Saturday, October 11, 2014

Let’s Try To Be Productive

October 4 – 10, 2014
Let’s Try To Be Productive?

Soundtrack of the Week
1.       미친거 아니야? [2PM]
2.       Black Widow [Iggy Azalea ft. Rita Ora]
3.       Fantastic Baby [Bigbang]
4.       Anaconda [Nicki Minaj]
5.       All About That Bass [Meghan Trainor]

This week has been rather 50-50, beginning with a lot of promise but eventually going down the same route as always. Well, least it was not as shitty as last week, and actually had some promise. Consistency could still improve. It’s good to have explored some parts of the city where I haven’t been. Perhaps that is one thing that I could always do, get out and have some fresh air. Maybe that is the answer to having a clearer mind, or outlook in life, or both. I wish I could start exercising regularly, though.

Emo Shit: Well, you know me. I would continue engaging in activities which I deem necessary even if I know that it would do me nothing good, and then be totally depressed and disappointed when things don’t go as expected. This week saw some progress, though, and I end up not condemning anything because things turned out better than I expected them to do. It’s always bipolar like that and I think the real lesson to be learned here is how no activity could be deemed either futile or fruitful when it comes to how much satisfaction you expect to derive from it. In the end, it is all a game of expectations, which I guess is applicable to many aspects of life. If you lower your expectations and get more than you bargained for, then it makes you feel good; but go in there with high expectations and you end up pissed off when those expectations are not met. What irks the hell out of me, though, is how I’ve come to know all this shit, but never really apply them in real life. It’s this stubbornness that just gets me down.

Ice Skating: When I came back from Manila last month, I made sure to bring my ice skates along with me, but it is only now that I have actively searched for ice skating rinks here in Seoul, and decided to go to the one half an hour away. The nearest one is actually at Korea University. They have their own ice skating rink; I know, right! But I ended up going to the one where Kim Yu-Na used to train, at Taereung International Skating Rink. Wow, am I not impressed. I am not used to seeing big skating rinks like that. It looks like a whole school track field, except that you have ice instead of grass or concrete. One amusing fact about Korean skating rinks is that they have a special lane for speed skaters, something absent in Manila skating rinks because we don’t even have the slightest idea that such a sport existed. As such, the figure skaters and the general public are kept in the middle, where two rinks as big as those which we used to have in SM Southmall share the stage. I think I’ll be going there every week.

Presentation: This week marks the first series of exams we have, and one of those is the oral presentation. Luckily, I was absent during the drawing of lots to determine the order, so I got the last spot by default. We are to choose a news article and summarize it in Korean, as well as raise relevant questions which would serve as a discussion for the whole class. I initially chose a news article from Chosun Ilbo about the Korean suicide rate, which is the highest among OECD countries at 40 suicides per day. The teacher thought that it is a bit too heavy for the class, so she suggested I pick a new one, and I did. I ended up with unemployment in the Philippines, which I easily related to the high OFW numbers, which I also easily related to my personal life because my father is an OFW after all. Overall, my presentation skills sucked, but one thing I realized is that choosing a topic you are really interested in helps you keep talking and talking, no matter how much your grammar sucks. Good to know.

Baskin Robbins: Well, perhaps one of my newfound addictions involves Baskin Robbins, because there is nothing more ideal than a sugar rush when you are having a shitty day, right? So after two hours in class we usually have this 20 minute break, which I use to go to the Baskin Robbins shop near the MRT station, and then feast on Cookies and Cream on a cone on my way back to the classroom. What I noticed in class, though, is that my classmates seem to be amused not just with my food choices but also how I could go to such places and come back all in 20 minutes. And then the Japanese and Argentinean girls suddenly felt like mentioning their favorite ice cream flavors, which got me kind of guilty because maybe they wanted some too, right? So the next day when I bought my Cookies and Cream, I got the smallest tub to bring back to the classroom, which was supposedly for the two of them, but when the others saw it they thought it was for everyone in class. They all managed to share the small tub, so no issues there.

Meeting Friends: You know how you have too many Facebook contacts but you don’t even get to meet all of them on a regular basis. This is why I think it is fun when some of them visit the city where I currently live. For this week, a friend from university is in Seoul with his husband. She was the president of Circulo Hispanico when I applied, but that did not push through because I did not really know if I wanted to belong to a club that time, so I ended up not pushing through with my application. But we still kept in touch, because I thought I needed to explain my side, and we did correspond through emails after that. In short, no bridges were burned. And then we usually see each other post stuff on FB. I think it was in 2006 when we last met each other personally, so it was fun catching up. I guess I should do this more often, except that not a lot of people are visiting! Or maybe not! I have been here for just two months and two sets of friends already came by to say hi! Let’s see. Hopefully, more would come soon.

Korean: To tell you the truth, I am not quite sure if I would be staying in Seoul for one whole year. The budget side is fine, but my real concern is my Korean proficiency. My conversation skills are not levelling up as fast as my grammar and other language skills. My fear is that I would continue to be left behind in class. Come to think of it, Level 5 already starts this December. It just goes by so fast and I feel like I could catch up. This is why I’ve been thinking if I should just alternate Korean with a new language? I could, for example, spend 3 months each between Seoul and Bangkok if I wanted to start learning Thai. What’s the point? Well, at least the 3 month rest could help me review every time, right? But it seems to defeat the purpose. If I cut my stay in Seoul every 3 months, then that means less motivation and less use of the language for conversation, which just seem counterproductive. I guess the best thing is to take advantage of the language meetings and speak JUST Korean. This is just a never ending problem.

Future: The original plan is to finish up to Level 7 here in Seoul, which means having to stay until August next year. What my Excel file says then is that I would be spending a month and a half in Mexico from September to the first half of October for intensive Spanish. After that I spend the remaining half to travel across Central America before flying to Salamanca for a C2 course for the month of November, then the D course at Complutense in Madrid for December. 2015 would then be spent learning a new language in-country, for which I have not decided yet if it should be Thai in Bangkok (Chulalongkorn) or Russian in Bishkek (The London School). Either way, both cities would be significantly cheaper than Seoul, so no budgetary issues there. Even so, I still keep having escapist thoughts, of just dropping everything or maybe just stopping come February and fly to South America instead. Maybe my brain is not that welcoming anymore as far as academics is concerned? Only time will tell, I guess.

“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don't resist them - that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” -- Lao Tzu

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