especially when you’ve only grown up speaking one.
This is a post dedicated to all you monolingual people out there,(사랑해요[I love ya]) I just want you to know you’re beautiful.So as you may or may not know is, that I’m wrapping up my last few months of a three year tour as an English teacher in South Korea. It’s been fun, I’ve had some good times but there is something thing that I didn’t expect to happen.
I didn’t(haven’t) become fluent in the language.
Now living in the country part of a foreign country I wasn’t able to take classes in the language,if I had it my ability would have been totally different,but I didn’t so it isn’t. As things are, I learn via books such as TalkToMeInKorean(a great investment btw), watching Korean dramas(I learned the whole family structure and now that I speak a little Korean I can recognize words I didn’t know and I write them down),and talking to my co-teachers.Though I’ve done a lot of studying, I’m not even at a high beginner level,and you know what I’m ok with that.I studied really hard and then I came to a road block,a glass ceiling as I’ll call it, for self learning.I’m the kind of person that needs structure and guidance.So here I am, almost three years in with just enough Korean to have a basic conversations with the ajummas(older lady or married woman) on the streets.Though from just talking to people on the streets I’ve learned a lot.
So now I can finally understand how a lot of those older people feel in America(the U.S. specifically).To all you people who say oh if you live in the U.S. you should speak English,you kick rocks and learn a second language before you judge someone else.It takes a lot of time,hours and hours,and even with hours spent and staying in the country where they speak the language doesn’t ensure you fluency.If you work a nine to five job in another country,the last thing you want to hear when you get home is that language.When I’m at home,I like to pretend I’m in my own little slice of the U.S. ,sometimes the last thing I want to do is look ,read or hear any Korean.Now I do watch Korean dramas,but sometimes I’m just like no,there’s too much Korean in my life,let me go and watch some anime.
And sometimes people are like oh BlerdLikeMe you live in Korea,you should learn Korean( Korean co-workers) and I just look at them.Firstly majority of you have studied English for almost all of your schooling and aren’t fluent and yet you expect me to be fluent in Korean in three years(yeah I’m judging ,I’ve spent crazy hours self study Korean).Now there are some people(ex a guy doing a seminar for our orientation, who was like yeah, I’ve been here for ten years married a Korean and can’t speak a lick of the language.)That’s pure laziness and disrespectful to your spouse.I think if you live in a country you should try,that doesn’t mean you will succeed but hey ,nothing beat a failure but a try. But to be honest most people are only here a year or two so they don’t see,the point in learning the language,I never felt that way I’ve always wanted to be bilingual.On the other hand if your just staying one year I can totally understand not spending every waking moment learning the language,and if you are more power to you.
But you know what’s really awesome is my Korean can spike when it’s important….yeah so when I went to Yongsan to buy amiibos they told me that the amiibos of this wave are all sold out and could only be gotten at premium prices. Ness was $50(50,000 won) and Charizard at $40(40,000 won) could be ordered from there through Japanese contacts.I told them that it was really expensive and I could get them online for cheaper,they explained they they weren’t even getting them in a anymore because a lot of them were just sold out.They apologized to me because I’m a pretty good costumer and they hated to disappoint me.Now somehow I managed to have this whole conversation in Korea,I didn’t even think about that ,until my friend pointed out that my Korean spiked when it came to my amiibos.
My friend pointed out that I can speak Korean when it’s something really important to me.I guess she’s right.
To all of you monolingual people out there,I love you,