As mentioned in the previous post, I’m living with a Korean host family right now. I was going to get my own studio apartment, but the only one I could find that I really liked is booked at the moment, so I figured what the hell, why not live with a surrogate family for a while. For less than the price of rent in San Diego, I get a nice room and delicious home cooked meals each day from my new Korean mom. It’s a sweet deal. But the sweetest part of this sweet deal? I now know the truest, purest top-of-the-mountain form of immersion: the Real Deal (TM).

When I wake up in the morning, K-mom speaks to me in Korean. She talks to me while she’s cooking, talks to me while she’s cleaning, talks with me while we walk, asks me simple questions I can understand, and doesn’t mind at all the 9 out of 10 times I have no idea what she said. She JUST. KEEPS. TALKING. I listen to her talking to her husband (for the 37 minutes per day he’s not at work), listen to the daughters chat away, listen to them talk to their friends, listen to them talk at the dinner table, watch Korean television with the family every night, browse the Korean books on the walls, and there is absolutely nothing I can do about it. I went to the mall today because I felt like seeing an action movie. Of course the only one there was Korean, with no subs. You see, it’s out of my hands at this point; if I don’t get out of this place soon, I’m going to speak Korean.

I actually feel guilty, like I’m cheating on French with the new hottie in the hood. Don’t worry French, you know I still love you. Sugar-Daddy’s just browsing the menu, he aint gonna order or nothin’.

Anyway, here’s the sweet, sweet meat of this post: I thought I knew everything about home immersion environments, but as always, I ended up learning something new in my travels. I used to say “YOU DON’T NEED TO, AND IN FACT YOU SHOULDN’T, MOVE TO YOUR L2 COUNTRY UNTIL YOU’RE FLUENT!!1!” The first part is true, of course you don’t need to move anywhere; the second part is bullshit. It turns out there’s a rung even higher on the language acquisition ladder than our media-based immersion environments: an immersion environment with real people in it who only speak your L2.

Don’t get me wrong; running a home immersion environment in your home country is still the best financial option for most people, and still massively effective, but let’s be honest– it requires discipline to sit in a room with only books and screens to keep you company, and to tell the environment what to do. But here in my new Korean house the immersion environment is running itself. I don’t have to tell my environment what to tell me; it’s on auto-pilot. Real people are like a never-ending L2 fountain that seriously won’t shut up even when you want them to. I have realized that the true-ultimate-un-shake-a-stick-at-able-most-bestest-fastest-ever power of language immersion involves real people.

In summary, HOMESTAY = (SELF-GENERATING IMMERSION ENVIRONMENT) – (LONELINESS).  My new recommendation would be to run a home environment until you hit the intermediate level, then book it over to your L2′s homeland and do a homestay for as long as possible. I seriously need to go do this in France. Speaking of French, let’s just say that every time I try to work on it, this damned Korean just pulls me right back in. Also, I wish they had a gym near here. My pecs are getting antsy… you wouldn’t like them when they’re antsy.

“Finally I can sneak in a little Radio Franc-CCRRRAAAAPP”
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Yeah that’s right, a post by a drunk. Not a chronic drunk, just a drunk-at-the-moment drunk. You don’t know me.

I’m doing a homestay with a Korean family right now. I was just sitting in my room minding my own business when the mother called me out to drink with the father, and blammo, now I’m all  drinky and sitting in front of the TV with the family typing this post.

Speaking of which, why am I typing this post? I’ll tell you why *hiccup* I’LL TELL YOU WHY: I realized that my Korean is best when I’m drunk. Then I thought about it, and realized my French also rocks faces off their breaded French-plates when I’m drunk. What is it about alcohol that makes me so damn awesome?


That’s right, nothing. You know that old movie trope about someone taking a magic potion and becoming kick-ass, then being told ‘guess what hot-shot, that was just water, the magic was in you all along.’ Well it’s the same with alcohol. It doesn’t make me better at Korean; it just shuts off my critical brain enough to soak it in without thinking too much, and let it out without self judgement.

Let me tell you a, um, a story. Come sit down on the carpet. Where’s my bourbon? WHERE’S MY… forget it.

Anyway, yeah, the story. Remember when Harry Potter gave Ron Weasley that luck potion, and Ron got f***ing kick-ass at Quidditch, and was penetrating anything that could say ‘no’ at Hogwarts, and SURPRISE it turned out that Ron was great all along and just needed to quit being so down on himself?

WELL GUESS WHAT: H.-to-the-Potter, that beautiful animal, was giving him liquor. Sweet, sweet liquor.

That’s the secret people. Drink more, or *gasp* get to the point where you can quit judging yourself so much that you don’t have to.

I hope this made sense. I’m probably going to read this tomorrow and facepalm, but you know, whatever.


drunk matt out!

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