Saturday, October 4, 2014

They Say I'm 30

September 27 – October 3, 2014
They Say I’m 30

Soundtrack of the Week
1.       Problem [Ariana Grande ft. Iggy Azalea]
2.       Break Free [Ariana Grande ft. Zedd]
3.       All About That Bass [Meghan Trainor]
4.       Shake It Off [Taylor Swift]
5.       Bang Bang [Jessie J, Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj]

And so the new week of yet another year starts, this time in Seoul. It was my birthday last Friday, a fact that somehow got out in the classroom because of that directory form the teacher passed around the week before. I don’t like announcing my birthday. I never did last year in Xiamen; why should I here? In any case, I got the requisite Happy Birthday greetings, in Korean, and we all moved on with our lives. Koreans consider their very birth as Year 1 on Earth, which means I’m already 30 here. Damn, right?

Korean: I am still the class idiot, and I hate myself for it. I keep on wondering what the hell is wrong with me. There are many theories involved here, but in the end I think they are all just excuses because the fact of the matter is I’m one lazy SoaB who would not level up when necessary. This happened last year in China; it’s happening here again in Korea. Excuse #1: Asian languages are effing hard. This is easy to believe given how my European Languages are way more advanced, but if that’s the case, then why was it also a bit difficult for me to maintain a conversation in German when I was in Vienna last July, even with a year of intensive classes in Goethe when I was still in Manila? Excuse #2: I started with Asian languages relatively late. This is probably half true, but I am learning in-country now, maybe I am just expecting progress to be faster. Excuse #3: My priorities are skewed. Ahem, fine we will scrap intensive French review so we could concentrate on Korean ALONE. Fine then, have it your way.

Classroom: Somehow I still feel a little bit withdrawn. How many weeks has it been since classes started, three? I don’t know. I just feel like all of my classmates could converse well, and if I take part in any way I will just drag them all down. Even the two Polish students could string sentences together fast enough even if they don’t talk most of the time, which is why I feel like such a failure. Perhaps this is what happens when you insist on studying a language on your own, knowing how flawed your methods are, then attempt to leapfrog a few levels and actually succeed in doing so, just to realize that you are now struggling to be relevant. Fuck this, seriously. Add the unfortunate fact that I just resist reviewing at home. This has something to do with the crammer in me. I’d rather do a bulk review than do easily manageable bits on a daily basis, something I’d strive to change in the next few weeks. Anyway, have I told you that most of my classmates are in their early 20’s again? Now I’m the default class oppa. Yey?

Depression: I would not really lie. It has been a long time since I seriously contemplated suicide. But let me be clear about this, when I talk about suicide, I do so liberally because I know I would not really do it anyway. I mean come on. If I really wanted to kill myself I would have done so in college, which was undeniably the darkest phase of my life. This shitty feeling I have been having in the last year or so is more like that calm after the storm. You know, when the worst is over and everything is in shambles and you tell yourself, what the fuck am I going to do now? Can I please just die? But then you realize that it would be rather anti-climactic and too late because you survived after all and you are just lazy to rebuild everything. Well, at least that was the analysis I came up with while seated on the edge of the Han River, Lays Salt and Vinegar on one hand and a can of Coke on the other. So I told the Han River to fuck itself because the current is so slow, went back to my place, and went sound tripping on YouTube. All good!

Languages: I guess one good reason why my life is so fucked up as it is because it’s not fucked up after all. I am just unappreciative. I have this Excel file which outlines what is going to happen in my life until 2020. Well, can tell that it is going to be exciting, but then again why the combination of gloom and grief? I guess I am just questioning what all of this is for. Why the hell am I learning all of these languages? Well, the answer that I always rely on to convince myself is that language learning has been the only constant activity I’ve been doing for 10 years now, and which has constantly yielded positive results. All the breaks I have had since then, I wouldn’t have had if I weren’t multilingual. And so I decided that while I try to figure out what to do in this life, I will just continue learning languages, because at the end of the day even if I end up disappointing myself, at least my resume would be colorful, and I still would have gained functional fluency in those languages to make money out of them.

Korea: Seoul is getting colder as October barges in. I find myself having to wear the wool PJs I have because it gets quite cold at night, and leaving the window open becomes a viable substitute to the electricity guzzling air-con, which would most likely remain unplugged until around May or June next year. I have no complaints about Seoul. When I first got here four years ago I knew that I wanted to live here, I just didn’t know how back then. And now I am finally here. I mean, what the fuck, right? Life really has a good sense of humor. In any case, what I love about this city is that you no longer have to deal with problems which are not problems after all in the first place. In Manila, for example, your day is ruined as soon as it starts as you find yourself stuck in traffic for an hour or so. That simply does not happen here. As I always say, a good subway system is all it takes to keep me satisfied, and Seoul has how many, 12 of them? Thankfully, I am able to focus on real problems plaguing my personal life.

Politics: Hong Kong is still rebelling against the Mainland, but in a very cute way. Seeing students doing their school homework while on the frontlines is plain adorable. And you have to give it to the Hongkies, they really clean up their mess. Okay fine, I would not compare HK protesters with Manila protesters anymore, lest I receive another unsolicited comment that I am an arrogant bastard who would not stop shit talking my country since I left. In any case, I support them Hongkies all the way because I am annoyed with Beijing. If you examine the dynamics in the region, almost every single problem involving several countries would most likely include China. Those fucking commies are bullying everyone in the region, but what I hate more is how they defend their bullshit with more bullshit. Anyone who has seen that new map of theirs with the hilarious nine-dash line would simply scratch his head in utter confusion. We don’t know what will happen to HK, but at least China should know that the world is watching.

Something Happened in Bali: Yes, as my commitment to improving my listening comprehension skills and as a worthwhile distraction from more emo thoughts, which seem to come along when I spend too much time doing nothing, I have decided to start watching Korean dramas again. I have a lot of backlog, but I need something new, so I chose Something Happened in Bali. What made me choose it? Well, I clicked the link of the last episode and fast forwarded it to the last few minutes. Lead guy finds lead girl in bed with support guy. He shoots them both, before going to the beach to shoot himself. Okay, you got my attention. While most would think that I just spoiled myself by seeing the ending first, I think it was actually effective, because now I am more curious than ever to know what occurred in the span of 20 episodes to merit that kind of spectacular ending. Admit it, it’s non-conventional!  And I love tragedies, now don’t I? This one came out in 2004, which makes it 10 years old. Nice. Throwback!

“Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad.” -- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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