Yesterday I met with my best friend for a long overdue catching up session over good food and wine. We stayed up until late talking (and sipping wine), which at some point even led to singing(!), and I must admit that I’m definitely paying the bill today. My entire body is aching and I haven’t felt this tired in a long time. Well, everything comes at a cost and this was definitely worth it!
We had agreed that she should come to my place after work, so I left work a bit early so I would have time for a quick conversation with my language partner in Seoul, who had said he’d call me in the afternoon. I was still on the phone with him when she rang the doorbell, so she got to hear me speak Korean for the first time. This prompted her to tell me that “I sounded so different in Korean. Much cuter and more girly.” Haha! I never thought of that. Maybe it’s true in the sense that there’s a pretty clear distinction between male and female speaking patterns in Korean. My language partner apparently also noted a change in me, when I said hello to my friend at the door while still being on the phone with him. “You sounded a bit down when I first called you but your voice instantly became much happier.” A few minutes earlier he had been asking what was wrong, and insisted that I tell him if something was bothering me. “목소리가 왜 그래요? 걱정이 있어요? 좀 다운인 거 같아요.” (Why is your voice like this? Are you worried about anything? You sound a bit down”.) This was the first time I heard the Konglish word 다운 being used when talking about feelings. I assured him that I was simply tired after teaching my Friday afternoon class and that it had just been a long week. Anyway, I wrapped up the conversation with him explaining that I would now have to spend time with my 언니 (eonni) a term I always use when I refer to my older girlfriends when speaking Korean. The funny thing was that my friend, who speaks no Korean at all, actually understood this term since I have told her that this is what I call her in Korean.
I’ve spent most of today on my couch drinking tea while binge watching Korean dramas. I recently started re-watching the classic SBS drama from 2003 “Stairway to heaven” with Choi Ji Woo, Kim Tae Hee and Kwon Sang Woo. I’ve actually watched it twice before. The first time was in 2008 before understanding one single word of Korean. In fact, this was my first Korean drama ever. The second time was in 2014, a month or so after I started learning Korean. At that point I was able to understand isolated words here and there, but definitely no more than that. Now I’m watching without any subtitles, and I find that I understand pretty much everything without even having to make an effort. This sense of progress feels amazing, and this is exactly the kind of feeling that makes me want to study even harder. Happy weekend everyone!