A day full of Taekwondo

Saturday was a very exciting day to me. My taekwondo club was hosting a Dan promotion (Black belt promotions) and there are many reasons as to why this was so special.
First of all, Dan promotions are usually hosted by our Grand Master Shin, in his Dojang in Hamburg. The second reason is that Dan promotions are held on separate days from the normal promotions, which means that those of us who aren’t actually being promoted are not able to watch the Dan promotion take place.

This time however, my tiny club hosted the big event with black belts from all over Denmark, and even I as a white belt was allowed to watch the entire day unfold.
This in itself makes the day special but another reason was that it was the first promotion without our Master Wandy, who sadly passed away just recently. We all knew that he wouldn’t be among us for much longer and this is also the reason why we hosted the event. That way he could take part in his last promotion without having to travel all the way to Germany. Sadly he didn’t make it to the promotion but we know that he would have been incredibly proud to see this big event unfold in the club that he dedicated his life to.
Our Korean Grand Master Shin and his lovely wife also took part in a short memorial service and prayed for him. It was all very beautiful and I hope he knew how much we all cared.

A few of my main coaches were being promoted on that day. They originally wanted to wait but ended up joining the event because they knew that Wandy would have wanted them to, and they all did incredibly well.

It was so amazing to see them do their things and the hours just flew by as I saw them performing and fighting. There was a few injuries but it was all handled quickly and without any drama. I guess it was pretty much expected. I mean it is martial arts after all!
I felt incredibly proud as I was watching them all and I felt so motivated afterwards. I’m being trained by these awesome people. I WILL become one of these awesome people.
I arrived just before they had their first break and they immediately came over, when they saw me, and started to fill me in on what had happened so far, as well as made sure I could get a good seat in the crowd. These people were under such an immense pressure and they still made sure to take care of the rest of us. If that isn’t amazing then I don’t know what is.
I feel like my club members always take pride in taking care of others, being polite and being well balanced.

When the promotion ended we all sat down to eat dinner together. 140 people gathered in a big room, eating yummy food and just talking about everything and nothing.
After a few relaxing hours it was brought to our attention that the wife of Grand Master Shin, had made a huge amount of Kimchi and I was lucky enough to get a whole bucket! 아싸!

Guess who’s making 김치전 this weekend!

I got home super late and I was exhausted, but I would do it again if I had the chance. With my own (and very first) promotion coming up, I’m really happy that I got to experience this promotion and also that I got to leave with such an amount of motivation and inspiration.

I wasn’t able to get a lot of photos but here’s a short video if you would like to see a bit of what they did.
I was really impressed by this because they are doing different things based on their levels, and they still manage to stay completely focused on doing their own thing. Well done guys!

Posted in Personal, taekwondo, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hyehwa: My second home

These days I am feeling pretty homesick despite technically being home. Honestly I just miss Korea and especially Hyehwa. Hyehwa was my home for 3 full weeks and I loved every second I spent there. My sister and I went on a lot of adventures in Seoul but we returned and ate dinner in Hyehwa almost every night. We got somewhat close to a lot of people in our neighborhood. The part time workers in the CU in front of our guesthouse, the떡볶이 아줌마 down the corner, a few restaurant owners and especially all the workers in the smaller coffee shops and juice bars. We both love spending time in smaller shops and with the Korean summer heat it’s important to stay hydrated, so we came to visit these shops quite often. Some of the shops even gave us those stamp collecting coupons despite knowing that we would leave soon, because we came so often.
I had so much fun and I met so many amazing people.

DSC_0097

The thought of not being able to go back anytime soon is haunting me and making me feel somewhat depressed today. I was talking to one of my best friends on skype this morning and he asked me if I was coming back next spring. I felt so incredibly sad when I told him that I probably wouldn’t be back until 2019. It seems like such a long time.
I’m a student and a house owner so I won’t be able to save up the needed money very fast, and I have to save up for my London trip in April, before I start saving up for Korea.

Luckily I took a lot of pictures while I was there and looking at all those pictures makes me feel better.

KOREA 1

I know everything will be fine, and most of the time I don’t feel sad about having to wait. I guess I’m just feeling a bit sensitive after talking to my friend this morning.
But my friends aren’t going anywhere and Hyehwa will surely wait for me as well.
I’ll see you all soon X

PS. I would kill for some 순두부찌개 right now!

Posted in korea, Personal, Rant, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dealing with stress: Life Planner

As most of you already know, I’m under a lot of stress lately, and having been very sick due to immense stress a few years ago, I’m very cautious about how I handle things this time around. I have a lot of things that I HAVE to do as well as a lot of things that I WANT to do, but no matter how important all of these things are, letting myself and my body down, is not a choice.

“Sometimes the most important person
in your life needs to be you”

I know that I’m not the only person who struggles due to stress and I know that we are all very different and have very different ways of coping, so this might be a completely useless blog post, but if this can help just one person then I’ll be more than pleased.
And that’s why I would like to introduce you all to Alfred!
Alfred is my Life Planner – Yes I have a tendency to name all of my favorite items. I named my Dolce Gusto Piccolo ‘Bent’. Or rather ‘Bent the penguin’.. I also gave him googly eyes but that is a completely different story!

Basically I’m a planner. I need everything written down. I need to-do lists, goal list, shopping lists, meal plans and so on. The more lists the better. And I need to keep it all together in one convenient space. I do not work well with lists or calendars online or on electronic devices. I don’t know why but it just doesn’t do it for me. I’m also incredibly picky when it comes to calendars. In Denmark, most calendars are way too small. There are practically no extra spaces to plan out the things that I need to plan. They also all have an hourly set up, going from around 8am to 5pm. How is that going to help me when I have an Italki session at 7am, taekwondo at 7pm and a movie date at 9pm? And what about all those empty time slots where I have no plans? That’s a waste of space. Sure I could just write my other plans in those slots and correct the time, but doesn’t that just prove my point that the time slots where useless (In my case at least) to begin with? This might seem like I’m overly picky but it’s super important to me.
This is where Alfred comes in. Alfred is a custom made Life Planner and I literally chose everything about him myself. I chose the cover, page layout, cover, planning pages, added quotes and even chose the color of the spiral. There’s a few companies out there who offers these services (and this is not sponsored by the way) so if you are just as picky as I am, then you will definitely be able to find something that suits your taste.

The most important about Alfred is that he is a LIFE planner and not just a planner. This means that it’s about your entire life and not just your working hours like most standard planners. I ordered Alfred from Pirongs, and I added all the things that I needed. Blogger planning pages, Christmas (as you might remember from last year, Christmas is really important to me) planning pages, cleaning pages (I’m a neat organized freak in my study space but everything else is pure chaos), fitness goals, study pages and a lot more. There are a ton of other pages you can add like budget pages, wedding planner pages, teaching planners, notes and whatever else your heart might desire.
You can also add text and pictures to all of your pages.

Alfred is very personal to me so I can’t show you everything, but I’ll show you a few of the empty or less personal pages.
I have been wanting to buy a custom made life planner for a long time and obviously it does take some time to produce it, but I believe it’s worth it. I received Alfred in the mail 3 days ago and I’m carefully adding all of the craziness that is currently going on in my mind. All the dates, all the demands, all the wishes. I feel lighter for every line I write. I also just ordered some stickers and washi tape, so I can decorate my pages even more with a few fall themed goodies.
Having all of my s**t put together in one book is in itself a stress reliever but writing and decorating it adds a whole new relaxing aspect. I recommend that you try it. If you enjoy color books then you might like decorating too.
Another alternative could be a bullet journal, but I feel like it’s a bit too time consuming for my schedule. I’d love to try it some day, but for now Alfred is my savior.

Again, I’m not sure if this will be helpful to anybody other than me, but there’s no harm in trying – right?

Posted in Dealing with stress, Guides, Personal, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Drama lines ep. 1

These days I have been quite the fan of Korean subtitles on my dramas and movies. I know I know, I’m late to the game!
I generally don’t use subtitles at all but after adding the Korean ones I seem to be catching a lot more new words and grammar points. Normally my general understanding is pretty good and I’m pretty darn good at understanding through context, which doesn’t always turn out to be a good thing.
I have discovered recently that when I’m watching dramas I come across a lot of things that I don’t understand – AND I DON’T EVEN NOTICE THAT I DON’T UNDERSTAND IT! I understand what is being said and what is happening through the context, so I don’t even notice all the unknown words being said.

Don’t get me wrong – You can definitely learn the meaning of words through the context they appear in, but obviously things go a lot faster when you actually notice the words and actively look them up.
Therefor I have now started to actively jot down sentences on my phone while watching dramas and then I transfer them to my notebook at a later time. I prefer having all my notes in the same place so this is the most convenient method to me, and the transfer process also doubles as reviewing all the sentences 아싸!

So what do I write down?
ANYTHING interesting.
– Sentences that unknown words  or grammar appear in.
– Sentences I feel like might come in handy at a later time.
– Sentences where already known words or grammar points are used in a way that I never thought about using them in myself.

Literally anything that catches my attention.
I thought that it might be fun to share some of these sentences with you guys – Maybe you can even guess which drama the sentences comes from? I’ll also add a vocab list later, if you would like me to. Let me know!

  1. 이제 살 것 같다.
  2. 너 되게 뻔뻔하다.
  3. 나였으면 넌 여기 없지. 옥상에서 던져버렸어.
  4. 다듯한 차라도 마시면 속이 좀 나질거야.
  5. 거기가 맨바닥이라는 말은 아니고…
  6. 네 말대로면, 하늘에서 나라온 고미남이란 돌멩이를 맞아 기절했던 건 황태경이야.
  7. 내가 무슨 치한이냐? 소리는 왜 질러?
  8. 지금은 거직으로 다른분들은 속이고 있지만..
  9. 아니, 그러니까, 잘 좀 묶어 다니지.
  10. 너랑 더 상대 안해.
  11. 그래. 너 때문에 난 더럽고 냄새 나고 축축 하고 아파.
  12. 곤란하게 만들어서 죄송합니다.
  13.  아주, 만두부인 속터지는 소리 하고 있네.
  14. 야! 너 태경형한테 또 사고 줬냐?
  15. 비밀을 벌써 하나 털렸네.
  16. 내가 다 망쳐버렸어.
  17. 나~ 이렇게 학교도 안가고 연예인이나 졸졸 쫓아다니는 이런 핏덩이들이랑은 달라.
  18. 버텨야돼. 여기서 나가면 다 들킬거야.
  19. 너 그렇게 맹렬하게 쓰고 있는데 별 게 아니야?
  20. 우리 사이 진짜 인척 하자고 했는 건 너고 나는 그걸 받아드린거야.

Did you come across an interesting sentence?
Can you guess where the sentences are from – The two most important names are included in the sentences!
Anyway, I hope you found this useful and I’ll see you guys another day with new sentences. 🙂

Posted in drama, Resources, Selfstudy, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Pronunciation fears

I have been having a few fears related to pronunciation lately. I have always considered correct pronunciation as one of the most important things when speaking in a foreign language – I mean what is the point of knowing a bunch of grammar rules and fancy words, if nobody understands you when you try using them? I still have a lot to work on but I consider my pronunciation decent enough to get by without too many struggles. However after I started doing Taekwondo, I have been having some serious  issues and minor mental breakdowns.

Everyone in my club is Danish hence they all speak Korean with Danish accent. A very strong Danish accent. This isn’t really a problem in itself, however because everybody in the club (with me as the exception) has just about no knowledge about the Korean language itself, it becomes a problem. Everything is learned through Romanized Korean. This is the big issue because it makes the pronunciation way more complicated. Also the romanizations are usually based on English pronunciation which isn’t the same at the Danish one. When 장 is written as Jang, it only ‘works’ because of the English ‘J’ sound. With the Danish ‘J’ sound 장 suddenly become 양.  Because of that we have people saying both 장 and 양, and even 챵, even though they are all talking about the very same thing. New members without any Korean knowledge obviously struggle with these things, as they have no idea how to pronounce it correctly and they keep hearing the same word with a changing pronunciation.
It makes it really difficult for me at times too, when they tell me something very basic, but pronounce it so differently that I simply can’t recognize the words.

Also when I try to look up things at home, it sometimes causes quite the trouble. When I first joined the club, everybody was talking about 타이코 1양  and 타이코 2양. I tried looking this up when I got home so that I could practice and improve for the next session (Since I started out of the ‘new members season’ I was the only one who knew nothing. I wanted to improve fast in order to not slow everybody down. I thought my Korean skills would be an advantage but it didn’t quite end up that way.) but that turned out to be a bit more difficult than so. Why? Because 타이코 1양 is actually 태극 1장. Not. The. Same. At. All. I don’t even know how 태극 ended up being pronounced as 타이코!
These are the moments where I really hate the romanizations!

I’m also the only one in the club who pronounce Taekwondo as 태권도 and not 타이권도. Makes me feel like a real know-it-all nit-picky douche, haha!

A while ago some of the members were talking about the struggles they had in Germany. In Germany we have a Korean Grand Master who takes part in all of our belt promotions, and whenever he is the person to give out orders, nobody understands him, because he is pronouncing everything correctly. Ah the irony.. I face that very same problem. When asking a question about a certain kick or defending block, I pronounce it correctly and the coaches are struggling to understand what I’m talking about.

This leads me to my actual fear.. I love doing Taekwondo and I want to improve. I also love the Korean language and I find it hard to teach myself wrong or improper things. Until now I have been kinda blocking out all the names for the stands, blocks and so on, and completely been avoiding to say them out loud, which now means that I can’t really remember any of the names. This is something that I need to know in order to continue improving and obviously that puts me in quite the dilemma.

What if my usual Korean pronunciation starts to become bad or weird because I’m practicing it incorrectly during Taekwondo practice?
I don’t want that to happen. But I want to continue growing and improving in my Taekwondo journey..

I guess it’s no different from Konglish.. My English skills are not getting worse even though I pronounce words the Korean way. And I doesn’t confuse me either..
So what’s the difference? Maybe it’s because English feels like my native language and Korean is still so far from that.

In that case I guess the solution is to study harder.
Study Korean harder and study Taekwondo terminology harder.
What about you guys? Do you have any similar issues?
Any advice? Do share. 🙂

Posted in Personal, Rant, Selfstudy, taekwondo, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Catching my breath

I have been back in Denmark for almost 3 weeks now, and things have been absolutely insane. I caught a really bad cold in Korea and was actually sick throughout my entire trip. I’m actually still coughing at night and for a few hours after waking up, so obviously that doesn’t make things any easier. I got home around midnight and had to get up early the next morning and go to our new house to help with the renovations. We all worked hard together in order to get the most important rooms (living room, bathroom, bedroom and kitchen) and then we spent all Sunday and Monday on actually moving in. The rest of the week was spent on cleaning the old house before returning the key to our landlord, trying to unpack at least a little bit in our new house while at the same time working full time. To be honest everything is still a bit chaotic but, all the most important things have been taken care of and I’m finally able to catch my breath.

I had an amazing trip and I already miss being in Korea. I can’t wait to go back! I have a ton of stories to share with you guys and I hope you will look forward to reading about them. A lot of interesting things are happening at the moment as well, and I’ll be back to talk about those things when I know a bit more. It all involves me studying harder and doing my very best. 🙂

I’m currently at work and I brought one of my new study books with me, so that I can study in the breaks between customers and meetings. I got to practice a lot of Korean on my trip and I have been keeping up with my italki lessons. I have also been reading my webtoons and a new story book I bought in Korea.
However this is the first time I get to sit down and actually study without any other goals, in almost 2 months!

Ah the joy of opening a new book!
I hope you all had a great summer like me. 🙂

Posted in Personal, Selfstudy, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Time to go

The last week have been absolutely insane. I officially started my summer vacation and that meant that all my focus was on renovating our new home and on studying. I have been working my butt off to make sure that everything at home is under control and even though I haven’t been able to focus too well, I still insisted on studying. I have especially been listening to a lot of audio-books and I have been reading a lot on my tablet as well as in my psychical books.
This week literally just flew by with a blink of an eye, and now it’s almost time for me to leave.

My sister and I started talking about this trip back in 2013 and we started saving up for it in the beginning of 2015. And now the time has finally come. It’s almost midnight here in Denmark and I’m leaving in less than 7 hours.
I should probably be sleeping but that’s unlikely to happen. I’m too excited and nervous.

Those of you who have been around for a while will probably know about the strong anxiety attacks I suffered from last year, when I went flying for the first time. Needless to say I’m not feeling too well about that part of the trip. My therapist suggested some calming medication but I denied. I want to do this using my own strength and courage. And I can do it. I know it for sure.
If I start feeling sleepy then I’ll go to sleep but if I don’t then I guess I’ll be pulling an all-nighter. That wouldn’t be too bad either. Then I would be able to sleep on the second plane and hopefully not struggle so much with the time difference. But we’ll see. I’m taking one small step at a time.
I have a few check points on my way, and I’ll make sure to celebrate whenever I reach one. My boyfriend will drop me off in Grenaa, then I’ll take a bus to Aarhus and then another bus to the airport. After those check points I have Helsinki, Incheon and then I have the final check point which is our home for the next 3 weeks! It sort of feels like a game when I break it down like this!

My bags are packed, I said bye to my bunnies earlier and now I’m just casually waiting.
I’m going miss my boyfriend and the bunnies, but I’ll be fine. I hope they will miss me too lol!

I guess it really is time to go on our own little adventure now. I kinda felt like the time would never pass.
See you in 3 weeks dear Denmark~^^

Posted in korea, Personal, travel, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment