마음이 편한다

For the longest time in years I haven’t studied Korean. Before I returned to the university I’ve been self studying Korean – slowly but regularly. Last academic year, since it was part of my curriculum I’ve studied Korean really hard. Then suddenly it came to a halt this semester.

I really wanted to continue self-studying, but what can I do when I can’t even finish all my homeworks and assigned readings on time. And when I was so left behind on my Japanese class.

Whenever I feel the urge to open my Korean books, I can’t help but feel guilty because I still can’t even read my Hiragana and Katakana properly (while all my classmates can now construct complex sentences – yes! I’m THAT far behind!).

After the crazy midterms week, I decided to ‘reward’ myself and resume my Korean Language Exchange meetings with my partner. I had so much fun – talking in Korean again. Though I feel bad somehow that my speaking skills seems to have went somewhere far away. I was suddenly tongue-tied. On the bright side, my listening skills and my vocabs seems to have improved – thanks to my drama addiction.

On that same day, my lovely professor invited me to join her and some Korean exchange students for dinner. I initially declined, thinking about my mountainful assignments that night. But I changed my mind, seeing my professor looking a bit disappointed (?). Also I missed her so much and I would really love to have dinner with her.

We went to a Jjajangmyeon shop. I think it was my first time to have dinner with Koreans only. And we talked in Korean all through the night. Alright, it’s more of they talk in Korean all night, and I listen.

It seems like, being in that situation, can be really awkward. Dining with people from a different country, talking in a language you barely understand… I should feel awkward. But strangely, I feel so comfortable. Korean really has this soothing effect on me. It doesn’t matter whether I understood everything or not. I just feel comfortable (something I can feel towards Japanese!) being surround with “Korean sounds”. It’s also a very fun way to learn and to test my knowledge.

After a couple of days, I joined the intermediate TOPIK review with my professors and other Filipino teachers teaching Korean in our university. Though I barely understood the exam questions, I don’t mind it at all. I was not a bit frustrated. But I gladly pick up as many new things as possible all throughout the review session. I also enjoyed it so much as my professor teach us new vocabs and grammar. I realized I missed our Korean classes badly. And I miss my 선생님 so much (and why won’t our Japanese teacher be like her?).

And just like that, I feel my days are getting lighter.  I was so stressed lately, but I felt better after “returning” to Korean. Looking back, my previous 2 semesters were also difficult, but I managed to get through it because I have Korean classes to look forward to. This semester was a gloomy one because I have too many classes that are all difficult… and I don’t have a Korean class to look forward to.

I’ll try my best to continue studying Korean… even for 30 minutes a day, just to cheer me up. Especially now that my drama is ending…

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