3.1 Spring 2021

April 15

One impossibly sweet boy with round glasses and a broken arm in a green cast walked next to me as Jack and I exited the cafeteria. I asked him in Korean what happened and if his arm hurt.

“Oh… is it okay if I speak to you in Korean?” He asked.

“Yes, but I’m not very good so please speak slowly.”

This kid listened and proceeded with a delicacy most adults lack. Kids are so intuitive and I just love them.

Unfortunately, I still didn’t really know what he was saying; I think he was just trying to ask if it was okay to pose questions in Korean. I didn’t want to break our tenuous bond so I just said “sure” to whatever he was asking. Hope it wasn’t serious…

I finally caught up with Jack who said, “your Korean is really good.” No, Jack, I just faked my way through most of that conversation. I might have just promised him $100 or given him permission to call me Abs.

I wonder how I can even call myself intermediate if I understand so little of what happens around me.

It’s very frustrating.

When I miss a few days of Anki flashcards, the program piles up 200 cards for me to review.

Maybe more targeted learning in context is necessary—watching YouTube videos in and about Korean, giving that famous Language Learning with Netflix Chrome extension a whirl, defining vocabulary in immediate use but not adding it to any list to study.

I learned the word for “rainbow” when putting together pre-reading activities for my travel school kids. Sixth grade taught me “bathroom”.

Luckily for me, the kids are forgiving and helpful. Who doesn’t want free tutors?

But I’m still not learning fast enough to talk to a fourth grader and for that I am discontent.

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