It was pouring down rain this morning, and I forgot my umbrells. After getting out of the taxi, I ran into a 7-11 in my office's building. I don't usually visit this place, but I could get there without getting wetter (see below grammar note). I shook the rain off my eyeglasses and computer bag, and headed for the soda cooler. As I was paying for my Diet Cokes (excuse me, Coke Lights), the lady handed me what I thought was a CONDOM with my change! I asked the two clerks in my broken Korean, "What is this thing?" They both kept saying "Hello Kitty". Incredulous, I asked them "This is a Hello Kitty CONDOM?"
They broke down laughing, and finally I realized it was one of these "discs" that you are supposed to collect, one from each country! Had I not read about this collection mania on another ex-pat's blog [scroll down to "I Have A Hello Kitty Addiction" and read up from there], I would still be wondering what on earth this thing was. As it stands, I now have a collection of 1 from Taiwan:
GRAMMAR NOTE: speaking of "wetter", I learned some grammar the otherday while taking a shower with my new Shower Radio. They were playing one of these "Let's Learn English" program, and were talking about Comparatives and Superlatives. I learned that when the word has one syllable, say WET, the comparative uses the -ER suffix, for example, WETTER. But if the word has multiple syllables, say INTELLIGENT, then the comparative is made with the words MORE or LESS, for example MORE INTELLIGENT. Wikipedia says to "use MORE or LESS with polysyllabic words borrowed from foreign languages". I'm not sure about that foreign language part, but I don't trust Wikipedia 100% anyway. I knew this intuitively, but I didn't know there was an actual rule for it! Now I know why many Korean friends can't answer my detailed Korean language grammar questions!