Rays of Splendour


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Of parents’ birthdays and other random updates

Lying in bed in the dark while blogging on the WordPress app. This is the first time that I’m using the app!

Figured I’d just quickly jot down some moments that occurred in the past few days for the record.

Celebrated the parents’ birthdays

The parents’ birthdays are only 4 days apart from each other. As they gained an extra year in their ages, I’m reminded that my time with them could be getting shorter.

Unlike during times when I was much younger, these days I began to comprehend more the sacrifices and love they have for me. I saw how the parents are very giving towards my siblings and I, how they are always our biggest supporters in whatever that we do and how they never fail to continuously make duas for us to be granted with nothing but the best.

They have such unconditional love for us. I feel it in not just the way they always go the extra mile for us but also in the way that I never felt as though my presence was not wanted.

Everytime I’m with the parents, I felt it in me that our presence are such a blessing to their lives.

For all the goodness they’ve shown my siblings and I, I pray that Allah grants them abundance both in this world and the Hereafter. I pray too that Allah forgives any of their sins and places them in Paradise, amin.

Korean language class

This week, I received news that I am being offered a place to learn Korean at the language institute on campus. Alhamdulillah!

It’s a ten weeks programme. Currently, I’m supposed to start attending lessons this March daily from Mondays to Fridays from 6.30pm to about 9.10pm. I also have the option to change the lesson start time to summer which is in June and attend the morning 9am lesson instead.

So now, I’m in a dilemma whether to postpone the start times or not. If I were to continue with the March start time, it means that I will be going back home from school late everyday. Plus, I will be juggling that with the other courses in the day.

If I were to start in June, it would mean that I would not be going back home to Singapore for the summer vacation. That means: After flying to Seoul next week, I’ll only be back in Singapore in December. I’ll literally be gone for the next 10 months!

Not too sure what I’ll do. Regardless, praying for Allah to help guide me to the suitable choice.

Heartache

That’s “ache” in a literal sense.

Not too sure why but the heart has been feeling a tad bit odd these past few weeks. Even as I’m blogging this, I felt a slight tug at some vein near the heart area just mere moments ago.

Also, I do not know whether there is a co-relation but past few weeks too, there have been some moments when my world just seemed to momentarily spin. It will spin for a few seconds. The feeling’s as though I’m losing my balance. Like I will fall on the ground. It’ll last only a few seconds though.

Hmmm. Hoping it’s nothing and just my imagination!

I’ll be living alone in Seoul yet again. Gonna be doing everything alone and it’s gonna be back to times where I have to rely on only myself to survive the days. So yep, praying that my body continues being healthy insyaAllah.

Just a few days ago I was feeling worried when I read news of someone who passed away suddenly. That compelled me to send a panicked WhatsApp text to both my bffs to tell them to start wondering if they don’t hear any replies from me for more than 3 days. Though seriously, who they have to contact to check if I’m allright is beyond me. I really do not have anyone in Seoul whom the people in Singapore can contact to check on me.

Okay. Hand’s getting cramped from typing this blog entry on my mobile phone. Gonna stop now. It’s pretty convenient to be using this WordPress app though!


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Lost in translation

During a conversation with a Korean lady yesterday…

Me: So, is there a good place in Seoul where I can go to in order to photocopy things?

(When I asked this, I was thinking of a possible place in Seoul like those photocopying shops in Queensway Shopping Centre where I can go in order to do document printing in bulk and at a cheap price)

Her: Place? *puzzled look*

Me: Yah you know, place. Location. Photocopy shop. *makes hand gestures to mimic how it looks to photocopy a document* Copy? *continues making hand gestures* Copy things! Is there a place in Seoul where I can go to photocopy a document?

Her: Oh! Copy!

Me: Yes, copy! *gives happy look that she understood* Is there a place I can copy things for cheap?

Her: Copy… Ok. Starbucks not cheap. Holly’s Coffee also not cheap. Go to Ediya. Ediya cheap.

At this point in time, my brain was working overtime trying to figure out what Starbucks had to do with photocopying until…

Me: *weak voice* Oh yah. Ediya good. Coffee good.

I totally forgot that the Koreans pronounced ‘coffee’ as ‘kopi’. Well at least now I know that I can go to Ediya in order to get cheap coffee! Though, there is that small fact about how I’m not a coffee drinker…


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Learning a new language – Korean!

Recently, I decided to sign up for Korean Language classes again. I’d taken some basic levels in Korean a few years back on a whim because I was curious as to why people are learning it. However, I stopped learning after two levels of Korean classes as I felt it would be pointless to devote myself to learning a language I would never use.

But oh, I spoke too soon because it turned out that the recent motivation which made me pick up Korean again stemmed from a need to use it in the next few months to come.

So the month of August saw me signing myself up for Korean classes at Daehan Korean Language Centre with trepidation. ‘Trepidation’ came into the picture because of two reasons.

1) Everyone I see (aka schoolmates/classmates) are people who are wayyyyyyy younger than myself. They are either 18/19 years of age or in their twenties. I won’t be able to blend in seamlessly like I did the previous time I learned this language.

2) It is the high period at work right now with many deadlines to meet one after the other and workload is quite massive this time of the year. This means that it may potentially (who am I kidding? It’s no longer a potential but a reality at the time I’m blogging this!) be challenging for me to set aside time for revision.

Nevertheless, I still needed to sign up for this class.

And perhaps because this is my second attempt at learning this language and when I’m much older, I found that I started noticing things like the following:

Age gap between you and your teacher

My Korean teacher is not much older than me. So every time I’m unable to submit my homework or answer her questions, I would feel very, very bad. She doesn’t scold me for the non-submissions which makes me feel even worse. I really do not like putting another adult in that position however with work at an all-time high (the kind where you continue with work even till late into the night after getting back from Korean classes), it really leaves very little time to read through the textbook and do the homework.

Pace of picking up the language

Frankly speaking after my jaunt with learning Chinese (back in pre-university and university days) as well as Japanese (a few years back when I planned to pursue postgrad studies in Japan), I find that Korean is much simpler to pick up than I had expected. So even though the last time I learned Korean was a while back and I’d forgotten most grammatical rules and vocabulary, I was still able to catch up.

I guess this has to do with the fact that it has only one writing system – the hangeul – and thus far, it seems like the way the verbs conjugate are much less complex to Japanese.

That said, one of the biggest issue I’m grappling with is the use of honorific and plain forms of the sentences. I foresee myself making several faux pas when communicating with people due to my current inability to switch between honorific and plain form in conversation and writing.

Textbooks and workbooks used in class

The school uses the Active Korean textbooks and workbooks, used by Seoul National University, for lessons.

Source: http://www.ebay.com/itm/ACTIVE-KOREAN-Learn-KOREAN-Text-book-with-AUDIO-CD-VOL-1-4-LANGUAGE-study-1007-/271075668732

From past experiences in learning foreign languages, I’ve seen and used my share of language textbooks. There were some good ones and some which I feel are not helpful to the learner.

However, I feel that this particular learning resource is a great one. Grammatical rules and vocabulary are introduced progressively and with clarity. The examples used are also highly relevant and those that one will definitely use during conversations.

There were some lessons that I missed and did not even have time to attend any makeup for. Yet, I was able to quickly catch up just from reading the explanations in the book.

Your classmates and you

Being the eldest student in class, I can sense that my classmates do get a bit uncomfortable whenever they are paired up with me for conversation practices. There could be other reasons too for this discomfort but regardless, I do not blame them for feeling this way especially these people are still in their teens and probably have not had a much older classmate before.

I find that most times, I will react by ignoring their discomfort and trudge along with the conversation drills amid awkward silences that fill the gaps whenever we are done with a section of the passage. Once the practice is done, the classmate will turn back to their friend (most of the teenagers come together with their friends to class) and pretend that I never existed.

Nevertheless, I’m quite okay with that since my purpose in coming to class is truly to learn the language and not to socialise.

So yep, despite all these, I’m still sticking to learning this language. It has been quite fun thus far anyway. 🙂

However, would I have the confidence to communicate in this language when it comes to the crunch?

Honestly, I don’t really know. For now.