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 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 Dealing with stress, Guides, Personal, Uncategorized

Dealing with stress: Life Planner

As most of you already know, I’m under a lot of stress lately, and having been very sick due to immense stress a few years ago, I’m very cautious about how I handle things this time around. I have a lot of things that I HAVE to do as well as a lot of things that I WANT to do, but no matter how important all of these things are, letting myself and my body down, is not a choice.

“Sometimes the most important person
in your life needs to be you”

I know that I’m not the only person who struggles due to stress and I know that we are all very different and have very different ways of coping, so this might be a completely useless blog post, but if this can help just one person then I’ll be more than pleased.
And that’s why I would like to introduce you all to Alfred!
Alfred is my Life Planner – Yes I have a tendency to name all of my favorite items. I named my Dolce Gusto Piccolo ‘Bent’. Or rather ‘Bent the penguin’.. I also gave him googly eyes but that is a completely different story!

Basically I’m a planner. I need everything written down. I need to-do lists, goal list, shopping lists, meal plans and so on. The more lists the better. And I need to keep it all together in one convenient space. I do not work well with lists or calendars online or on electronic devices. I don’t know why but it just doesn’t do it for me. I’m also incredibly picky when it comes to calendars. In Denmark, most calendars are way too small. There are practically no extra spaces to plan out the things that I need to plan. They also all have an hourly set up, going from around 8am to 5pm. How is that going to help me when I have an Italki session at 7am, taekwondo at 7pm and a movie date at 9pm? And what about all those empty time slots where I have no plans? That’s a waste of space. Sure I could just write my other plans in those slots and correct the time, but doesn’t that just prove my point that the time slots where useless (In my case at least) to begin with? This might seem like I’m overly picky but it’s super important to me.
This is where Alfred comes in. Alfred is a custom made Life Planner and I literally chose everything about him myself. I chose the cover, page layout, cover, planning pages, added quotes and even chose the color of the spiral. There’s a few companies out there who offers these services (and this is not sponsored by the way) so if you are just as picky as I am, then you will definitely be able to find something that suits your taste.

The most important about Alfred is that he is a LIFE planner and not just a planner. This means that it’s about your entire life and not just your working hours like most standard planners. I ordered Alfred from Pirongs, and I added all the things that I needed. Blogger planning pages, Christmas (as you might remember from last year, Christmas is really important to me) planning pages, cleaning pages (I’m a neat organized freak in my study space but everything else is pure chaos), fitness goals, study pages and a lot more. There are a ton of other pages you can add like budget pages, wedding planner pages, teaching planners, notes and whatever else your heart might desire.
You can also add text and pictures to all of your pages.

Alfred is very personal to me so I can’t show you everything, but I’ll show you a few of the empty or less personal pages.
I have been wanting to buy a custom made life planner for a long time and obviously it does take some time to produce it, but I believe it’s worth it. I received Alfred in the mail 3 days ago and I’m carefully adding all of the craziness that is currently going on in my mind. All the dates, all the demands, all the wishes. I feel lighter for every line I write. I also just ordered some stickers and washi tape, so I can decorate my pages even more with a few fall themed goodies.
Having all of my s**t put together in one book is in itself a stress reliever but writing and decorating it adds a whole new relaxing aspect. I recommend that you try it. If you enjoy color books then you might like decorating too.
Another alternative could be a bullet journal, but I feel like it’s a bit too time consuming for my schedule. I’d love to try it some day, but for now Alfred is my savior.

Again, I’m not sure if this will be helpful to anybody other than me, but there’s no harm in trying – right?

Posted in drama, Resources, Selfstudy, Uncategorized

Drama lines ep. 1

These days I have been quite the fan of Korean subtitles on my dramas and movies. I know I know, I’m late to the game!
I generally don’t use subtitles at all but after adding the Korean ones I seem to be catching a lot more new words and grammar points. Normally my general understanding is pretty good and I’m pretty darn good at understanding through context, which doesn’t always turn out to be a good thing.
I have discovered recently that when I’m watching dramas I come across a lot of things that I don’t understand – AND I DON’T EVEN NOTICE THAT I DON’T UNDERSTAND IT! I understand what is being said and what is happening through the context, so I don’t even notice all the unknown words being said.

Don’t get me wrong – You can definitely learn the meaning of words through the context they appear in, but obviously things go a lot faster when you actually notice the words and actively look them up.
Therefor I have now started to actively jot down sentences on my phone while watching dramas and then I transfer them to my notebook at a later time. I prefer having all my notes in the same place so this is the most convenient method to me, and the transfer process also doubles as reviewing all the sentences 아싸!

So what do I write down?
ANYTHING interesting.
– Sentences that unknown words  or grammar appear in.
– Sentences I feel like might come in handy at a later time.
– Sentences where already known words or grammar points are used in a way that I never thought about using them in myself.

Literally anything that catches my attention.
I thought that it might be fun to share some of these sentences with you guys – Maybe you can even guess which drama the sentences comes from? I’ll also add a vocab list later, if you would like me to. Let me know!

  1. 이제 살 것 같다.
  2. 너 되게 뻔뻔하다.
  3. 나였으면 넌 여기 없지. 옥상에서 던져버렸어.
  4. 다듯한 차라도 마시면 속이 좀 나질거야.
  5. 거기가 맨바닥이라는 말은 아니고…
  6. 네 말대로면, 하늘에서 나라온 고미남이란 돌멩이를 맞아 기절했던 건 황태경이야.
  7. 내가 무슨 치한이냐? 소리는 왜 질러?
  8. 지금은 거직으로 다른분들은 속이고 있지만..
  9. 아니, 그러니까, 잘 좀 묶어 다니지.
  10. 너랑 더 상대 안해.
  11. 그래. 너 때문에 난 더럽고 냄새 나고 축축 하고 아파.
  12. 곤란하게 만들어서 죄송합니다.
  13.  아주, 만두부인 속터지는 소리 하고 있네.
  14. 야! 너 태경형한테 또 사고 줬냐?
  15. 비밀을 벌써 하나 털렸네.
  16. 내가 다 망쳐버렸어.
  17. 나~ 이렇게 학교도 안가고 연예인이나 졸졸 쫓아다니는 이런 핏덩이들이랑은 달라.
  18. 버텨야돼. 여기서 나가면 다 들킬거야.
  19. 너 그렇게 맹렬하게 쓰고 있는데 별 게 아니야?
  20. 우리 사이 진짜 인척 하자고 했는 건 너고 나는 그걸 받아드린거야.

Did you come across an interesting sentence?
Can you guess where the sentences are from – The two most important names are included in the sentences!
Anyway, I hope you found this useful and I’ll see you guys another day with new sentences. 🙂

Posted in Personal, Rant, Selfstudy, taekwondo, Uncategorized

Pronunciation fears

I have been having a few fears related to pronunciation lately. I have always considered correct pronunciation as one of the most important things when speaking in a foreign language – I mean what is the point of knowing a bunch of grammar rules and fancy words, if nobody understands you when you try using them? I still have a lot to work on but I consider my pronunciation decent enough to get by without too many struggles. However after I started doing Taekwondo, I have been having some serious  issues and minor mental breakdowns.

Everyone in my club is Danish hence they all speak Korean with Danish accent. A very strong Danish accent. This isn’t really a problem in itself, however because everybody in the club (with me as the exception) has just about no knowledge about the Korean language itself, it becomes a problem. Everything is learned through Romanized Korean. This is the big issue because it makes the pronunciation way more complicated. Also the romanizations are usually based on English pronunciation which isn’t the same at the Danish one. When 장 is written as Jang, it only ‘works’ because of the English ‘J’ sound. With the Danish ‘J’ sound 장 suddenly become 양.  Because of that we have people saying both 장 and 양, and even 챵, even though they are all talking about the very same thing. New members without any Korean knowledge obviously struggle with these things, as they have no idea how to pronounce it correctly and they keep hearing the same word with a changing pronunciation.
It makes it really difficult for me at times too, when they tell me something very basic, but pronounce it so differently that I simply can’t recognize the words.

Also when I try to look up things at home, it sometimes causes quite the trouble. When I first joined the club, everybody was talking about 타이코 1양  and 타이코 2양. I tried looking this up when I got home so that I could practice and improve for the next session (Since I started out of the ‘new members season’ I was the only one who knew nothing. I wanted to improve fast in order to not slow everybody down. I thought my Korean skills would be an advantage but it didn’t quite end up that way.) but that turned out to be a bit more difficult than so. Why? Because 타이코 1양 is actually 태극 1장. Not. The. Same. At. All. I don’t even know how 태극 ended up being pronounced as 타이코!
These are the moments where I really hate the romanizations!

I’m also the only one in the club who pronounce Taekwondo as 태권도 and not 타이권도. Makes me feel like a real know-it-all nit-picky douche, haha!

A while ago some of the members were talking about the struggles they had in Germany. In Germany we have a Korean Grand Master who takes part in all of our belt promotions, and whenever he is the person to give out orders, nobody understands him, because he is pronouncing everything correctly. Ah the irony.. I face that very same problem. When asking a question about a certain kick or defending block, I pronounce it correctly and the coaches are struggling to understand what I’m talking about.

This leads me to my actual fear.. I love doing Taekwondo and I want to improve. I also love the Korean language and I find it hard to teach myself wrong or improper things. Until now I have been kinda blocking out all the names for the stands, blocks and so on, and completely been avoiding to say them out loud, which now means that I can’t really remember any of the names. This is something that I need to know in order to continue improving and obviously that puts me in quite the dilemma.

What if my usual Korean pronunciation starts to become bad or weird because I’m practicing it incorrectly during Taekwondo practice?
I don’t want that to happen. But I want to continue growing and improving in my Taekwondo journey..

I guess it’s no different from Konglish.. My English skills are not getting worse even though I pronounce words the Korean way. And I doesn’t confuse me either..
So what’s the difference? Maybe it’s because English feels like my native language and Korean is still so far from that.

In that case I guess the solution is to study harder.
Study Korean harder and study Taekwondo terminology harder.
What about you guys? Do you have any similar issues?
Any advice? Do share. 🙂

Posted in Personal, Selfstudy, Uncategorized

Catching my breath

I have been back in Denmark for almost 3 weeks now, and things have been absolutely insane. I caught a really bad cold in Korea and was actually sick throughout my entire trip. I’m actually still coughing at night and for a few hours after waking up, so obviously that doesn’t make things any easier. I got home around midnight and had to get up early the next morning and go to our new house to help with the renovations. We all worked hard together in order to get the most important rooms (living room, bathroom, bedroom and kitchen) and then we spent all Sunday and Monday on actually moving in. The rest of the week was spent on cleaning the old house before returning the key to our landlord, trying to unpack at least a little bit in our new house while at the same time working full time. To be honest everything is still a bit chaotic but, all the most important things have been taken care of and I’m finally able to catch my breath.

I had an amazing trip and I already miss being in Korea. I can’t wait to go back! I have a ton of stories to share with you guys and I hope you will look forward to reading about them. A lot of interesting things are happening at the moment as well, and I’ll be back to talk about those things when I know a bit more. It all involves me studying harder and doing my very best. 🙂

I’m currently at work and I brought one of my new study books with me, so that I can study in the breaks between customers and meetings. I got to practice a lot of Korean on my trip and I have been keeping up with my italki lessons. I have also been reading my webtoons and a new story book I bought in Korea.
However this is the first time I get to sit down and actually study without any other goals, in almost 2 months!

Ah the joy of opening a new book!
I hope you all had a great summer like me. 🙂

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~^^