Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Korean dramas and titles

We've been here almost four years now and I'm finally getting into one of those dramas. I usually only watch them with my mother-in-law because I can't stand those 김하늘 같은 징그러운 여자들... those women who simper and act frail and weak. Can't. stand. them. But my Chinese teacher is obsessed with the drama 외과선생님봉달희 (Surgeon Bong Dar Hee). It is sort of an ER type drama about doctors and various love triangles and complications. It has some moments which drive me a little crazy, like when one husband and wife unite the husband takes his wife back by talking about the things he wants to eat... I guess I'm conditioned by American TV and film to expect passionate embraces and falling into bed. At least some kissing! Come on! Anyway, I've only been watching for a few weeks. But the scene I just watched was hysterical; the main characters finally went out on a date (to the movies) but in them middle of the movie they are all paged back to the hospital. Leaving the theater they run into two residents who are also dating. Then the resident couple make the female of the main couple buy their silence through coffee, beer, and a lot of food. It is a very funny scene. I am not doing it justice here.

This is just the last in a line of things that make people exclaim (including myself) "You are becoming Korean!" I didn't used to like naengmyun, for instance. Now I still don't like mul naengmyun, but I like bibimnaengmyun. Another time I was asking the principal of FYKO about a new English teacher and caught myself asking, "How old is she? Is she married?"

Labels interest me. Sometime last year KC called me "fluent." I was surprised. I imagine fluency as ease and complete understanding somehow. I still have problems with certain kinds of language, and still have a lot to learn. But I get around just fine and can pick up on most nuance. I share Corey's discomfort with the label "bilingual" or "fluent." But I hold onto it as well; I'm proud of how much I have learned, as an adult, in a language that is so different from English.

The label "writer" is also one I have encountered recently. I don't feel that I can really inhabit that label, since I know zilch about writing, and as of yet no one has been willing to actually pay me to write anything, but I do spend most of my free time writing. The other day my friend Emily tacked on a "I shouldn't tell you this because it might end up in one of your essays" and I thought, hmmm... that actually makes me feel like a writer!

I enrolled in an online writing course given by my alma mater. I'm excited but a little nervous about that.

OK, another reason I don't watch these dramas is that someone always dies. In this case I'm worried the main female character is going to die. She has heart trouble... uh oh.


Sandra said...

As an outsider watching (and not understanding any of it) I'm struck by all the eating. And they're really eating, slurping noodles on camera, unlike U.S. TV shows, where on-camera eating scenes are rare and always look incredibly fake. Also, I like how so many outdoor scenes are filmed on the street and in parks. You really get to see what Korea looks like.

Jennifer Lee said...

Yeah, there is a lot of eating. I hadn't thought of that. I suppose because so many are dramas about family obligations, and because so much emotion can be expressed through feeding and eating and sharing food. This doctor drama didn't have as much eating as some of the others. I just begun watching Dae Jang gun, about the cooks in the palace... talk about a lot of food...

emigre said...

I love Dae Jeong Geum! The food there was fantastic and supposedly medicinal too.

Just found your blog, really like your writing, will keep reading.