“Making Out” in Korea- it’s not what it seems

The funny thing about teaching in Korea is that you never know what someone is going to ask you.  Sometimes a teacher may ask you a funny question because they misunderstood a phrase and other times they overheard a slang phrase in a movie or tv show.  After two months in, it no longer shocks me as much when I hear something that just doesn’t sound right.  At least it hasn’t shocked me much until now that is.

This past Friday I was officially shocked! After my first two morning classes at one of my travel schools, my teacher and I have a 50 minute break while all the kids go learn Taekwando.  My co-teacher usually takes this time to ask me about things he has encountered over the past week that he is unsure of, and this day was no different.  About halfway through our “break” time, he was quiet for a few minutes before asking if he could ask me a question.  I thought I sensed a bit of hesitation, but he is also like that sometimes so I was unsure as to what was about to happen.  Then comes the question, “Rachel, what does it mean to ‘make out’?”  I’m not even kidding- this happened.  My middle aged, male, shy, conservative co-teacher asked me what it meant to make out.  I cannot even tell you how many shades of red my face turned as I mulled over how to explain this slang phrase to my teacher.  As I was thinking how I could explain this in the least embarrassing way for both of us, he spoke up.  I guess I must have been taking a while because he felt the need to clarify with a sentence.

He clarifies by saying, “I only made out a few words.”  And then it hits me, he’s not talking about kissing and make out sessions, but a whole different meaning!  Everything made sense again and my face slowly returned to its original color and I was so relieved that I didn’t start to explain the “make out” definition that I had originally thought of!  Hope you find this tale as amusing as I did, although I admit it would have been more amusing had I been quicker at describing what I thought he was referring to!

This week will bring more posts, including my trip to Japan this weekend!  Can’t wait to show you some pictures!

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