“So, what are you doing these days?” is a question I hear a lot whenever I meet people alongside “How are you holding up?”. While the questions are simple the answers are less so. Since there’s no real update on the latter, let’s examine the first question. What am I indeed doing these days? The first answers that spring to mind are: trying to stay sane, fighting anxiety, focusing on self-care through eating well and exercising regularly and reading, reading, reading.
With more than three months to go before I’m back in Korea I’ve made a habit of studying Korean religiously Every. Single. Day. My current study regime is widely news based. I watch around an hour of YTN news channel’s live stream on YouTube every day and meticulously look up new words. Just re-learned the Korean word for banquet – 만찬 – yep, don’t use that one often but good to know nonetheless. I also study with a textbook (YTN뉴스로 배우는 시사 한국어) based on this news network’s previous broadcasts covering a wide array of current affairs in politics, economics, science, and health. I enjoy studying with this text and I already feel that my comprehension when just passively watching the news has increased tremendously. As an added bonus, it’s super fun to shadow the news anchor and practice my Korean ‘announcer pitch’.
In other news, I’m back in the tutoring game. I’m currently tutoring two people a couple of times per week. A Japanese professor, whom I teach Danish in return for Japanese conversation practice, and a Danish girl married to a Korean, who wishes to speak Korean more fluently. I enjoy both (although my Japanese is pitiful) but I particularly enjoy teaching Korean for the first time. I’m happy to say that it feels much more natural than I would have expected. Well, I am a part-time Korean by now, so I suppose it makes sense.
As for reading, I have a habit of reading at least three books at once simply because I like to read different genres at the same time. Usually, it’s one book in Korean, one novel for recreation and one non-fiction book for inspiration and self-improvement. I’ve recently finished Michelle Obama’s memoir “Becoming”, and Joan Didion’s “The year of magical thinking” and currently I’m reading The latest book by Haemin Sunim “고요할수록 밝아지는 것들”, “The happiness project” by Gretchen Rubin and the classic “Jane Eyre”.
I always loved reading and consider myself a bit of a book worm (fun fact: book worm in Korean is 책벌레), but especially these days I find special comfort in diving into the books and learning from other peoples’ experiences.
When I someday look back on this period in my life, I’d like to say that I didn’t spend all the time curled up on the couch wallowing in grief and self-pity (although that definitely still happens on some days), but that I actively did something to improve myself and my prospects for the future. In the words of my favorite Korean ever: 오늘도 알찬 하루 돼! Make today meaningful!