In less than a week I’ll once more be jetting off to Seoul and I’m beyond excited. I’ve already spent two months away from my second home and I cannot wait to go back to all my favorite cafes, my favorite restaurants and, well, my favorite people!
When I first arrived back in Denmark, I was really diligent with maintaining my Korean skills for the first couple of weeks. Okay, I’ll admit that it was more to fight my homesickness than for the purpose of really studying. In either case, it helped. But as my brain has been increasingly preoccupied with trying to catch up with the 3rd semester Japanese majors whose classes I’m currently auditing (and frantically struggling to keep up with), I have felt my Korean skills deteriorate pretty fast. This morning, I saw a car with a ‘student driver’ sticker on it and thought to myself: “I used to see these in Seoul all the time. What on earth did those stickers say??” It took me several minutes to recall the ‘교육중’ term in Korean. I constantly find myself looking up words I know I’ve mastered before, and it drives me mad that one’s memory function can be so fleeing. If you don’t use a foreign language on a regular basis you can lose it so easily.
So what’s the remedy? Total immersion! Since this weekend I’m listening strictly to Korean music (new album by BTS) and podcasts (mainly 세바시), I only watch Korean TV (currently re-rewatching 김비서가 왜 그럴까 because it’s so freaking good and just started watching 플레이어, which premiered last week), I read Korean news and books (currently re-reading 완벽하지 않은 것들에 대한 사랑 – the love for imperfect things by the Buddhist zen monk Haemin Sunim). I try to speak Korean to myself whenever I’m alone and have taken up the habit of shadowing the things I’m watching or listening to as well.
It feels a bit like your first few runs after a long hiatus. You used to be in good shape, so your body adapts relatively quickly, but d… that first run is painful.
This week’s goal: Back to complete fluency and a cute western-Seoul dialect by Monday! Fighting!!