Posted in Personal, Rant, Selfstudy, TOPIK, Uncategorized

About to explode glitter

After waiting patiently (well.. Kinda patiently) I finally got my 이수증 for my first Kmooc course!
As I mentioned in my previous posts I wasn’t really feeling confident and I was worried about my essay results.
But! As soon as the final exam began I started feeling a lot better about my skills! I got a 65% correct on the final questions which gave me a total score that was high enough to pass the course even if my essay would fail completely.
A few days after taking the final quiz I received feedback on the essay. The written feedback didn’t really help me out to be honest, however I somehow manage to get a full 100% for that essay. Holy.. Cow.. I really didn’t expect that but I’m certainly not complaining.
It makes me feel a ton more motivated to study harder. Especially now that my internship is coming to an end and I get more free time.

Also, as some of you lovely people already know, I had been feeling a bit off when it came to my studying. Or rather about the results of my studying. For about a year now it just felt like I was stagnant with my overall skills. I mean, I have been studying a lot and felt a lot progress with my listening and speaking skills, however rather than actual, overall, improvement, it honestly just felt like my speaking and listening skills where finally catching up to the same level as the rest of my language skills. And while I normally welcome any type of progress, feeling overall stagnant for a year really gnawed at my confidence. I never really lost my motivation to study, but I completely lost my confidence in Korean. I didn’t really want to try new things anymore.
I continued studying a lot and about 6 weeks ago I suddenly felt a change. I started picking up words naturally again, I started noticing words and grammar that I had just learned, EVERYWHERE. Due to schedule conflicts I wasn’t able to have an italki lesson for 3 weeks, but when we returned to our usual schedule 2 weeks ago, my teacher told me that I seemed to have gained more confidence, despite not practicing as much as I used to. Needless to say, that comment boosted my confidence even more!

Honestly, I didn’t really change anything, so I’m not sure why I’ve been stagnant for so long, but I feel like it might be related to all the things that have been going on in my life lately. Maybe there just weren’t enough ‘space’ left in my head to actually soak up new knowledge? I’m really not sure, but I can literally feel that my brain is working ‘like it used to’ again.
This also prompted me to take a TOPIK practice test. I hadn’t taken one in ages (and by ages I mean in like 7 months) because my results had been more or less the same for the past 1,5 years and it was really stressing me out. Whenever I took a test, my points would place me around level 3 (and even that would only happen if my writing part turned out more than just decent), which made me feel really frustrated since level 1 and 2 have been super easy, and way below my level for a very long time. Which is obviously also the reason that I passed those levels back in 2015. I just felt like I was in this weird ‘in-between’ level, which only made me feel even more frustrated since the gap between level 2 and level 3 isn’t THAT big. The tests always started out great but it felt like my brain would simply shut off when I got halfway through it. Like I could’t focus anymore when the reading passages got too long or when the listening part had more than one question. I never quit midway or gave up, but I could easily see a pattern whenever I was checking my answers.
Anyway, I took the reading part and was completely surprised. I didn’t feel lost at any time and I was able to focus without any problems what so ever. I even had a few minutes to spare in the end before the timer went of, which is a first as well. When checking my answers I found that I had beaten my previous ‘high score’ by 10 correct answers(20 points). While this number is too high to just be a coincidence I still doubted myself and thought ‘Oh, luckily this one had a lot of familiar topics’ and ‘Some of these points are obviously from lucky guesses’. But then I reminded myself that I had only taken that test because I had felt my language abilities improving, and that while there’s always the chance of getting lucky, there’s just no way that I would get THAT lucky. So despite the fact that it was past midnight and I had been up for 20 hours and only had 6 hours left til my alarm clock would go off again, I decided that I just had to spend another 70 minutes on the listening test. The listening test turned out just like the reading test. I never felt lost, I didn’t feel overwhelmed at any point and I found myself waiting for the next listening part to begin, because I had already confidently answered the current questions. I beat my previous ‘high score’ with 12 correct answers (24 points). This placed me at a level 4 even without the possible points I would get from the writing section.

In the end I got under 3 hours of sleep. I was too excited (and slightly confused to be completely honest) to sleep and I was just lying there thinking about all the other signs of improvement, that suddenly popped into my mind. For instance, I have been swallowed up by my books at work. I have always been good at focusing on my books and shutting other things out, just not when reading in Korean. I just wasn’t comfortable enough to get completely sucked into a story. But lately I seem to have been doing a lot better at that. I also read a lot faster now, and have definitely improved my reading stamina. I often feel like reading a full book in one go and I usually only stop because I simply don’t have the time to continue.
It has been a little over a week since then and I’m still buzzing from excitement and feeling insanely motivated.

This post ended out way longer than I had intended but I just really felt like I needed to share all of these thoughts and experiences before I explode from too much motivation, into a big fluffy cloud of glitter, unicorns and happiness.

Okay, it’s officially past my bedtime. Again.

 

Posted in books, Personal, Selfstudy, TOPIK, Uncategorized

2018 Language Goals

2017 is almost over and as always I spend my last days of the year, creating goals for the new year.
I always have so many things that I wish to accomplish and as you already know, I’m kind of a goal freak. Coming up with a goal and creating a detailed plan on how to achieve that goal, is something that I do all the time. I also do it pretty well if I may say so myself!

I’ll only be sharing my language related goals today, because otherwise I’ll be here all day! Also, I always make sure that my goals are S.M.A.R.T
Do you guys know the S.M.A.R.T concept? We use it all the time at work, but it can be applied to any type of goal!

smart-goals1-1.jpg

  1. Read more. I want to read more in Korean. I don’t have anything specific in mind when it comes to reading materials so everything counts. However to make it measurable I made myself a few ‘guidelines’.
    – I want to read at least 12 books in Korean throughout the year. Long books, short books, poems, biographies, fiction, non-fiction – Everything counts!
    – I also want to read 12 articles throughout the year. Again – Everything counts.
  2. Improve writing. With writing being my weakest part, I really want to work on that throughout the coming year.
    – I want to write a daily diary in Korean. I might be posting some of it on lang-8 for corrections, but since it’ll be rather personal, it wont happen regularly.
    – I want to finish 한국어 문장 쓰기의 모든 것 and 서강 쓰기 2. I’ll be working diligently with both of them in 2018!
    – I want to write 12 essays throughout the year. Each essay will be a 700+ character essay. I want to make sure that I don’t just stick to my bad habit of writing as simple and short as possible. It’s fine for chatting and talking but it’ll get me nowhere when it comes to improving my writing skills. It’ll also make me a lot more comfortable with the writing part of TOPIK.
  3. TOPIK Level 4. This has been my goal for a while as most of you guys know, and I’m currently unsure of when to take it. My plan was to take it in April like I did last year, but the timing is very bad. My internship will be over by then and I have no idea whether I’ll be working a new job or not. Since I have to travel to another country in order to take the exam I’ll need some days off, which I can’t really ask for if I just started working there. And with the sign-up starting soon, I don’t have a lot of time to think about it.
    I might take it in November instead, however I might feel less motivated to work for it, if the deadline is too far away.
    Hmm. I’m still working on the Timely part of this goal, however I will for sure give it a try during 2018!
  4. Speaking. Speaking isn’t a weak point like my writing, however I do seem to loose my confidence quite often, especially when talking to new people. I want to work on becoming more comfortable with random chitchatting!
    – I want to complete another Italki Language Challenge. I’m not sure if I’ll join the first challenge of the year, like I did the last few times, but I’ll join one during the year for sure! The only way to improve one’s speaking confidence is by speaking even more!
    – Talk to at least 5 new people throughout the year. Skyping via italki, calling a new friend through HelloTalk or meeting someone face-to-face. It all counts! Since I’m always worried about talking to new people, I’ll have to do it more often!

There you have it! My 4 main language goals for the coming year!
I have a tradition of buying myself a few gifts when I receive my last paycheck of the year. The idea is that I buy myself a few treats that are related to my goals for the new year, so that I begin the new year feeling happy, motivated and set up for success. This year I bought myself 5 things and 3 of those are language related.

Present Nr. 1: TalkToMeInKorean Real-life Korean Conversations – Intermediate.
I figured this book might have a few gems for my speaking and writing goals. And if not, I’m always happy to support TTMIK. They give out so many great resources for free.

KakaoTalk_Photo_2017-12-26-15-48-50_1024x1024

Present Nr. 2: 토닥토닥 하루하루 일기장! I went on Gmarket and found a cute little diary, for me to write in. I prefer the old school handwritten diaries and let’s be honest here – Korea makes amazing stationary! *Dreaming myself back to ArtBox*

B001792829-1

Present Nr. 3: 곰돌이푸! Or rather a book with some of his adventures! I saw this book when I was  in Korea and decided to buy it after I had found the other things my sister and I where looking for, BUT THEN I FORGOT ABOUT IT! I was so sad since it was our last day in Korea. It’s from the same collection as my Peter Rabbit book, and it’s just so pretty! A great opportunity for me to cross off one the 12 books from my goal list!

푸

 

I sincerely hope that you all have a good and safe new year.
Thanks for following along on my adventures in 2017! xx

Posted in korea, Personal, taekwondo, TOPIK, Uncategorized

Overwhelmed but happy

Yesterday a kind follower sent me a message and asked me how I’m doing lately. It made me realize that I have been MIA for quite a while compared to normally and it also got me thinking about all the loose threads I currently have here. During the last month or so, so many things have happened and I’m not even really sure where to begin explaining but I’ll give it a try.
This post will probably be messy, long, study related and pretty personal. You have been warned.

Let’s start with my drivers license. I took my final drivers license test about a month ago and I passed despite driving in a small snowstorm for the first time and nearly peeing my pants from pure fear. The days up to the test day was an absolute nightmare. My anxiety was completely out of control and I couldn’t sleep or eat properly, which just makes the anxiety worse the following day.
I was so relieved that it was finally over but a few days later when I had to drive my boyfriends car for the first time, the panic started all over. Oh no, there’s no signs on the car letting other people know that I’m inexperienced – shit what if I make a mistake? – there’s no driving instructor to save me if I mess up – what’s that sound? – is it me or does the gear stick feels weird? – Did they let my pass by mistake?
I was starting to think that this part of my anxiety would never go away. My boyfriend however felt like the problem was easy to fix and a week  later he bought me a brand new car on my birthday. He figured that I would be way more relaxed in a new car since it’s safer and has more in common with the car I drove in during my driving classes. He was right. It took away more than half of my anxiety and that is how I ended up with my little red Suzuki.
I have now been driving more or less every day and while it is mostly just the short trip from home to work, I have actually been on a longer trip completely out of my comfort zone too. I am going to keep pushing myself and practice. Interchanges still freak my out like crazy. It scares the soul out of me. I guess it’s because I have to trust all the other cars in my lane, even more than I trust myself, and that’s just terrifying!
I would love to be able to drive to my hometown in may, and visit my family. I guess you could say that it’s my goal. But that’s like 220 kilometers and about a million interchanges away, so we’ll see. Ugh, scary!

Having my drivers license and a car means that I can finally start Taekwondo classes! I’m so excited about this even though I have no idea what to expect. I’m currently just waiting for new teams to start up so that I wont be the only person who knows just about nothing. I hope this will be a good way to get my body moving and tire it out a bit so I can control my anxiety a bit better. Or at least give me an opportunity to meet new people, show off my Korean skills and get out some of my work related frustrations! I’m hoping for a beginner class to start in April, and if not then I’ll probably just join the current class even though I’ll feel like an idiot. I worry that I’ll chicken out if I wait for too long.
Actually, I’ll write them a mail as soon as I finish this post and find out! I promise!

As for my anxiety in general. I have been in a really bad period since January and I have been struggling a lot with my anxiety. I believe it started due to this whole drivers license process. Since I passed the written exam in the middle of January I constantly had driving related activities and working full time at the same time probably didn’t make it better. It made me worry a lot about my Korea trip. You see, whenever I have a bad (like good ones exist) anxiety attack I promise myself that I will never ever again do something to make myself feel that scared again, and since I already know that flying will set off every bit of anxiety in my body, I have actually told myself to cancel the trip at least 20 times. But I wont.
Also, my boyfriend and I decided to tell his parents about my anxiety after keeping it a secret for ages. I guess I just wasn’t ready for the questions and the pity until now.
It turned out to be quite the emotional evening, but I’m happy that we did it. Now I don’t have to make up stupid excuses for being overly tired and quiet at times.
This reminds me of another new thing in my life. I started hypnosis therapy. Hypnosis is.. Odd? I’m not even sure what to say about it. In the beginning I really disliked the thought of hypnosis and the feelings it gave me, but I seem to be finding more and more comfort in that feeling now, and I think it might actually be helping me. I’ve been feeling better for the last 10 days or so. It’s still odd though. During my last session I clearly felt my body fall asleep while my mind stayed completely awake for several minutes. I heard myself snore slightly while listening carefully to my therapists words. If that’s not weird then I don’t know what is. Anyway, I’m starting to feel optimistic for the first time in a while! I’ll be bringing hypnosis audio files with me on the flights. Everything will be okay, and I will go to Korea no matter what.

As for the Korea trip, time is really starting to fly now! A little over 3 months to go! Phew.
My sister and I are finally starting to make more specific plans for our time in Korea as well as prepare some of the more practical things like the schedule for our departure day, looking into money exchange and what not. We are both incredibly excited at this point! It feels so unreal that we are actually going on the trip we have been planning for years. A few things have changed though. I will not be taking TOPIK 2 like planned in Korea. Basically it turned out to be a bit more complicated than it was in London so I just decided to postpone it and take it in London again next year. I don’t want more stress than necessary. I want TOPIK to stay like a good memory in my heart, so I’ll just wait a little longer.

As for studying, I have been doing a decent amount of studying however I honestly haven’t gotten much out of it. My studying have been insanely disorganized and random because I simply haven’t been able to focus on the same topic for a very long time. But I don’t really mind. I somehow enjoyed my random studies.
Oh yeah, I also forgot about the Italki language challenge!
My goal was to complete the 12 hour goal and I did! I got a diploma and everything. I still have my italki lessons twice a week and I seem to be gaining confidence in my speaking skills these days. That’s a pretty great feeling!
I have been reading a lot lately. It makes me feel really happy. I have been reading a few webtoons and some ebooks too. I have also been reading a ton of different blogs these days. I’m also still in the process of reading 빨강머리앤. I’ll be finishing it soon and I have truly fallen in love with this book.
I feel a pretty big urge to buy books lately. Study books as well as story books. I’m trying really hard not to though, since I know that I will be saving a ton of money if I can just wait a little longer. God give me strength!

Okay, now I’m just pointlessly ranting. I’m not sure if I have more relevant things to add. But then again, I guess none of this was really relevant unless you were wondering where I was.
Basically the last month or so have been sort of hell but I’m starting to feel better and happier.

I just want to leave this beautiful voice here for you guys to enjoy.

Posted in Personal, Selfstudy, TOPIK, Uncategorized

Getting productive

Time is flying by and before I know it I’ll be heading to Korea with my sister, which means that I don’t have a lot of time left to prepare for TOPIK anymore. As I have mentioned before, I don’t have a lot of time at the moment, but I am finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel! While it is tempting to just wait until things go completely back to normal, I have decided to start upping my study game now, and I am crazily excited about it.
I have been planning my new study schedule for a few days now and I guess today is my first official day following my plan.
The key to being able to follow a study plan is to constantly change it up based on what you are able to do (or simply based on what you feel like doing) at the moment. I think that many people forget to be honest to themselves and therefore end up making unrealistic plans, which is of absolutely no use to anyone.

Anyway! My study schedule starts with the Italki Language MindBuilder Challenge! Yes I did indeed sign up for it, and I already have my 12 lessons booked with 효진쌤 & 혜선쌤! The first 1,5 weeks will probably be terribly exhausting since my schedule is already pretty booked, but I have tried worse and feel confident that I can power through it with a good result. And after that I have a full weeks vacation without too many plans, so I will be able to study and recharge my energy. I’m ready!
The time I spend in the bus every morning will now be dedicated to my story books and my trip home after work will be dedicated to my favorite podcasts and audio books.
As for study books, I am currently going through TTMIK’s Korean phrasebook for travelers, while making some notes for my sister, however I pretty much already finished it, so I guess it’s not really a part of my new schedule.
I will be using following books for my plan this time:
– Useful Chinese characters for learners of Korean
– 한국어 문장 쓰기의 모든 것
– Korean grammar in use Intermediate + Advanced

I’m also trying to decide whether or not to start 서강 한국어 쓰기 2. I can’t really decide.
I will be studying and trying to learn new things, but more than that, my focus will be on reviewing and closing the gaps that I have when it comes to using the Korean language. This is something that I have a tendency to skip pretty often and of course that affects my learning. So I’m not really making any rules about how much or how long I study every day with this plan, my only rule is that I need to study something new and something old from each book, every single day. I’ll also be making a bigger effort to use my Quizlet app during my short free periods during the day and in general try to be more productive with the time I have available for language learning!

Time flies so fast lately and I have to really run if I don’t want to miss out on anything, but I know that things will become better in just a few weeks and I know for sure that I will appreciate all of my efforts as soon as I sit down to take the TOPIK exam again.
More than anything, I hate regretting the things that I did not do, so here’s to being productive!

Posted in books, Personal, Selfstudy, TOPIK, Uncategorized

Re-entering the world of dramas and books

With all the hectic things that have been happening in my life lately combined with the fact that Christmas is always super busy at my house, as well as the fact that I have had some self-caused issues improving my Korean skills (I talked about that in this post), has caused me to feel really stressed when it comes to studying Korean. I feel like I don’t have time enough and since I ‘wasted’ (but not really though) a lot of time, I’m constantly worrying about whether or not I can succeed in the goals I made earlier this year. Because of these doubts I have been focusing a lot on progressing and being effective with the time that I do have, and it seems that this has caused me to completely forget to enjoy the language in itself, as well as appreciate the things that I already know about this beautiful language.
I haven’t even thought about watching dramas or movies in several months and I haven’t picked up any of my beloved books from the Indigo series, since the beginning of August – these two things used to be some of my favorite activities!

I realized this while dusting of my shelves during my weekly Sunday cleaning sessions, and I suddenly felt an urge to read one of my books. It really has been a while!
So yesterday during my lunch break, I decided to continue reading the webtoon that I put aside a while ago to save time, and I truly enjoyed just casually reading without putting more thought or energy into it. When I got home from work and had finished dinner, I started watching 도깨비, and immediately found myself enjoying it. I watched both episodes and I’m looking forward to the next episode. I didn’t get to ‘really’ study, but I really enjoyed myself and that’s important too!
It made me feel a lot more positive and energized for ‘actual’ studying. So this morning I picked up 백설공주 from my shelf and brought it with me to work. Despite it’s title, it’s actually a compilation of small and famous stories like ‘Little red riding hood’ and ‘Rapunzel’. It’s actually quite lovely! I totally recommend this for people who are new to reading Korean books or who simply get bored too fast to read long stories. Especially since it’s well-known stories that don’t demand too much attention and focus from you.
Anyway, I finished reading the first story in the book, in the bus on my way home, and now I feel happy, re-energized and ready to do my best during a study session with 혜선쌤!
I guess it’s all about balance.
To celebrate I decided to go shopping a bit on Gmarket, even though I really shouldn’t. So I bought a new study book and 3 more books to add to my 인디고 아름다운 고전 시리즈, collection. As superficial as it may sound, shopping does wonders to my general mood!
And that’s ok too!

All these hectic things will be finished soon and I know that I will be able to study more like I’m used to, so for now I’m just going to relax and keep a balance between studying and just enjoying the language.

Posted in Selfstudy, TOPIK, Uncategorized

This week 07.08.16

Hi guys! I’m a bit earlier today than usual, but I figured that since I already have gotten quite a bit of studying done, and I probably wont be doing more today, I might as well write about this weeks numbers, now!

Monday – 1st of August
– Reviewing words and adding them to Quizlet, for about 1 hour.
 Worked with 덕혜옹주 for about 45 minutes.

Tuesday – 2nd of August
– Worked with 덕혜옹주 for about 1 hour and 30 minutes.
– Worked with an audiobook for about 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Wednesday – 3rd of August
–  Worked with 덕혜옹주 for about 1 hour and 10 minutes.
–  Reviewing words and adding them to Quizlet, for about 1 hour.

Thursday – 4th of August
– Worked with an audiobook for about 1 hour and 10 minutes.
– Reviewing words on Quizlet for about 30 minutes.

Friday – 5th of August
– Worked with SURE magazine for about  1 hour.
– Worked with an audiobook for about 20 minutes.

Saturday – 6th of August
– Italki session for about  1 hour.
-Worked with an audiobook for about 1 hour and 40 minutes.
– Reviewing words on Quizlet for about 40 minutes.

Sunday – 7th if August
– Worked with TOPIK 듣기 for about  1 hour.
Worked with 서강 한국어 쓰기 1 for about 1 hour.
– Worked with 덕혜옹주 for about 1 hour.
– Worked with 빈도별 토픽 for about 40 minutes.

This makes this weeks total 16 hours and 45 minutes. I’m feeling quite satisfied with this number, though I must admit that I have been completely slacking on my 쓰기 skills, compared to my original plan. So that will be my goal of the new week. I’ll finish the TOPIK mock test that I started today (I only had time enough to do the 듣기 part), and hopefully my 쓰기 will not be too horrible!

Posted in Personal, Selfstudy, TOPIK, Uncategorized

This week 17.07.16

Last Monday I started something new in order to hopefully stop myself from certain negative thoughts. You see, I feel a need to study a lot which in itself isn’t really a problem, however it seems like I automatically start on a completely new page each day. Actually. Its more like a whole new book. If I for some reason don’t get to study a lot one day, then I will feel very frustrated with myself and feel like I’m not doing my best – even if I have been studying for over 4 hours on the previous day. It’s like the other days of hard work just disappears the second I go to sleep. Also, I try my best to take a lot of breaks during my study sessions as I know its good for my head, but when I have a lot of short sessions, I loose track of my overall amount of studying which again leaves me frustrated.

I think I have become way too addicted to these long therapeutic study sessions, and now when my schedule simply doesn’t allow a lot of those, it causes me to feel stressed even though I really have no reason to.

To stop all of that stress I have decided to start keeping track of my studying. More precisely I time my study sessions, even when it’s just for 15 minutes and I add it all up at the end of the day. I also added a few notes on what I have been studying with during the day. I figured that it could help me regain overview of my studies, and surprisingly enough it has reduced my frustrations quite a lot. Therefore I have now decided to keep doing this for 5 weeks and see how it affects me and my way of thinking, and I’ll update on the blog each Sunday so that I can look back at my overall progress. Here’s how my week went by!

Monday – 11th of July
Worked with 서강 한국어 쓰기 1 for about 1 hour.
– 
Practiced essay writing for about 1 hour.

Tuesday – 12th of July
– Worked with 서강 한국어 쓰기 1 for about 50 minutes.
– Worked with useful Hanja words for about 1 hour and 45 minutes.

Wednesday – 13th of July
–  Worked with useful Hanja words for about 1 hour.
–  Worked with 빈도별 토픽 for about 1 hour.
–  Worked with Korean grammar in use (advanced) for about 50 minutes.

Thursday – 14th of July
– Worked with 서강 한국어 쓰기 1 for about 3 hours.

Friday – 15th of July
– Italki session for about 1 hour.

Saturday – 16th of July
– Going through corrections from my essay for about 30 minutes.
– Worked with 서강 한국어 쓰기 1 for about 1.5 hours.

Sunday – 17th of July.
– Worked with 빈도별 토픽 for about 1 hour.

 

Today I actually woke up with an awful headache and I didn’t really feel like doing anything what so ever. However, I got out of bed in decent time, I went jogging for the first time in 6 months and then sat down to study. At this point my headache became worse despite painkillers and I decided to stop studying. Normally I would feel really frustrated by studying for only 1 hour on a Sunday with no other plans. These days its so rare that I have that much time on my hands so I would definitely feel upset over wasting that time.
But today, I was totally fine with it because not only can I see right here and now in my notes, that I have been studying for over 14.5 hours this past week, but I can also see that I have been studying such a variety of things. I have been working on my grammar, I have been practicing writing, I have been reading, I have been talking and listening and I have practiced specifically for TOPIK (which I will be taking again in exactly 364 days from now – if you were wondering!). The fact that I am not able to use my Sunday in any efficient way, does NOT in any way mean that I have wasted my time or that I’m not doing my best. I’m working my butt off.

It feels really good to see everything over a larger period than just one day. If you – like me – feel frustrated over these so called ‘wasted’ days, then try to keep a small diary like me, over a longer time period.

My Sunday is almost over and as soon as I have published this post I’ll lie down on my couch and probably play some random game on my phone, without any regrets or thoughts of wasted time.

I hope everybody had a great week!