Re-learning Intermediate Korean 1

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How to study >.< Take note though, that I actually studied while they were playing, lol.

I’ve been studying my Level 3 Korean again using my previous book, 재미있는 한국어 3. And since I’m reusing it from start, not missing any page, I might make a review of the book soon, since I haven’t seen any reviews about it within the hemispheres of WordPress. I was actually thinking if I should repeat my Level 3 using the Ganada 3 that I bought last Gmarket haul, but I remembered, too, that I never finished this book when I was studying in class before. I think I missed about four chapters within the end of the term, but it’s not fair for me to just study those parts since it’s pretty sure that I have forgotten a lot of the things from the earlier chapters during the times that I was idle. Well it’s very hard to retain the words. The grammar is just easy, except for the -아/어 놓다/두다 which is very funny whenever I try to think about its usage, but the other grammar patterns I encountered were not so much difficult.

I’m trying to study at least three to four times per week including weekdays, but due to an upcoming things at work, there’s a huge possibility that I might neglect my Korean again since I will render three more hours at the office every day this week. I hope I can keep up with everything and… >.< I don’t know.

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Failed TOPIK Attempt

Last Sunday night, I tried taking the old Intermediate TOPIK for the first time. First five questions. I was like, ‘This may be easy…’ but then comes my nonstop WTFs and OMGs, and no matter how much I try to think, or not even try. No matter how much I think, I would not be able to answer the questions.

Sadly, I was not able to finish my Intermediate 1 classes last year, but I’m very open to re-take it late next year. As far as I know, and as obvious as it is, I would have to take Intermediate 2 classes as well (but our local Korean Cultural Center is not yet offering courses higher than I1) since it would complete about half of the knowledge that I will be needing to be able to understand at least the gists or to familiarize myself with the ever confusing grammar patterns. As far as I can remember, we learned about 150 words during our first three days in Intermediate 1 and that was just too much.

While answering, I would occasionally ask my Korean friend through Kakao, to explain what the questions mean. He would explain it in Korean (obviously), and I’ll try hard to understand it. He can really explain well, and though we really didn’t talk about it, he really spares from using very complex words but just stick with simple words. That’s not very given since we’re just the same age so I was surprised that he was very conscious about his choice of words. Normally, in my experience, older people tend to be more conscious and understanding. I used to have very little interactions with almost same-aged Koreans I met online, and they chat in pure Korean, without being very considerate that I can’t actually understand everything they were saying. As for my Korean friend right now, we can actually talk for hours with only minimal ‘무슨 말인지 잘 모르겠어’. And whenever we arrive to that point, we can both explain what we mean, in Korean.

By twenty something questions, I stopped taking the exam and accepted the fact that I’m not yet suited for that level. By Monday, I deconstructed the exam, checking the words and grammar patterns one by one, checking it through the dictionary and trying to stitch everything again and see if it will make sense. Fortunately, they do, but I had difficulties memorizing them. In a single page (you know how hugely spaced TOPIK exams are), there were too much notes on the side, and it’s just overwhelming. Right now, I only have my 재미있는 한국어 3 and Korean Grammar In Use: Intermediate, for references, so I’m still coming up with ideas on how to study efficiently and practically, disregarding the TOPIK itself, and just using it for reference. It’s really hard to self-study when you started studying with a Korean teacher. 헐~

Earlier, I took the 36th TOPIK I and I got a lower score than my previous attempt in the 35th. I’m so discouraged, HAHA.

Reviewing with Friends

I met two of my favorite nunas some time in November, just two days before my birthday and we planned to meet again after two weeks to review the very littlest Korean things left in our brains. The other nuna is Alyne from my Elementary 1 and 2. I’ve been talking lots of things about her since before because I grew super close to her, and the other nuna is Ross from Elementary 2. We became super close because there was this instance (which is baffling because we were not classmates anymore) when she just dropped by a Korean-themed coffee shop where we were studying with our classmate, and she saw that I was reading Haruki Murakami. We became close instantly from that day forward and I was a bit sad that we had little chance to be friends earlier than it should’ve been since we only smile at each other in a classroom setting, but not really talk about stuff.

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We usually meet halfway since I would usually come from work, though I go home first, and they will be coming from work as well. We recently rave so much about Starbucks Reserve because of the rare and exotic coffees which… let’s not talk about that. We just love the place, and everything in there, that’s all. Haha. So I asked Alyne nuna to bring a book. She brought the Intermediate book so we haven’t had any chance to use it. I can understand the book but it would be too overwhelming and hard for them since they only reached Elementary 2. So instead, we just reviewed what’s written in my notebook which spans the whole length of my Korean Elementary 2 and Intermediate 1.

Since we really didn’t know how to start, we reviewed spontaneously, pop quiz style. I would ask them if they know a certain grammar pattern, and make them create a sentence using that particular grammar pattern. Or read a Korean word and check if they know the English equivalent. Also, differentiate a grammar pattern from another similar grammar pattern, and just have pure fun whenever we encounter grammar patterns too funny we can’t even understand how it makes sense. Example would be, 가방인데 싸고 예뻐요. It’s like saying, ‘Because it’s a bag, it’s cheap and pretty.’ HAHAHAHAHAHA. Though there are things that cannot be explained by ~(으)ㄴ데 / 는데 / 인데, it’s just funny how it was used. Or 하숙집에서 사는데 음식이 맛있어요, or to put it, ‘Since I live in a boarding house, the food is delicious.’ Lol. Those things baffled us. Good thing we have another friend from school who got accepted for her application to study higher education in Korea. She had been staying and studying there for two years now, and we asked her to at least explain why that grammar pattern annoys us like that.

By 12 AM, we had to part since Alyne nuna work on Saturdays, and I will still check in with Ross nuna at our favorite 찜질방 where we can stay for 12 hours. Unlimited and legit Korean sauna experience, with legit Korean people roaming around.

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Sorry for that sleeping 아저씨. 헐~

So, just right now, I already informed my nunas that we will study again next next week. I hope it turns out well.

Studying Again

Last Monday after work, I attempted to study Korean again, and since I have no idea how to start, I picked up my Elementary Korean 1 book and started from there. I initially flipped the page to the word list at the back of the book and typed all 420+ Korean words in Excel (too much :O) and quizzed myself if I can still identify its English equivalents. As I was typing the words, I can instantly remember what those are, though there were some words that I try hard to identify since I rarely use them.

At least I’m a bit relieved that I still know them, though it’s a pity because it’s just Level 1 vocabulary and it may just be normal that I still know most of the words. What I might do next is to download the old TOPIK test papers and have it taken timed. Maybe one exam per day, and after 5 beginner exams, jump to the intermediate level. Well I can just do one exam today and shut up right now. I can’t even grammar check this post >.<

Slump | 슬럼프

These are the things I don’t really want to post here but since this is also a part of my pseudo-Korean life, I shall not be scared to tell how I’m going through recently.

For people who personally know me, they don’t really care about my difficulties in life because I’m naturally a ‘whiny’ person, but I just whine, not complain. Recently, I’m starting to complain, A LOT, and since my friends won’t take it seriously, they think I’m just making ‘arte arte’ (being highly vain, perfectionist, whiny, drama king, etc). It’s not good because I myself don’t like complaining, because complaining means to me like I should deserve better or I should not experience some things, but then thinking deeply about it, it’s too impossible, too selfish and too unfair if I complain.

But thinking about it then again, I should complain if I don’t get something I know I’m supposed to get. Figuratively, I should get a cup from Starbucks without considering the less fortunate people because unlike them, I studied and work hard so my capacity shifted from simple homemade instant coffee to something that I can buy from a coffee shop. It’s not like I’m gonna give money to them instead of giving myself the things I want. If I’m complaining because I’m getting little pay from my work without thinking about the less fortunate people, it’s because unlike them, they settled begging for money, while I, on the other hand, chose the path to success. Not that I’m selfish or a b*tch, but in reality, why would people buy Louis Vuitton, and why would others just buy from a thrift store? It’s simply because the former people can, and they worked hard for it while the latter stayed and settled for something less.

Why should I work hard if I don’t get something from it?

Recently, I’ve been more whiny and more complaining, some out of consequences, some out of choice, and a lot because ‘sh*t happens’.

Currently, I’m on my first job as a graphic artist, and I don’t get paid so well. It’s my choice though, because I had to cut short my working hours to make way for commute to my school. My work ends at 6 PM and when I first asked for permission, I said I’ll leave at 5 PM every school day, but then I sometimes leave at 4, or 4:30 PM, or whenever I want to go, because I seriously don’t like the office atmosphere anymore, and I’d rather study Korean for eight long hours rather than work at my current. Besides, if I leave at exact 5 PM, traffic would be absolute traffic and I would just be late, which…

Look at this, if I stay for 2 more hours at the office, where most of the times, I work quickly and finish every project by 3 PM, I could have done something more productive and more worthwhile elsewhere. If I leave at exact 5, I’m just gonna be late and even for just minutes, I can miss a lot of lessons already, lessons that are not in the book but more of Korean fragments, experiences, important stuff from my 선생님. If I’m late, then leaving work early would be just something of a waste. There are points, no? Some may perceive me as lazy-assed kid, some may perceive me as just dead-head-over-heels-in-love with Korean, but since I’m a person who stick strong to my principles, I don’t really care.

Just yesterday, we encountered the word ‘슬럼프’, just one of the numerous Konglish words, where people experience frustration, giving up tendencies, and just… ‘slump’.

She used the word though a situation which was directly meaningful and currently relevant to me. She said it was something like when you entered a company, at first you would be like, ‘네, 하겠습니다!’, ‘저요! 할 수 있습니다!’, and then there will come a time when you just want to leave, without reasons, something similar to the thought of falling out of love.

Right now, I just want to leave the company, which is super risky. Why? (1) I don’t want my resume to have a broken timeline, if I want to apply in another company, I should still have my work and leave when I’m sure that I passed the other. (2) I have no other source of money. I don’t want to burden my parents anymore, since I have all my pay for myself (for now), it’s unfair for me to get back and get help from them, except of course when necessary. This complicated situation of me leaving the office is just something I’m thinking about, not a matter of life and death. (3) How can I be able to study Korean and lunch/dinner-study with my friends. They’ll be ‘한국 식당에 가자!’, and I would just reason out and be like ‘너무 바빠서 가지 못해~’, which is super pitiful for myself.

I have this crazy idea of working as a Starbucks barista. Here, when I talk about it with my friends, they think my idea is super ‘crazy’ since people here tend to be judgmental sometimes. Well I understand them, because I graduated a bachelor’s but then why would I spend time making drinks and getting scolded for mistakes, mopping floors and wiping tables. It’s not that I want to be a barista for a living. I am certain that my pay won’t be twice as good, but I’m in this moment when I just want to do something that I can enjoy, not something I can get fortune from. It’s like a small dream, like when there would just be an opportunity for me to step inside the counter, I could actually prepare my favorite drink for myself, without guidance and instructions. It’s something that I want to do, and would want to do in the future. If in the future I get lucky and get the opportunity to open my own cafe, it would be a super plus.

그리고, if I plan to work in Korea after about two years, if I can’t pass as an English instructor, or can’t find a job as a graphic artist, it would be okay for me to experience being a coffee shop barista as 아르바이트.

Simply put, my life is on a slump right now. I want a week, no, a month of full rest where I can just re-watch all my favorite music videos and variety shows. Re-watch Beyoncé concerts, re-read Harry Potter and start with ‘A Game of Thrones’ without distractions, self-study Korean fully without other things to think about, run or jog on mornings… but then again. Life goes on, and giving up is just not an option.

I hope everything goes well for me, and I hope I can successfully jump through this hurdle in my life, because I just need God, friends, and all the strong parts of myself right now.