It is currently 9:48 PM EST and I am currently listening to KPop (Korean Pop music) while I write this exciting blog post. I’m going to be so tired tomorrow (I have to get up and go for a training run! But I want to write all this down now!).
So, as many of you know, I enrolled in a Korean language class this Fall. It meets every Friday (unless it is holiday) until December 13th. I have been to 5 Korean classes thus far and I’m the only one in the class (the non-speaking Korean class). And so far, well it’s going. I’m learning a lot more, but I think this time around it’s because I actually NEED to be able to communicate in Korean.
In middle/high school, my parents fortunately enrolled me in a Korean language class. I remembered some very basic info (how to sound out most of the characters and write them) and how to say the following: Mom, Dad, Hello, Goodbye. I remember there being three or four other people in the class. But I felt so intimated because I just couldn’t keep up with them. Plus, I was at that age where we took things for granted. So needless to say, I didn’t learn as much as I probably should have learned.
I’m loving the fact that I am the only student in the class. It is much more beneficial to me and I am enjoying it a lot more. We use a Korean workbook, but my teacher will sometimes alter what we are learning to fit my life. She also has me make notes of phrases/words during the week that I want to learn how to say, for instance, “Please speak slower.” When I talk (ha, talk) to my Korean family, I sometimes get overwhelmed by the speed at which they talk. I maybe understand one or two things that they say. But alas, I’m getting a little off topic from what I really wanted to write about.
Chuseok (추석) was yesterday in Korea (well today to us in the USA but keep in mind Korea is 13 hours ahead EST). Chuseok is basically Thanksgiving in Korea. It is one of the biggest and most important holidays in Korea. Family members gather to give thanks to their ancestors for the year’s harvest. It runs from September 18 – 20. Even though I told my Korean family that I was at work, they still insisted on trying to video call me on WeChat. So I finally went into a little room so they could say hi and then I realized it was Chuseok. It felt pretty nice that they wanted to contact me on such an important day to them. Even though all we all did was smile and look each other. My birthmother tried to talk to me, but I had absolutely no idea what she was saying. I of course had to get back to work so we said our goodbyes. I typed to them that on Saturday at 7AM (to them) I would be in Korean class and that my instructor would be able to translate.
I was hoping that what I typed to them made sense. I had typed, what my instructor calls, Korenglish. Korean and English mixed together. Once I got to class, I immediately sent messages to the three sisters and asked them to video chat. Hye Jin (the third born) was the first to answer. She still lives at home with her mom so she was there too. This was pretty much the first conversation I’ve really had with them. My instructor, bless her heart, translated everything.
My birthmother expressed how much she wanted me (and hubby) to come visit Korea. She is sad that she was not able to provide for me like she did for her other children. She feels very sad for me because she could not care for me. She wants me to visit Korea soon so she can provide for me. My sister said that every time my birthmother and I see each other, she is very sad afterwards.
I told her to not be sad and that she did what was best for me. She was unable to take care of me so she did what she thought was best and I appreciate that because I was raised by a loving family. (It’s still crazy for me to think about all of this and I just don’t know what to say). My sister said that usually she is happy when she sees me but that she lately she has been sad because she wants to get to know me more and see me. I told them to not be sad. That we now know of each other and that is an awesome thing. I told them that Daniel and I were saving up money to come visit someday soon. My birthmother kept saying to just come and that my sisters would take care of us and to not worry about money. (I’m not sure she is remembering about the prices of airline tickets haha).
My birthmother said that I was like my sisters — kind-hearted and understanding. That I was of good character just like them. It was kind of nice that just from the limited conversations I’ve had with them that she would say that. Hye Jin told my teacher that she wanted to visit me this year because she is not currently working and can make the trip. So, Daniel, we might be having a Korean visitor! She also asked if my teacher would translate letters that she wrote. Which my teacher gladly responded to helping in that department. We finally said our goodbyes and we got back to our lessons…
A few minutes later, Mee Eun (the second born), video called us. She was actually in a tent when she video called us. Her baby girl (11 months old I think) woke her up and she saw our message. Since it is a long holiday, and the kids did not have school the sisters were going to be camping today. She was very funny and kept apologizing for her dress. You could tell she just got up. So we kept the conversation pretty short, since she was in a tent and all…
Towards the end of class, Mee Jin (the first born), messaged me and said that she was sorry (she was the one I originally told that I had class at 7AM her time) she was out late drinking with her friends for Chuseok (obviously we have the same concept of fun haha). She accidentally over slept. She apologized for her dress too! Her son, Suhng Hyun who is 8, was also on the camera with her, but for some reason he was being very camera shy which is not usually the case. Again, you could tell they just woke up. Apparently my birthmother had just been there or called and told her that she had talked to me. Mee Jin said that made her mom very happy and sad. My instructor told Mee Jin that we have class every Friday so she said next time she would look nicer. She ended the conversation with asking me to be healthy.
So needless to say, my Korean class went a lot better after talking to all my sisters. I had even more incentive to learn this crazy language that one little emphasis on one sound can change the whole entire meaning.
Sorry for the long post! Until next time…안녕히 계세요! (goodbye if I am leaving and person is staying – annyeonghi gyeseyo) versus 안녕히 가세요 (goodbye if I am staying and person is leaving – annyeonhi gaseyo).