Posted in Personal, Rant, taekwondo, Uncategorized

Growing

3 weeks ago I went on a taekwondo summer camp with a bunch of amazing people. A lot of things happened that weekend! First of all, I had my third belt graduation and successfully earned myself a new belt! Hello Orange!

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The night I got my diploma!

And then the next day I did actual 겨루기 (kyorugi) which is the sparring/fighting part of taekwondo. Obviously we practice the techniques and such but we don’t do a lot of 겨루기 in our normal practice sessions (unless you are around a red belt or up – at that point 겨루기 becomes a part of your future promotions) so it was super new to me. We practiced a few techniques and then a few people got to try them out in an actual fight. I have always been absolutely terrified of the thought of fighting someone else, so imagine my surprise when my hand flew up in response to our coaches request for volunteers. Well.. ^^; I really have no idea what happened. Maybe I was feeling a bit more confident due to my new belt, or maybe something inside me just knew that I really needed to challenge myself. Who knows?
I was sparring with a girl who was used to sparring so I quickly had to change my tactic and focus on defending. I got 0 points and she got 2, but we were supposed to keep on till 3 points had been achieved. However I ended up defending myself well enough so that she couldn’t get the final point and the fight had to be stopped because the time ran out. That still makes her the winner, but I felt strong and completely invincible! Sort of funny since I had just lost my first fight, huh?

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Technique practice before fight!

 

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Halfway through belt test!

Those things has already turned into fond memories however, something way .. bigger? .. more interesting? happened. I don’t really know what to call it yet. Whatever it is, it certainly sparked a bunch of thoughts and emotions within me.
As some of you guys already know, our club  – and sister clubs – all have a Korean Grand Master, living in Germany. I had met him twice before summer camp. I met him briefly at the dan promotion back in September and again in March when we had our annual Easter trip to his Dojang in Hamburg. Back in March I had decided that I was going to challenge myself and actually talk to him. He doesn’t speak Danish nor English, and his German skills are not too great either. I don’t speak German at all so if we were to talk, it would only be in Korean, which – as you all know – is not at all new to me.
When we were having dinner back then, he sat down next to me and while I was trying to gather some courage, his family joined him and they started chatting away in Korean SO FREAKING FAST and with the thickest Busan dialect I have heard in a long time. In the end I just sat there with my, not at all charming, 멍 face. Nope. I was so not going to try and join that conversation! I did thank his wife for the food in Korean though, but then she got so shocked that I for a moment thought I had broken her, and I ended up just smiling awkwardly and then practically ran out of the room. Great. It was just great.

As you can probably imagine, I had absolutely no intentions of talking to him and making a fool out of myself this time either, however I forgot to take something quite important into consideration. You see, back then only a handful of my taekwondo friends knew about my language skills, and it has since then become known among them all..
Saturday evening was our last evening together, it was they day where we had the most lessons and also the day of our successful belt promotion so everybody was having fun and relaxing together. Master Shin and his wife had brought a karaoke machine and people were singing, dancing, yelling, laughing and getting more than just a little tipsy. I was sitting with my friends and coaches who were talking to Master Shin, when one of my coaches suddenly turned around and asked me if I wanted to speak in Korean with Master Shin, and before I had a chance to decline the ‘offer’ my other coach was telling Master Shin about my Korean abilities.
It happened so freaking fast and I quickly turned into Master Shins favorite person. I was quickly asked to switch places with my coach and he then called over his wife to talk to me as well. He was talking so fast and even though his dialect was way lighter when talking to me, I still had to focus 100% on understanding what he was telling me. He also talks A LOT. That’s kinda an inside joke among the clubs, but it only made it ‘worse’ when he was able to speak comfortably in Korean. I asked him when they had moved to Germany and he started telling me about where he grew up, what university he had graduated from and about a funny friend of his who has become very wealthy. He never answered my question though ^^’ He asked me to sing a Korean song which I politely but very strongly passed up on. Every time he and his wife had to do something or went to sing a song, they would instantly circle right back to me, and it quickly gained interest from the 150 other people who were present. They were all staring at us and talking about us with the biggest fascination I have seen in a very long time. I didn’t know most of them and I couldn’t really process the situation because I had to focus all of my energy into understanding the conversation.
A few hours into the conversation he suddenly got out his wallet and took out a business card. It was old and wrinkly so he started to smooth it out on the table until his wife found a prettier one. He then gave the pretty to me and asked me to write down my contact information on the other one. He explained that he would love for me to help him translate in the future, at these taekwondo events. He also told me about a bunch of Korean companies in Germany that he could connect me to if I wished to work with them in the future.

Shin´s Family Summer Camp 2018 DELING_00259
Here’s Master Shin on one of his super long explanations, while my coach is stuck in this great pose while trying to translate into Danish, haha!

Going to bed in my tiny little pink tent that night, I couldn’t sleep despite being completely drained. I was trying to process all of my thoughts and emotions but all I felt was panic. I was fine when I didn’t have time to think about the situation but now that I was all alone I instantly doubted myself and I felt like crying. I almost called my boyfriend despite it being way past midnight, because I suddenly felt like the most stupid person in the world and I needed someone to tell me that it wasn’t true.
The thing is, I have never been super confident about any of my skills, but I have been  working a lot on that and it has been a really long time since I have felt that insecure and it really caught me by surprise.
I was cursing at myself for having agreed to help, and for giving him my contact information. I mean, who the hell do I think I am?! I can’t interpret. I’m not good enough. I keep thinking about myself as a TOPIK level 4, but the truth is that I haven’t actually passed that grade yet. I could fail. And even if I don’t, a level 4 is still no where near a level 6 which would be way better for him. I’m going to mess everything up. He’ll meet me next time with big expectations and become disappointed because I haven’t improved since the last time. Or he’ll ask me me to translate something and I wont understand and I’ll just stand there in front of everyone like an idiot.
Also, I don’t network. I can’t. I’m a super awkward person and I suck at being social. I can’t network with companies! I mean god, I don’t even know what I want to do with my life yet. What the hell is wrong with me?

It suddenly turned into a depressing post, huh?
In the end I kept all these worries to myself. I joked to my friends and my coaches about going home and focusing my studies even more now, but I felt really worried. My boyfriend sensed that something was off but I insisted that I was just tired. For the next week I studied like crazy and got N.O.T.H.I.N.G out of it. I couldn’t focus at all and I didn’t absorb anything that I read. My study tracker looked great but I can’t remember a single thing from that entire week. Time spent on studying doesn’t equal progress.
As the week had passed and we gathered at my regular Dojang, we all got diplomas for passing the test and talked about our favorite parts of the weekend while sharing everything with those who weren’t able to join us on camp.
When it was my turn I got my diploma, talked a bit about my favorite moments and then went to sit back down, when my main coach stopped me and said “Something else also happened, right? Would you like to tell everybody or can I do it?”. I knew he was talking about my conversation with Master Shin, so I started explaining and my coach kept adding to the story.
This is basically where everything changed. My coach was eagerly telling my story from his point of view, everybody who was at the camp started talking to those who hadn’t been there “It was so cool, she just sat there and talked to him in Korean like it was the most normal thing in the entire world…”, “Frau Shin looked so happy when they talked about her homemade Kimchi”.
Everybody was so fascinated. It was such a new thing to them. I felt a bit lighter seeing everybody so happy and excited and then my coach added something that really touched my heart. He said that he had known Master Shin for more than 25 years and in all that time he had never ever seen him or his wife so relaxed and open. As I mentioned before, Master Shin talks a lot. However, he only talks if he has a purpose (which is usually explaining something about taekwondo, the human body or our minds). Probably because communication is tricky when he isn’t that good at German, and doesn’t have any other language in common with everybody else. My coach said that it was incredibly touching to see him relaxed like that. He then lastly added, that our little Dojang had gotten some serious bonus points from Master Shin, thanks to me.
It made me realize how incredibly lucky I am. I got to see a side of Master Shin that nobody else get to. I got to hear about his childhood, and I got to listen to him bickering with his wife about the wrinkly business card, while nobody else had any idea what was going on.
It also made me realize that I’m not going to disappoint anyone. I talked to him almost nonstop for 4 hours. He knows exactly what my skills are. Sure, he’ll probably expect me to improve till I see him again. And I will.
I also wont disappoint my coaches. To them, this has already been an incredible experience. Also, they all cheer me on! They ask how my exam preparations are coming along and they all listen even when I get carried away and talk about it for way too long.

I don’t know where all of this will take me. I might end up doing a lot of translation/interpretation work in the future, or I might never. I might end up networking my way into some company or I might not. I truly have no idea. All I know is that I didn’t come this far by freaking out and running away.
I might face some difficulties and I’ll need a different focus during my study sessions, but I’m going to do my absolute best and I wont let any self doubt drag me down that hole again.
This is all about growing.

So here we go. I’m going to rock this!

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I would do this all over again!^^
Posted in books, Resources, Selfstudy, Uncategorized

REVIEW: Real-life Korean Conversations: Intermediate – By TalkToMeInKorean

I ordered this book by TTMIK around the time they published it, but I didn’t get to start using it until just recently. I have now finished it and as I have promised a few people, I’m now here to share my thoughts with all of you!

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Table of content:

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Structure breakdown:
Each chapter begins with a 2 page dialog which is then followed by a vocabulary list.

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3

4

vocabAfter reading the dialog and following up on the vocabulary, the real fun begins. A grammar pattern from the dialog is introduced and followed by a few sample sentences that allows you to become more comfortable with that specific pattern.
You then have two short assignments involving that pattern. The TTMIK crew guides you through the vocabulary so you only have to focus on the actual pattern and how to use it. Below the assignment you’ll find the answer key.

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After checking your answers, you see two other patterns that are related to the main pattern that you are learning, which then introduces two alternative ways of expressing the same thing as the main pattern. It can be by using other words, another type of grammer or even another level of politeness. Below these patterns you’ll also find a sample sentence as well as information on why the pattern is different/similar, how to use and when to use it.

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Each dialog has three main patterns, that all comes with assignments and alternative patterns.

Good things:
– When reading the dialog, the Korean version is on the left side, and the English version is on the right side. This way you can check how much of the dialog you understand line by line if you wish without having to flip back and forth between pages, or if you are more like me, then you can easily skip the English version completely. You can adjust it according to your preferences.

– The book comes with audio files. A useful tool for any language learner.

– Vocabulary list. A really helpful tool and a good indicator of your level. I’m always excited if I know most of the words on the list. Also, it makes it easier to study on the go, because you don’t need a device to look up the words (though I’m sure most of us just do in through our smartphones anyway).

– The same grammar pattern can be found in different chapters. This is really helpful when it comes to expanding your knowledge of how to use that specific pattern. It’s also a great reminder that there’s never just one way of expressing yourself

– The answer key is printed right after the practice assignments, in a discreet font and color. This is GREAT! When I do assignments in books, I check the answers after each assignment because I don’t want to complete a full page of assignments just to discover that I had misunderstood what I was supposed to do. However, this usually means that I have to go back and forth between the assignment and the answer key. This is why I love it when books have the answer key printed along with each assignment.
As mentioned above, it’s very discreet so you don’t have to worry about the answers jumping to your eyes before you actually need them.

– The book changes between the different politeness levels, unlike many other books who only teach the 존댓말 version.

– The general design of the book is great. It’s user friendly and pleasing to the eyes.

– It has cute drawings with empty speech bubbles. Okay this might sound odd, but think about it! You can go back write your own example sentences using the grammar that you just learned. Sounds like fun to me!

– Fun and realistic dialogs. I know that it kinda says so in the title, but trust me, titles aren’t always honest. I had quite a few giggle moments while going through the book and many of the situations were super relatable.

What could be improved:
Nothing really.

Final thoughts:
Overall I really liked the book. Personally it was mainly reviewing for me, as most dialogs only had 1-3 unknown words and I only came across  1 unknown grammar point. For a short time I also wished that the dialogs had been a bit longer, but that’s all just because I’m at an high intermediate stage. If you’re a high beginner/low intermediate stage then this book would be absolutely perfect for you. At this stage it’ll be very helpful to have a book that explains and compares similar grammar patterns as well as help expand you vocabulary. It’ll also help you gain some confidence if you find it difficult to practice with native speakers.

If you’re interested in the book then you can find it right here! They also have it in ebook format and in a beginner edition as well.

Also, I did take a few pictures while studying with the book, so I’ll have another ‘Study With Me’ post up, in a week or so!

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

Study With Me: Kmooc – 한국인의 똑똑한 밥상

Lately I have been getting quite a few questions on how to study rather than what materials to study with which has made me realize that self-studying isn’t an easy task to everybody. For some reason it has always seemed quite natural to me and I never struggle to find materials or new methods to learn. I adjust everything to my needs and I can spend hours on relatively simple materials because I want to get the very most out of it.
Since I always struggle to explain HOW to study, I figured I’d start a series on the blog where I simply just show you guys what I’m working with and how. Hopefully you can feel inspired and try out a few of the things that I do, and as soon as you have an idea of what you like to do and what works the best for you, you can simply start to pick and choose from your experiences. The best way to study is honestly impossible to write down. It’s such an individual thing and you just have to try a lot of different approaches to see what works for you and what doesn’t.

Today I want to show you guys how I’m going through a Kmooc course called 한국인의 똑똑한 밥상.

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This is a course in Korean, for Korean people so obviously that influences my study approach. There’s not any explanations to vocabulary or grammar that I need to write down since it isn’t created for foreigners. Instead I take a lot of notes on the actual content and the unknown vocabulary.

I begin by collecting all of my materials. I’m currently obsessed with my Ecco Pigment pens and I use a Tombow correction tape. It’s the best correction tape I have tried so far (and I have tried A LOT), and I totally recommend it.
My yellow Aurora notebook is only used for my Kmooc course notes.

Study items

I then get my studybudy ready a.k.a my tablet. When I know that I’ll be studying for a long time, I always use the Pomodoro technique. I might write about it in an blog post soon, but you can just google it if you’re curious. Basically you just have a timer to tell you when and for how long you should take breaks to get the most out of your studying efforts. I also use my tablet to look up vocabulary. As soon as my studybudy is ready to go, I put my phone away in my drawer and I don’t touch it again until I’m on break or done with studying.

Timer

I begin by watching the video lesson. The lesson is in Korean and has the option of Korean or English subtitles. I watch it with Korean subtitles because that way I have a clear image of how much I understood from the video. I listen carefully and read along as the professor starts the lesson.

Korean version

I then re-watch the lesson with English subtitles. I do this to close any gaps in my understanding as well as to confirm the things I believe I understood from the lesson. It’s a good way to find out just how much you might have missed or maybe even misunderstood.

English version

Now that I have closed any possible gaps, I’m moving on to taking notes. I switch back to Korean subtitles and look at the transcript. At this point I understand more than enough to choose whats important and what is not from the transcript, but if you are struggling then you can keep the English transcript and either write you notes in English or simply mark the time stamp and then find the same paragraph in the Korean transcript. I recommend the latter. Even if you struggle to understand the notes you are jotting down it’ll still make you feel more comfortable with the words, the grammar and the sentence structure. A third option could be to write down each of the points you find important, in both Korean and English. Just do whatever works for you!
My notes a mostly just copied straight from the transcript, however I do change certain parts. I find that this course repeats the same points quite a few times and I see no use for that in my notes. Also I change things like ‘우리나라의’ to ‘한국의’, because it would just be too odd for me to refer to Korea as ‘우리나라’ as a foreigner.
Basically it’s all just about adjusting everything to your needs and preferences.

It took me just over 6 pomodoro sessions to finish my notes, so around 2 hours and 30 minutes.

Note overview

Now I move on to vocabulary. As for me, I find it way better to learn vocabulary through context so I always look up words in the end. By this point I have already learned a handful of words through context and I find that these words stick to my brain way easier than all the other words.
I now go through the transcript once again, writing down all the words I still don’t know or are unsure of. Even if I know that I wrote down a certain word from the last lesson as well, I still write it down. Repetition is your friend in this case, and someday it’ll suddenly stick!
I always color code my notes. It makes everything way more organized and it’s such a big help when you want to review your notes.

I spent another two sessions (50 minutes) on looking up words and writing them down.
Vocabulary notes bestVocabulary notes

Lastly, I create a Quizlet set. This is in itself a great way to review everything, because you have to write down all the words once again. When I’m done I can usually already remember a few of the words, which makes me feel great when I actually start practicing via the app.
Quizlet also remembers definitions so if you (or someone else) have written a certain word then it’ll often suggest previous definitions to that word, which can save you a lot of time.

It took me around 25 minutes to create my set.

Quizlet

In the end I spent just over 4 hours studying a lesson, based on a 9 minute video + whatever time I end up using on Quizlet later. I could have just watched it once with English subtitles and then moved on, but why not take advantage of the video and the transcript, and get as much out of it as possible? At least that’s how I feel. If you struggle to stay focused or if you hate working on the same thing for a long time, then obviously this might not be the best approach for you.
It’s all about adjusting!

I hope this was somewhat helpful!

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, Rant, Selfstudy, taekwondo, Uncategorized

All the things

As most of you guys already know, I’ve had some pretty intense last months of 2017. It seemed like all important things had to be done at the same time which left me running around all confused for a while!

I had my very first taekwondo belt promotion in the end of November and it scared the poop out of me. My anxiety was all over the place and I felt like I was going to fail, despite knowing that I knew everything that I needed to know. It was a really rough morning, but the second our coach said 차렷! My brain completely shut down and my body switched to the same taekwondo mode I experience during our normal practices. When my name was called I got up, did my thing and sat back down. Being a white belt there wasn’t a lot of things for me to show compared to many of the other colors, so I spent the next few hours focused on what my team mates where doing. I felt super encouraged and motivated to continue when I was looking at them. In the end I passed and got a yellow stripe on my white belt. That means I’m halfway to a new belt – Yay!

I got home late that Sunday and I was completely exhausted, but I couldn’t relax.
You see, I was working on my important, final exam at the same time as I was preparing for the promotion. I had been working on that project since early May. First I had to create a project idea and make a plan, which I then had to present to my teacher and boss for approval. Once that was taken care of I wasn’t allowed to do anything related to the project until August (that’s a long story). In August I had to prepare for the project which then had to run for 2 weeks in September. I then had to spend the beginning of November on gathering results and then spend the end of November on writing a report on all of my goals, my methods of accomplishing those goals, the final results and so on. The report had to be submitted the morning after my belt promotion and believe it or not, it still wasn’t over.
After submitting my work I then had to start preparing and practicing for an oral presentation of everything written in my report. I had the final, oral part of the exam a week later, and after that I was finally done! I’m so happy to finally be done with the entire project!

These super stressful months took their toll on my body though. After the exam I started feeling really tired all the time and my general anxiety became a lot worse, but due to the Christmas season, there was just no way I could slow down. I was working overtime for several weeks and when I finally had my last day of work this year, I felt like crap. I immediately got sick with the flu which have now lasted for two weeks. I’m positive that this is my body’s way of telling me that enough is enough.
It’s so important to take good care of yourself!

I finally started to feel alive again yesterday and I felt even better today. I made sure to eat a ton of fruits and veggies! I spent a lot of time studying before and after getting sick as well.

As some of you might know, I have been taking a course on Kmooc. I wasn’t planning on doing it at all but I accidentally joined a course while looking for more information about it, because I’m an idiot that apparently can’t read, haha! The funny thing is that I had just talked to a friend about wanting to finish a lot of all my current books and projects before starting any of my new books (I’m only using one of the books I bought in Korea. I’m not allowed to even open the rest until I have completed a few of the ones I’m currently working with), so obviously I have been teased quite a lot about this.. Anyway I joined a course by 울산대학교 called 가족과 건강: 행복한 삶을 위한 정신의학. I actually really like the course and I feel like I have done a lot better than expected. I especially worried about the essays since writing is one of my weakest assets. But that’s why I’m glad I joined it. Throwing yourself into a new challenge, head first and with no safety net, is a great way of improving. I have finished all of the weeks and the accompanying homework, and now I’m just waiting for the final quiz to start next week. I’m also (im)patiently awaiting feedback on the biggest essay from a few weeks ago. My total score needs to be 60% or higher to pass, and I currently have 47%. With the final quiz + the essay, being the two parts that gives the most points, everything is depending on those results. I feel somewhat confident in the quiz, but I’m more interested in the essay results haha!
I think I’ll do a proper post about my experiences once my result is out. If my essay results aren’t too horrible then I might post it here as well!
The course have been pretty rough though. Obviously there’s a ton of new vocabulary and it takes ages to look up all those words all the time. I haven’t been studying with any other books during these 7 weeks because all my time was spent on going through new material or doing the homework. I’ve really missed ‘normal’ studying and I’m really happy to start working with my books again. It’s kind of exhausting to study a language through a course where your language ability aren’t even being evaluated.

I was planning on talking a bit about my goals for 2018 as well, but I think I have been blabbering for long enough now, so that will have to wait til tomorrow, haha.

Well, it has been some intense months, however I still have a full week til I return to work, and even then, all I have to do is work! No more work related studying, no more exams and hopefully a lot less stress. It’ll be great to have more study time!

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.

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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!