I was going to post another song, but I just found something better: THE EPISODE OF 별바라기 I WAS ON!
This is just a short clip, but I think you get the gist I sit there awkwardly.
If you wanna watch the full episode (I haven’t yet) it’s broken into three parts on YouTube:
Yesterday was the four-month mark of my arrival in Korea, which means two things.
The first is that, assuming my math is correct, I’ve now spent more time in Korea than Japan. I’ve been trying to understand why I feel this matters to me, and the makeshift answer I’ve come up with is that Japanese has always unofficially been “my thing.” As it stands now, Japanese is without a doubt the foreign language I speak the best (though I arguably understand more French). Korean people and my Korean classmates are sometimes surprised to hear this, but it makes sense considering that at Yale and even before Yale I studied way more Japanese than Korean. But the thing is, and the part that’s been harder for me to accept, is that that’s going to change. By the end of my time here I should speak better Korean than Japanese; if I don’t, I will have done something wrong. Just, it’s sort of strange to imagine my Japanese being dethroned. It’s only been a relatively recent development that I’ve been able to learn Korean vocabulary without freaking out and running to jisho.org when I don’t know the Japanese equivalent. It’s late at night and I’m out of coherent thoughts on the matter for now, so I guess I’ll come back to this some other time.
The second is that I’ve survived just over a month of my cooking now. And dare I say I’ve even enjoyed some of it! As I think I’ve mentioned before, one of my big goals for this year is to learn to cook, and things have seriously been going a lot better than I expected they would. Successful creations so far have included pad thai, omelettes, and kimchi quesadillas. I also received a care package from my mother on Wendesday including herbs and spices and various much-needed kitchen supplies, so I expect good things to come. I’ll start posting more pictures (even though they’re mildly off topic, but what the heck).
On Friday my class went out to lunch together, but I ended up having to leave almost immediately for an audition to be the next host for KUlture TV. (Wish me luck!)
Last Thursday, Mahir and I did some exploration of the campus, and we came across an office claiming to be a sort of one-stop help center for international students. We decided to mention to one of the guys working there that we were looking to join clubs (with Korean students, as opposed to the ones offered by KLC), and he printed out a four-page list of all the available ones for us, including their websites! I’ve since been busying myself applying to several, admittedly with little luck: so far two have rejected me, four have not responded, and one apparently meets once a year.
There’s also news on the internship front. Since the good news I was hoping for didn’t come true, I’ll reveal what I was hoping for. When I had my interview, I mentioned that I would really like to work with Talk To Me In Korean. It turns out that the guy in charge of the Yalies’ internships is the very same person who got Terris his internship with TTMIK! So I was really hoping he’d be able to pull some strings for me as well, but alas.
What I’ll be doing instead: I’m going to be working in a language lab in KU’s Korean Cultural Center (which is a BEAUTIFUL building, pictures soon!) as part of a team studying how infant babbling changes according to the sex and number of the baby’s siblings. I’m the youngest in the lab by more than ten years, and I’m getting “Ugh, we have to babysit this kid who doesn’t even speak Korean” vibes from the others, but hopefully that changes? And I realize I’d practically sworn off of linguistics after completing my thesis, but this is different because it’s fieldwork AND it’s focusing on language acquisition, which I never got a chance to study at Yale.
And next week we’ll FINALLY get our language buddies!
I realize I’ve been slacking on sharing Korean music with you all!
Here’s the first song I fell in love with this summer - the song that inspired me to start including music on this blog.
"난 별" - 이소라
The title literally means “I’m a star” but according to SoYeon, the Korean doesn’t carry any sort of “Bow down, I’m a superstar” connotation that the English translation might. More like “I am a celestial body.”
Last week was the first week of KU classes, and let’s just say I’m missing Ewha.
The biggest problem is my teacher. The teacher for the first two hours of class is great, and everyone seems to love her. But the teacher for the second half is a different story. I’ve taken a LOT of language classes. I’ve had a LOT of great language teachers. And so having a teacher so dissatisfactory as to make me dread class so much is pretty astounding and novel for me.
An abridged version of the ranting I’ve been doing:
The thought of nine more weeks of this is hard to deal with. It helps that my classmates seem to share my complaints, but… We get up to ten absences a semester, and this teacher has inspired me to use all of them. Fortunately we had the past three days off for Chuseok (“Korean Thanksgiving” - the nation’s biggest holiday), but I’m not super excited about going back to school tomorrow.
But speaking of Chuseok!
Mahir’s host family was kind enough to invite all of the family-less Yalies in Seoul over for Chuseok dinner on Monday! And they were even nice enough to make virtually all of the food (which was amazing) vegetarian for me! Quick note that I find it funny that even post-graduation and on the other side of the planet I’m still meeting new Yalies. The Chuseok dinner was one of several Yalie get-togethers (including Insadong excursion, 가로구길 trip, picnic by the Han River) I went to that weekend.
(Our only group picture is super blurry, oops)
Yesterday Miriam and I went with our classmate Zafar (whose Korean name is fantastic in that it is indistinguishable from Jafar), to Everland, and I’m already itching to go back!! I’d failed to make travel plans for the five-day weekend, but it turns out one of the advantages of staying in Seoul for Chuseok is that since all of the Seoulites leave town to visit the graves of their ancestors, the few people who stay have the city largely to themselves. So the three of us decided to take advantage of the reduced population (and discounted ticket price)! It turns out every foreigner in Korea had the same idea, but even so, the crowds were not too bad. Even though Everland is essentially a shameless knock-off, I did feel the Disney World-esque charm. I was pleasantly surprised by the decent prices, the comparatively shorter waiting times, and the lack of a baggage search at the ticket gate. And somehow I (who am not the biggest roller coaster person) got convinced to ride the steepest wooden roller coaster in the world. I survived though. Barely.
In other news, I’ve recently been feeling very discouraged by my lack of Korean proficiency (for no apparent reason either, is the worst part!), and like I’m not doing nearly enough for my language study.
I’m frustrated that I still don’t have any actual (non-Yalie) Korean friends.
I’m frustrated that I only have one language partner despite having contacted SO. MANY. PEOPLE.
I’m frustrated that I don’t have a posse to just talk to me all the time.
I’m frustrated that I can’t just fall in love with someone because people keep telling me that’s the best way to learn a language, and I’ve seen the results.
I’m frustrated that the internet in my apartment is still not working.
I’m frustrated that the samulnori people never got back to me.
I’m frustrated that KU’s website is confusing and I can’t tell if my helper application actually went through.
I’m frustrated that we haven’t heard about the tutors Yale is supposedly providing. (It’s the first day and I need to calm down, but.)
I’m frustrated that I don’t have a functional MP3 player.
I’m frustrated that I haven’t found a single Korean show that doesn’t drive me insane.
I’m frustrated that pretty much everyone I meet speaks better English than I speak Korean.
I’m frustrated that people compliment my Korean when I use difficult words like “Hello.”
I’ll end this here, but did you guys know I was voted Most Optimistic for high school senior superlatives?
On a happier note, I had a nice weekend. Jake, Mahir, and I spent Saturday night in a jjimjilbang. I had dinner with Emily last night at a restaurant that’s been featuring on a popular food show. And I saw Keith from Seoulistic today.