20th May, 2013. 9:13 pm. 단어를 외우는게 어려워요...|
Recently I've been quite focused on memorizing more vocabulary words. I'm learning 10 new words a day from a variety of sources. 5 words a day come from my "2000 Essential Korean Words for Beginners" book, which I am about halfway through. I'd estimate that I know about 1400-1600 of the words, so I'm working my way through the rest. The other 5 new words I learn every day come from the story book I'm reading, words I learn during tutoring, words I learn from a friend, etc.
I'm doing fairly well remembering most of them, but most of my study habits as of late revolve around learning new vocab words. I just think, "Oh, I'll just input this word into my Anki!" and then - due to the huge backlog of unlearned words I've already input - I don't see the word again for a week, by which time I've already forgotten where I'd read it. Sigh. Back when I studied French and Russian (and even Italian) I would just cram for quizzes and tests and if I forgot a word I'd just look it up a few dozen times until I remembered it. My goals now are different; I want the words to readily come to mind so I can't take such a lazy approach toward learning. But man, I just wish I could eat a memory card or something and have all of the words loaded into my brain.
On a positive note, I understand approximately 80% of Talk To Me In Korean's 이야기 #146. Progress...
On another positive note, this week's health class was incredibly successful. My students now know the words: booger, snot, loogie, fart, sewage, blowing raspberries, spit, and sand/sleep. Yes, I am corrupting them, but they're 11 year olds. This is stuff they really need to know. I've never seen my students so excited to do a group activity before...
Current mood: pas mal.
19th May, 2013. 4:55 pm. 생활에 대한 생각|
Megan and I had a discussion the other night. I mentioned that I was thinking about staying one more year at my school because they'd probably give me a huge raise/etc. I'm going to paraphrase what she said: "Don't." She also told me that she didn't know why I came back to Korea after I left my old school. I've been thinking a lot about this today.
I had a lot of reasons at the time: I had a relationship, I had a lot of friends, I liked my life here. Almost immediately after I returned my relationship ended and most of my closest friends left. I proceeded to fall into a massive depression. 2012 was not a good year. I didn't give much thought into re-signing with my school for another year; I wanted money and this was a good, reliable way to earn it.
I know I've been dissing my job a lot this year, but my life is quite a bit better these days. Particularly since I started studying Korean again. I've been so bored over the last few years. I would go to work, come home, eat dinner, and read or watch TV until it was time to sleep. Starting private tutoring has impacted my life for the better: I study 5-6 days a week, I started exercising for an hour a day 6 days a week, I've been eating healthier. I've immersed myself in Korean culture (to the best of my ability) and I've found myself gaining a passion for Korean culture, literature, history... all of it. I've even re-gained my interest in sexuality and gender studies.
Starting tutoring was a bit of a whim. I've been hanging out with people who actively study Korean, which played a role in my decision. I'm not a person who functions well without solid goals. That's been my big issue for the last few years. I paid back my loans in April 2011 and since then I've been meandering through life. That's no way to life. I formulated some artificial goals: starting in 2014 I would move to Seoul and intensively study Korean, with the intention of going to graduate school in 2015. The other reason I decided to start taking classes now was because I figured I've wasted a lot of time over the last few years. Why wait to study? Why not do it now?
I don't know if I'll obtain my goals or not. Megan thinks I should move to Russia and call it quits with this Korea thing. My father agrees, although he thinks I should move back to Chicago and live in the basement for the rest of my life. My mother knows that I'll just do whatever strikes me at the time. These are nice goals, with some pleasing end results, but who knows if I'll achieve them?
Here's the truth: I'm going to achieve them because I am lazy. I live in Korea and I have spent a lot of time building a life here and becoming accustomed to the culture. I have it in my mind that I will move to Seoul, so I'll do it. I'll spend 2014 studying Korean at Yonsei or Sogang or a hagwon somewhere, and then I'll attend whichever grad school lets me in for whatever I end up deciding to study. I don't want to start over again somewhere else, not yet. It's taken me a lot of time and effort to get to this point. I don't know if I want to do this again. But these are some good goals and it's good for me to be ambitious. I need a little ambition in my life.
I started writing this post because I was feeling depressed. I'm not fluent in Korean and I've lived here for 3.5 years. I'm single. Just when I make new friends they up and leave Korea. I look at my Facebook feed and yes, I see all of the people who are living the same lives they lived when they were 16, but I also see people with families and careers and children. My best friend from my first year of university graduated from med school yesterday. I edited the essay that got him the scholarship that helped him consider med school an option. Another friend just uploaded photos of him and his boyfriend of 3 years. I knew him when he didn't even consider himself gay. Other friends have kids, they're buying houses. I live in an apartment my school provided. I may have money in the bank, but I don't have a real career. When I stop studying and think about my life I feel stagnant.
I am sometimes concerned that I am going to be one of those people who never settle down. But frankly, I'm nowhere near being able to settle down. I have a lot of life left to live before buying a house and having children is an option. Studying Korean is a bit of a lifeline for me; I am desperately hoping that it will provide opportunities for a better life, although I'm fully aware that it may not. But most of all, studying Korean is my attempt to become a better person. I may not attend grad school or have kids or whatever, but I have goals to pursue so I will not stagnate and continue being a disaffected, misanthropic youth. Studying Korean also makes me happy. I have something to work for. Every new word I learn opens up the pathways to Korean culture. Without these goals, I would continue being everything I hate. These goals make all of the difference.
Current mood: thoughtful.
11th May, 2013. 7:42 pm. 이름이 뭐예요? 전화번호 뭐예요?|
I've been up since about 7am and I have:
- exercised 1 hour
- went grocery shopping
- ... downloaded kpop
I have to admit, it's impressive that I've managed to do so little today. Good job, self.
On the other hand, I managed to finish up one short story in my Korean kid's book on the zodiac. I actually read and understood 4 pages of real-life Korean. Of course I had to look up a lot of words, but who cares? Progress, my friends. Progress.
I'm desperately trying to watch 세계의 끝 but I can't find it anywhere. Sad.
I was going to meet up with some friends for dinner but that didn't happen. Oh well. Oh! I managed to stay under budget this week: I spent 67,000원 (if you don't count my electric bill). And I didn't even have to try all that hard... due to prior plans I won't be able to replicate this next week, but that's okay. As long as I can manage it on occasion I'll be happy.
Current mood: dull.
9th May, 2013. 9:19 pm. 오늘부터 자막 없이 볼 거예요...|
I don't know what happened today, but my Korean speaking and listening skills noticeably shot up again. Plus we spent about 10 minutes drilling pronunciation and I think I finally know the linguistic difference between the consonants! I'm going to spend the next few days doing drills to practice. Starting tutoring was probably the best decision I've made in the last year.
Starting today I'm going to (try to) stop using subtitles. I'll start with Coffee Prince, since I won't care too much about missing every point. Plus nobody speaks in dialect- always a bonus. I can't do it with My Daughter Seoyoung because my copy is hard-subbed. I could do it with You're The Best Lee Soon Shin, but I don't know if I want to miss anything... maybe I could rewatch the series? Can't do it with Answer Me 1997 since it's in dialect; The King 2 Hearts might be okay, but it might use North Korean dialect. Maybe it's time to download a new drama? Or I could just Dramafever/Viki it...
Okay, I'm not going to deny it: I'm kind of obsessed with Korean these days. And if all goes as planned I'll be continuing on in this vain for the next few years. Sorry guys.
(Not like anyone actually reads this anymore.)
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Current mood: Korean.