Monday, July 25, 2011

English

I woke up one morning at 7am, saw this beautiful sky,
snapped a pic, felt the surprisingly cool air
in my fingertips, and passed
back out.
Good morning!
I just have to say -- I have a newfound respect for the English language. I'm discovering how powerful of a tool it truly is in this world. Studying a foreign language, alone, will make you look at your own language differently. I know when I was learning Japanese -- struggling through the honorific and humble forms -- I began to appreciate the fact that I, an individual with the language proficiency of a 4-year-old Japanese child, did, in fact, have one language already mastered (it gave me some piece of mind, anyway). I found myself dissecting the English language, analyzing the parts of speech -- all the while awed by the fact that these particles, verb tenses, and certain word forms that followed no rhyme or reason came so naturally, like a sort of muscle memory. 

My mentor teacher took us to this beautiful "beach."
(riverside)
But I guess my true appreciation for English came after living here in Korea. In these six months, I've observed a handful of situations that I find, in and of themselves, remarkable: a traveling Japanese woman asking a Korean security guard for directions in English. That was a huge thing for me. Alex and I perked our ears when we heard the two speaking in English. When she started walking away, we closely followed and threw some Japanese her way. She picked it up, and our speculation proved true. It's crazy to think that, though the two countries are virtually side-by-side, this woman knew she had a better chance of speaking to someone in English than Japanese. 

Blown away. I sure was.

Anna and I definitely went swimming.
Alex and I also recently booked tickets to Thailand. We had tried emailing a hostel to book reservations, but they weren't responding, so we called the tiny place through Skype -- and, yes, we used English. As broken as her phrases were, she knew enough to hold a decent conversation. 

I guess I just feel really lucky that English is my native language. I mean, as unfair to non-speakers as it may be, speaking English honestly opens so many doors to seeing the world.

What a glorious sight! 

In other news, English camp is over as of last Friday (*sigh of relief*). I'm moving into my new apartment in Andong tomorrow (Yes, I'm moving! Hooray! Guess I've got a lot of catching up and explaining to do...). I've got two more days of "regular" school and then I'm jetting off to Tei-guk -- also known as Thailand.. So, all-around, good things are happening right now. I'm really just so excited for Thai food! I think that's honestly what I'm most excited about. I just miss it. And the variety of food in America, in general. Korean food is pretty decent, but it can get old. Thai food, on the other hand, can't. It just can't. I already booked a spot in a Thai cooking class in Krabi for next Wednesday. I don't even cook. But that's how excited I am for it. Everything else is up in the air and open for debate and that's okay.

Mentor teacher's son, JuYeong, playing
next to our picnic blanket :)
We'll be going to Krabi first. One of our friends who has been to Thailand told us that they stayed in Phuket (the coastal hotspot), as well as Krabi (the lesser-known little brother) -- and loved Krabi so much more! It's apparently not as tourist-y as Phuket, nor as crowded, yet just as beautiful. And, as he said (well, technically, as Alex relayed the message to me), "You won't have vendors coming up to you on the beach, constantly trying to sell you crap," as they evidently do in Phuket. So Krabi it is! We're then staying with our friend, Ning, in Bangkok for the rest of the time. She went to college with us but is from Thailand. She's so kind for letting us stay with her family; even more hospitable, though, is that she's basically planning the second half of our stay, since she's got the local lowdown. So I'm expecting to have lots of great posts in the coming weeks full of little Thailand treasures and haunts off the beaten path. Get excited!

You're going to learn more than you even wanted to know about Thailand. Mwahaha!

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