All the things

As most of you guys already know, I’ve had some pretty intense last months of 2017. It seemed like all important things had to be done at the same time which left me running around all confused for a while!

I had my very first taekwondo belt promotion in the end of November and it scared the poop out of me. My anxiety was all over the place and I felt like I was going to fail, despite knowing that I knew everything that I needed to know. It was a really rough morning, but the second our coach said 차렷! My brain completely shut down and my body switched to the same taekwondo mode I experience during our normal practices. When my name was called I got up, did my thing and sat back down. Being a white belt there wasn’t a lot of things for me to show compared to many of the other colors, so I spent the next few hours focused on what my team mates where doing. I felt super encouraged and motivated to continue when I was looking at them. In the end I passed and got a yellow stripe on my white belt. That means I’m halfway to a new belt – Yay!

I got home late that Sunday and I was completely exhausted, but I couldn’t relax.
You see, I was working on my important, final exam at the same time as I was preparing for the promotion. I had been working on that project since early May. First I had to create a project idea and make a plan, which I then had to present to my teacher and boss for approval. Once that was taken care of I wasn’t allowed to do anything related to the project until August (that’s a long story). In August I had to prepare for the project which then had to run for 2 weeks in September. I then had to spend the beginning of November on gathering results and then spend the end of November on writing a report on all of my goals, my methods of accomplishing those goals, the final results and so on. The report had to be submitted the morning after my belt promotion and believe it or not, it still wasn’t over.
After submitting my work I then had to start preparing and practicing for an oral presentation of everything written in my report. I had the final, oral part of the exam a week later, and after that I was finally done! I’m so happy to finally be done with the entire project!

These super stressful months took their toll on my body though. After the exam I started feeling really tired all the time and my general anxiety became a lot worse, but due to the Christmas season, there was just no way I could slow down. I was working overtime for several weeks and when I finally had my last day of work this year, I felt like crap. I immediately got sick with the flu which have now lasted for two weeks. I’m positive that this is my body’s way of telling me that enough is enough.
It’s so important to take good care of yourself!

I finally started to feel alive again yesterday and I felt even better today. I made sure to eat a ton of fruits and veggies! I spent a lot of time studying before and after getting sick as well.

As some of you might know, I have been taking a course on Kmooc. I wasn’t planning on doing it at all but I accidentally joined a course while looking for more information about it, because I’m an idiot that apparently can’t read, haha! The funny thing is that I had just talked to a friend about wanting to finish a lot of all my current books and projects before starting any of my new books (I’m only using one of the books I bought in Korea. I’m not allowed to even open the rest until I have completed a few of the ones I’m currently working with), so obviously I have been teased quite a lot about this.. Anyway I joined a course by 울산대학교 called 가족과 건강: 행복한 삶을 위한 정신의학. I actually really like the course and I feel like I have done a lot better than expected. I especially worried about the essays since writing is one of my weakest assets. But that’s why I’m glad I joined it. Throwing yourself into a new challenge, head first and with no safety net, is a great way of improving. I have finished all of the weeks and the accompanying homework, and now I’m just waiting for the final quiz to start next week. I’m also (im)patiently awaiting feedback on the biggest essay from a few weeks ago. My total score needs to be 60% or higher to pass, and I currently have 47%. With the final quiz + the essay, being the two parts that gives the most points, everything is depending on those results. I feel somewhat confident in the quiz, but I’m more interested in the essay results haha!
I think I’ll do a proper post about my experiences once my result is out. If my essay results aren’t too horrible then I might post it here as well!
The course have been pretty rough though. Obviously there’s a ton of new vocabulary and it takes ages to look up all those words all the time. I haven’t been studying with any other books during these 7 weeks because all my time was spent on going through new material or doing the homework. I’ve really missed ‘normal’ studying and I’m really happy to start working with my books again. It’s kind of exhausting to study a language through a course where your language ability aren’t even being evaluated.

I was planning on talking a bit about my goals for 2018 as well, but I think I have been blabbering for long enough now, so that will have to wait til tomorrow, haha.

Well, it has been some intense months, however I still have a full week til I return to work, and even then, all I have to do is work! No more work related studying, no more exams and hopefully a lot less stress. It’ll be great to have more study time!

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

Gaming in Korean

A while a ago I downloaded a game on my phone called Homescapes. I was just thinking that it would be a great way to relax for a few minutes during my somewhat busy schedule, but much to my surprise the title changed to 꿈의 집 as soon as it was installed on my phone. It surprised me because my phone settings aren’t set to Korean and I hadn’t even opened the app yet. Somehow it just decided that I should play the game with Korean as the default language ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
The game itself is super simple and you have probably played tons of games like this one, but there’s also a story to follow in the game, which suddenly made everything a lot more interesting for me. It was fun and interesting to follow the game guides as well as the story line, now that it was suddenly all in Korean. Especially since some of the pop-up messages are only showed for a few seconds so you have to keep up and pay attention if you want to follow the story (which isn’t necessary to play the game, so don’t stress if you’re struggling with it).
I actually have played a game in Korean before, without really putting much thought into it, but playing this game suddenly made me realize just how big of a language learning resource games can be. I mean just think about it for a moment, there is games out there for everyone. There’s games about everything, games that are time consuming, games that are not, games with stories and games that you can play while letting your brain go to auto pilot. What a great way to learn new words!
Granted, certain words might not be that relevant, depending on the type of game you play, but it’s still a great way to get exposure to the language without looking through books, taking notes and so on.

Here’s a few screenshots if you are curious about Homescapes.

HS1HS2HS3HS4

Obviously this realization made me want to play other games as well. I didn’t really know which games to play though, so I simply Naver searched 추전게임 and looked around. I ended up with a game called 마녀의 샘. This game is a lot more story based and therefore demands more from me as well as my Korean skills. I also decided to just figure everything out on my own instead of looking up the words I don’t know, so I have had a fun challenge figuring it out for the past week or so.

Here’s a few random screenshots from 마녀의 샘.
(NOTE: this game isn’t free like Homescapes)

MS1MS2MS3MS4

This morning I had another realization that made me really really excited. You see, recently my laptop died on me and I had to get it fixed. This morning I was looking through my backup files to see what I wanted to transfer back to my laptop and my eyes came across a game title. A game that most of you have played at some time. A game that practically sums up my entire childhood.
I’m obviously talking about THE SIMS!
The sims is an amazing and fun resource and it adds a great visual aspect as well. I immediately looked into it and started downloading the game as soon as I was able to confirm that I could actually play it in Korean.
It’s still in the process of installing (16% so far! This might take some time lol) so I don’t have my own screenshots from the actual game yet, but if you are curious then just do an image search on 더 심즈.

sims

Also, if your phone settings are in Korean, then all of your games will most likely be set to Korean as the default language, unless the game doesn’t support the language. Maybe you can give that a try if you already have a game that you like. 🙂

I hope you guys found this interesting and that you can find a great game to play 🙂

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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!

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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!

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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?

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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. 🙂

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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 , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments