Once more I’m in the lucky position of having real Korean tutors in my life, and not only do I have one – I actually have three, which really comes in handy in cases where two people end up cancelling. Anyway, I’ve had four face-to-face sessions over the past few weeks and I really enjoy these sessions so much. We speak entirely in Korean, which causes my head to spin by the end of a two-hour meeting. But man, is this an efficient way to learn a language! But as all of you know, learning a language comes with both victories and defeats and tutoring sessions are certainly no exception to this rule.

I’ve been walking around the past few weeks thinking to myself “I may not have reached the peak of Mt. Fluency yet but d… the view looks nice from where I’m standing too!”

This joyous feeling of Korean (over)confidence was brought to a stop yesterday when I met two of my three tutors for an informal chat in the library. For some reason I kept hesitating and over thinking, causing my sentences to sound something along the lines of this:

그런데… 아아 뭐라고 할까(?)… 가게에 가는 김에… 도…아니…라면도… …샀어요?

For some super strange reason I also kept starting each new sentence with 그런데, which does not exactly scream “Korean fluency”.

I’m going to put it down to the fact that I was tired/hungry at the time and that we hadn’t agreed on a conversation topic before starting, naturally making the whole conversation a bit more stop-and-go. I guess Koreans really nailed it when they invented the awesome idiomatic expression 금강산도 식후경. This translates as “Even Mount Geumgang is best seen after a meal” meaning that even when doing something fun or enjoyable, you shouldn’t do it on an empty stomach.

I went home after the session thinking that the Korean session did not reflect my best effort, but having been learning Korean for a while now, I also know that for every 10-20 good Korean days, a less fantastic one is bound to come around. Or as the Koreans also say:

좋은 일이 있으면 나쁜 일도 있고, 나쁜 일이 있으면 좋은 일도 있기 마련이다.

Where there are good things bad things will follow, and where there are bad things good things will follow.

Knowing this makes it considerably easier to deal with the small blows learning a language is sure to give you once in a while. Just learn from the experience, get back on the horse, and stay motivated!

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