Posted in Personal, Rant, taekwondo, Uncategorized

Picking myself up and mending my wounds

Two weeks ago I went on a little adventure that turned out to be quite the rollercoaster. On Thursday I drove to my sister’s house in the evening and then we took the train together the next morning, headed to køge for the annual taekwondo summer camp. I was feeling really nervous and anxious which isn’t at all unusual for me however this time it was a bit worse as we were only 3 people – including me – from my club who had joined the camp this year and the 2 others were both there as instructors for the black belt team and the children’s team, which then leaves me ‘alone’ in my team. In fact, we saw each other so little that they were both surprised when they saw me at dinner on Saturday night and asked when I had arrived since they hadn’t seen me around.. Well.. I had been there since Friday morning, several hours before they themselves had arrived haha!

I had so much fun last year though, so I was determined to go this year as well even though I knew I would be on my own during all the lessons, as my sister doesn’t do taekwondo and was only there as a guest. Also, while taekwondo has triggered my anxiety many times before I know it’s only there before we actually start. The second we start lining up and gets ready to greet the giant 태극기 hanging on the wall and the 사범님 in charge, it completely vanishes in an instant.

And that was indeed what happened on Friday when we had our opening ceremony and our first lesson as one giant team. I had so much fun until the very last 10 minutes where we had to partner up, have a 10 second long(short?) fight and then the person to the left had to jump ahead to the next row and start over until we had had a fight with people from all belt colors and degrees. I was the person on the left which meant that I was the person to travel through the rows and it was fun and interesting until I got to the very last row. Everybody had been kind and smiling up until then and took it a bit more easy if they were fighting people from lower ranks. But the at the last row I was teamed up with a guy who is basically the 대사범님’s right hand. I don’t like him. And I say that coming from a personal point of view and not a professional. He is super talented and has been doing taekwondo for ages, but I don’t like him as a person – but I believe that’s a story for another day!

I generally don’t let my personal feelings and opinions take over so I greeted him with a big smile and in return, he looked at me like I was a piece of sh*t that he couldn’t even be bothered to deal with. The 10 second fight starts and I do my best even though I’m tired from already having done it around 15 times and he then dramatically rolls his eyes at me and starts yelling in my face “MORE MORE MORE” even though the 10 seconds is up and I have run down to the very back and start over with the white belts. He forced me into an uncomfortable situation where I had to either ignore him or ignore the 사범님 in charge who at the same time was yelling at me that the time had already ended.

That night I went to bed feeling really sad. I felt like I should have stayed home as I obviously wasn’t good enough. I didn’t deserve to be there. I tried reminding myself that it was totally okay to feel intimidated by him. He’s older than me, taller than me, broader than me and he has been doing taekwondo for more than 40 years compared to my 2 years. I tried so hard to stay optimistic but for some reason, that tiny little part of the lesson had erased all the joy I had felt about being there, even though the first 50 minutes of the lesson had been absolutely great.

Saturday morning I got up early with my sister, had breakfast and got ready for my first lesson of the day. The first lesson was about – you guessed it! Fighting! – and after the Friday lesson, I was dreading the entire thing even though this specific lesson was the one that I had been looking forward to the most.
The lesson was being taught by Nuno Damaso who is insanely talented and really good at teaching as well. Our team was from white to blue belts which meant that I, as a blue belt, were the second highest graded person on the team and therefore had to stand on the very first row, and I felt like such a fraud. I felt so strongly that I didn’t deserve standing all the way up there..

During this lesson we had a few uhm.. mishaps I guess. We were only wearing chest guards during his lesson because that was the main area we would be focusing on and he said we should be able to take a bit pain from blocking with our arms and legs (Head was off limits so headgear wasn’t relevant either) and we were all pretty much fine with it. However my partner had a few issues with his aim as he started to get tired and as a result, I was left with some pretty bad bruises everywhere and especially on both of my hips, as well as a bruised rib.

But it was fun. I had so much fun and forgot all about those depressing thoughts that had been haunting me since the previous night. My adrenalin was pumping and I felt so good after that lesson, that after our 15-minute break I jumped straight into the next lesson of the day and it wasn’t even until halfway through it that I realized how bad my injuries from the fight was. I obviously couldn’t see my bruises yet but due to my bruised rib, I was struggling a bit with breathing and moving in certain ways.

I still managed to power through and then I went to change my clothes for the lunch break. At this point, I knew that the 4th and final lesson of the day would be off the table as it was self-defense and involved at a lot of grabbing, punching and throwing, but I still thought I could power through the 3rd lesson after lunch as it was about stamina and explosivity and with no contact.
My sister was not agreeing though haha! She was immediately in mother mode and wanted me to stop for the day until we had a clearer idea of the injuries I had. I was determined to take one more lesson but when I grabbed my 도복 I noticed that the thread in my pants had broken and taking another lesson would 100% end up with my pants ripping and me flashing my behind to the entire team. I decided to take it as a sign from the universe, telling me that enough is enough. It could also be due to the fact that I have gained 9kgs since December but I would like to stick to the first explanation, hahahah!

In the end, I was out of the game for the last half of the weekend but I had a lot of fun watching all the classes from the side bench. On Sunday I met up with my Korean friend whom I had never met face to face before and when the camp officially ended my sister and I continued to Copenhagen where we stayed until Monday.  While sitting at a Starbucks with my sister, all the pictures from the camp got posted online and when I saw this picture of me it suddenly hit me why that first episode had been so rough on me. 

This picture was taken right as we were ending the fighting lesson on Saturday morning. A lesson that physically took a way bigger toll on me but take a look at my face. I was totally fine. And it hit me. On Friday I didn’t feel intimidated by his size, his strength nor his belt degree. I’m okay with the pain. I was feeling intimidated by him as a person. I felt he was attacking me and who I am, and not my body. I felt worthless and ridiculous.

And on Saturday it was the complete opposite. I got some somewhat bad injuries but my partner and I was smiling and laughing through the entire thing. We were cheering each other on and the instructor was as well.

I think everybody needs to remember this. You don’t have to act like a tough person or belittle people to stay ‘strong’. Smiling at people, cheering them on and telling them that they did a good job does not make you weak nor does it make your win any less of an accomplishment. You can be opponents and still be friends.

Posted in Personal, Selfstudy, Uncategorized

Last goal of 2016

The year is slowly coming to an end and as I do every year, I have been thinking about how to end the year in the best possible way. I started thinking about this last week and decided that I wanted to end 2016 with a feeling of having accomplished a lot in my language learning journey. And to enhance that feeling, I decided that my last goal of 2016 should be to finish 5 of the books that I am currently studying with. I’m always studying with a ton of books and e-books at the same time, because I just can’t wait to get started, when I buy something new. So this way I can put away 5 books from my ‘books-I-am-currently-studying-with’ shelf (Yes. I do actually have such a shelf! It’s on my desk!) and move them to my ‘books-that-I-have-already-finished-but-keep-near-by’ shelf (Yes that’s real too).
I decided to finish these 5 books:
1. 서강 한국어 쓰기 1 – I only have 1 chapter left in this book as well as a few pages I want to review, so I guess this wont be too difficult to accomplish!
2. 백설공주 – I still had 7 stories left in this book when I made the goal, but since my reading pace is slowly becoming decent and the stories are pretty short, this too wasn’t very difficult. I read the last story yesterday! Success!
3. 빈도별 토픽 – This will be one of my bigger tasks since I’m only about 70% finished with the book. However the book is very easy to understand and doesn’t have a lot of assignments compared to my other books, so it is definitely doable!
4. Korean Q&A sentence patterns – I only need to finish 3 chapters in this one, and it’s pretty easy compared to what I usually study with, so this will be doable as well.
5. Korean folk tales & Aesop’s fables – I’m not sure why I never got around to finishing this book but I guess now was right the time! I only had 4 stories left and I finished them all this week.

So 2/5 books have been cleared and I have a week left. It’ll definitely take up a lot of my time, but since my holiday break started today, I am quite OK with that! I will also be visiting my home town next week, which means that I need to entertain myself for the 2×5 hour train ride – Perfect timing! Not to mention that I will be staying with my sister who has work everyday til 4pm, so I’ll have plenty study opportunities there as well.

Time to fix those loose ends before the year ends! Wish me luck!
Merry Christmas guys!

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 Personal, Selfstudy, Uncategorized

100 days of productivity?

Today my vacation is officially over and I am back with my original internship. Even though I now have less time available, I actually still have quite a lot of time compared to my last internship. Lately I haven’t been doing my best when it comes to studying, and I don’t even have a ‘proper’(only oneself should decide what a proper reason is) reason. I just simply haven’t had the energy or focus to work hard. I feel like it’s important to be honest to oneself with things like this instead of making up reasons to why you haven’t done your best. Things are definitely looking better know, but I have been thinking about how to give myself an extra boost of motivation to do my best again. I have some exciting things coming up and I want to prepare myself in the best possible way.
My first plan was to join the Italki language challenge again but I even though I really liked it the last time, I don’t feel like it’s the way to go this time. I don’t have nearly as much time as I did back then and 효진쌤’s schedule isn’t very flexible either. And since she is now back in Korea, we also have to match it with the time difference. Honestly, just having 1 session a week can be more than enough of a challenge!

So what else can I do? Well, I have seen the 100 days of productivity tags on many blogs and especially on Tumblr and Instagram and I thought that maybe I should give it a try. Making a challenge out of it is always a good way for me to motivate myself and it will probably fit the timeframe for my next projects and goals. It will probably also be a good opportunity for me to learn more about my own study habits.
My goal is to study for an average of two hours pr. Day. My normal daily average is around 1,5 hours (only around 1 hour for the past two weeks) so it’s not really that big of a change, but it’ll get me back on track as well as give me the little extra feeling of a challenge.

I won’t be posting a lot about it on the blog, but I will be updating daily on Instagram and twitter.
So that’s what’s going on right now! I’m starting the challenge from today and I’ll be having the last day on December 20th. Not a bad timing if you ask me! I will be having a few busy weeks (week 38,45 and 50) but I’m sure that won’t be a problem since I adjusted the rules to my personal needs.
My rules are pretty simple.
– As long as my final daily average is on 2 hours, then it doesn’t matter how much I study each day.
– I must study some Korean every day.
– I’ll give a short update every day.

And that’s it!
I’m feeling way more excited about this than I should!
Have a great day guys!

Posted in books, Guides, Resources, Selfstudy, Uncategorized

REVIEW – Korean Q&A sentence patterns by TTMIK

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This is a book that just recently joined my growing collection of books, and since it is one of my current favorites I decided that it was more than worthy of a review on the blog.
The funny thing about this is that I actually bought the e-book when it was published, but because I prefer physical copies I never quite got around to using it. I usually force myself to read e-books since not all books will come out in paper format, but it does take me a lot longer to work through them, which is why I currently have 2 other e-books on standby.. I will get to them soon, I promise!
Anyway let’s get to the review!
As usual I will go through the setup, good points and bad points, my general opinion and lastly my advice for studying with this specific book.

Setup
The books starts out with a short but thorough introduction to the content as well as TTMIK’s own advice on how to study with the book. This is followed by the table of contents and then we get to all the fun stuff.
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The book contains 10 categories, which each has 5 main questions. All of the main questions are followed by 3 similar questions, a main grammar point, a sample answer as well as 3 similar answers.
The book provides vocabulary lists, study notes, a real life answer from a TTMIK teacher as well as a sample dialog.
Lastly there’s a blank area for you to write your own answers in.
The book comes with downloadable audio files.

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Good/Bad points
The good – in no specific order:
– Visually pleasing.
– Realistic and interesting topics.
– Easy to review due to study notes.
– No romanization.
– Can help you improve listening, speaking, reading as well as writing.
– Can help you gain confidence by giving you knowledge about basic patterns as well as expected questions/answers in certain situations.
– Clean design that allows you to focus on the actual content.
– Perfect travel size.
– Answers from real people.

The bad – in no specific order:
– I always write answers on a separate paper and never in my books, but if I did then I would like a bit more answer space.

My general opinion
As mentioned in the beginning of my post, this is one of my current favorite books to study with, and I keep finding more and more ways to study with it, so personally I would recommend this to anyone who is beginner or intermediate. It’s a great way to improve your conversational skills and take a step towards talking Korean more freely, which is what I am currently working a lot on.

My advice on studying with this book
– Go through all the main questions. If you can answer them with confidence then you can move on to the next one. Sometimes you might learn something unexpected and even if you don’t, the book is made in a simple way that allows you to read it all quickly without feeling like you’re wasting your time. Not to mention that confirming your skills might give you a boost of confidence!
If you cannot answer with confidence then work through the assignments provided.
– Make sure to write your own answers to the questions. You can easily skip it or copy one of the sample answers, but practicing is really important if you want to really learn how to use these patterns. Also, writing your own answers forces you to really think about the question and the patterns and in many cases you will also have to look up words that are relevant to your specific answer, which will bring you even more knowledge about the topic.
If you find it very difficult, then start by writing your answer on a separate paper in your mother tongue. This will remove any barriers in your thinking while answering as well as it will give you a guide to what words and grammar you need to look up before answering in Korean.
– Avoid practicing wrong things. Make sure to get your answers checked so that you can learn from possible mistakes instead of teaching yourself something incorrect. You can ask friends, language partners, teachers or get help from websites like italki, lang-8 or apps like Hellotalk and HiNative (Reviews are coming for all of these).
– Use the audio files to practice both listening and speaking. These short files are perfect to imitate and practice pronunciation and intonation.
– Study with a language partner or friend if possible. I’m going to use the topics for my future italki sessions, and I’ll use the book to help me prepare for each session/topic.

I hope you guys found this helpful!
Let me just end today’s post by telling you guys that TTMIK is currently having a chuseok sale so now is a really great time to invest in this book! You can buy it HERE

Posted in Guides, Resources, Selfstudy, Uncategorized

Today’s expression – With Naver

I have been wanting to introduce this convenient source for a while, but due to being sick, taking a week long course related to my internship and then having my internet fail me, I simply haven’t been able to do much about it until now.
Nevertheless I am fully back on track, with 17 (yes I’m serious) drafts on my blog, ready to be tackled! I have so many things to share with you guys, and I haven’t even been gone for 20 days! Oh well!

‘Today’s expression’ is a little gem that you can find on the Naver Dictionary app (I haven’t seen it on their website but I can imagine that it is available there as well) and even though it is meant as a tool to learn English, it works pretty well for learning Korean as well! I have seen similar tools online before but because they had some questionable English translations, I wasn’t too thrilled by the thought of using them, even though English isn’t my target language.
I have been going through ‘Today’s expression’ almost every day for a while know and I am happy to report that Naver, in my opinion, is translating these sentences naturally rather than literally (which in certain cases wouldn’t have made sense at all). Good job Naver!
Okay, so let me just walk you guys through this little gem even though you probably don’t need me to. What can I say, I missed talking to you guys!

To begin with, Naver gives you an English sentence/expression along with a Korean translation of it. After that you have an English sample dialog to make sure that you have a context to put the expression into (something that I appreciate in any language).
Then the app breaks down the most important parts of the expression and gives you 3 sample sentences for each point, to show you how to use the same pattern in other sentences. This part comes with a Korean equivalent as well, which is why it can be helpful to Korean learners as well.
Lastly, the app provides a short vocabulary list from the sample sentences.
Basically it’s like learning a language backwards, and it is working fine for me!

Here’s a few examples from the app!

 

 

If you want to do some cramming or hardcore studying then this is obviously not for you, however it is a small and light lesson that you can add to your daily routine, in whatever way you wish.

I hope you guys found it somewhat helpful or at least interesting!
I’ll see you guys soon!

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!