Friday, July 30, 2010

the week in retrospect

This week has been tough because I've been so busy, but its full of highlights.

Dance club activity started on Monday. This semester only 15 students got accepted, so half or more of the students who applied can't do it, which sucks because 2 or 3 friends plus many of the people I met in the club last semester are not able to do it this semester. We are learning the dance for "bad girl good girl" by Miss A (a korean girl group of 4 members). I've been sore all week since doing that on Monday though, I think I kinda got out of shape during the school break. Also, today I played basketball for 2 hours with some various friends and random people. I think playing that 3rd game was a bad idea. My whole body hurts. I have a couple hours of free time to relax, and then i'm going out for dinner and drinks with 8 or 9 people from my class. I'm kinda worried that they're all just gonna speak Chinese though, as that is what generally happens when 2/3rds of them have the same native tongue.

As far as school, I feel like I'm doing good because I got a 100% on Monday's test and I know I did really good on my speech yesterday. It's tough to speak for 5 minutes in Korean and memorize everything. Most of the students couldn't even do that, and if they did, they were so worried about remembering the words that they made other mistakes, like having monotone intonation, mixing up the polite and casual speech forms, etc. Despite the fact that I was going on 3 hours of speech, I think I nailed it. Compared to the other 7 students that have done their speeches so far, I'd say mine was at the top for accuracy, fluency, delivery, and pretty much every other way of measuring it. Also, my sentences were much more complex. Some of the people were just like "and then _ _ _ happened. And then I did _ _ ." They describe it very accurately by using precise words, but as the topic was "My most ______ing experience" I think it doesn't really draw you into the story when they just speak like that. My sentences were like "While I playing computer on the first floor of our home, my twin brother kept hitting me, but regardless of how much I yelled, our parents wouldn't come downstairs." So, I'm not sure exactly what criteria the teacher is measuring it by, but I think I was best both for my Korean ability and for my delivery style. I'm really happy about that, as I enjoy giving speeches and whenever I have a test or project I want to do my best. Junya's speech was good (and funny too) and I could understand everything because I'm very familiar with her accent by now, but I think some of the other people had trouble with her pronunciation. Nonetheless, it by far wasn't the worst pronunciation in our class. We had to grade our classmates presentations, which I despise. I just gave everyone 90 or 100%, regardless of how bad it was. There were a couple speeches where we couldn't ask any questions during the question time, because there was so much we couldn't understand and we didn't want to embarrass ourselves by asking something that was mentioned in the speech.

There is a talent show next week and I passed the audition doing my Korean pop dance, but I don't want to do it by myself so i'll probably just withdraw.

Life is good.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

no news is good news

I'm hoping that my lack of any updates lately would be evidence enough that I've been busy. My motto is
미치도록 공부하고 (study like crazy)
미치도록 일하고 (work like crazy)
미치도록 놀고 (play like crazy)
미치도록 사랑하자 (love like crazy)

It's a good creed to live by, but it doesn't leave me with too much time to wonder about my blog. After getting back from the states, I've been in Korea for 3 weeks. We have had 2 and a half weeks of class, and everyone in my class is pretty cool. Mostly Chinese students, but if I can isolate them by themselves or in small groups I can get them to speak Korean with me. But, like with my Korean friends, when the vast majority speak one language then they really just tend to speak their mother tongue rather than a language that everyone can understand. So during our break time between classes all I can hear is Chinese in our classroom, unless I'm talking to one of the few students who are not Chinese. As such, I seem to be talking to 유카 (Yuka) a lot. Don't misunderstand though, there are a lot of cool Chinese students too. 준아 (Junya) who was in my class last semester is with me once more. And 하정, 유이, and 화걸 (Ha-jeong, Yu-i, and Hwa-geol).

These days I'm hanging out with Min Rui a lot more. We met at the dance activity club last semester, and have a lot of common friends. Her, Yu-i, and Jun-ya have been teaching me Chinese when we have time.

Besides that, what else is there to say? I'm busy preparing my 5 minute Korean speech. The topic is about "Being born as a twin." I thought it was a good topic, because most of the students in my class are only children and don't understand the joys and hardships of having siblings. So I have a few days to memorize it all, as I'm speaking on Wednesday. I volunteered to be first; going first is best because otherwise the anxiety just builds over time. Other than that, the dance club starts up again tomorrow, and I have a one-day part time job at the school that pays $70 for an hour and a half.

I had dinner with some Chinese and Japanese friends that I met by chance at the library. I was trying to be cool and was eating some hot peppers really quickly. I guess that plan kinda backfired, as my face changed to an uncomfortably red color and I had a bit of a stomachache afterwards. I seem to be in the clear now. I can feel my face again.