One month

Today is my one month ‘anniversary’. I have indeed lived in Seoul for one month.

Since it has been one month it’s only natural to celebrate, right? So what did I do today? Nothing but studying. No, celebration, no nothing. Just studying. I didn’t even exit the dorm. Staying inside the entire day: studying.


I managed to study 4 chapters today which is also equal to 60 pages. But what it important to notice in the previous sentence is not the 4 chapters of the 60 pages that I studied, it’s the part that goes: I managed to study. This part could also be replaced by the following: I finished studying, which might have made it more noticeable. Anyways, I applaud myself for the effort. I honestly thought I would struggle more, I feared that not having studied for a test in more than a year would make this all the more difficult on me, but I’m taking it pretty well.

I think it’s more difficult for my roommate though, she is older than me, by eight years, and haven’t even gone to high school, so I can imagine that studying must seem like something completely out of this world for her. By this time she has slowly started to get some good study routines though and I can see her slowly adjusting to it. 화이팅 언니! (pronounced: hwaiting unnie, meaning: hang in there big sister).

Today again we were talking about how much korean we now understand. As we listen to songs that we’ve known for long while now, we start to understand the words and although we might have understood the meaning of the song before, with the help of translations, understanding the individual words in the songs has a completely different feel to it.

I further came to reflect on my love for Korean music and dramas a bit earlier today when I went to the kitchen to prepare our noodles (our routinely not-eating-out meal). It was mainly cause by the fact that time either of us go out of the room (usually to the kitchen) we will start singing 2PM’s song: I’ll be Back.

The English parts of the song just fits so many situations, so we often start singing it. Actually a lot of 2PM’s songs are like this, their songs having titles such as: Again & Again, Without You, 10점 만점에 10점 (meaning: 10 points of out 10), so we do quote (and start singing) their songs quite often. Other singers’ songs such as Big Bang’s: ‘I’m so stupid’ or ‘Tonight’ and 집에가지마 (meaning: don’t go home) (even though Unnie doesn’t like Big Bang she still knows these songs) also flavor a lot of our daily life conversations.

All this singing made me think about how many times in a day we laugh because of similar jokes, and how many fun moments I’d miss out on if I had come here not knowing anything about korean entertainment and music. That’s a lot of lost moments. I reckon I would still have had fun, but I’m certain that I wouldn’t laugh as much as I do now.

Actually Unnie and I, thankfully, have quite similar humour so we often start laughing because of the same things, that’s how we’ve already made up quite a lot of random and stupid jokes in Korean. We have an ongoing joke that pops up every day and keep getting longer every time as we keep learning Korean. It sometimes makes me laugh until tears pop up because it’s stupid, really, to the point of no return. Oh, what a shame that it doesn’t translate well into English, or I would so have shared it.

Oh, I completely lost my red thread again when I started to think about me and Unnie’s shared stupidity. I had planned on writing about her totally cool personality but somehow ended up making both of us sound utterly stupid. All my apologies, but the above is not completely false, I can imagine that we seem very stupid from an outsider’s point of view.

A couple of days ago I had a bit of depressed evening, I reckon everyone has them ones in a while for whatever reason, in my case I was depressing over having to go back to England soon and not being able to see SHINee in Korea even though they are my favorite group (they just had to go to Japan this summer, right?) and other stupid things like  my unwillingness to study for our test.

Uh it’s time to insert something so here is a song to set the mood: Just insert Seoul at the end of every sentence and you might get my feelings at the time.

Unnie had been studying quite seriously but noticed that I had grown quiet in the evening. She turned around in her chair, turning all of her attention towards me and asking me what was wrong.

At first I refused to tell, I have always been stubborn like that, but she patiently stared at me waiting for me to spit it out. After a short while I finally did, knowing how stupid both my resistance in telling her, as well as the reason for my short evening depression was. That’s when she coolly gave me a most awesome lecture on life. She told me, and no matter how I put this into writing it just doesn’t capture quite the same feel it had when it came out of Unnie’s mouth: ‘I really don’t know, don’t understand, why you have to think about things like that. There is no point, and it leads to nothing but more misfortune.’ I know that this is true, and I also knew it before she said, but hearing someone else say it always gives it a better effect. She continued and said that she was the exact same way when she was my age, and went on to describe how she got out of the habit and how there is no way that she can think about things like that now, because as soon as she returns to Hong Kong she has to find a job so she can take proper care of her parents again, and if she starts to depress over it she will only put herself down as there is nothing to do about it but work hard and move forward. Honestly she was so cool at that time that her speech almost moved me to tears. Unnie really has a gift for speaking, even though her English grammar is terrible, she managed to get all of her intentions and feelings through with a simple vocabulary and basic formulations.

At times like that I really feel like she is my real sister, always giving me advice, watching out for me, standing up for me and even though she knows nothing of my past (other than I’m Danish, live in France and study in England) she still knows me well enough to know what I feel like doing the most at almost all times. I reckon this is what it’s like to have a sister.

(side note: today is both my one month anniversary and my Papa’s birthday, so: Happy Birthday Papa!)

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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