Posted in Personal, taekwondo, Uncategorized

Getting my butt kicked

Thursday was a rough but interesting day for me. After a crazy long day of work I drove towards a small town called Kolind where I was going to take part in my very first Taekwondo practice! I was incredibly nervous and NOTHING went as it was supposed to. Do you guys ever experience such days? Days where you have every single detail planned and still everything somehow fails you?
Well Thursday was that kind of day..
I was hoping that my first practice would help me release all the stress and tension from work that day, but things started going south as soon as I left the house. I ended up driving behind a slow moving vehicle for a really long time which meant that my schedule didn’t work out as planned. I was supposed to arrive 6.40PM, change into my workout clothes and then be ready to join the practice at 7PM. But because of the slow moving vehicle I arrived at 7.50PM instead and just to make things even worse, the front door turned out to be locked and I had no idea how to get in.. Sigh.. After a few minutes of trying to figure out what on earth I was going to do, a woman in a Dobok saw me standing there all confused, and opened the door from inside the building. OK! So far so good! But at this point I only had 4 minutes left before the practice started so I had to choose between changing my clothes and therefor being late, or being on time but train in normal jeans and a tank top.. I was told beforehand to come in clothes that where easy to move around in, so both options pretty much made me feel like an idiot ^^;;
At this point my anxiety starting freaking out (which I totally should have seen coming, but somehow didn’t) and I knew that if I didn’t follow the woman who had helped me in, then I would just turn around and go home instead. So I walk into the practice room all alone, not knowing a single person inside, as the only person dressed in black, in a room full of white Doboks. ^^;; Great. I have never felt that shy and awkward in my entire life. Hahaha.. Just thinking about it know makes me want to hide in a hole somewhere.
Anyway.. Of course the story and embarrassment doesn’t end here.. No, that would have been too easy, right?
Let me just quickly explain something. The club doesn’t have any beginners teams until fall, so I am literally the only one there who has no idea what’s going on and what to do. Everybody was really kind and helped me out when they could, and kept reminding me that everybody had started from zero at some point. They told me to just relax, try to follow along but not to the point where I might hurt myself. While this did indeed make me feel better, I still felt a lot of pressure. Obviously I don’t want to slow everybody down just because everything needed to be explained to me, so in the end I went into my focus mode and did everything I could to pay attention and keep up with everybody else.

That worked out perfectly for the first 15 minutes and then
RIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIPPPP!!!
…. That my dear friends, was the sound of my jeans ripping in front of everybody.. ^^;;
Great. Super great. ^^;;

Do you know that feeling where something super embarrassing happens and you feel like it will become even more embarrassing if you acknowledge that it happened? Yeah, that’s how I felt.. And that’s how I ended up practicing for another 1,5 hours with ripped pants.. Yeah.. Fun fun ^^;;

Anyway, if we just forget about all those struggles, I actually ended up having a great time! It was really interesting to hear so many Korean words over and over again. Though I do have some issues understanding most of what is being said due to the strong Danish pronunciation!
Also! Everybody on the team had to count to ten in Korean, one by one, during warm-ups and I was the last one (because I was the youngest of the white belts) but just as I was about to begin, the 사부님 said ‘Since you don’t know how to count yet, we’ll just skip you for now’. I thought about telling him that I’m actually quite confident when it comes to counting in Korean, but I decided that it probably would be best not to disturb the flow of the warm-up. Also I felt like I had already had more than enough of the spotlight for me to handle on one day, hahaha!
I managed to keep up with most of the exercises and got a lot of compliments for my kicks, which made me really excited. There so much to learn and I’m feeling pretty optimistic so far!
I was exhausted and completely free from stress once the practice was over and I drove home with a really nice buzz in my entire body. I was so sore the days after and even now I can still feel it in my shoulders. I’m quite happy about how things turned out – in the end at least.
I’m really looking forward to my next practice, which is tomorrow! This time though, I’ll be changing my clothes  before I leave from home…… ^^;

Posted in books, Guides, Resources, Selfstudy, Uncategorized

Reading books in foreign languages

When it comes to learning a language there are tons of ways to improve your skills. My best tip is definitely to read a lot in your target language since it can improve your skills in so many different ways, but I’ll save that for another blog post and stick to the actual topic of this post for now! While I recommend reading about a variety of subjects in a variety of forms, I personally find reading books to be the most helpful and interesting.
However, jumping into reading books in a foreign language isn’t always that easy. Unless you already have some fairly decent skills or a ton of patience (or stubbornness perhaps?), then you will most likely struggle a lot when you first try it out.
I know so many people who have gotten discouraged and filled with frustrations while trying to read books, that they no longer want to even try.
As a book lover I really find it sad whenever people around me fail to find joy in their books, and especially when the struggles are caused by the language and not the book itself.
I read my first book in Korean a little over a year ago and I’m currently working my way through my 7th book, so I thought I would give you guys a few tips on book reading in foreign languages!

  1. Choose a book that isn’t completely new to you. It can be a book that you have already read, a fairy tale you remember from your childhood or maybe a book version of your favorite movie. This way you will find it a lot easier to fill in the missing gaps – because you will have random gaps here and there. I also don’t recommend reading books that you already know by heart. If you do that then you risk getting bored too fast and you might stop paying attention to the actual book while reading it.
    It’s all about balance.
  2. Choose a book with novels or short stories, or a long book with short chapters. Short chapters gives you the feeling of getting somewhere. If you read 3 pages from a 10 paged chapter then you will feel the progress asap, but if you on the other hand read 3 pages from a 50 paged chapter, then you will feel like you have gotten just about nowhere. You effort remains the same but those 3 pages will feel a lot more valuable in short stories or chapters.
  3. Look up every unknown word in the first chapter. The first chapter is usually some sort of introduction to the characters and the overall story, which means that all the most important words for that specific book will show up over and over again in the first chapter. If you keep looking them up until you remember them, then you will find it a lot easier to work through the rest of the book. Of course you can look up all the unknown words throughout the entire book,but my personal experiences tells me that this method usually becomes too overwhelming. Personally I prefer looking up all the unknown words during the first chapter, and after that I only look up words if I suddenly find myself feeling lost after reading a full page or of I see a certain word being used again and again.
  4. Make an actual effort. Don’t keep the book in your bag and only bring it out when you have to wait for someone or when you smartphone battery dies. Make an actual effort to read the book. Decide on an adjustable goal every day and make sure to bring out that book in order to accomplish it- even when you aren’t bored to death!
  5. Try reading books in both digital and paper format. I have always preferred paper books as I enjoy the feeling of putting in a bookmark and then being able to see how much I have read as well as the feeling of actually turning the pages. Also I used to get really tired from reading digital books and bad headaches were pretty normal too. These days it seems to be getting better, but I definitely still enjoy paper books over digital books. It might make a big difference to you too.
  6. Try out pretty books. This might sound really stupid, but I personally enjoy books with pretty pictures. Especially drawn or painted pictures. It feels sort of like a check point whenever I get to one of the pictures, and I feel almost just as excited to reach those as I do when I reach a new chapter. I collect the Indigo books and I definitely recommend them if you want to enjoy pretty pictures while reading great stories

I’m currently reading 빨강머리 앤.

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I hope you found this post useful!

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 Resources, Selfstudy, Uncategorized

Christmas vocabulary

HI GUYS!
It’s finally that time of the year again! Ah yes, as you might have noticed by now, I am that friend who is always overly excited about Christmas.
I’m not planning on too many Christmas rants on the blog, however of course I need to take advantage of my Christmas love, and use it to learn some Korean! And you guys can use it too! Since there’s a lot of differences between Christmas in Denmark and Christmas in Korea, it seems to naturally become a good topic to discuss with language partners and friends. You will also naturally see Christmas related words during this season, so maybe you want to prepare yourself a bit. Maybe you just love Christmas as much as I do! No matter what your reason might be, I have prepared a long list of words that might become useful to you guys during this season!

First, here’s the list without translations. I recommend looking up the meaning of the words on your own, as it help you remember them better when you have to write them yourself. However, if you prefer having the translations immediately, then you can download the word list as a PDF here along with their translation!
NOTE, I have not used Romanization anywhere, because I personally believe that it’ll only slow you down if you depend on it too much. 🙂
I also created a study course on Memrise, so if you want to study with this list, you can do it through Memrise, via your computer or smartphone! Just click here!
Also, A HUGE THANKS to 효진쌤 (너무너무너무 고마워요! 역시 효진쌤 짱이당~) who proofread my list to make sure that I didn’t publish complete nonsense!
Lastly, please remember that I choose the words based on my own logic and experiences. Christmas in Denmark is very different from Christmas in America, so while Turkey is relevant in America, Duck is more relevant in Denmark, and therefore the relevant words will obviously change from country to country. Feel free to add the words you personally find relevant.
Enjoy guys~

크리스마스
크리스마스 트리
선물
산타 할아버지 
메리 크리스마스  
순록
휴일
케이크  
사탕  
요정
칠면조 고기 
눈   
크리스마스 카드 
썰매
북극  
굴뚝 
예수 그리스도 
크리스마스 캐럴   
베들레헴 
기념하다  
눈사람 
벽난로
겨우살이 / 미슬토우
크리스마스 양말 
호랑 가시 나무  
지팡이 사탕  
종   
루돌프 사슴코  
눈송이    
장식  
생강쿠키 집  
진저맨 / 생강쿠키 사람  
화환 
천사
양초   
촛불  
불빛   
켜다 
촛대 
자선단체 
밤 
석탄
쿠키 
쿠키 커터
12월(십이월) 
에그노그  
선물을 교환하다   
가족  
장작 
서리  
과일 케이크  
가랜드
거위 고기
안부 
빨간색  
녹색
흰색  
금색 
은색 
핫초코 / 코코아  
행복  
껴안다 
얼음 
고드름 
딸랑딸랑/짤랑짤랑
기쁨    
징글벨  
크리스마스 전등  
사랑
벙어리장갑 
호두까개 
쿠키통 
퍼레이드  
소나무  
솔방울   
리본    
눈뭉치  
크리스마스 쇼핑      
목도리   
내리다  
포장하다   
풀다    
방한화 / 겨울 부츠

하트  
전통  
노래  
겨울
소원  
포장지  
나비리본
나비 넥타이 
오리 고기  
대림절 일요일  
대림절 달력   
크리스마스 리스   
반짝거리다   
크리스마스 모자  
평화
대림절 초
춥다

 

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!

Posted in Selfstudy, Uncategorized

CONTEXT PLEASE!

 

I always try to remind myself to learn through context and this is what I do most of the time, but to be honest sometimes it’s just really tempting to find random words to study with. Especially if you don’t really want to study a specific topic but rather wants to expand your general vocabulary. I too have done this many times. It’s not that it’s a bad thing at all, but just try to keep in mind that having a context can make everything a whole lot easier.
Also, when looking up words in your native language to find the Korean equivalent, I always recommend looking at the suggested sample sentences. Often there are tons of words being suggested basted on the word you searched for, but the context can be the thing that determines which of those suggestions to use, and you will only find a context by looking at sample sentences.
I recommend doing the same thing when looking up the Korean word, to find the (in my case at least) English meaning. If you use Naver dictionary like I do, then you will know that it suggests words in a dropdown menu while you are writing the word(just like when you are googling something), and it shows the meaning as well. This mean that you often can find the meaning of the word you are searching for, even before having finished spelling it in the search bar. While this can be a great time saver (that I often take advantage of) it can also create some issues. The words shown in that preview menu is the most common used ones, but if the context isn’t correct then you might find yourself feeling super confused.
Let me give you an example!
I’m currently reading a long article and in the beginning of that article I came across the word 투기, and when searching for the meaning I ended up with this result:

15095468_10207829258149012_5436167785661641869_n

That didn’t quite make sense to me, however, I was still in the very beginning of the article and there was a handful of other words that I didn’t know, which made it a little difficult to determine whether the word was wrong or if it was just me who didn’t quite understand the meaning of the full sentence. In cases like this I always make a small note in my notebook and then continue reading to give myself a better context.
I continued reading and after a little while I came across the word again. Now, with a better understanding of the context, I knew for sure that ‘speculate’ didn’t make any sense in this context, whatsoever. So I checked with Naver once again. This time I ignored the result from the quick menu and searched for other meanings and sample sentences.

15095090_10207829258269015_5700820314742125889_n

Now look at the last result.
The article I am reading is about Taekwondo, and with that context as well as the last result in mind, the word 투기 suddenly makes perfect sense. The context literally made the entire difference.
Next time you feel discouraged by not understanding the overall meaning despite looking up all the words, just remember that you might have found the wrong words for your specific context.

Another example could be when I recently read the word 밤(evening, night). 밤 is a word that I have known pretty much since I started studying two years ago, but it simply didn’t fit into the context that I found it in. While I felt really silly to look up the meaning of a word that I thought I knew for sure, I decided to do it anyway and I then discovered that 밤 also means chestnut. Quite a difference, huh? Always remember the context.

Here’s some of the most common words with different meanings that I have come across:
맞다To be correct or To be hit/slapped?
사과Apology or Apple?
Eye or Snow?
Pear or Boat?
Car or Tea?
Words/speech or Horse?

You see what I mean, right? Context can make everything a whole lot easier!