greater Vancouver and want to experience English-Korean languages exchange, by all means please visit (click on it!!) the Hi Vancouver Korean Language Exchanges ! We have so many events and fun, engaging language exchange class that can help you to speak better Korean/English and get you loads of new friends and loads of Korean FOOD! *an Event Organizer’s marketing attempt =P* should you be interested in the language exchange.. you can always leave a comment on this post and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.. =) *promise!!

so… until next time, I’ll wrap this up with the lyrics of my favourite song *not all of it! tho =)*.. Moon River

You dream maker
You heartbreaker
Wherever you’re going
I’m going your way
Two drifters off to see the world
There’s such a lot of world to see
We’re after the same rainbow’s end
Waitin’ round the bend
My Huckleberry friend
Moon River and me