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 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!

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