Learning Korean These Days Are A Tad More Difficult

This post has been sitting on my draft folder for months now but I never got the time energy will to finish it until I’ve watched this scene from I Need Romance Season 2 (episode 6).

Youtube Link

만진다. 잡는다. 간다. 온다. 가르친다. 외출한다. 본다. 느낀다. 슬퍼한다. 화난다. 춤춘다. 노래한다. 밉다. 운다. 웃는다. 사랑한다. 사랑한다. 많이 많이 사랑한다. 상처입는다. 상처입힌다. 키스한다. 그리고 잔다. 이 수많은 말들 중에 나하고 상관없는거 있어? 하나라도 있음 말해봐.

“만진다. 잡는다. 간다. 온다. 가르친다. 외출한다. 본다. 느낀다.
슬퍼한다. 화난다. 춤춘다. 노래한다. 밉다. 운다. 웃는다.
사랑한다. 사랑한다. 많이 많이 사랑한다.
상처입는다. 상처입힌다. 키스한다. 그리고 잔다.
이 수많은 말들 중에 나하고 상관없는거 있어? 하나라도 있음 말해봐.”

“I touch (you). I hold (you). I go. I come. I teach (you). I go out. I see (you). I feel (you).
I get sad. I get angry. I dance. I sing. I hate (you). I cry. I laugh.
I love (you). I love (you). I love you very very much.

I get hurt. I hurt (you). I kiss (you). And I sleep (with you).
Out of these numerous words, is there one that you don’t associate with me?
If there’s even one, let me know.”

It’s been about 7 years that I’ve been learning Korean and in all those seven years I haven’t stopped learning the language. I may not always have a grammar book in tow in all of those 7 years but I make it a point I have something Korean with me each day – be it a novel, a children’s book, a song, a drama, a movie, a subtitling project, an old TOPIK paper, an old notebook, talking with Korean friends, writing a diary, etc. I’ve never stopped. Until a few months ago.

Actually it’s been on and off for the past year. But I’ve completely shut everything out a couple of months ago. Unintentionally perhaps, since I didn’t plan to do so anyway.

Learning Korean has suddenly become a difficult thing for me.

Because of him. Because of me and my stupid heart.

Although I’m generally a visual learner, I’ll probably categorize myself as an “emotional” learner, if there’s such a thing, when it comes to learning Korean. Maybe because Korean dramas were my foundation, I associate words (and even grammar patterns) with emotions. With feelings and memories. And sometimes with people too. For example, when learning a new word, I can remember that Kim Sun Ah has used it in this drama in this episode and in this specific scene. I would remember the mood of the scene, the background music if any and what her character is feeling at that time and how exactly she uttered the word. And the word, along with all the feelings I’ve associated with it, would be planted in my memory. Not only for Kim Sun Ah. It works for me on other dramas, on movies on webtoons, on songs and on my personal experiences too. And it was fun. It used to be fun. But not anymore.

“만진다. 잡는다. 간다. 온다. 가르친다. 외출한다. 본다. 느낀다.
슬퍼한다. 화난다. 춤춘다. 노래한다. 밉다. 운다. 웃는다.
사랑한다. 사랑한다. 많이 많이 사랑한다.
상처입는다. 상처입힌다. 키스한다. 그리고 잔다.
이 수많은 말들 중에 나하고 상관없는거 있어? 하나라도 있음 말해봐.”

“…Out of these numerous words, is there one that you don’t associate with me? If there’s even one, let me know.”

하나라도 없어. Not even one.

I’ve tried. I’ve tried numerous times. I would try to clear my mind and go over a page from a book. One sentence. Two sentences. Three. And then a word would catch my attention. It may be a word he taught me. Or a word I learned from him. A word I’ve told him. A word he told me. A word I’ve used when we’re together. A word he used. A word he wrote. A word I’ve heard from him. A word he looked up in the dictionary for me. A word I’ve looked up in the dictionary for him. Or simply something that we did together. Or a word I could’ve told him. A word I wasn’t able to tell him. A word I wish he told me. A word I wish I’d have told him. A word I wish he never told me. A word I wish I never said. Anything. Everything.

And the memories and old feelings I’m trying to forget will all go back. I’d end up spending the rest of the day staring into blank space, thinking over-thinking,  wasting time, wasting tears and then criticizing and hating myself for still being affected that way.

So I avoided it. I avoided it thinking it won’t do me any good if I continuously push myself into my books. I avoided it just like how I avoided everything else in my life right now. I’ve become a coward. I’ve become so afraid of the pain I’ll do anything to avoid it. And I know it’s not the right thing to do.

It’s just sad that the thing (learning Korean) that used to comfort me when I’m sad or lonely or stressed or my head’s in a total mess has become something that now antagonizes me.

But no, I’m not giving it up. Never will! I’ve been learning Korean for 6 years before I met him. Who is he to mess it all up? I’m just saying it has become difficult.

I’ve started watching Korean dramas again a week ago even if it’s killing me. I found a will to write again (even if I’m not exactly happy of how this post has become!). And I’m planning quite excited to re-open my TOPIK Essentail Grammar 150 Intermediate in a bit since TOPIK is only 16 days away.

Today seems a good day. I may end up crying myself to sleep again tonight but I’ve been missing my Korean books so I’m gonna give it a try today.

“만진다. 잡는다. 간다. 온다. 가르친다. 외출한다. 본다. 느낀다.
슬퍼한다. 화난다. 춤춘다. 노래한다. 밉다. 운다. 웃는다.
사랑한다. 사랑한다. 많이 많이 사랑한다.
상처입는다. 상처입힌다. 키스한다. 그리고 잔다…”

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10 thoughts on “Learning Korean These Days Are A Tad More Difficult

  1. Break ups are never easy. It would be a shame to lose touch with Korean because of painful memories associated with one person. On the other hand, I can see the same thing happening to me some day if the language exchange partner I spend so much time with ever were to go away. I came across the LovingKorean site just as she broke up with Kimchi man, and I feel such compassion for her pain.
    When I first started to learn Korean, I was struck by the fact that I had no connotations with words. “Oppa” and “Sunbae” were the first words that took on an emotional content for me. We take for granted that our native language has all these emotional connections. In a second language, you get to see how these emotional connections are formed.
    Still, I want to assure you there is a way to the other side of this pain. You will get better.
    Here is my favorite quote from the movie “French Kiss” (Kevin Kline/Meg Ryan)
    Luc: Why are you chasing after him after what he’s done to you?
    Kate: Because I love him! And I’m afraid that if he doesn’t come back that I’ll… it’ll hurt so much that I’ll just shrivel up and I’ll never be able to love anyone ever again.
    Luc: You say that now, but… after a time, you would forget. First, you would forget his chin, and then his nose, and after a while, you would struggle to remember the exact color of his eyes, and one day you wake up and, pfft, he’s gone: his voice, his smell, his face. He will have left you. And then you can begin again.

    • Thanks for your lovely comment.❤
      I've pushed myself into my books a few weeks/days ago. It was difficult at first but as I continue reading and as TOPIK gets nearer it became easier and before I know the words doesn't remind me of him anymore. Or if it does, I don't feel any pain anymore. I started reading a Korean novel though and it once again reminded me of many things. But I guess I just have to continue doing so and one day it'll all be okay.

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