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…”


32nd TOPIK Result and Experience

This is such a late post, but I’d still want to share my experience during the 32nd TOPIK last October 20, 2013.

As expected I wasn’t able to finish all my planned preparations for the exam so I was trying to cram whatever I can, especially for the writing part, on my way to the testing center.

I think I was able to prepare pretty okay for the listening part since it’s easy to just put on my earphones anytime anywhere and listen to previous listening exams. I wanted to prepare for the reading part more but I only managed to go through a couple of papers. I know I need to work hard on the writing part, but I ended up not practicing for it at all.

On my way to KCC I wondered what could be the question for the essay part. I was not in my best days that time and have been regretting some wrong decisions I’ve made and feeling bad and hating myself for losing grasps on my dreams and letting it disappear in front of me. Ha! What if fate would like to throw a joke on me and make the essay question something like… “What is that one thing you’ve wanted to do but wasn’t able to? Why weren’t you able to do it?

Lo and behold THAT was the essay question! >.<

I’ve isolated myself from a lot of people then and was truly anxious entering the exam room because I know no one. I’ve heard some of my friends submitted an application but I’m not sure if they are coming. While looking for my seat, I saw Alli from Bluehanbok. I was so SO happy seeing her. As what she’ve mentioned, we haven’t seen each other for a long time. At least we’re able to catch up with each other even if it’s only the time in between the exam.

When the first part of the exam was given, I immediately checked the essay question before anything else so that I can think of what to write while going over the Vocabulary and the Writing part. I skipped items I was unsure of. Even if I was only torn between 2 answers, I skipped them. I said I’ll just go back later on and give my wildest guess if I still won’t be able to figure it out. I skipped one item after another. Then I started writing my essay. Apparently, I enjoyed writing the essay so much since it was something I was currently contemplating on. I was surprised with myself as well because as far as I can remember, it was a struggle for me composing my essay last time I took the exam but I was more comfortable writing this time. I wrote, wrote and wrote continously, sponteaneously. I finished writing my essay at the nick of time. I managed to finish the last sentence I wanted to write before the protors asked us to put our pens down.

Pens down.


I wasn’t able to go back to all the items I skipped earlier!

I knew right there and then, I won’t pass the exam.

Listening was pretty okay but as always I entrusted my answers to the good old eenie mynee moe for the last sets.

Reading was still a struggle. It was not as difficult as before but I still need time (loads of it) to be able to understand the longer paragraphs. And that’s something we didn’t have then – time. There’s was an interesting item though. Most of the items were either declaratives or narrations – news, stories, etc. But there was one item when it was more of conversational. It was a story but instead of being narrated, what the characters said were simply enclosed in quotation marks. And I was able to easily understand it. I realized then that my Korean is just still very conversational. Can carry conversations, yes. But reading long narratives and news, no.

The result – another  불합격!

But I was happy with my score even if my Writing score is quite embarrassing.

I’m happy with my Listening. I only got 41 last time and now it almost doubled. I’m also glad I got more than 50% for reading now. I could’ve gotten more than 50% for the Vocabulary section if I was only able to go back to all the items I skipped. For Writing, I don’t know. I know I suck in grammar usage still. I also really cannot answer the fill in the blanks part. It also seems like the Writing part was the most difficult for this exam. I have a number of friends who were really good but got a really low score as well for the Writing part.


Here’s my score during the 28th TOPIK held last 2012:429477_10151172385626818_731242903_nI’ve registered for the upcoming 34th TOPIK exam this coming April 20th and I’m pretty excited! I believe it will be the last exam following the old format. I’m aiming to get a Level 4, but I’d already be really happy if I can get a Level 3. 🙂


100 Days to TOPIK

100 98 days to go before the next TOPIK exam!

Was originally planning on starting my preparation 2 days ago to make it a total of 100 days but have been sick since new year, thus wasn’t able to make any progress at all.

I’m still sick today and even the slightest movement really tires me out; however, since I no longer have fever and starting to get bored watching dramas all day long I’m starting to study Korean again today.

This time I’m going to use TOPIK Essential Grammar 150 Intermediate, TOPIK in 30 Days, 살아있는 한국어 and previous TOPIK papers.


D-98! 고고씽!

32nd TOPIK 중급 Study Log # 6 D-day

And all those plans of doing this and that went down the drain!

As expected.

Well I was finally able to complete the 18th paper and I can get a level 4 score except for writing. And I’ve been reviewing the 18th paper for quite sometime already, I should’ve gotten a perfect score by now!

My Korean friend was a great help. We’ve reviewed the vocabulary and grammar and writing section of the 19th paper one time and the reading section of the 25th the other time. And it was still so difficult for me. But she helped me a lot especially in remembering/knowing the vocabs by giving so many examples of related vocabs.

I still suck on the writing section. I said I’ll focus on practicing for the writing section more this time, but in the end, I didn’t. So I don’t know how I can survive the writing section later. I know! I should’ve prepared for it more!

Even if I’m not that well prepared as I hope I’d be, I’m quite excited to take the exam. Of course it would be awesome to get a 4 but I’m not expecting it anymore. A 3 would be nice. But all I’m looking forward now is to see whether my score from the last one I took last year would improve or not.

I should get going now. I don’t want to be late! Good luck to everyone else who’s taking the exam today!

2 and a half hours. I still can browse a few notes on the way to the testing center. 🙂

32nd TOPIK 중급 Study Log # 4

I still haven’t moved on from the 18th TOPIK paper. For the past few days (or was it weeks?) all I do is go over my word list, read and re-read and re-read again the reading section and listen to the listening audio file over and over. I started listening to the 27th listening audio file too.

I’m learning so many new vocabulary as I go over (and over and over) the 18th paper that it’s making me confuse so I compile them and group them together either by their definition or by the way they sound.

Tonight I’m planning to finally let go of the 18th TOPIK paper. I’ll do the paper one last time and time myself and move on to the 19th paper. I should also start practicing the writing section – not just the essay part but the more difficult fill-in-the-blanks part.


I was in a good mood for the past ew days/weeks – which is something new. But due to some not-so-good-yet-trivial stuff my mood easily went swirling downwards and I ended up crying myself to sleep again last night (argh!). Today I met a new Korean friend and I felt so much better. I get to talk in Korean again and it made me feel good (and somehow tired). And now that I’m on my way home, I’m starting to feel depressed again. Sigh…


32nd TOPIK 중급 Study Log # 3

These past few days I’m working on my intermediate vocabs. I managed to take note of all the words I do not know from the 18th TOPIK paper (and they are A LOT!) and I’m trying to go over them regularly.

I also printed the TOPIK Intermediate Vocabulary List from And no, I have no intentions of memorizing them. But I’m going over them one by one and I’m marking all the words I know. Will go over the list again as I progress in answering previous TOPIK papers and hopefully I can mark more and more words.

I also started doing a spreadsheet for words I am often confuse with. Words like 줄다, 졸다, 조르다 or 제하다, 제시하다 or 유지하다, 유치하다; and closely related words such as 사업, 상업, 기업, 장사, 무역, 직업, 직장, 취직 and 예금, 저금, 입금, 보증금. When I was a beginner, knowing what is X is Korean is enough for me, but now not only do I have to know that X can be A, B, C, D, E, F, G, but I also have to know how is A different from B and how B is different from C etc.

I’m not fond of memorizing but I came up with a crazy little idea to review my new vocabs. I’m currently going to the gym regularly. I used to count in Korean while doing my sets to practice my Korean counting skills but it’s kinda 재미없다 since it’s just from 하나 to 열다섯. So this time before I go to the gym, I prepare 15 new words and I use this words are my counter for my sets instead of 하나 둘 셋. It can be nerve-wracking especially when my muscles are aching already while I’m holding the weights and I can’t remember my next word, but I must it’s more fun than counting with numbers.

I’ll probably focus on vocabs for the next couple of weeks, then will do more grammar after. And then focus on writing and listening 2 weeks before the exam. I wish there’s more time. It’s getting more and more fun!

32nd TOPIK 중급 Study Log # 2

Since I wasted my evening crying over someone I shouldn’t be thinking, I must work double time on my TOPIK preparation today…

But I’m such on a lazy mood right now that it’s too tempting to watch my dramas instead. I’ve been a bit behind in Master’s Sun, and I’m starting to forget where I left off from The King 2 Hearts and my mom’s getting ahead of me in Dad, Where Are We Going? (I watch this drama twice. No substiles by myself, then with English subtitles with my mom. But since she’s getting ahead of me, I’ve seen two episodes with English subtitles with her. 안돼! I must continue watching without subs first! ㅠㅠ). And even if TEN 2 is starting to bore me, I’m still way too curious to see the next episode. I’ve finished re-downloading Me Too, Flower and looking forward to finally finishing it (accidentally deleted it while I’m in the middle of watching it a few months back ㅠㅠ). Now I’m so tempted to re-watch What’s Up Fox? too and My Name Is Kim Sam Soon (for the nth time!). And there are new recommendations I wanted to start on Flowerboy Next Door and Protect The Boss.


Must finish my goals for today for TOPIK first!

I’m almost done with the reading part of the 18th Intermediate paper. Hopefully I can finish it in less than an hour. Then will do a run down of all the new words and grammar patterns I encounter in the 18th paper and input them on Anki. Than I’ll go over the entire 18th paper once more. After that I can watch some dramas. And then try the 18th paper one more time before moving on to the 27th paper. Hmm… 그래 할 수 있지?

But I think I’ll watch just one episode of TEN 2 first… ㅋㅋ

Korean Grammar Database, where did it go?

어디갔지? 어디?

없어졌나보다! 안돼!!!! ㅠㅠ

Since I’ve started going over old TOPIK papers, I visited my favorite grammar website Korean Grammar Database so that I can do quick searches for grammar patterns I don’t know yet. But I was greeted by an ad from their previous host.

It makes me sad! All those grammar database gone now? Forever?

Can anyone recommend a good grammar database/dictionary?

ㅠㅠ I’ve been using Korean Grammar Database for a long time and I love how easy it is to search for what you are looking for and how direct the definitions and sample sentences they provide.


32nd TOPIK 중급 Study Log # 1

Today I literally wipe the dusts off old TOPIK papers and notes I studied last year when I was preparing for the 28th Intermediate TOPIK. I kinda left them sitting on my desk for almost a year now and they got really dusty.

Along with old TOPIK papers, I made a compilation of dialogues from my favorite dramas that uses vocabulary and grammar patterns I encountered in the TOPIK papers. I first read my drama script compilation and I was a bit surprised with myself because I was able to breeze through most of it. I put highlights, underlines and jotted down notes for words that I do not know and when I see them now I can’t believe that those were words that I didn’t know then.

Same goes when I go over an old TOPIK paper I answered last year for practice. There were many words that I know (and comfortably using now) were marked last year because I was struggling with them then.

And the funny thing is I have no idea that 1.) I learned that much in one year and 2.) how exactly I learned all of them! To be honest, I never really studied seriously after taking the 28th TOPIK last year – thus the dust-covered papers and notes.

Of course many things have happened this past year. I’ve stayed in Korea for a month and a half using only Korean everyday. I’ve been talking to AND stalking The Crush The Ex-Crush almost everyday. And I’ve overdosed on Korean dramas for the past 4 months.

What I’ve learned over the year though is not something I’m proud of. Had I studied seriously I wonder how much better I would be now. But nonetheless it makes me happy as I go over my notes and mutter to myself, “Seriously? You didn’t know that word/grammar pattern last year?”

Happy? Did I say happy?

Is this the effect of 보여줄께? ^^

Had I known that these little notes I crammed on the margins of these old TOPIK papers could make me feel happy, I would’ve checked them out months ago.

3:18am. Tired and sleepy. But my mind is still fully awake as I try to finish the 어휘 및 문법 section of the 18th TOPIK paper. Maybe I’ll continue until the 쓰기 section too. ^^ I love feeling this way again. Studying until morning. Getting excited in getting correct answers. Getting more excited in learning new things.