Posted in Dealing with stress, Personal, Resources, Selfstudy

Journaling and decorating

Almost a year ago I started a new project. I started my language journal as a test to see if it would change my writing skills and vocabulary and the plan was to try and write something at least once a week. I found it really hard to get my thoughts out at first and as I had made a rule of not having any rules, other than writing everything in Korean, I quickly ended up with a lot of study notes, stickers and tape to fill out the pages.
However, I slowly shifted to writing my actual thoughts on different topics as well as diary entries from days that I wanted to revisit and remember in the future. I still decorated my pages a lot. I have always LOVED stickers and used to collect them as a child, and I love washi tape too but have never had a reason to buy any. I had fun decorating as much as I had with the actual writing and then one day I got a comment on my Instagram from a girl in Korea. It was nothing special but as I checked out her pictures I saw that she too wrote a diary and spent time decorating it. Looking at her pictures I discovered a bunch of hashtags and I immediately felt super excited.
It turns out, diary decorating, is an actual thing! Especially in Korea.
#다이어리꾸미기 #다꾸기
Who would’ve known? There’s a huge community online of people who share my somewhat newfound love for both journaling and decorating, and I instantly felt right at home! There are blogs, Instagrams, Youtubers, chatrooms, and forums.
It has been about 6 months since I discovered this new and very beautiful world and my sticker, stamp and washi collection has grown very big, very fast! And my vocabulary has grown too, though I wasn’t really in the way I had planned, haha!

As for the more study related part, I actually do feel a lot more comfortable with writing.
I start by writing my entry on my laptop and then I send it to my italki teacher who then returns it with corrections. And then I rewrite the corrected version into my actual physical diary. By now I have done it so many many times that I know that one page takes 150-200 words to fill out with the way I decorate. If I have more to say then I write more pages, if I have less to say then I add more stickers. It’s so much fun, super helpful and it doesn’t at all feel like studying to me.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that whatever hobby you have, try emerging it with your language learning. I have made several new friends through my journaling and I’m so happy I discovered this little world.

Posted in Personal, taekwondo, Uncategorized

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!

Posted in korea, Personal, Rant, Uncategorized

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!

Posted in korea, Personal, travel, Uncategorized

Time to go

The last week have been absolutely insane. I officially started my summer vacation and that meant that all my focus was on renovating our new home and on studying. I have been working my butt off to make sure that everything at home is under control and even though I haven’t been able to focus too well, I still insisted on studying. I have especially been listening to a lot of audio-books and I have been reading a lot on my tablet as well as in my psychical books.
This week literally just flew by with a blink of an eye, and now it’s almost time for me to leave.

My sister and I started talking about this trip back in 2013 and we started saving up for it in the beginning of 2015. And now the time has finally come. It’s almost midnight here in Denmark and I’m leaving in less than 7 hours.
I should probably be sleeping but that’s unlikely to happen. I’m too excited and nervous.

Those of you who have been around for a while will probably know about the strong anxiety attacks I suffered from last year, when I went flying for the first time. Needless to say I’m not feeling too well about that part of the trip. My therapist suggested some calming medication but I denied. I want to do this using my own strength and courage. And I can do it. I know it for sure.
If I start feeling sleepy then I’ll go to sleep but if I don’t then I guess I’ll be pulling an all-nighter. That wouldn’t be too bad either. Then I would be able to sleep on the second plane and hopefully not struggle so much with the time difference. But we’ll see. I’m taking one small step at a time.
I have a few check points on my way, and I’ll make sure to celebrate whenever I reach one. My boyfriend will drop me off in Grenaa, then I’ll take a bus to Aarhus and then another bus to the airport. After those check points I have Helsinki, Incheon and then I have the final check point which is our home for the next 3 weeks! It sort of feels like a game when I break it down like this!

My bags are packed, I said bye to my bunnies earlier and now I’m just casually waiting.
I’m going miss my boyfriend and the bunnies, but I’ll be fine. I hope they will miss me too lol!

I guess it really is time to go on our own little adventure now. I kinda felt like the time would never pass.
See you in 3 weeks dear Denmark~^^

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. 🙂

Posted in korea, Personal, taekwondo, TOPIK, Uncategorized

Overwhelmed but happy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in Personal, taekwondo, Uncategorized

Who would’ve thought

Lately I have been very aware of all the things in my life that are precious to me. That usually happens this time of the year, however this year it seems that the majority of these precious things are related to my language learning journey, in one way or another.
Through my Korean studies I have met a whole bunch of amazing people that I would now hate to be without. I have met people through language exchange, through italki teachers, through this blog as well as through fellow students. I went on a trip to London and made a ton of great memories. I took chances I never thought I would even consider taking and I have learned about a new culture and a new way of thinking.
And now, I’m starting yet another adventure! Because I’m joining a Taekwondo class! Wait wait wait.. Just how did I end up here?
Well. When I was young(er) I used to love any movie that involved martial arts and there was even a Taekwondo class starting up near my house, but my mom didn’t allow me to take part in it. Since then I have thought about joining different classes like kickboxing or self-defense classes, and when I jokingly told my Korean friend that I would start learning karate, he responded with ‘I won’t allow that! At the very least you have to stay loyal to Korea and choose Taekwondo instead!’ While this too was just a joke, I ended up actually giving it some consideration. Around a week later I actually discovered a club pretty close to me by accident and started to think about it more seriously. I ended up contacting the club and even though I can’t start yet (Transportation is really an issue when you live in the countryside like I do, so I have to wait until I’m finished getting my drivers licence) and there’s no official start-ups around the time where I can start, they allowed me to sign up anyway and then join them as soon as I can. So there you have it. I’m joining a Taekwondo class around the new year!
A Korean friend reminded me of my interest in martial arts and my interest in Korea led me towards Taekwondo. I probably wouldn’t be here at all if it weren’t for my Korean language learning journey.
Who would have known that my life would look this way, today? Let’s all go on more adventures!