Posted in Personal, Rant, Selfstudy, taekwondo, Uncategorized

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, Selfstudy, Uncategorized

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 korea, Personal, travel, Uncategorized

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 Personal, Rant, Selfstudy, Uncategorized

Sabotage aka Call me Marlene

When it comes to  learning a language , your own effort has a lot to say. Whether you are self-studying like me or you have a teacher and school provided materials, nobody is as responsible for your learning as you are. I have always known this and I take a lot of pride in doing my best. I enjoy learning. Teaching on the other hand.. Well, I guess it simply isn’t my cup of tea. I like to help people when they need it but I hate correcting peoples mistakes. Absolutely hate it. Do you want to know just how much I hate it?
When my boyfriend and I moved to our first home the neighbor thought my name was Marlene. Cammilla and Marlene isn’t exactly similar but nevertheless she somehow came to the conclusion that Marlene was my name. I corrected her twice on the very first day of moving in, and then I gave up. More than 5 years have now passed and my name is still Marlene. Needless to say, I started reacting to the name a long time ago.
Could you imagine me as a teacher? Oh god even thinking about it makes me cringe.! Oddly enough, I don’t seem to have problem correcting physical mistakes. When my new coworkers make mistakes I correct them without any problem. I wonder why my brain differentiates between those types of corrections.

I hate doing language exchanges because that involves me correcting people. I always feel more relaxed when the conversation is completely in korean because that way I’m the one getting corrected. Despite hating to correct people I still generally do it. As a learner myself I know how frustrating it is to learn something incorrect. Have you ever been corrected on something that you know for sure that you’ve said a million times before, and then wondered why the hell nobody corrected you from the beginning? By the time it got corrected it had turned into a habit for you to say it the wrong way and now you find it a lot more difficult to learn it properly. You’re left with incorrect knowledge, feeling like a complete idiot – It straight up sucks. I avoid situations that involves me correcting people, but when a correction is actually needed, I will be correcting.

I never put too much thought into this as it just seemed like logical thinking to me and I still have the mindset that you yourself need to take responsibility for your learning. However, recently I realized exactly how badly people can sabotage other peoples learning. I saw a married couple in the store I work at, and the woman was desperately trying to learn Danish, while her Danish husband kept using English when talking to her. She kept talking to us in Danish and we answered back in simple Danish. She walked around asking about the names of different items in the store. She was trying so hard and her husband completely ignored her efforts, leaving her with a constant discouraged look on her face. Even when she passed him some tissue paper, he thanked her using English. Dude! Just give her a simple Danish Tak! He later stated that he didn’t have the right temper to teach her and that it wasn’t his job anyway, since she was taking a class.. Excuse me? What the hell is wrong with you?

Nobody is as responsible for your learning as you are – but other peoples help (or lack of help) can make a huge difference in you learning and in your motivation to keep learning. Not correcting my name might not be that big of a deal, but the whole ‘Oh I don’t mind so I’ll just let it go / it’s not my job so I’ll ignore it’ mindset , is simply no good. It might not make a difference to you but it probably does to the other person. Let’s not be like that guys. Let’s all become better at helping people.

To lighten up my sudden bad mood, I’ll just leave this here! 🙂 – At least I’m not the only one with name correction issues!

Posted in books, Personal, Resources, Selfstudy, Uncategorized

Old challenges

Now that I have gotten back into my study habits again I have been trying to decide which story books and study books I should add to my schedule. It wasn’t really a problem to pick out the study books but I couldn’t decide on a story book, despite having 5  great books to choose from. Don’t you guys know that feeling of having some books or movies that you truly love and enjoy, but sometimes it’s just not the right time for them to shine? Anyway, my boyfriend then bought me a tablet yesterday because he wanted to make it easier for me to study on the go despite my busy schedule. He said that he wanted me to have a loyal studybuddy (isn’t that the cutest thought ever?). While setting up my new studybuddy​, I made a list of useful apps and started downloading and logging in to all of then, and when I opened the Ridibooks app, the first book that showed up was 덕혜옹주.

As many of you guys know I started reading 덕혜옹주 last year around summertime and because it’s quite a difficult book it took me ages to just read a single page. After reading the prologue and the first two chapters I was in desperate need of a break. Generally speaking, I have a tendency to study with materials that are way over my level. I have always done that and to be honest I kinda like it that way. When feeling somewhat lost I automatically pay better attention, have a stronger focus and feel way more motivated. I know that most people feel the opposite but then again, we’re all different – and thank god for that! Nevertheless this book just happened to be a tad too much over my level. It was to the point where I couldn’t even figure out whether something was a difficult old word or a weird old name. Do you have any idea how frustrating it is when you spend ages on finding the meaning of a word without any luck, just to later discover that it was a name? (Thanks Jeannie! It you hadn’t told me back then, I would still be lost lol) Oh god even just thinking about it makes me all frustrated!

When I decided that it was time to take a break from reading it, I promised myself that it really just was going to be a break. I didn’t want to give up. However I quickly forgot all about it and now 10 months have passed. I feel ready and motivated to end my break and give it another chance. Maybe I’ll finish it, or maybe I’ll read 3 more chapters and then need another break. I have no idea, but I do know that I still want to complete it and even thought this last year haven’t been the most consistent year when it comes to studying, I know that my abilities have improved so maybe it’ll feel less difficult this time. I began reading the 3rd chapter yesterday and once I have read a bit more and gotten an idea about how difficult it is, then I’ll add some reading goals to my new study schedule.

Challenges doesn’t always work out like you want them to, but that doesn’t mean that you failed them. I challenge you all to pick up one of your own old challenges. Maybe it’ll be easier now 🙂

Posted in Personal, Uncategorized

Study room

So.. We bought a house. We didn’t even see it coming but we suddenly had the opportunity to buy a house that we really liked and we ended up doing so. The house needs a lot of work and the last month have been absolutely insane. I haven’ had time to even think about opening my Korean books as I have been busy with the whole moving process as well at having exams.
While the timing kinda sucks (I mean, shouldn’t I be studying more now that my Korean trip is approaching?) I don’t regret a thing, because in our new house I now have a study room. A room just for me. A room where I can peacefully submerge myself in my studies. A room where all my books have a place and there’s enough space to add a lot more books (Let’s face it, I’m going to Korea in slightly over a month – I’m gonna need more book space).
This room is going to be my own little stress-free temple and I’m constantly thinking about how to decorate it. It’s going to be worth it.

As I said I haven’t had time to open my Korean books, but you guys know me right? Of course that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been studying! I’ve been sticking to my italki lessons twice a week and by discussing everything that’s going on with my teachers I’ve learned a lot of situational Korean. When else would I ever be talking about wallpaper, renovations and heating sources?
I also discovered the ‘Free books’ category on ridibooks and because of that I have been reading quite a lot whenever I had some spare time. I read during my lunch break and when there’s not a lot of customers in the store. I have a few pens and some paper in my work locker and I make sure to write down all the unknown words when I read. I have quite a few vocabulary list lying around at this point!
I have also kept a personal diary in Korean for a few weeks. This meant that I got some writing practice done, however, since it’s quite personal I didn’t want anyone to read it and that obviously meant that I couldn’t get it corrected either. That makes it a lot less effective and I might get used to using wrong expressions and grammar, so I decided to stop. Instead I’ll be practicing my writing with less personal subjects.

There’s still a lot of work to be done but at this point it’s mainly things where I can’t be helpful anyway, so now I’ll probably be able to study a bit more effectively. My study room isn’t close to being ready yet and most of my books are still in packed in boxes, however I did unpack a few things this morning and will be making a new study schedule as soon as I finish this post.
I’m going to be doing my best with what I got until my study room is finished, and once it’s ready I’m sure everything is going to become a lot easier! I’m already browsing through my ikea magazine to find inspiration. I want this room to overflow with inspiration and I can’t wait to show you guys the finished result.

To end this post I want to share this song with you guys. It’s a song that I enjoy studying to and I thought you guys might enjoy it too. 🙂

Posted in Personal, taekwondo, Uncategorized

Getting my butt kicked

Thursday was a rough but interesting day for me. After a crazy long day of work I drove towards a small town called Kolind where I was going to take part in my very first Taekwondo practice! I was incredibly nervous and NOTHING went as it was supposed to. Do you guys ever experience such days? Days where you have every single detail planned and still everything somehow fails you?
Well Thursday was that kind of day..
I was hoping that my first practice would help me release all the stress and tension from work that day, but things started going south as soon as I left the house. I ended up driving behind a slow moving vehicle for a really long time which meant that my schedule didn’t work out as planned. I was supposed to arrive 6.40PM, change into my workout clothes and then be ready to join the practice at 7PM. But because of the slow moving vehicle I arrived at 7.50PM instead and just to make things even worse, the front door turned out to be locked and I had no idea how to get in.. Sigh.. After a few minutes of trying to figure out what on earth I was going to do, a woman in a Dobok saw me standing there all confused, and opened the door from inside the building. OK! So far so good! But at this point I only had 4 minutes left before the practice started so I had to choose between changing my clothes and therefor being late, or being on time but train in normal jeans and a tank top.. I was told beforehand to come in clothes that where easy to move around in, so both options pretty much made me feel like an idiot ^^;;
At this point my anxiety starting freaking out (which I totally should have seen coming, but somehow didn’t) and I knew that if I didn’t follow the woman who had helped me in, then I would just turn around and go home instead. So I walk into the practice room all alone, not knowing a single person inside, as the only person dressed in black, in a room full of white Doboks. ^^;; Great. I have never felt that shy and awkward in my entire life. Hahaha.. Just thinking about it know makes me want to hide in a hole somewhere.
Anyway.. Of course the story and embarrassment doesn’t end here.. No, that would have been too easy, right?
Let me just quickly explain something. The club doesn’t have any beginners teams until fall, so I am literally the only one there who has no idea what’s going on and what to do. Everybody was really kind and helped me out when they could, and kept reminding me that everybody had started from zero at some point. They told me to just relax, try to follow along but not to the point where I might hurt myself. While this did indeed make me feel better, I still felt a lot of pressure. Obviously I don’t want to slow everybody down just because everything needed to be explained to me, so in the end I went into my focus mode and did everything I could to pay attention and keep up with everybody else.

That worked out perfectly for the first 15 minutes and then
RIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIPPPP!!!
…. That my dear friends, was the sound of my jeans ripping in front of everybody.. ^^;;
Great. Super great. ^^;;

Do you know that feeling where something super embarrassing happens and you feel like it will become even more embarrassing if you acknowledge that it happened? Yeah, that’s how I felt.. And that’s how I ended up practicing for another 1,5 hours with ripped pants.. Yeah.. Fun fun ^^;;

Anyway, if we just forget about all those struggles, I actually ended up having a great time! It was really interesting to hear so many Korean words over and over again. Though I do have some issues understanding most of what is being said due to the strong Danish pronunciation!
Also! Everybody on the team had to count to ten in Korean, one by one, during warm-ups and I was the last one (because I was the youngest of the white belts) but just as I was about to begin, the 사부님 said ‘Since you don’t know how to count yet, we’ll just skip you for now’. I thought about telling him that I’m actually quite confident when it comes to counting in Korean, but I decided that it probably would be best not to disturb the flow of the warm-up. Also I felt like I had already had more than enough of the spotlight for me to handle on one day, hahaha!
I managed to keep up with most of the exercises and got a lot of compliments for my kicks, which made me really excited. There so much to learn and I’m feeling pretty optimistic so far!
I was exhausted and completely free from stress once the practice was over and I drove home with a really nice buzz in my entire body. I was so sore the days after and even now I can still feel it in my shoulders. I’m quite happy about how things turned out – in the end at least.
I’m really looking forward to my next practice, which is tomorrow! This time though, I’ll be changing my clothes  before I leave from home…… ^^;