Inside my life

Today is the first day that I didn’t leave campus. I studied in the morning. Paid my school fees during lunch time, and bought the book for the next half of the semester. After that I went to the singing club in the afternoon and was only home at 4:30 pm, at that point too tired to go out, as I still had to study for tomorrow’s test (we have a dictation every day).


In class we will be finishing our first book (1-1) on thursday and we are currently on page 117 (yes, that is indeed how much we’ve studied).

Lately I can really feel just how much Korean I have already learnt, I think both the fact that I listened to a lot of Korean music and watched a lot of Korean TV-shows before arriving, as well as the fact that I have a good ear for languages made me progress like this. I usually have no problem whatsoever understanding what people say when they speak in Korean, but when I have to speak I do lack words, which is why I’m studying slightly harder than I ought to (I will talk about this in a while).


When we learnt the song we split up into two groups and practiced it together. I ended up in a group with 5 japanese girls studying at the third level (I am on the first level and I think that the people in the other group were almost all on the second level). We spoke together for a short while, just basic introductions. They asked me what level I was on and when I replied that I was on level one they all looked at me as though I had spoken an alien tongue. I then repeated it both in Korean and English and they all stared at me in confusion. ‘First level?’ one of them asked and when I nodded they all lost their chins on the ground before they started complimenting my Korean. They told me that they thought that I was higher level than them or at least the same level and were amazed to find out that it was my first time coming to Korean and my first time learning Korean. I explained that even though I can understand everything, my spelling and vocabulary is still poor.

When I got home and Unnie got home as well (she went to ECC to study with her Korean language partner) she told me a fun story from class today that I really felt like sharing because it made me laugh a lot while I did my homework. Unnie’s class has a lot of fun and crazy girls and now the only guy left in the class stopped lessons so they are only girls. Most of the girls are single and really want a boyfriend so when a handsome guy crosses their way they will all go crazy.

Today happens to be the first day of school for a lot of new students who study on the short term course. There was this one handsome boy couldn’t find his way and accidentally walked into Unnie’s class. Their teacher took him to the side and tried to explain to him where he was supposed to go. Just as the boy was leaving one of the girls said: 가지마! (pronounced: ga chima, meaning: don’t go) and that is when all of the other girls quickly followed along screaming: 가지마 오빠! to him. The word  오빠 (pronounced oppa) is the Korean word for big brother that girls usually call guys older than them. But according to Unnie the guy was a lot younger than all of the girls in the class, yet they still screamed:  가지마 오빠! Apparently his face turned completely red (which didn’t make the girls any less excited) before he went off his own way to find the right classroom. Of course I’m quite curious as to the identity of this guy who made all of the girls scream 가지마 오빠! so Unnie promised me that she would find him and show him to me within the week.

Changing topics completely: today I am revealing the essential contents of my bag here in Korea:

I actually took out a lot of random things before I took this picture, it turns out that I had many things that I never knew where there bust just took up more space for absolutely no reason. But here is what is now left inside.

1. My korean wallet. Inside I have my T-card (that I use to ride the metro), my Dormitory card (that I have to use in order to get into the dormitory), my Student card (that i have to use to study in the uni study areas) as well as money and discount card for a coffee shop.

2. My Korean phone. Essential for all communication with friends in Korea.

3. My English phone, I mainly carry this around because of the music and because I can use Wi-Fi on it, which really comes in handy when I study at cafés (Google Translate ftw).

4. My camera (or well, only the case in the picture, since I used my camera to take the picture…)

5. My comb that often comes in handy when it has been raining, or when I go inside after having been outside in the wind.

6. A pack of tissues, because Korea often lacks tissues in places like bathrooms.

7. Vaseline, because my lips always become dry.

8. My (now) broken sunglasses. They had been laying too long in my bag so they are now broken, I’ll have to buy myself a new pair some time.

9. My SPF 50+ sunscreen, indispensable here when it is sunny.

10. Chewing-gum, because I always have been a big fan of chewing-gum.

11. Plasters, because I always get hurt no matter where in the world I am, one day it’s my feet the next it is my arm.

12. A variety of pens, mainly for my lessons, but also for when I do my homework.

13. My three Vocabulary notebooks. The first one has nouns in it, the second one verbs and the third on has phrases, grammar and expressions in it. I need new ones soon. I study with these every day and try to remember all of the words inside, actually I’ve figured out that studying for our dictations is really easy as I will only have to learn about 20 phrases but since my goal here is not so much to pass the exam but rather learn Korean to the point where I will be able to speak properly, I really need the extra studying to remember my Vocabulary, that I still struggle with.

14. My books and notebooks. One notebook for dictations, one for class and one for practice at home. One korean book for class and one workbook for homework.

15. My adorable fan.

16. A map over the subway in Seoul, in Japanese and English (I still haven’t found one in Korean, it’s very unhandy). I don’t really need the map, it’s just nice to have.

17. A map over Myungdong. This too I don’t really need but it sometimes comes in handy as it has the name of most of the shops on it so I can easily locate the place that I want to go.

not in the picture:

18. A bottle of water

19. Earplugs, for the occasional times that I end up in a café and feel like listening to music.

20. A hairband, for the times that I study outside when it is slightly windy.

21. Anything else that I buy on my way.

These days I also carry an umbrella around (well I didn’t this weekend, because it didn’t rain but from the Thursday on I will have to start carrying it around again).

That is it from me and my random facts tonight. 끝 (pronounced: keut, meaning: the end) and Goodnight.

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Thilde Kold Holdt

I am a novelist by profession, currently working an epic fantasy series about 7th century Korea. My epic fantasy trilogy about Vikings, the Hanged God, is currently being published. I have lived

enough different places that the most difficult question to answer is: "where are you from?" I am, quite simply, from the planet Earth, for I have yet to set foot on Mars. Someday, though...

© Thilde Kold Holdt