Posted in Personal, Selfstudy, TOPIK, Uncategorized

TOPIK results and 2019

Happy new year everybody!
To those of you who have been around on the blog for a while, will know that starting a new year is a magical thing for me. Many people spend the day/night like they would on any other day, but to me, it’s the most unique day of the year and I’m always surprised by how much I find relief in the concept of new and fresh beginnings. It’s not just during the new year. I feel it every Monday morning when I wake up. It comforts me every night when my day hasn’t been the best or when I’m not satisfied with what I have accomplished. New times will come and all we can do to change things is to make efforts to do or to be better in the future.

The last few days I have been reflecting over the year that has now officially passed and I’m glad to say that, while the year was quite rough, I have managed to accomplish almost all of my goals for the year. Not only the language related ones that I wrote about here but also the ones related to my health, taekwondo and for my house.
It makes me feel more prepared for the new year that we have entered. If I can accomplish those things despite having things working against me, then I can do it again for the next 12 months.
And so, here I am, with a whole new set of goals to accomplish!
I haven’t set a lot of language goals this year as I feel like they will come quite naturally, but of course, I do have a few specific goals that I want to share with you guys.
But first I think it’s time to talk to you all about my TOPIK results!
As I shared in my last post, I didn’t feel super confident in passing level 4 but I had a really great experience and as a result, I was actually planning on retaking it in April. However, on the 20th of December, I was finally able to check my score and it turned out that I had indeed passed! Hurray!

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So these are my final results, and while I was obviously ecstatic about passing, I actually didn’t think too much about my scores or new goals until I shared my results with my amazing italki teacher. She was so happy for me and instantly started planning what we need to work on for me to be able to pass level 6 in November.
It’s going to be a challenge but she believes in me, and so do I!
So there you have my first and biggest language related goal for 2019!

As for the smaller goals to help me achieve it, they are:
1. Read at least 12 books throughout the year
2. Practice 50 random words every day, from my italki lessons
3. Write at least 1 diary entry in Korean per week.
4. Write at least 12 essays throughout the year
5. Do translations

Those of you who have been around for a while knows that I always buy myself new years presents, that are related to my goals, to motivate and inspire me to actively work on them.
This year I bought myself:
1. 3 sets of mildliners (first time trying them, believe it or not!)
2. Extra Muji pens (I bought a set in London the night before my exam and I’M IN LOVE)
3. KBS 생활 한국어 고급 (For study and review purposes)

Posted in books, Guides, Resources, Selfstudy, Study With Me, Uncategorized

Study With Me: TTMIK Your First Hanja Guide

Good evening guys!
Yesterday I finished the ‘Your First Hanja Guide’ book by Talk To Me In Korean and I wanted to share with you all how I’ve been studying with the book every day, for the past few months.
Before I begin I would like to mention that I really enjoyed working with the book and I definitely recommend it if you want to try studying Korean through hanja. If you are curious about the book then I recommend that you read this review by the brilliant Sofie,  watch this video by TTMIK themselves or you can read more about it on the mykoreanstore website where you can also buy the book.
Alright, let’s begin!

As always, I begin by preparing the things I need.
I usually have the book I’m studying with, my notebook, pens, correction tape and 원고지 paper. Start

I always begin by jotting down what book I’m working with, along with the page, subject or whatever else I find interesting.

Intro

I then open up my 원고지 notes and practice writing the character. The thing is, if you are only going through these hanja characters in order to improve your Korean skills, then you don’t need to practice writing them at all. As long as you know that they exist and what they mean, then you really don’t need anything else.
However, I have known for almost two years now, that I want to learn Chinese in the future, so I’m basically using this as an opportunity to get more comfortable with the different characters and their strokes, so in my case it simply makes sense to put a little more effort into my notes. I also found it oddly calming to repeat all the strokes over and over again. It reminds me of the reasons why I bought some calligraphy books in Korea. Maybe I’ll pick them up soon and give it a try..

Practice

I then go on listen to the accompanying audio files twice. The first time I simply listen carefully to the pronunciation and intonation, and the second time I read aloud while listening. Lastly, I then read the words and sentences aloud once again, without listening to the file, while trying to sound as natural as possible.

Track

I then move on the jot down some notes about the hanja character. I write down whatever I find interesting or relevant in order for me to better remember it the next time I see it, or to help make it easier for me to tell it apart from other characters.
It can be a breakdown of the characters that help create the new character or it can be some notes on how the character got it’s meaning.

Breakdown

Once I feel like I have written down anything of interest, I move on to write down the list of Korean words that are based on that hanja character. As always, I color code my notes. In this case, hanjas are always written in red, to make easier for me to spot them in my notes. After writing down all the hanjas, I take out my green pen and write down the words in hangul next to the hanja. That way I can actually read the words that I’m working with.
Lastly, I take my blue pen and write down the definition of the words that I didn’t know already.

vocabulary

As the last part I write down the sample sentences. I do this in order to get more familiar with both the hanja word, the sentence structure and spelling of the different words. It can be really helpful to copy down some notes like these. I also avoid writing the hangul version of the words in the sample sentences. I do this because I want to encourage my brain to start remembering them without the hangul. It usually isn’t a problem since the rest of the sentence kinda gives the meaning away, and if not then I can simply find the hanja in my notes right above the sample sentences.

Example sentence

And that’s basically it! It’s pretty simple but I get to read, listen, write and speak as well,  so I found it quite helpful.
As for time, this specific character was pretty simple and didn’t take a lot of time, but some characters are a lot more tricky and has a lot more related words, so it’s going to change a lot depending on the characters your working with.

I hope you all found some inspiration to study with this (or another) book.

Posted in books, Guides, Resources, Selfstudy, Uncategorized

Ridibooks (reader) – The Korean learners best friend

I have talked about how reading in your target language can approve your language skills a few time before so I’ll try not to repeat myself today. You might find this and this helpful though!
Instead I would like to introduce you all to the Ridibooks reader app. Ridibooks is a Korean ebook website with a huge variety of books to chose from. Everything from Manwhas and self improvement books, to fiction, history books and magazines. They even have free books right here – No more excuses!
I have mentioned the site before and no I’m still not sponsored or anything. Just a genuine fan!
Lately I have been reading ebooks more often than I used to and honestly, I still prefer physical books. However, I have come to really appreciate ebooks and especially the ebook reader that ridibooks offer, which is why I’m now here to give you guys a tour of this great tool, from a language learners aspect!

When you open the app, you’ll find the books that you have downloaded on the device that you are using. There’s not much to say about this as it is pretty straightforward.
At the bottom of the screen you’ll find a little menu.

Right now we a at the first icon 내 서재 (My library).

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The next icon is 구매 목록 (Purchased books). This shows all of your books, including those that you haven’t actually downloaded on your current device. From here you can download the next book you would like to read. (or re-read)
As you can see from the pictures, I have a few books that I haven’t downloaded because I read then via my laptop, before I got my studybuddy (My tablet).

The next icon is 서점 (Bookstore). If you click here you get transferred to the ridibooks website where you can take a look around for new books. This too is pretty straightforward.

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The 4th icon is 검색 (Search). This is also pretty straightforward. You simply search for whatever book you are interested in and then it’ll redirect you to the website if they have the book you searched for. I never use this to be honest as I feel like it makes more sense to just go straight to the webshop.

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Okay, so enough of the standard boring stuff lol.
If you click on a book from you library it’ll open on the page that you where on the last time. You can also add your own bookmark by clicking on the icon in the upper right corner, but I have never experienced that the app doesn’t automatically saves the page so I haven’t used that feature in years. I guess I’ve gotten lazy.. 그냥.. 귀찮다 ㅎㅎ

Anyway, this is the page that I was on when I took the screenshots a few days ago, in a book called 말 그릇. I’ve talked about it on instagram but I think this is the first time that I’m mentioning it on the blog. You can find it here if you’re curious.

Okay this is where all the fun stuff happens!
At the bottom of the screen you can see how far along you are with the book which is always fun and next to that you have a 듣기 (listening) icon. It’s not an audio book though so I don’t really use that function, since it’s just a typical ‘robot’ reading.

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The next icon is 목차 (Table of contents). You can see how far you are along and you can also use it to skip to a certain chapter if you wish. I sometimes use it as a shortcut if I want to re-read a certain part of a book.

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The third icon is 동서노트 (reading notes).
This. Is. THE. Best. Feature!
Okay so let me explain. When reading an ebook through this reader, you can mark a word from the text and a list of new features will appear.
The first feature is 형광펜 (Highlighter), which works just like a physical highlighter. You can use this feature to highlight any word or sentence that you find useful or that you need to remember.
The next icon is the purple dot. The color of the dot indicates what color you use to highlight with and if you tap on the dot, a variety of colors will show up, allowing you to easily switch back and forth between colors. In other words you can do color coding! Use one color for new vocabulary, another for new grammar points and a third color for names and locations. It also gives you the opportunity to underline a word instead of actually highlighting it. Whatever you need!

marker optionsColorcoding

The next feature is 메모 (Memo). By clicking on memo you’ll get a little box where you can add.. well. A memo.. To the word that you have marked. It could be the definition or maybe a sample sentence using the highlighted word. It so cool! And yes this genuinely makes my little geeky heart excited.

Saving a memo

If you chose to add a memo, then you get a little symbol by the word to remind you that you added something to it.

The next icon is 듣기 and it works just like the 듣기 at the bottom of the screen, except it only reads the part that you have marked.
If you tap at the 3 dots next to 듣기, then you’ll get two more options called 검색 (Search) and 공유 (Share).

other options
Search is probably my favorite feature. It you tap the search button then the app will connect you to Naver Dictionary. This means that you can look up words straight from the book without ever leaving the app. Once you’ve gotten the information that you needed, you simply tap the arrow in the upper left corner and you be back on the page you where reading.
It’s just so freaking convenient!

dictionary

As for the share option, it’s not at all a necessity but I really really love it! If you tap the share button, then you get two alternative ways of sharing it.
The first one is 이미지로 멋지게 공유 (Share as a cool picture) and 텍스테로 공유 (Share as text). I love the picture option. If you come across something inspiring or noteworthy then you can immediately create a beautiful quote picture, which can then be uploaded from the app, straight to you social media accounts.
Again, not at all a necessity, but still really cool!

shareing

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Okay, so that was all of the options that appear when you mark a word. Now let’s get back to the 동서노트 (reading notes) icon at the bottom of the screen. It you tap the reading notes icon, then you get a list of all the additions you made to the page. In my case, you can see that I highlighted new vocabulary with the purple marker, and now every single word that I have highlighted has been added to this long vocabulary list. If you do color coding then you can also make it show the words or sentences that are highlighted with a specific color. You can also access the memos that you make from this page.
I use the feature really often to create online flashcards via memrise or quizlet. I simply copy and paste the words.
You can also use it to track your progress. Try accessing a list from a book you read a year ago, and see how many of the words you know now. It’s a lot of fun!
If you wish to delete a note from the list, you simply tap the three dots next to the note and choose 삭제. Super simple!

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It’s also possible to change the font size, colors and so on, you simply tap the 보기 설정 icon. You can adjust pretty much everything you want to.

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As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, I still prefer hard copies and writing my notes in hand, but you literally have any tool you might need for language learning, through this reader. I use it on a daily basis because it’s just too convenient not to, especially on days where I’m out and about or traveling. I totally recommend giving it a try if you are learning Korean!

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!

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  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.

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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*

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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 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 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. 🙂