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[Nervous] At Heart

March 20, 2011

안녕하세요! Krista here.
I just thought I would write to give you a quick update on our trip to Korea. I filled out my application for my passport last week and am now eagerly awaiting it’s arrival. We’re trying to get a date set for departure so we can buy tickets, but I don’t think we have anything planned as of right now.
I have to be honest – I’m nervous. I’m a homebody. I’ve never spent more than a week away from my family, and I’ve never been out of the country. I know everything will be fine, and I’m excited to go, but l’m nervous. What if I forget something or run out of money? What if I lose something really important? I know this is probably just my nerves talking, but let me tell you – they’re not whispering!
I have to keep telling myself that everything will be okay. I have to trust God that He will take care of me.

Has anyone else ever gone on an extended trip to a faraway land? How did you feel about it? We’d love to hear from you!

You’re My Endless [Challenge]

November 12, 2010

안녕하세요. 저는 크리스타 입니다. Recently, I’ve been having a hard time
studying Korean. One thing leads to another, and then something
else happens, and when I get to the end of the day, I have no
energy to fight my body and stay up even an extra twenty minutes to
try to practice. Here, I have made a list of what I think is the
hardest part about learning Korean on your own: 1.) Time — I think
I speak for both of my blog-mates when I say that there does not
seem to be enough time for all of our good intentions. Evan and I
both have part-time jobs, and Jessica is taking extra online
classes and doing a few “odd jobs” here and there. When you add
that to the regular homework and housework, it seems like there’s
hardly enough time to get anything done. Luckily, Jessica used her
magical internet searching skills and found Talk To Me In
Korean
, where I’ve been learning so many useful things!
It’s great because the lessons aren’t long, and I can usually
listen to one full lesson on the way to school in the mornings. 2.)
Opportunity to Read Korean — Without giving away too much about
our “undisclosed location,” let me just say this: The closest
Koreatown is about 550 miles away. [Or 885 kilometers. :) I figured
I should probably practice using the metric system.] We’re probably
more exposed than most people to Korean culture, but it’s nothing
like it would be if we were actually in Korea. Everything here is
in English. Steve Kaufmann from PicktheBrain.com
wrote that the second most important factor in learning a language
is listening and reading. [That post here.]
Unfortunately for the three of us, sometimes that means that we’re
going to have to go out of our way to practice. 3.) Opportunity to
Speak Korean — If you’ve read our “About” page, you’ll know that
we have a Korean classmate. Truthfully, we have three Korean
students in our class. There are seven in 9th-12th grades. So,
you’d think we would be able to practice some 한국어… but we don’t.
In order for our lovely Korean students to maximize their
understanding and fluency of the English language, they speak only
English. [Except some of them, who speak Korean at home.] I don’t
know exactly why, but we have to be kind of selective about who we
ask about the Korean language. HY is really good about not laughing
at our horrific pronunciation and trying to help us use phrases
correctly. SR, SW, and KS will ask us to repeat ourselves at least
two times, guaranteed. At this point, it’s usually best to ask HY
or Hye Rin to come “translate.” [Just for the record, it sounds
exactly the same when she says it!] If you speak to JH in Korean,
he will most definitely ask you to repeat yourself. After you do,
he will ask you what it means, which makes you second guess
yourself. So, you timidly say, “It means ‘There is no water..’
right?” Then JH will kind of laugh and say that he doesn’t
understand it because it is not his language. -_- [I still don't
understand why he wouldn't own up to being fluent in two
languages.] If you’re Matty and you speak to SK in Korean, he will
probably laugh because you were clever, and reply using words
and/or phrases that he knows you understand. Unfortunately, none of
us are Matty. When we use our limited 한국어 skills on SK, he shakes
his head and sighs. Usually, he ignores whatever we say.. unless we
really slaughter the pronunciation. Then he
might laugh. But for the most part, we don’t
speak to our Korean friends in Korean. I know we should probably be
utilizing them more.. I mean, how many people can say that they
spend 5 days a week with a native speaker? My reason: I don’t want
them to feel like I’m using them just to learn their language. I
wouldn’t want someone to try to develop a friendship with me just
so I could help them with their English. If I discover more later,
I may add them on. For now, that’s pretty much my top three. Anyone
else learning a different language? Or are you learning 한국어? We’d
love to hear from you. :)

Why I Like [K-Dramas]

June 1, 2010

안녕하세요! Krista here. ~~

On a normal Wednesday, I would be at school right now. **  More specifically, I would be in Algebra right now.  {Why the schedule coordinator decided that after a day of classes, we would be any sort of productive is beyond me.  But I will say this – they obviously didn’t do the same Algebra that we’re doing…}  Today isn’t a normal Wednesday, though.  Long story short, I went home ill, and after taking some medicine and cozy-ing up to a very hot rice bag, I am now feeling well enough that I should be doing the homework that I know is going to be due tomorrow. Except I’m not.. =^^=

[**Note: When I started writing this.. it was Wednesday. And school was still in session. Now, it is Tuesday. And school is officially out for the summer. (Hooray!) ^^]

Instead, I’m watching Oh, My Lady! episodes online.
Honestly — the only reason I’m really watching this drama is because Choi Si Won is in it… I know. How’s that for terrible? But in my defense – I’m not the only one. Evan watches shows/movies that have Kim Bum, and Jess is ALL OVER anything that has T.O.P. [See how well we didn't plan for all of us to have different favorite actors/singers?? ] So far, I’m really not sure about it. I love seeing Mr. Choi acting, and I do feel a little bit of an emotional attachment to the main characters, but it doesn’t quite have that “addictive” quality that I’ve subconsciously been expecting ever since I watched my very first K-Drama, Boys Before Flowers.  Regardless, I’m the type who does not believe in giving up easily..  and if Choi Si Won is in it, you’d better believe I’m going to support him and watch the whole thing!! ^^

Anyway, that’s not my point.
A while ago, I was talking to someone about how I sometimes feel as if my family doesn’t approve of my being so interested in the Korean culture, especially Korean media.  Though I’m not sure they remember it, they gave me what is probably some of the best advice I have ever received.  (*Ahem*  Fangirltainment via Youtube.. ^^)  She told me, “If [someone] asks you why you are so into it, face [them] and tell [them] specific reasons why…  Don’t be embarrassed by what you like.  Unabashedly defend it.
Every so often, those words crawl back into my head.  ‘Why do I like this? If someone were to ask me, what would I tell them?  What is my reason for listening to/watching this?’  I’m not always able to say why exactly, at least not right away. But eventually, it comes to me.

Today was one of those times..  right in the middle of episode 5.  One of the characters is talking to the female lead about another woman.  [I would probably call the way she describes this third woman as "swooning," but I realize that isn't how she views the third woman...] She says something about the lady having talent, a great personality, and a great body.
It was here that I realized – I like K-dramas because when I watch them, I want to become a better person.
Let me explain..

I haven’t seen many K-dramas — actually, just 5 including this one (Jessica is giggling at this. She says she hasn’t even finished one.. ^^ )…  but I find that in at least one point of the episode, someone is describing someone else and they always have this very.. respectful tone in their voice.  They say something about the other person being someone to really look up to, someone they aspire to be like.  And I realized – how many American dramas have scenes like that?  Where the ethical person, the person with integrity and values is the one being praised?  So many shows that I’ve seen or seen commercials for seem to praise the seemingly bad person.  They try to make it look like it’s desirable to be rude and disrespectful, to have no values, to do what you want, when you want as long as it makes you feel good.
But not Korean shows..  (Well, the ones I’ve seen.)  When I am watching K-dramas and this scene comes up, it never fails that it causes me to stop and think about my own reputation.  If someone were describing me, what words would they use?  Would it be words like the ones heard in those shows, or would it be unfavorable words like the ones found in so many American television shows aimed at young adults nowadays?  {Granted — I realize that not all American T.V. shows are bad, but lately it seems like so many of them are.}  I honestly don’t know how that conversation would carry out, but I hope whoever is describing me would feel comfortable using good words — honest, loyal, respectful, kind..

So, I guess my bottom line is this:  I love that Korean T.V. shows portray honorable characters in a positive light and not a negative one.  I like that when I watch them, I feel encouraged to try to be a better person.  I want to be reassured that it’s okay, even that it’s a good thing to have morals, values, integrity.  I once read this quote, and as I’m running through all of these thoughts in my head, it keeps coming back.  “That’s what it takes to be a hero, a little gem of innocence inside you that makes you want to believe that there still exists a right and wrong, that decency will somehow triumph in the end.” [Lise Hand]  I want to believe that there are still heroes like this in the world.  I like K-dramas because they make me want to be a better person, and because they give me hope that there are still good people in the world.

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