Ever since I started learning Korean I’ve been learning lots of new vocabulary, grammar, and sentence structures. Whenever, I felt that I had learned something I would always quickly progress to something new. On days when I had more time to study Korean, I would sometimes go through 3-4 grammar lessons and write 40-50 sentences. Too fast? Not necessarily, but an important aspect I’ve been overlooking is the importance of going back to basics and reviewing already learned material.
These past days I’ve made a slight change to my usual study routine. On an average day, I would read and study one new lesson in an upper intermediate textbook, memorize all the new vocabulary, write sentences with new grammar points, and study a new keyword with sample sentences in my Weekly Korean Vocabulary textbook from TTMIK. If I had extra time, I would cram in a few new Hanjas as well. How many times did I do something new? When I suddenly realized that all the new things maybe didn’t stick as well as I had hoped, I thought of people training for the marathon (or my own much less ambitious self once training for a 10K ^^). Do they also strive to run longer and faster every single day? No. They make time for resting days, and short, slow-paced restitution runs. I thought “why not apply the exact same principle to language learning?”
So yesterday (a Saturday) I took a Korean restitution day. Without actively seeking to learn something new, I opened up a less advanced textbook, and just quickly read through the pages. Realizing that everything now seemed a lot simpler and easier than when I first tackled these pages gave a nice confidence boost. I also got the chance to dust off grammar patterns, and vocabulary, which I knew, but now know even better. Once again I’ve learned never to underestimate the power of repetition!
Since yesterday was a Saturday and I for once did not have to work on the weekend, I also wanted to treat myself to an episode of a new drama. I’ve been searching for just the right new one to start watching for a few weeks, but since it wasn’t a top priority, I didn’t really settle for one. I spent around 20 minutes flipping through titles on Netflix, Viki, and Dramafever before trying first “하이드 지킬, 나” (Hyde, Jekyll, me), then “킬미, 힐미” (Kill me, heal me), and finally realizing that dramas centering around a massively schizophrenic character is a bit too complicated to my taste. Am I the only one who thinks main themes in K-dramas come in waves? This year the main theme across many dramas appears to be schizophrenia, and in 2012-2013 time travel to the Choseon dynasty was the hot topic. Well, I decided that maybe my back-to-basics strategy should also hold for K-dramas. My very first Korean drama was “천국의 계단” (Stairway to Heaven) from 2003 with Korean superstars 최지우, 김태희, and 권상우. Even though it was a real tearjerker with a not-too-happy ending, I loved every part of it. Maybe because it was so original from what I would usually watch in Western productions. Recently there has been a tendency for Korean dramas to appear more American and Western in many ways, which can be a pity, since the original genre is much more unique in my opinion.
So, which drama did I pick? I settled for “가을동화” (An autumn tale aka Autumn in my heart) from 2000 starring very young versions of 송승헌 and 원빈 before any of them where famous. This drama is said to be among the first dramas to trigger the Korean wave across Asia and the rest of the world. From having watched just one episode I can tell that this will most likely have me sobbing like a baby if I see it through to the end, but with such an great story, and an original traditional Korean atmosphere I’m definitely looking forward to watching the second episode today!