Banchan 2

If you want to see the original Banchan post, look here.

To catch you up, this is Part 2 (pronounced duel) of my Banchan series, where I share with you some interesting tidbits about Korean culture, as well as catch you up on what’s going on with our family.

Korean Culture:

South Koreans call South Korea Hanguk.  They call the language they speak Hangul.  I have always wondered something.  How the heck do we come up with a completely different name for a country than it’s own citizens have?  I mean, we don’t even share an alphabet, so it’s not just like somebody mispronounced a word when the first Westerner arrived here 500 years ago (or whatever) and we decided to stick with it.  I remember thinking this when I was a kid and it still puzzles me.

Did you know that nearly all traditional Korean names have three syllables?  The surname, or family name, is one syllable and comes first, followed by a two syllable given name.  When I am asked Ezekiel’s name, I always get funny looks.  His first name is longer than full Korean names!  For simplicity, I’ve just started introducing the kids as Gigi, Ali, Gabe, and Zeke.  Good thing we are a nickname family.  For more info on Korean names, look here.

Speaking of Zeke, so far as I can tell, Hangul does not have the phonetic sounds  for “z” or “f”.  And for words that end on certain vowels, like “k” and “s”, they add an “uh” sound at the end.  What does that mean?  Well, it means that some words are pretty funny, like coffee is “copy,” and Zeke is “Jeek-uh.”  There are some other funny phonetic things in Korean, too, like how the “r” and “l” sound are combined.

Since we’re on a vocab and language kick, I should share that many words from the English language have made their way into Hangul.  No surprise, since American soldiers have lived here for over 60  years, and missionaries arrived hundreds of years before that.  I didn’t really realize how many words, though, until I downloaded a Hangul flashcard app to our iPad.  I think I was robbed.  According to this app, I already know many many words in Hangul, I just have to pronounce them slightly differently.

This is just a smattering of words that you already know how to say in Hangul.
chicken= chee-keen
cheese= chee-juh
cookie= koo-key
donut= do-nut
(Anybody noticing a trend here?  I think Americans brought their unhealthy food with them.)

sofa= so-pa
computer= com-pue-tah
oven= oh-ben
television= tel-eh-bee-jun
(I guess we brought the technology, too?)

Anyway, there are more, but I can see your eyes glazing over from here.

Family Update:

Gianna is moving right along with school.  Her favorite subject is now art, although she still enjoys math a lot.  Her reading has really taken off, too!  I can’t describe how cool it is to see your child learn to read.  I am a voracious reader myself, so I’m excited that she is learning to love it too.  She went on her first school field trip this week.  I’ll have to post pictures soon, as we tagged along.  It was to an indoor playground that puts all others to shame.  She is a super active kid, forever running, jumping, and climbing.  She is really hoping to begin gymnastics or ballet soon.

Aliya is still my shy girl, but oh so clever.  She is picking up some reading skills, too, purely second-hand.  She doesn’t do much official school, but really enjoys listening to lots of Bible stories, picture books, and chapter books, too.  She loves playing with baby dolls, pretend cooking, and “writing” books.  She too, wants to begin a ballet class soon.  Her birthday is coming up in less than a month.  I can’t believe she is almost 5!

Gabriel has the biggest news… he is almost fully potty-trained!  We are over the moon!  He really picked up on it quickly, which I am super grateful for.  2 kids in diapers was… a challenge.  His language develops every day.  He is at that age where he comes up with really funny and clever sayings.  For example, we have recently been listening to Robin Hood on CD.  He started talking about going to Locksley Hall.  Only he pronounces is the “a” as a long “o”, and the “ll” is an “r.”  Go ahead, say it out loud.  He is very insistent about this pronunciation and it makes Kevin and I giggle to no end.

Ezekiel has moved from his Army-style crawl to a full hands-and-knees movement.  He still pulls up on everything.  He enjoys crawling to the bathroom and standing up on the toilet.  Great.  He says, “Dada,” a lot.  Sometimes it is clear he is talking about Kevin, but other times it is just babbling.  He is just a sweet curly-haired redhead and pure chubby love.

Kevin and I are doing great.  Moving here has been a challenge in many ways, most of them good.  One of the most difficult things has been that we miss our close friends quite a bit.  This has provided us with an opportunity to become closer as a couple, though, and we are enjoying renewing our “BFF” status with each other.

Hope you and your families are feeling as blessed as we do.


  1. Love it! I’ve noticed in Japanese that a lot of the words seem to be very similar sounding to their English counterparts; it’s interesting that you’re noticing it in Korean, too.

    I guess because I took French for so long, and the French aversion to the creeping influence of English was such a big part of their culture, that I’m always surprised when other languages embrace it.