Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Goodbye to a dear 친구...

Tonight I said goodbye to my awesome, wonderful, sweet, modest, shy, quirky, funny (and often a bit flaky) Korean friend and language partner.

친구 = friend (pronounced "ching-goo")

After several tight hugs and promises to keep in touch frequently, we agreed that this was a "see you later" and not a "goodbye forever." We also realized (after both of us had gone home) that we never took a picture together after six months of friendship. I guess that's something we'll do when we meet again someday in Korea. A goal, if you will.

As may be readily apparent, (1) I'm a pretty big nerd and (2) I get sentimental (even if not teary) about goodbyes and see-you-laters. So I made my friend a parting gift to commemorate his six-month stay in Boston. This is the sort of wacky stuff that occurs when one develops a slight crush on her cute language partner.

It's okay. He knows.

So, he was all sorts of impressed and said he felt bad that he had not brought something for me--which I would never expect anyway, by the way. So, instead, he wrote a nice half-page of Korean for me to decipher, but it turned out to be way too hard to do without him anyway, so we translated it word-by-word together.

Here's what it said: I came to America and was delighted to meet Kristy. At first, I was nervous when we promised to meet. Even after I talked for only a few minutes with her, we were soon friendly. I was really delighted and thankful that she was my first conversation partner. I am going back to Korea soon, but I will not forget this memory. It will be a good memory. Therefore, I will keep in touch with her frequently from Korea. Please contact me if you come to Korea. We will then speak in Korean. Kristy Noona! (noona = older sister)

Noona (누나) has a nice ring to it.

Goodbyes are sad, but they clear ways for more new hellos. And they inspire really great hugs to happen. Goodnight. I guess it's time to start scheduling time with Korean friend 2.0.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Cute handwriting

I actually met a pretty cool new language partner (saying goodbye to my first one tomorrow, sniff). I'll give you some updates on how that goes moving forward. For now, I'll just say that it seems we will have a good time chatting. Let's call this guy Korean Friend Version 2.0.

Today, 2.0 and I met for the first time and sat around in the sun at Boston Common, chatting about how he wanted to improve his English, why the heck I was studying Korean, and a variety of other things. We made up some sentences to describe (in Korean) what was happening around us. Simple things like, "There are a lot of people here," and "Today the weather is nice," and even this whopper: "The sun is scorching, so we are sitting in the shade."

After being super impressed that I knew the Korean alphabet, as well as a pretty sizable collection of words, 2.0 told me that my Korean handwriting was not only just neat, but that it was actually really good (better than his), and looked just like a native Korean girl's "cute" handwriting.

I told 2.0 that I had no intention of writing in a "cute" way, that I only tried to write legibly, yet quickly. I guess it's bubbly. I don't know. I have a hard time knowing what Korean handwriting style is what. Anyway, here is my writing that inspired the comment (first image).

I would love to have another example of un-cute, manly Korean handwriting. Unfortunately, 2.0 refused to write anything into my notebook today, insisting that every time he said a word, I had to sound it out all by my lonesome. It was good practice and it kept me from being lazy. He says he's giving me a spelling quiz when me meet next time. Quiz?! Be still my nerdy teacher heart; I already like studying with this guy.

All I have to go by is the handwriting of my soon-to-be-departed Korean Friend First Edition (pictured right). You can see his handwriting after all of the Qs (questions) and all of mine directly below it (the answers). I've always really appreciated how small his penmanship is, since, with three letters piled atop each other sometimes, it's hard for me to squeeze some of them on just one line. He does it with the ease of someone who's been at it for years. Yeah, duh.

Mine looks sort of blocky and awkward next to his. Like a seven-foot-tall person in a room full of genetically short people.

Blocky + Awkward = Cute Korean Girl Handwriting. Apparently.

Okay, it's 1 am, so it's already tomorrow. I should go to bed. More to come on handwriting, goodbyes, and language-partner-finding mishaps.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Glass half empty

So, I know I went on and on last post about the amazingness of finding yourself a language partner, but I've found a downside.

As with many good things in life that come to an end, my Korean friend is going back to Korea. I guess I didn't stop to think about what would happen were I to become really good friends with this guy. But it happened, and, well... now I'm pretty sad about him leaving.

I actually lined up meeting another native Korean speaker for tomorrow night. Already, though, talking to this totally un-shy, chatty guy on the phone--who seemed very enthusiastic and nice, by the way--all I could think was, "Yeah, but you're not (insert name of my friend)."

One of the beautiful things about learning other languages is that process' ability to open our minds, our lives, and our hearts to new people and new cultures. I've been through this before. Goodbyes and see-you-again-somedays are part of the process. I just never like it when the time comes around to say them.

I will have to post soon about how my actual language studying has been going. Nothing earth-shattering, but that's what I'm here to talk about. (^_^)V