eel, ee, sam…

This is really sad, and I’m embarrassed to admit it: I’ve been living in Korea for about 7 months and I still don’t know Korean numbers. A friend and former colleague here raked me over the coals about this a while back and rightfully so. It’s unacceptable.

The problem is that Korea has two numbering systems. I know that one is for money and one is for, uh, things. But they also cross over and I’m not quite sure which is which. I’m also really bad with language in the same way that I’m bad with math. I’m not good at memorizing abstract things, meaning things that I can’t visualize in my head.

So I futz my way through. When someone tells me an amount for buying something, I take out the largest bill I have. When someone asks me in Korean what floor to press in an elevator I hold up four fingers and smile sheepishly.

I can count to three in both numerical systems. Maybe tomorrow I’ll learn the number four. Baby steps, baby steps…


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