[Audio Blog] 더 파이브

Desperately trying to improve my speaking skills, I tried doing some recordings. I still can’t do an impromptu recording in Korean, so I just read what I have written in Sunaforever a few days/weeks ago.

I’m quite proud with what I have written. I actually don’t know how I was able to write this well. I’m not saying this is something good but in my writing level it’s one of the best ones I’ve written so far. Usually when I have strong feelings over something and I wrote about it in Korean (right away) I do better than how I usually write. I wrote this just after reading the webtoon while still teary-eyed and all. The other time, I opened my heart and talked about my 짝사랑 to an 언니 and I was able to write a 5,000-character email in one sitting! And I also did well when I wrote about the snack event we prepared for Kim Sun Ah because I was so happy after meeting her again.

Anyway, this is already the corrected version. There were some corrections made by people from lang-8. My pronunciation is still really bad and I made some mistakes. Urgh! I’m just reading it and I still make mistakes! Too lazy to do it again so just enjoy picking up the mistakes. Feel free to leave comments, suggestions and corrections. I’ll appreciate them! 🙂

발음… 발음아… 우리 앞으로 잘해보자!

더 파이브 잘 읽었어요!

한국어를 잘 못하는 저는 만화를 전부 읽어본적이 없어요.
뭐… 틈틈이 시간 나는 대로 한국어 연습을 위해 어떤 유치한 만화 1, 2 장을 대충 읽은적은 있어요.
근데 당연히 저는 더 파이브에 관심이 많고 너무 궁금해서 읽을 기회 나타나자마자 곧바로 읽기 시작했어요!
자신 없는 저는 그 만화를 이해 할 수 있는지 없는지 모르겠지만 끝까지 읽어보고싶었어요.
너무 궁금해서 그래요.
생각보다 너무 어렵지는 않았어요.
물론 읽으면서 네이버 한영과 국어사전 많이 쓰는데요 ㅋㅋ
100% 이해못했지만 (특히 사전에 찾을 수 없는 사투리과 욕도) 아마 80~90% 이해했어요.
저한테는 그만큼도 너무 소중해요.
그리고 읽으면서 한국어도 많이 배웠어요.
뭐… ‘젠장’ 같은 것? ㅋㅋㅋ
ㅋㅋ 농담이에요.
욕말고 좋은 단어과 문법도 많이 배웠어요.
믿어주세요~ ㅋㅋ

밤마다 12시까지 알바를 해야 돼요.
알바끝나자마자 새벽 4시까지 읽었어요.
3일 동안 그렇게 열심히, 천천히 읽어봤어요.

처음엔 너무 슬프고 불쌍하다는 것을 느껬어요.
읽을수록 더 궁금하고 더 떨리고 떨리고 떨렸어요.
어떤 공포나 스릴러 영화를 볼때마다 아무리 무서워도 손으로 눈을 가리기까지 해본 적이 없는데
결국에 이 만화를 읽으면서 두 번 손으로 두 눈을 가렸어요! 비명이 나오는 것도 참았어요! 떨렸어요. 진짜 떨렸어요.
그리고 고은아씨를 끝까지 응원하고 싶은 마음이 들었어요.
결말을 바로 알고 싶어서 빨리 읽으면 좋겠다고 생각했어요.
그런데 10장 남았을 때 부터 계속 읽고 싶지 않았어요 ㅠㅠ
고은아씨에게 좋지 않는 일이 생기면 마음이 견딜 수 없을까봐…
그리고 빨리 읽으면 다 끝을거예요.
드라마 보는 것처럼 격한 감정이나 느낌 있어서 그리울까봐 계속 읽고 싶지 않았어요 ㅠㅠ
당연히 너무 궁금해서 못 참았어요 ㅋㅋ
마지막 회를 읽고 에필로그동영상을 볼때 눈물을 흘렸어요.
또한 동영상을 끝나고 10, 15분 지나도 눈물이 계속 흘렸어요.

이게 뭐야?!!!
원래 제 생각에는 복수에 대한 스릴러이라면 미국 스릴러 영화랑 비슷하지 않아요?
스릴러가 다 그래요.
연쇄살인범 1명 있다. 주인공은 그 미친 놈을 잡아야 된다. 물론 그건 쉽지 않다. 아무리 힘들어도 결국에 그 놈을 죽여버린다. 축하한다! 끝!
근데 이 만화를 읽은 다음에 보통 만화… 보통 스릴러아니란 걸 깨달았어요.
눈물 흐르고 너무 놀라고… 소름(이)끼치는 느낌부터 감동 까지 느꼈어요!
물론 이 만화는 2010년에 한국콘텐츠진흥원에서 우수상을 받고 대한민국에서 유명한 만화이래요.
그걸 알지만 생각보다 더 훌륭해요
읽으면서 만화 읽기아니란 걸 느꼈어요.완전 영화 같아요!
영화이라는 말이라면….
이 만화가 영화로 볼 수 있는 것 더 좋죠!
그렇게 좋을지… 아니… 더 좋을거라고 믿어요.
읽으면서 머릿속에 선아언니를 상상했는데…
현실에서 우리 김배우님이 보여줄 연기가 더 좋은것이죠!
얼마나 기다려야 돼요? ㅠㅠ
저 같은 외국사람은 누구보다 더 많이 기다려야 돼요 ㅠㅠ
영화권에 가서 볼 기회도 없고 DVD 나오기 전 까지 많이 기다려야 돼요 ㅠㅠ
뭐… 한국에 가지 않는다면….. ^^;;

제 처음 읽는 만화는 다 파이브가 돼서 좋죠!
만화중에서 명품인 것 같아요.
아직도 못 읽어본 사람들, 이 만화를 사서 읽어 보세요.
끝까지 다 못 읽어본 사람들도 빨리 읽어 보세요.
후회 안될거예요!

2012 Korean Speech Contest (Metro Manila) – taking the plunge

I took the plunge at the very last minute – literally! Like the deadline was at 11:59pm. I sent my application requirements at… yes 11:59pm. Actually it was sort of ‘incomplete’ because I never edited the script, there were some parts left untranslated (because me and my friend doesn’t have time to do everything anymore, so we kinda short-cut some parts), no proofreading whatsoever, and my sound recording was… never mind.

So I was surprised to see my name on the list of qualified contestants. O.O

Shall do my best then. I want to do this properly this time. Now off to editing!

Talking to Kim Sun Ah – in Korean!

In correct Korean! (Yey!)… Well, at least most of the time. O.o

It was Kim Sun Ah who sparked my interest in anything Korean. It was my wish to join her fan cafe that prompted me to pick up a pencil and start learning Hanguel. And it was my desperate desire to understand her messages, interviews and dramas that made me continue learning Korean. But never, not even in my wildest dreams, had I imagined talking to her in Korean (because I have never even thought that I’d get to meet her in person in the first place).

When I get to meet her (for the first time) in Taiwan last year, I haven’t had any formal Korean classes yet. But my level of comprehension then could most probably make me get a grade 1 score in TOPIK. I can give a summary and short translations of her interviews for her non-Korean speaking fans and I could leave short and somehow decent Korean posts and comments in her fan cafe. But, just like most self-learners, my speaking skills were way below my comprehension skills. When I recall how I constructed (misconstructed could be a better term) my sentences then, I can only facepalm in embarrassment. I only said a total of 5 sentences (on 4 different instances). I introduced myself. I thanked her. I told her I love her. I asked for a photo. And I thanked her again. With the exceptions of 고마워요 and 사랑해요 it were all but epic failure!

It was probably my broken Korean that made me stand out from the flood of Chinese surrounding us, thus she gets to notice me. But that was probably what also stopped her from talking back to me in Korean. She talked to me in English which, by all means, is fine by me. But worse, she talked to me in Chinese-Korean (in a talking-to-a-foreigner-who-doesn’t-understand-your-language kind of way – if you get what I mean) – that I definitely did not understand – and could’ve understood if she just said it in Korean. 🙂

Meeting her again last month, much to my surprise, I get to talk to her in simple, yet complete and, I would live to believe, correct sentences (most of the time, at least). And the best part, this time Kim Sun Ah talks back to me – in Korean!




I still didn’t do well. My speaking skills are still way below my comprehension level. I still wasn’t able to express my thoughts and feelings exactly how I really wished to express it. I still didn’t get to say all the things I wanted to say. And I made terrible beginner mistakes *facepalm*.

Talking in Korean is already difficult as it is, yet it also doesn’t help that being by Suna Unnie’s side makes my head swirl, thus I can’t think straight.

We didn’t talk in Korean the entire time. Thanks to my conjugation mistake, she wasn’t able to understand me thus we ended up talking in English. Then she tried her Filipino. Then we went back to Korean.



And somehow I’m quite glad that I didn’t do well. At least it gave me a stronger motivation to work harder on my speaking skills… hoping that one day, when I get to meet her again, I would be able to do better.

말하기 D-Day

2011.03.04: 7th Korean Speech and 1st Korean Short Play competition

And I messed up big time! Worse than what I could have imagined, perhaps. I didn’t just forget a few lines – I completely – TOTALLY blacked out!

I just managed to completely memorize my speech the morning of the speech contest (and that was indeed a clear sign that I’m in deep trouble). Here’s a recording of my full speech before I went to school.


* While I was uploading, I listened to it again today. My pronunciation was very terrible! It doesn’t sound like how Koreans talk at all. I don’t think it’s even understandable!*

I started worrying about my oral exam on sociolinguistics that day because I haven’t prepared for it – at all. So I, along with my classmates, started cramming for the exam. Fortunately I did well on the exam (I think so… at least I was able to answer all the questions, I’m just not sure if my answers were enough to satisfy my professor). However it made me more stressed that day.

I changed my clothes then I practiced with my 도우미 one last time. And as much as I want to worry about the parts that I’ve forgotten AGAIN, I don’t have time to do so. The speech contest is starting. Luckily I was part of the second batch of contestants (I’m the 6th) and I thought I can still practice on my seat. However watching the contestants before me makes me nervous – especially when they started forgetting what to say. It must have been really scary up in the stage. Who said something about practicing while waiting for one’s turn?

They were all good though. But no one has connected to the audience yet. They all just go about and recite (and sometimes read) their speeches.

I was also getting a bit sad because I can’t see any of my classmates in the auditorium. Our Korea class is required to join the Korean short play contest too so they were all probably busy preparing. However it would have been wonderful if they can all be there to cheer for me. Especially when I’m feeling really down and nervous.

When it was my turn, they all surprised me with their warm cheers. They were all at the back of the auditorium, costumes and all, cheering for me. It lifted my spirits up.

I heaved a deep breath and took a plunge into one of my most embarrassing, yet most enjoyable and wonderful experience of my “Korean-learning” life.

It was not caught in this video, but we actually played THIS CLIP before I started my speech. And as soon as the video froze I ran to the center of the stage and “continued” the scene by delivering Sam Soon’s famous “가지 마요!” lines. *dies of embarrassment*

I wasn’t planning for such an opening. I was supposed to just say Sam Soon’s lines and get on with my speech. But later on, I realized that not everyone can easily remember THIS SCENE from My Name Is Kim Sam Soon as much as I do.

I’ve only said “가지 마요!” and it was received with warm applause and smiles already. And when I finished delivering Sam Soon’s lines everyone in the auditorium cracked up with laughter.

I wasn’t expecting that my opening will be received that way. Yes, my goal is to attract attention. I was expecting a few smiles and a few laughs. But I’ve never imagined an auditoriumful of people (Filipinos and Koreans alike) laughing and applauding.  It was very overwhelming. Too overwhelming it distracted me. And I forgot my first line!

I don’t understand, but I just can’t find in my head what it was that I was about to say. I know it has something to do with my name and with Sam Soon and with Sam Soon’s name. But it seems like someone shook my brain and jumbled all the words. Fortunately, I was able to relax and get myself back on track right away.

The smile that I managed to plant on the judges’ faces at the beginning of my speech stayed on their faces. They keep nodding and smiling. And I love them for it. I’m not sure if they are just being nice and kind. But I glanced at them a few times during the speeches of the contestants before me and they were never like that.

With my terrible pronunciation aside, I was doing just fine. Until I blacked out again. And I wasn’t able to get myself out of it anymore.

I actually don’t know what happened. I just blacked out. And that’s it. My mind went blank. I don’t know what to say next. And worst, I don’t think I even know where I was on my speech. I tried my best to remember, but I simply can’t. I’m trying to look for clues, but it seems like my brain suddenly stopped working. And my biggest mistake that day – I didn’t bring with me my script on the stage!

I have a cue card with me, and I have the 4th page of my script with me as well – just in case I forget them. But I was VERY (!) confident that I can manage pages 1 to 3, thus I didn’t bring all of them with me (thinking that I would just be tempted to look at them when I have them all with me).

When it was really helpless, I just said “죄송합니다” , went down the stage, took my script, went back on the stage, and read. Yes. Read!

Totally TOTALLY embarrassing! But at that time I couldn’t care less. I just want to be able finish my speech.

I managed to get myself back on track, especially on the part about Hyun Bin 🙂 (no, I’m not a fan, but the part about him is one of my favorite parts). But I never regained my confidence in delivering my speech without the aid of my script. So I still look at (and even read!) it from time to time until the end of my speech.

I believe in what I have written. In fact, boasting aside, I think my speech (the text) is wonderful. IF I felt bad that day, it would just have been because I wasn’t able to deliver my speech the way it deserves to be delivered. The next best thing that I was able to do then was to finish it until the end with the hopes that I was able to get across my message to everyone in the auditorium at least.

The thing is I DIDN’T FEEL BAD at all.

Everything that Shanna said was right. Not that I didn’t believe her, but I thought that it would only be a wonderful experience if you did well (or at least if you didn’t screw up). I was surprised that despite the fact that I didn’t do well, I felt wonderful. It was an amazing and exciting experience. The stage was not scary at all. And I enjoyed every moment of it! And I owe it all to everyone in that auditorium.

Of course I didn’t win anything. But seeing all the judges smiling, laughing and looking at me enthusiastically and being able to connect to the entire crowd was really really priceless, it’s almost as if winning already. The encouraging looks from the judges, my professors, my friends, my classmates and my fellow contestants when I started fumbling warmed my heart.

And how Shanna phrased it, it was indeed a humbling and great learning experience too.

I realized that I was not yet ready for it. A speech contest – my speech to be exact – is still too high for my current level in Korean. My powerpoint presentation has English translations in them. My professor tried to forward the slides and signaled me to go on and just skip the parts that I can’t remember, but I can only stare at them. I wasn’t able (and still won’t be able) to translate them in my own (Korean) words yet.

But I never regretted joining. I joined the speech contest not for winning. I joined because I saw it as an opportunity to help me improve my poor speaking skills (and improve my Korean in general). And I didn’t fail. Alright, so I don’t think I improved a lot in my pronunciation though, ha ha. But at least I was able to determine my weaknesses (ㄱ that I pronounce strangely; ㅎ that I often omit – like I often say 연빈 instead of 현빈; the tricky double consonants that I still can’t pronounce correctly). And I’ve been more mindful about them and I’m trying my best to be extra careful in pronouncing them. And of course there were a lot of new grammar patterns that I learned. Plus a handful of strange vocabularies turned into familiar words now.

I also gained a new Korean friend, my 도우미 Coco. We were already friends prior to the contest, but we became really close because of the speech contest.

Plus got a certificate and a few Korean goodies.

Now… erhm… would someone be kind enough to tell me who these boys are??? ㅋㅋㅋ

I’ve listened to the CD and I liked their songs though!

I’m also grateful for a lot of positive feedback I received after the contest.

I was surprised that there were a number Korean exchange students, most of whom I didn’t even know, who approached me telling me things like they like my speech, that it was very good, or that they also like Kim Sam Soon or Hyun Bin or Kim Sun Ah (that comment definitely made my day and I can’t wait to tell Suna Unnie about it) or that they didn’t know that my Korean was good.

My professor told me she is proud of me and of being my teacher and encouraged me to join again next time.

Last year’s winner said he liked the content of my speech (and that was really awesome coming from him considering that his speech last year was 진짜 정말 완전 대박!)

And one of the judges even told me that I should have been the winner. That was just too much I think (considering the real winner was just within an earshot!). And I could have easily taken it as “The content of your speech is excellent but too bad you are not good enough”. But the look on his face that time (and during my speech as well) wants me to believe that he really meant what he said and that he really enjoyed it. He told me to join again next time. And the best part – he also said that I’m 귀엽다! 꺄~! That last one I’m definitely buying! 🙂

I don’t know if they were just all trying to comfort me or something. But I don’t care. It does made me feel better, so I’m thankful.

And the best part of all – I get to dress up like my idol Kim Sam Soon!

Would I exchange all of these for winning? 절대로 안 돼! 🙂

꿈 같은 섬

This was my speech for the University of the Philippines 7th Korean Speech Contest held last March 4th 2011. Below is the English version.

꿈 같은 섬

“가지마요! 가지마요! 할 말이 있단 말이에요… 지금 가면… 지금 가면…”

안녕하세요, 여러분? 제 이름이 삼순이냐고요? 아니요, 제 이름은 삼순이가 아니에요. 저는 필리핀 국립 대학교에서 한국어를 공부하고 있는 알로디야라고 합니다.

저는 유명한 한국드라마 “내 이름은 김삼순”의 한 장면에서 제주도를 처음으로 보았습니다. 삼순이가 삼식이에게 고백을 한 다음, 그녀를 떠났습니다. 우리 불쌍한 삼순이는 혼자 맨발로 제주도 거리를 걸어 다닙니다. 그 순간 맑고 푸른 하늘과 쪽빛 바다가 같은 색깔로 하나로 어우러져 삼순이의 등을 손으로 다독여주는 것처럼 보입니다. 부드럽게 바위를 치는 희미한 파도 소리가 삼순이의 아픈 가슴을 위로하는 속삭임처럼 들려옵니다. 그런데 저는 아직도 궁금합니다… 삼순이가 삼식이한테 하고 싶은 말은 무엇이었을까요? “지금 가면…” “지금 가면…” “지금 가면…” 아! “지금 가면… 너는 제주도의 아름다움을 못 볼 거야!”. 그랬을까요?

제주도는 지형적으로 한반도남부에서 130km떨어진 타원형 아열대 화산섬입니다. 이 섬은 대한민국의 대표적인 섬으로, “신들의 섬” “한국의 하와이” “신혼여행지” “환상의 섬” “한국에서 제일 인기 있는 관광 행선지” 등 많은 별명을 가지고 있습니다. 서울, 부산, 대구에서 비행기로 약 한 시간이면 완전히 다른 세계에 도착할 수 있습니다.

제주도에 가 봤습니까 여러분? 먼저, 아름다운 바다가 우리의 주목을 끕니다. 수면에 햇빛이 반짝반짝 비춰 장관을 이루고, 해안을 따라 걷다 보면 환상적인 돌과 바위도 많이 볼 수 있습니다. 섬의 동쪽과 서쪽에 많은 오름이 있습니다. 그리고 아름다운 폭포들의 물줄기에서 작은 물방울들이 우리의 몸에 사붓이 닿곤 합니다.  또한 노란 유채꽃의 밭 한가운데서 산악 자전거나 말을 탈 수 있습니다. 숲 속을 걷고 있으면 황홀한 마법에 걸린 것처럼 느껴질 것입니다. 다양한 모양을 가진 용암동굴을 보고 성산 일출봉에서 일몰도 보면 정말 놀랄 것입니다. 만약 한라산을 오른다면, 경치를 통해 천국을 경험 하실 수 있을 겁니다. 마치 그림 속에 들어간 것 같을 겁니다. 이것이 바로  꿈 같은 섬. 제주도입니다.

하지만 저는 그 아름다움뿐만 아니라 제주도 주민들에게도 매료되었습니다.

제주도는 바람, 바위, 여자가 많은 삼다도라 불모의 토양, 강한 바람, 혹독한 가뭄은 주민들이 마주하고 있던 문제였습니다. 하지만 모두가 공동의 이익을 위해 함께 열심히 일했습니다. 그래서 제주도는 거지, 도둑, 잠긴 문이 없다는 삼무도라는 별명도 있습니다. 사람들은 집을 비워도 걱정하지 않고 서로 믿습니다. 만약 제가 저희집 문을 잠그지 않고 나온다면 엄마한테 혼나겠지요? 제주도 주민들은 이러한 자연적인 어려움을 극복하고 섬을 개발하는 방법과 함께 고유한 아름다움과 문화와 전통을 지키는 방법을 세월과 선조들의 배움을 통해 섬을 지켜나가고 있습니다.

자연을 생각하는 것은 한국사람들에겐 당연합니다. 한국사람들에게 자연은 영원히 영적이고 위안을 주는 어머니 같은 것입니다. 한국사람들은 자연이 존중 받지 못한다면 살 수 없다고 생각합니다. 그래서 한국사람은 제주도를 소중히 여깁니다. 가치 있게 여기며 존중합니다. 그리고 자랑스러워 합니다. 지금은 제주도가 대한민국에서 제일 유명하고 가장 소중한 섬입니다. 그래서 누구나 제주도 땅을 밟은 사람은 소중한 기억을 간직하며 다시 돌아오고 싶어합니다.

이러한 이유로 제가 제주도에 가게 되면 제주도민들이 소중히 여기는 이 길을 자랑스럽게 여기며 걸을 겁니다. 그리고 환경의 어려움을 극복한 제주도 주민들에게 열심히 일할 수 있도록 힘을 주는 그 숨막히도록 아름다운 광경에 눈을 떼지 못 할 겁니다. 한국인들이 잘 보존한 바다, 폭포, 숲, 호수, 그리고 동굴의 내음을 만끽할 겁니다. 마치 신선한 바람이 한국인들을 감싸 안고 하나되게 만들듯이 저도 그 바람을 감싸안을 겁니다. 저는 한라산에도 오르겠습니다. 김삼순처럼 마음 강하게 먹고 열심히 오를 겁니다. 저도 꿈을 가지고 오를 겁니다. 또 그 꿈을 믿을 겁니다. 무슨 꿈이냐고 물어보시면? 산꼭대기에서 현빈이 저를 기다리고 있는 꿈? 현빈이 보온병에 든 성게미역국과 초코파이를 가지고 기다리는 그런 꿈? 그것도 나쁘지 않습니다. 하지만 제 꿈은 그게 아니랍니다.

제 바람은 필리핀 사람들이 TV 드라마에 비쳐지는 마술이나 아름다움이 아닌 그 이외의 것으로 제주도를 바라보는 것입니다. 제주도를 환경이 훼손되지 않고 인간과 자연이 조화롭게 공존하는 섬으로 바라보는 것 입니다. 필리핀 사람들 모두가 제주도 주민들의 삶을 보며 자연의 선물을 존중하고 그 가치를 배울 수 있을까 느끼는 것. 그 것이 제 바람입니다.

우리나라는 7,107개의 아름다운 섬으로 이루어진 축복받은 자랑스러운 곳입니다. 필리핀도 제주도가 한국의 보물로써 지켜진 것처럼 관광 이익을 넘어서 자연을 지키기 위해 열심히 노력해야 합니다. 우리 나라의 7,107개 섬이 모두가 각각 우리 나라의 제일 유명하고 가장 소중한 섬이 되도록 만들고 싶습니다. 관광객들이 미소를 짓고 마음껏 즐기며 아무도 걱정 없이 자연과 교감할 수 있게요. 그리고 언젠가 우리나라 섬들의 아름다움이 아니라 필리핀 사람들의 따뜻한 정으로 필리핀 땅을 밟고 싶다고 청중들 앞에서 말할 누군가가 있게 되기를 희망합니다. 그리고 우리처럼 그 누군가도 그들 나라에 대한 소망과 그 꿈을 가지게 되기를 바랍니다. 이렇게 저처럼요. 그게 제 꿈입니다.

A Dreamlike Island

“Don’t go! Don’t go! I have something to tell you! If you go now… If you go now…”

Hi everyone! Did you just ask if my name is Sam-Soon? No, my name is not Sam-Soon. I’m Alodia – a Korean language student from the University of the Philippines.

That scene from the famous Korean drama “My Name Is Kim Sam Soon” was how I first met Jeju Island. After Sam-Soon confessed her love to Sam-Shik, he left her. Our pitiful Sam-Soon walked the streets of Jeju Island alone and barefooted. That moment, it seems like the clear blue sky and the deep blue sea merge together to give Sam-Soon a comforting pat on the back. The soft sounds of the waves gently lapping against the rocks are like whispers of comforting words to Sam-Soon’s broken heart. But, until now I’m still wondering what was it that Sam-Soon was about to say to Sam-Shik. “If you go now…” “If you go now…” “If you go now…” Ah! “If you go now… You will not be able to witness the beauty of Jeju Island!” That was it, right?

Jeju Island. An oval-shaped semi-tropical volcanic island 130 kilometers off the southern coast of mainland South Korea. “Island of Gods”, “Korea’s Hawaii”, “Honeymoon Island”, “Island of Fantasy”, “Korea’s most popular travel destination”. Those are just some of the many names of Jeju Island. Just within an hour’s flight from Seoul, Busan, or Daegu you can reach a land of a completely different world.

Have you been to Jeju Island, everyone? The first thing that will capture our attention is the beautiful ocean that sparkles as sunlight touch its surface. We can also see fantastic rocks and stones spread alongside the coast. On the east and west sides of Jeju Island we can find numerous oreums. And we can let the little droplets of water,  escaping from the stream of beautiful waterfalls, touch our body. We can also ride mountain bikes or horses in the middle of the splendid fields of yellow rapeseed blossoms. We can walk through the woods and it will feel like we are trapped inside an enchanted forest. We can marvel at the different lava caves and catch the sunset from Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak. If we climb Mt. Halla, we can experience paradise. It will be as if we have fallen inside a painting. A dreamlike island – Jeju.

But aside from its beauty, I was also attracted with the people of Jeju. Jeju Island has been characterized as the island of Samda – an abundance of three aspects: wind, rocks, and women. Problems such as infertile soil, strong winds, and severe droughts are just some of the difficulties that the locals have to face. But everyone worked together for the common good. That’s why Jeju Island is also called the island of Sammu – lacking three aspects: beggars, thieves, and locked doors. People trust each other that announcing the house is empty does not trigger worry. Whereas if I go out of our house without locking our door, I’d definitely be scolded by my mom, won’t I? The people living on Jeju Island have overcome difficult conditions. They learned how to work together to preserve its unique beauty, culture and tradition.

It is natural for Koreans to think of nature as a motherly being that takes care of mankind. To Koreans, nature was both an eternal spiritual essence and a comforting maternal figure. Koreans believed that life would not be possible unless the principles of nature were respected. Thus, Koreans cherish Jeju Island. They value and respect it. And they are proud of it. And now Jeju Island has become Korea’s most famous and treasured island. And whoever set foot upon Jeju Island’s soil will come away with treasured memories and will always long to return.

That’s why,  when I visit Jeju Island I will take pride in walking its streets and let my eyes feast on the breathtaking scenery that inspired the Koreans to work hard together despite their hardships. I will fill my nostrils with the scent of the sea, waterfalls, forests, lakes and caves that the Koreans have preserved so well. I will let the fresh wind embrace me like how it embraced and unified the Koreans together. I will climb Mt. Halla too. Just like how Kim Sam-Soon climbed it with determination. I will also hold onto and believe in my dream. What is my dream, you may ask? That Hyun Bin will be waiting for me at the top? With a thermos of hot sea urchin seaweed soup and choco pie? That’s not such a bad idea. But that is not my dream.

For  Filipinos to see Jeju Island too beyond its beauty – beyond the magic that it brings to dramas that we see on television – that’s my wish. For all to see Jeju Island as a place where human life and nature coexist harmoniously without environmental degradation – that’s my wish. For everyone to be inspired with the people in Jeju Island and learn how to respect and value nature’s gift – that’s my wish.

Our country is blessed with 7,107 beautiful islands to be proud of. In gratitude of many beautiful scenic spots, we should work harder to protect them beyond the name of tourism and profit. Just like how Koreans treasure Jeju, we can also sincerely care for each of our islands. Together we can turn each one of those 7,107 islands as our country’s most treasured islands too. Where visitors can smile a lot and laugh to their heart’s content, and commune with nature without any worries. And someday I hope there will also be someone, standing in front of a crowd, talking about her desire to set foot upon Philippine’s soils not just because she was enchanted by our islands’ beauty, but because of the lasting impression and inspiration that the Filipino’s would bring her. And how us, as a nation, has pulled her desires and encouraged her to dream for her own country too. Just like me right now. That is my dream.

말하기 D-1

Yesterday was such a long day.

I went to the post office yesterday morning to pick up a package from a good friend. It was some souvenir items from Kim Sun-Ah’s fancafe’s 10th year anniversary.

Then arrived late in our Korean class and we practiced our play.

After the class, we proceeded with our practice, but I have to leave them because I still haven’t memorized my speech.

I went to our university’s big open space (sunken garden) and started “re-memorizing” page 4 of my speech. But it wasn’t very successful. I went to the library instead and managed to memorize it.

I went back to the International Center. When I tried reciting my speech I started forgetting loads of stuff from page 3 onwards. Eventually I managed to recite it in full in front of my 도우미 with a few pauses and clue-asking in some parts. It was far from a good delivery.

We sent a good friend off. She’ll be returning to Korea after her almost year-long exchange student stay in the university. We had dinner then we went to the airport. All those time I was trying to memorize my speech. I didn’t get to fully enjoy the moments I had last night with old and new friends.

I returned home late at night. Actually early in the morning. And worst, I still can’t recite page 4 without looking at the script once in a while. I decided to practice very little and then I slept. I woke up then I tried reciting page 4. I finally managed to recite it completely – however it was very slow. I read some more and I tried reciting the entire thing. I was able to do it.

I can see some hope now. I think, as long as I can do what I did this morning, I can survive the speech contest. I still have a few hours to practice, and hopefully improve some more.

Now, if only I don’t have an oral exam (and a play to worry about) in less than 6 hrs, it would have been a lot better.

Speech contest in less than 10 hours. I’m off to school now! 아자!


Oh! And what a good way to start the day – seeing Suna Unnie’s new photos! Here’s one that makes me really smile!

Unnie, I’ll do well! Promise! ^^

말하기 D-2

Yesterday I woke up earlier than usual. I went to our university early in the morning and jogged while memorizing the last part of my speech out loud. Usually I do one lap around our academic oval (I’m not sure but I think it’s about 2.5 km), but whenever I’m feeling lazy I cheat and use the shortcuts reducing almost half of the lap.

Yesterday, feeling lazy, I decided to do just half of the lap. But I got so engrossed in memorizing my speech that I ended up doing 1.5 laps instead. I even wanted to complete 2 lapses but I was thinking that my legs went make it anymore.

During my jog, a couple of Korean guys passed by. Actually I didn’t realize they were Korean because I was not even looking at fellow joggers. They were coming from the opposite direction. I was reciting my lines, and right after we passed each other, I heard him say “와! something something” – the rest fainted away as we jog further away from each other.

재미있어요! I’m sure he didn’t hear a lot from my speech so I don’t think his 와 is because I was doing good. I think it was more of a surprise for him to hear a Filipina muttering Korean stuff while jogging. Nonetheless it was still fun.

I managed to memorized until the end of my speech. But they all disappeared into thin air after my first class. ㅠㅠ

In our Korean class, me and a fellow participant was asked to do a demonstration of our speech. My speech was printed into 4 pages of A4 paper (double spaced, ok!). I managed to recite pages 1-2 confidently and with minimal pause – but I ended up just reading pages 3-4. What frustrates me is that I thought I have already mastered page 3 too.

Another thing I discovered, I easily panic. I think the reason why I ended up reading page3 instead was when I forgot something, I lost focus on the entire thing – I can’t pick up from where I left off and I lost all my self-esteem.

I also had a strange little stage fright. I noticed I was shaking a bit. But maybe because it was the first time I’m doing my speech in front of a crowd, at the same time I know in my heart that I’m not ready.

But my classmates’ and 선생님’s reaction made my heart grow bigger, and made me recover my lost self-esteem. 선생님 said my powerpoint is pretty, and I still have time to memorize, and told my classmates that my speech is 4 pages long. My classmates’ reaction was priceless. They laughed at the right moments. And they all were listening eagerly. When I sat down a number of them muttered “언니 your speech is really good”, “I didn’t know it was that good”, etc.

I then wanted to do much better. If there’s something I’m proud of during my demo, it was the speech’s content and my “pretty” powerpoint presentation (forget about my fluency and pronunciation). I thought, I should give justice to my speech. I should do better.

After class, I practiced alone again in our university lagoon. I repeat pages 1-2 over and over with actions and gestures. Then I re-memorized page 3.

On my way home, I’m still trying to say page 3 without pausing. The lady beside me asked me where I’m studying “Chinese”. I told her my university name. She asked me how much I’m paying for my classes. And told me to do well because it will be useful for me in the future. It made me smile (even if she thought I was reading Chinese).

I decided to spent the night with a good friend – the winner of our university’s speech contest 2 years ago. Well, she actually didn’t give me any tips nor corrections but she checks if I forget anything on my speech. At her place I managed to recite page 3 fluently and managed to connect it to pages 1-2. And even after sleeping, I still can recite pages 1-3 now with very minimal pauses. I still have to practice it though. But now I’m focusing on the most difficult part – page 4. I have memorized it, but I still have to re-memorize it.

I only have a few hours left for all the things I need to do… 아자!

말하기 D-3

Sorry for my long rants last time. I just wanted to vent my frustrations.

Today I’m feeling a whole lot better. I had an exam on one of my Linguistics classes earlier. Although I didn’t get to answer everything, I’m sure I passed the exam. I may not get a perfect score this time, but nonetheless I’m thankful and happy that I get to answer a lot despite the fact that I only reviewed for an hour before the exam.

We didn’t have an exam on our Korean class. We had another ‘birthday-party-with-monster-pizza’ in class and our 선생님 just let us practice for our play. Tomorrow we’ll practice again and on Thursday – and I’m sure we won’t have classes on Friday. We’ll probably use the time to prepare.

I spent the entire afternoon in our university ‘lagoon’ – alone. I practiced and memorized my speech aloud. And I’m glad I’ve made some improvement. The first 25% is still pretty good. The next 25% are now way better than how it was yesterday. I’m almost done memorizing the next 25% (but still have to pause a lot to recall stuff). I’m gonna start memorizing the last 25% right away. Hopefully I can memorize them all before the sun rise tomorrow.

Aside from the bet I had with my 도우미, 선생님 also told us that we have to present the speech tomorrow in front of the class. So I have another reason to finish memorizing everything tonight.

Also 3 good friends have made my day. My ‘twin sister’ sent me a very funny and encouraging SMS earlier. My good friend asked me to spent the night over to practice with her tomorrow. And when I opened my e-mail, I was surprised with Shanna’s new blog entry dedicated to me!!! I was not expecting something like that from her. I was very very very VERY touched! 감동했어요.

Now I have more reasons to give my best! I’m still not sure if I can do well on Friday, but I’ll really try my best! 아자!

기분이 아주 우울해요

I skipped my Push It! class. I didn’t want to. It makes me sad.

My friends/classmates arrived in Korea already. Some photos are up on their Facebook. They were just hanging around with us a few days ago – and now they are officially in Korea. Seeing their photos is Korea somehow makes me sad.

I still can’t deliver my 5 lines in our Korean play. And I still haven’t practiced my Narration part. It makes me sad.

And worst, I’m nowhere close to memorizing my speech! It makes me really sad!

What is wrong with me? To date,  three people have asked me that question – one of my Korean play 도우미s, my friend and my mom. I want to ask myself the same question. What exactly is wrong with me???

I don’t know what’s wrong with me! But somehow the sentences on my speech suddenly won’t stick in my head. After hours of memorizing a few chunks of sentences, after just a few minutes it will suddenly disapparate into thin air. And I’d end up spending hours again to memorize the same thing. I didn’t have problems with the first part of my speech. In fact I can recite them now even on my sleep. My 도우미 even praised me and told me that I can even deliver it better than her. But that’s about it. After the first 2 paragraphs, I’m suddenly stuck. Alright, I made some improvements over the past few days… but I only have 3 days left to memorize everything.

And somehow I just feel so down right now. I’m worried that I won’t be able to memorize everything by the time of the competition. I’m worried that I would forget some lines while on the stage and make a fool out of myself. I don’t mind not winning, but I just don’t want to mess up. Specially that there were only 2 of us from the upper beginner class that will join the competition – the other one has spent a year in Korea already. And I’m the only one from our beginner class’ batch that’s joining.

I want to do well. I want to make Suna Unnie proud (since partly my speech is somehow inspired by My Name Is Kim Sam Soon). I want to make my beginner Korean professor proud. I want to make my current Korean professor proud. I want to make my 도우미 proud. I want to show the rest of the Korean exchange students that I can also do it. I want to show everyone that even if I haven’t been and I haven’t studied in Korea I can deliver a Korean speech decently. I want to show my mom, my friend and one of my 도우미s that there’s nothing wrong with me.

But somehow, tonight, all those hopes and dreams are also disapparating together with the lost sentences of my speech. I don’t have much time left. I doubt if I still can make it.

Me and my 도우미 made a bet. If I can recite the speech without looking at the script by Wednesday night, she’ll treat me to a $10 worth of dinner. If I won’t be able to do it, I’ll be the one to treat her. I hope it would work. I hope that thinking about the $10 would help me memorize everything. I hope it’s as simple as that…

But it’s not. I see no problem with sentences with words that I already know, or at least I’m familiar with. And grammar patterns that I already know. I have no problem with sentences related to My Name Is Kim Sam Soon (and Kim Sun Ah or Hyun Bin). Just like what Jeannie said on her recent blog entry, we remember better when there’s an emotion triggered. What’s killing me are those loooooooong sentences peppered with brand new words, wrapped on new grammar patterns.

So far I have only memorized about 40 sentences, 10 of which I still have to master. I have to memorize about 30 sentences more. And I only have 3 days left. And I want to give up…

Alright, alright. I STILL have 3 days left. Despite the fact that I have 2 exams and 2 papers to finish within the 3 days as well, 3 days is still 3 days. I shall give it a try.

I have to work alone on D-3 (today) and memorize everything. I have to recite the entire speech by D-2 without looking at the script. I have to recite the entire speech confidently and without any pauses or mistakes by D-1. I can still do it, can’t I?

말하기 D-7, D-6, D-5, D-4


I spent most of the day practicing for my our Korean play instead. Going home, I listen to the recording of my 도우미 and I get to memorize some (read: SOME!) lines on the way home. I memorized a few (read: FEW!) more lines at home. I finally decided to include a video of My Name Is Kim Sam Soon after realizing that not everyone remembers My Name Is Kim Sam Soon in as much detail as how I remember it. I fell asleep while editing the video



I just spent the day memorizing a FEW more lines. And I started making the powerpoint for my speech. I fell asleep while doing my powerpoint.



A FEW more lines. What’s frustrating is it seems like I didn’t improve much from D-7. I finished my powerpoint.



Met with my 도우미. I’m sure she was not impressed. She still says she liked how I deliver the first few parts, but the rest are boring. It was the same comment she gave to me one week ago. We made a bet though. If I will still not be able to memorize everything by Wednesday, I have to treat her to a Korean Restaurant (about $10/meal). If I will be able to memorize it, she’ll treat me instead.