Even the most motivated language learners face a learning block or twenty as they go along. Why these happen no one knows, I just know I have one now.
Stuck in a Rut
No one is safe from this feeling that you are not going anywhere. You just feel as if you are stuck in place no matter what you try. Right now I am feeling just that. I love learning Korean and I recently wrote a very long Korean text about my Copenhagen trip. However, even that achievement could not rid me off this horribly depressing feeling I was not making any progress.
While my writing skills have improved. At least I like to think they have. There are other skills that are not advancing at a similar pace. It just feels as if my listening and speaking language skills are bolted to the floor and won’t budge, no matter what I do. My Korean roommate and I these days try to talk to each other in Korean, but I often still do not understand everything he says and we revert back to talking in English. It is a really pickle I am in. Do you guys have any idea how to get rid of it?
Instead of focusing on those negative feelings, I decided to invest my time in other things.
My First K-Drama
Luckily I do not have only bad things to look back to. Last week I discovered the very first K-drama I utterly enjoy: Dear My Friends. This drama about the lives of a group of Elderly friends touched both my funny bone as my tear ducts. I think the drama did help me somewhat with my listening comprehension which is another win. Now that the series has ended I am searching for a similar series to watch. Now at least I know that not all Korean dramas are those silly soap operas or sappy love stories.
I strongly recommend watching this drama. If you have not seen Dear My friends, I really urge you to watch the drama. The story is written excellently, its characters are very lifelike and the actors are all wonderful. It is a true pearl. However, if you do not like a serious tone in your drama than this one might just not be for you.
The Art of Making Kimchi
Besides finding my first Korean K-drama, I also made kimchi for the first time. I did not only make the quintessential kimchi, baechu kimchi (배추 김치), but I also made radish kimchi, kkakdugi (깍두기). I am quite proud of the kimchi I have made. I never thought I would be capable of making my own kimchi.
While making kimchi can take quite a long time, it is a rather relaxing labor. This is especially true for baechu kimchi: Spreading the kimchi paste all over the nappa cabbage leaves is quite the zen moment. If you have never tried your hand at making kimchi, I want to urge you to try it once. While it looks so very complicated, it is actually a lot easier than it looks.
I am thinking of trying my hand at making new types of kimchi. I am considering making cucumber kimchi, oi sobagi (오이 소바기), and white kimchi, baek kimchi (백 김치). The reason why I picked those two is quite simple: My roommate loves those types.
Unblocking the Learning Block
However, watching K-dramas or making Korean food does not really fix my problem: my learning block. I need to unblock that learning block. I need to make progress once more. To practice my listening skills I can actually watch more K-dramas, they can really help improving that skill as I learned from watching Dear My Friends. However, I still have that dastardly difficult speaking skill to deal with and I do not know right now how to tackle that one.
So I turn to you, my dear readers: Do you have any ideas how I can improve my Korean speaking proficiency slowly but surely? Leave your suggestions in the comments below, I would love to hear from you.