My Korean learning journey

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On my blog I write about various things I like and try, and one of the things I really like to write about is related to language learning.

While I haven’t found my Ikigai in life yet, I know for sure that I like to learn languages. Actually, one of my biggest goals in life is to learn many languages and talk to different people in their mother tongue.

I once refered to learning Korean as my own little forest. It was the first time I followed my dream, no matter how scared I was, and that decision will always be my guiding light.

I remember that following my dream felt unreal and uncertain at the beginning. I knew from the start it was going to be difficult, and I wasn’t quite sure I would make it, but I wanted to try anyway. I am forever greatful to that scared old me who did it anyway.

If you ask me why I chose to study Korean academically instead of learning on my own, I would answear that at that point learning Korean was my dream and going to the university was something that I had to do in order to have better chances as an adult in Romania. So I found a way to do both.

I must say I was lucky. Sometimes hard work will also need a pinch of luck to have successful results. For me it was my hard work, a pinch of luck, God’s love for me and my parents’ support I am always thankful for.

I was 14 when I heard Korean spoken for the first time. It was love at first “hearing”. The strange sounds I heard for the first time were like music to my ears. There was a new series diffused on national television, a Korean historical drama (also known as sageuk in romanized Korean) and that encounter was the beginning of my journey.

Soon enough I was hooked by the content of Korean dramas. I didn’t have Internet at home, so I was waiting like children wait for Santa Claus everyday to only watch one episode per day (minus the weekends). The old me would be so jealous to see me bingewatching series now.

In high-school my only contact with Korean language was through K-pop (Korean pop music) and Korean dramas. I tried to learn some vocabulary, but it was useless because it was used hundreds of years ago (they were broadcasting only historical dramas on national television).

It only started to get serious in college. I chose Korean language as my major, though everybody was concerned or reluctant. But I knew what I wanted to do.

In the beginning I did a lot of learning mistakes:

  • not reading enough
  • romanizing Korean words which made my brain lazy
  • forcing my brain to memorize thousands of words without context or examples

All these mistakes made my progress very slow, and after I found my own learning style, I progressed better studying my own way.

This is how I used to write Korean words in my first semester

After graduation, because there was no Korean Master program in Romania, I decided to enroll in any Master program I could find somehow attractive and I tried to continue studying Korean in my spare time.

My progress in Korean was always slow because I either studied the wrong way or I didn’t have enough time to study because of both my Master degree and my full-time job.

However, studying must be done in a fun way. Even today, I continue to improve my Korean whenever I have the time, without stress and deadlines. This is how Korean remains my little forest, even after many years.

This is it, this was my story about my Korean learning journey. I hope you had fun while reading.

Do you have any passions that became your little forest too? Let me know in the comments.

Thank you for reading.

Good habits I picked in my mid-twenties

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My perspective on work and studying was for a long time wrong and even self-destructive. That toxic perspective wasn’t only self-built, but also induced by my parents. Without meaning harm, they made it look like no matter how much I studied or worked, there was still place for better and more.

In time, I had built so many bad habits in so many activities I would do, that I got so burned out a little too soon, if that makes sense. Studying until late in the morning, trying to volunteer for as many activities as possible (there is always a societal pressure and competition that makes students so insecure in regards to their future and that they should built experience even before starting to work if they want a good job), doing your best in school and, if possible, find also a part-time job, all these will take the life out of you.

Looking back, I have realized that I worked harder, not smarter. Doing too many things just to fill that resume and look better than your competition, getting to feel what burnout is in your college years (this period is supposed to be the best of one’s life), didn’t make me have necessarily better jobs offers or a better salary. And when I am telling you about all the hard work I’ve done, it’s not because I try to boast, it’s because I realized how wrong it was and I tried my best to change my ways.

Trying to change your own toxicity is very difficult. One day you might become enlightened and finally accept that you’ve been doing things the wrong way. You would start talking about change, but how you do that is the most difficult part.

What helped me the most was finding the problem and establishing a goal that I would like to reach. Let’s say that I realised that I lost so many good sleep hours because I was indulging myself in watching Kdramas until late in the morning and than going to school or work. I tried different methods like setting an alarm with 15 minutes before the hour I wanted to go to bed at, or even stopping the show I was watching in the middle (the episodes usually end with the most intriguing part and it would be a pity not to check the next episode, right? :))

Now, because I have talked about my bad habits and a poor perspective when handling different activities, let me dive deep into the part where you can see what I have changed into good habits and how I did it.

1. No more wasting sleeping hours
As already mentioned, I used to do this a lot. Watching Kdramas was my kind of clubbing. The majority of students loved clubbing, I loved bingewatching Kdramas. When I felt stucked or tired because of studying or when I stressed too much about what I would do later in life, I would watch Kdramas and my worries would enter into a sleeping phase. It was some sort of a break from worrying or studying.

However, this tired me even more, because if you want to study a lot and also bingewatch Kdramas, all in the same day, you need to sacrifice something. And in my case, that was sleeping hours. I think I am still tired after all those years of sleeping so bad.

The good part is that I stopped doing it and trying to care more about my sleeping habits. At first I would set alarms, but after a month, I got tired of them and continue to do my thing. Then I would stop in the middle of the episode and go to sleep. This method still works.

At some point I imposed myself to stop watching Kdramas for a week to check if I was addicted. That worked too. I also started reading books before going to bed, but that’s a bit difficult for me, because I can’t seem to concentrate on books when I am tired. After beginning my health care plan, I started prioritizing sleeping hours and somehow it became natural to go to sleep at reasonable hours.

2. Resist the urge to check my phone before the bed.
Somehow, this is related to number one. I used to do it very often, but again, after I started to prioritize my sleeping hours, this habit felt so bad that with patience and practice I could control and even give up on it. Also, the fact that I would feel tired during the day was a big motivation to stop tiring my eyes and my mind before sleep.

3. Resist the urge to do shopping by impulse
I bought too many useless things on inpulse. In most of the cases, I bought things that I thought I needed. After watching multiple times how my money go to the trash, and also after trying a more minimalist lifestyle, I started to work on finding what I really need and also prioritize my needs.

Now I work with list that I plan in advance. I prioritize my needs and I also list the things I want. Most often I take them off of the list because I don’t actually need them. It works best planning in advance, because it help you to save money and time and to shop in an organized manner. Prioritizing also works when you want to stay on budget.

4. No more promises on impulse
I used to promise on impulse, not thinking about the consequences or that I might not be able to keep that promise. All I could think of was to make that person feel good at that time or maybe even make myself feel good. Not anymore. I think twice before making a promise so I won’t disappoint anyone.

5. Prioritize my health
Though this is the most important, I left it on purpose at the end, because I feel I am still not doing it right. I have changed a lot my perspective concerning health problems, but I feel I still have a long way to get where I want. I am however grateful to myself that I make efforts to improve my ways and to take care of myself more and better.

These are the most important habits I picked in the last years with a lot of discipline and after trying all kinds of methods and routines. How about you? What good habits you picked that you are proud of?

I am reading my old diaries (pt.1)

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I always thought that it would be nice to read my old diaries after some time had passed. Reading what I had written years ago would be like meeting my old self and watching how much I have grown. Sometimes I wish I started to write a journal earlier and also keep it.

One day I thought of reading my first diary. I didn’t really remember the exact year, but I knew that I started journaling in my last year of college.

I don’t know why I wanted to go through it, but somehow I got curious about myself at that time. Was I more daring? Or maybe less confident than now? What did I like at that time? And what I used to think about? Thankfully, there are notes of what I used to do and worry about in my diary. And these days, I am going back to it like I would do with old archives.

My first diary that still exists today dates from January 14th, 2017. When I think about it, it’s quite a long time. I wrote it in Korean in an attempt to improve my Korean writing skills, but also because it felt the most secure language as I was living in a room of five at that time.

The first thing I could observe were my language skills. My Korean at that time was quite poor, and therefore my ideas were formulated in a short structure with basic grammar and vocabulary. I am sure I could have written a lot better and more complex about my life at that time if I wrote in English, for example, but this also shows the efforts I made and the worries I had about advancing in Korean.

I started writing this diary in my last year of college, when I also had to write my research paper. There was a lot of stress and I can remember how stressed I was even without reading my diary. It’s somehow strange that I rediscover myself as a student, a younger version of myself for whom studying was the biggest priority.

Some things didn’t change even if 5 years passed. I read a page where I was talking about how much music and Kdramas helped me to cope with all the stress and kept me motivated. It is the same even after 5 years.

While reading my diary I remembered about certain people I lived with, sometimes I described the atmosphere in the room, I remembered the people I became strangers with because of the time spent apart and different lifestyles. I talked about friends who are still my friends today and we became closer after all these years.

When I read about interesting or new things I did some days, it was so nice to visualize and remember the emotions, the places and the people I enjoyed spending my time with, I visualized the events that were left somewhere behind all the day to day worries.

As a conclusion, I think keeping a diary is a great way to keep a track of one’s progress and I find it also healing, helping to relieve stress and cope with anxieties. However, I think that going back to reading it it’s the best way to see if it helps, to check for improvements or even to get in touch with old memories. It is all written in “the book”.

Thank you for reading and happy journaling.

The good things that come with journaling

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Everything is good, but it’s better when you try it yourself. Journaling has its benefits, as meditation, yoga, working out, painting have their benefits as well. There are so many good things that you can try or learn for your personal development, but only after trying doing it, you will actually see if it works for you or not.

Today I want to talk about journaling and the benefits I could see since journaling consistently for more than 2 years.

Consistency
As I am the type who likes to learn and try so many things/activities, I try to stay consistent in the activities that I like the most. If I wouldn’t do so, I would be very disorganized and I wouldn’t benefit from my work. It has been more than 2 years since I have started keeping a journal and I think that I have been doing great writing on a regular basis in both my Korean and English journals. Consistency can be seen in time, and doing something for a longer period of time can also teach us new things about ourselves.

Becoming more sincere with myself

This is one of the things that I am most grateful for. Before writing my thoughts in a journal, I had a big problem with accepting my mistakes and my feelings. Actually, at first I didn’t know how to write and I tried to write things that might sound cool, ignoring my true feelings. When I tried reading again after a while, I couldn’t recognize that person, because I wasn’t sincere with myself, I wasn’t writing about myself. I thought that even writing a journal is not that easy as it sounds, but with practice and patience I could become more sincere with myself and accept more of my parts that are not that cool and that I tried to hide even from myself.

Clearer mind
At some point, journaling became more of a confession. As I tried writing about my feelings as they were, my heart lightened and my mind became clearer. Journaling about one’s feelings should not be seen as dumping the trash, but rather as becoming aware of what we actually feel, be it sadness, anger, envy or happiness. People often think that talking about how they really feel makes them vulnerable, and it is actually true. However, not talking about them and not knowing the name of what they feel might become a poison.

Improving my languages
I don’t know why, but it is difficult for me to write in my mother tongue. I used to write a lot in Romanian, but at some point, I started writing only in other languages. It might be because I wanted to improve my languages or maybe because I was afraid other people would find my diaries. I don’t remember when it started and why, but I know one thing: my writing in English particularly got a lot better, and even my Korean writing is a lot more advanced than it was before.

Express myself better
I feel like I can write about anything more clearly and more easily. This is related to what I have aforementioned, writing my thoughts on paper got better. On one side it is because I became friends with the language I write in, but on the other side I think I became friends with writing as well. Writing is also something that can get better with practice. Writing is like talking with no voice, and to be honest, after writing my thoughts on paper, I feel I can hear my inner voice a lot better. For me, journaling is like learning to talk to myself and about myself.

Accomplishing more goals
In my journal I often make promises. The hardest promise to keep is the one that you make to yourself. When I write my promises on paper, the chances to keep those promises increase. That is because when I visualize it, my brain stores the words and starts finding ways to make it happen. A written promise it is also more powerful because there are traces of it. When you speak of it, it is easy to forget it, but when you write it, you can see it whenever you go back on your writings.

Journaling is beautiful and it has many benefits. I only mentioned the ones that are the most important to me and according to my own experience. What I find even more beautiful is that according to your own experience, you might find different benefits and different ways to make journaling something of your own. Journaling should be like that.

Thank you for reading.

Unconventional and fun learning practices

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I am a procrastinator.
I have always been one and I think I will continue being like this all my life.

When I was little, I postponed homework until late at night and I was so sick of studying. I wasn’t a night owl, just a procrastinator. At some point in my school life, something changed and I started to work additionally. I was still a procrastinator, but studying wasn’t so bad. In high-school, I started studying languages as a hobby even if our school system already required too much. I don’t know if this is what overzealous means, but not knowing on what to focus, not being taught what matters and being scared of the future made me do all of these additional things that became one of the causes of my later-to-appear burnout.

Step by step, studying and learning became a routine, better said a lifestyle. Actually, we all do it, we all learn everyday, but we don’t realize. In a way, I am still that overzealous student, or better said a jack of all trades and master of none. Not necessarily a bad thing, but adult life is sometimes an obstacle in the way of my love for learning.

Working a full time job already requires a lot of time and concentration. Adding studying to this routine is in itself something that really makes me proud and motivates me when I am down. I am not very consistent when it comes to routines or habits, but in regards to studying I am pretty consistent. This was the key for me actually. Even if it takes me a lot of time to become good or better at something, consistency always shows the results.

When I started working, I realized that the adult life is so different and that there are more things that you must do than the ones that you want to do. However studying and learning must be there. You can’t do the things that you must do without doing a few of the things that you want to do. Balance is the key here. But how to do them both? Learning is not only something that I want to do and that I love, but also something necessary for progress. The easiest method for me is to learn while having fun. This is not always possible, but I try to use this method everyday.

Soooo, at the middle of this post, I am letting you know that I will talk about some fun and unconventional learning practices I use everyday and that actually worked for me.

Let me share with you some of the techniques I use (as a procrastinator and a lazy person) to learn while having fun. This is mostly related to languages, but I use it for other topics as well.

  • Learning vocabulary with series, books and webtoons.
    This technique is what helped me even with Korean grammar, so I use it a lot to learn expressions and words in context. When I decide to use entertainment for learning purposes, I take a notebook and a pen and I write down words, expressions that I want to use later with my tutor, or I look up new words in the dictionary and write them down. Sometimes, I rewatch series or movies without subtitles to test my understanding in other languages (mostly in Korean). When reading books or webtoons, I look up the new words, write synonyms or write the translation in English or French ( this is when I decide to do a mixed study which I use as a challenge).
  • Reviewing historical events and figures with Korean dramas.
    I am sure you know by now how much I love Korean language, culture and history. Historical movies and series became some sort of a motivation and this is how I started to read again research papers and books on Korean history, something that I neglected since finishing my academic studies. So if I watch a new drama portraying some king and the reforms he adopted, I will do some research and go deeper into the subject. Having a fun visual content as reference, the information stays with me for a longer period of time.
  • Improving writing using journaling or movie/series reviews.
    This is a technique I’ve started using since last year. What I usually do is to write a journal page in the desired language or a review about a movie or a drama that impressed me. Writing about something you like makes you stay consistent and you won’t feel like studying at all.
  • Improving speaking with monologues.
    It might sound strange, but I do this a lot. I was always shy and I found it difficult to talk to natives, so I started using the monologue in other languages as a technique to improve my speaking abilities. While this is not as efficient as talking to natives and it is also different from talking to real people whose reactions, vocabulary usage and way of thinking you can’t anticipate (as in the case of a monologue, where you are the one who prepares and thinks the whole situation), talking to myself helped me so much to improve my speaking and become more confident in real situations like interviews, presentations or conversations with natives.

These are some of the unconventional learning techniques I use almost everyday, if not everyday. They are actually practices that used frequently can help you achieve what you want. I hope my tips will inspire you to find you own practices or that you will practice in my way no matter what subject you are interested in.

Happy learning.

2021: One year of challenges and growth

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It comes natural for me to make lists, to observe the process and the progress. Therefore, making analysis of what I achieved, of the steps I took to get where I am now, of the challenges I encountered and the lessons I learnt is always an opportunity to learn more and to understand myself better, and also to think of better ways to fly even higher.

By making lists and observing the activities and the results, I am also trying to win over laziness and procrastination. Living in the countryside was the perfect chance to slow down in many areas, but I was afraid that I would become inactive or lazy. Thus I need to see results and to motivate myself to grow.

Looking back, 2021 was full of challenges and difficult times, but it was also a great year full of gratitude, nice projects, achievements, great people to work and to connect with, lessons, creativity and happy moments. What more could I wish for?

At the beginning of the year, I chose 4 random mantras that would guide me and help me become better in certain areas: Self-care, Change, Lessons and Power. All the things that I did were more or less related to these areas that I wanted to improve. I learnt a lot of things and I allowed myself to fall, to feel embarrassed, to not be right all the time, to make mistakes, and this is how I have learnt so many things about myself and other people. I accepted new challenges and got involved into new projects that made me more confident and more aware of my super-powers.

I stepped outside my comfort zone as much as possible and I did some things that made me fearful and insecure about myself. I learnt that I can do better than I thought and it made me feel proud and stronger. I became more determined to be the one who decides what it is best for me and listen less of the things people say to me. I decided to take better care of myself and see myself for who I am, not for what I should be or for what I could be.

Maybe what happened less this year is change. I was afraid many times and took my time to do so many things. I could not say that I made dramatic changes or that I did some wow-things. However, I tried to improve myself and my life as much as possible in the actual context. It is enough and I did even better than I had expected.

At the beginning of this year I made a list with the things I wanted to try doing or improving, but what I loved most about it is that I took the freedom to adapt and to do what I felt at that moment. I improvised and I did even more because I learnt that life doesn’t happen according to our plans. However, we can leave our mark and our will in every thing that we do. While not everything depends on us and our will, there are some things that we can control, especially how we look at things and how we think about all the changes. Even when I think of how I thought this article would be, I can see that I couldn’t predict even this small thing. I write exactly what comes to my mind and what I feel, without respecting the list I made or the ideas I prepared in advance.

I don’t know how next year will be and I am not even trying to find out. If you think too much about the future, you lose the beauty of now and the now becomes the past that you can’t live or change anymore. Thus staying present and living the best way you can everyday and every moment is the secret to have a great year. This is what I have learnt after so many fails and mistakes. This is how it works for me and this is where my focus goes: live everyday the way you promised or wished to live.

For me, staying healthy, in peace with myself and the others, eating good food, looking at nice things and writing about them, learning and being creative is the best way of having great days and great years, After all, life is also formed of these trivial little moments of peace and happiness, not only of massive changes and great opportunities.

Thank you for being with me and for reading my stories this year as well. I wish you peace, health and enjoy the little moments.

I filled a jar with words

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They say that words carry power. Compliments are words, promises are words, criticism is mainly done through words. Words get the fastest to our heart and brain and we tend to believe what other people tell us.


Some days we might not find the right words to say how we feel, and other days we might use the wrong words and say things by impulse without meaning it. We rely on words more than on actions to tell them how we feel, and then we feel disappointed they don’t see our actions anymore, but they only pay attention to our words.

When using the right words, you can inspire, encourage and even change someone’s direction in life. If you tell them they will become successful, good people, they will believe you, and their actions will lead them there.

The same thing can be done towards ourselves. Why say mean things to ourselves, why criticize or look down on us, when we can give power to words to take us where we dream to arrive. Similar to visualization, this technique of convincing ourselves that we are wonderful and that we can achieve anything works wonders.

A few weeks ago I started to write words on pieces of paper and put them all together into a jar. I remembered how my university roommate received as a present a big jar filled with beautifully colored notes from her friends. The notes had written on them beautiful words or phrases that would inspire my roommate and put a smile on her face. And it worked. I saw her face brighten whenever she took out one of those colored notes. I thought it was unique and inspiring. After many years, it inspired me to fill my own jar with words that would help me grow and feel good.

The rules are simple. You take a jar and you fill it with pieces of paper on which you write whatever may inspire you to grow in the areas that interest you (health, self-development, self-care, new hobby etc), or nice words or quotes that can make you feel better or more positive. Then you take out one note everyday and try to follow that specific advice.

As I had a hard time lately seeing the little nice things that happen everyday, this technique became my top priority. I chose words and phrases like: smile, slow down, hope, take a walk, meditation, self-care, patience etc. By doing this I started to act more consciously, to be more grateful for what I have, to make more efforts for what I want to achieve, to be more positive, to feel better with myself and even to exercise more.

If I think about it more carefully, I actually wrote values and the things I want to learn and to practice more. I want to be more patient, to never lose hope, to love myself, and yes, I need to remind myself these things everyday. I need to practice everyday in order to make them a habit. And while it might look too technical for some, remember that words carry magical powers. Feed yourself with positive and nice words and you will become what you consume.

Thank you for listening my story today as well and I will see you around.

My thoughts on Italki

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I think it’s my first time doing a review on whatever I used until now, but I decided to talk about my experience with Italki because it really became my new way of learning and connecting with people.

For those of you who might not be acquainted with Italki, let me tell you what they do. Italki is one of the biggest and most famous platforms for learning languages. It is mostly used for talking to natives and learning through the most natural way: conversation. However, you can still find teachers who will teach you the basics like the alphabet if you learn a language that uses a different writing system, grammar and some even have lessons that will help you prepare for international exams.

What I really like about Italki is the plethora of languages they cover, and the fact that you can find a great number of native speakers to start practicing the language you want to learn or improve your skills in.

At Italki, there are two types of teachers. There are professional teachers who have a teaching certificate and have a lot of experience (they usually have bigger prices, but this is not a general rule), and there are the community tutors, the ones I started working with, and who don’t have a teaching certificate, but they might have a lot of experience in teaching (they usually have smaller prices, but again, this is not a rule). The reason I chose a community tutor is because I really want to learn in a very informal way, and to also benefit from speaking to people I don’t know, a skill I personally wanted to develop. I discovered that I remember vocabulary easier when having informal and random conversations because I am genuinely interested in the subject and it is easier to learn when I enjoy it.

Every teacher on Italki has to upload a video containing a self-introduction part and some details about how they’re going to organize their classes in order for you to have a better idea on the teaching style and the person you are going to work with. You can also check the schedule of your teacher (every teacher has the right to choose their schedule as they see fit), and choose a person who has a schedule that might be suitable for you. For example, as I have more free time during the weekends, I look for teachers who work during the weekends.

As a student, you have 3 trial lessons which means that you can try at a lower price 3 lessons from 3 different teachers in order to decide which one is the most suitable to your learning style. Also, as a student, you will pay a small commission to Italki, a fee that will be calculated at checkout, after booking the lesson you want.

I love the fact that you can book each lesson separately for a specific day and hour that are suitable to you. Rather than booking a whole course or module, you can book one lesson at a time, a feature that give students freedom to book lessons according to their own schedule.

Italki has its own teaching platform, Italki classroom, but teachers are free to use other platforms like Zoom for example.

I started using Italki as a challenge to improve my speaking in other languages and I already fell in love with this platform. Currently, I only use Italki for improving my Korean, as Korean is the language I lack the most in ( in Japanese I am still a beginner and I am still in the first phase, that of learning the alphabet and reading simple texts). I have completed 5 lessons in Korean from the end of August until now, and I tried working with two tutors.

I still need to figure out how to organize my time better in order to benefit 100% from these lessons, because it is very important to review the vocabulary learnt in classes on your own as well. By the way, if you are interested in more articles about Korean, you might want to also check out My Little Forest is learning Korean or this one which will provide you with some great sources of inspiration.

As a conclusion, Italki is for me a great tool for improving my language skills and my conversation skills too, because personally, I find that Italki is also a great place to connect with beautiful and intelligent people and have very interesting and meaningful conversations.

I hope that you found this article interesting and thank you for always coming back here and reading my stories. Have a great weekend and warm days ahead.

The magic of waiting

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I became impatient again. In some cases I wish that results could appear quicklier than usual. Even if I put a lot of work and effort, sometimes time is the most important ingredient in the recipe of my success. Like dough needs a certain period of time to rest and grow, my work and efforts need time to mature. But nowadays, because we live in the era of speed and technology, and because we can obtain things easier than 50 years ago, we tend to forget more easily and more frequently how important it is to wait.

Actually, I almost forgot this too. I became impatient about many things like professional development, personal growth or building the house of my dreams. I know how important it is to wait and build small habits in order to get big results. However, there are days when I wish things to come my way a little faster.

Today I woke up at 5:58 because I wanted to see the sunrise. On the Internet it was said that the sun would rise at 6:03. I really wanted to see the sunrise, but it’s been a while since I have last seen the sunrise; thus I didn’t know exactly how it works. The thing is that the information on the Internet regarding the time the sun rises is relative because it’s not possible to tell the exact hour the sun rises. I was very sleepy and a bit cold, but I was waiting impatiently like I was trying to quickly check another thing on my to do list. Guess what! I had to wait half an hour to see the sunrise. I thought I missed the big moment, but after 30 minutes, with sparkling eyes and a pounding heart I would watch how a big ball of fire rises from behind the forest. I instantly had an aha moment and I realized that because I had to wait more than I thought, I actually enjoyed seeing the sunrise a hundred times more than I would have done it at 6:03, 5 minutes after waking up.

Here you have it! Sunrise of May 9th. The photo is a bit unclear, but I still wanted to share it with you.

I believe that those 30 minutes of waiting were in fact the reason I smiled the whole day today. Not only because I enjoyed seeing the sunrise so much, but also because that half an hour reminded me the importance of patience and perseverance. I actually thought of giving up and going to sleep a few times, but I guess I was more determined to see the sunrise. I am so glad I stayed until the end, and I shall do so with every project in my life.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments. Did you have a similar experience that reminded you how important it is to wait?


It’s been a while since I have last shared my story with you, but I am so happy to be back.
Always thank you for reading.

Hard work is more important than talent

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There is no stronger ally than hard work and continuous practice when you want to achieve your goals. I believe that hard work never betrays us and great achievements are always the result of hard work. Albert Einstein said that Genius is 1% talent and 99% percent hard work, Thomas Edison said that Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration and Liviu Rebreanu, a Romanian writer puts it this way: One quarter of talent and three quarters of hard work will barely make a masterpiece. They have proved they were right.

I already wrote about my passion about Korean language and Korean dramas. Actually, I was inspired to write this article while watching a Korean drama, Prison playbook. The series tells the story of a successful baseball player who was sentenced to 1 year in prison after he killed the guy who tried to rape his sister. The main character had already had a surgery after a car accident in his youth and he had received chemotherapy for stomach cancer. However he successfully passed all these trials and he practiced a lot and became an even better baseball player. While he is in prison he is stabbed in his shoulder by a cell inmate and he finds out that he won’t be able to play baseball. However, he practices a lot in prison and trains everyday and he discovers that he can use his other hand to throw the balls. He is the portrayal of a passionate man who works hard and fights for his dream. He never gives up, he tries to find another way even when it seems impossible.

Thus while watching the series with eyes wide open, I started to analyze my Korean learning journey. I remembered the beginning, I saw myself again in the study room trying to read the words without using romanization, I saw myself writing words on hundreds of pages, reading texts again and again in order to read faster and faster. I remembered how I cried every time I failed, every time I was disappointed in my results, every time I succeeded. I used to think that my efforts were not enough, that I was not good enough after all these years. I only thought about me who was still unprepared, me who was still far from being confident in this language, me who was still disappointed that I am not getting better. I forgot about me who studied even after work when I was already tired. I forgot about me who studied alone and tried to become better. I forgot about me who didn’t give up even if it was already so difficult. No wonder I could not see the results. When you don’t appreciate the efforts you made for your dream, you won’t be able to see the progress, no matter how small it might be.

The bigger one’s passion is, the bigger the efforts are. The more we sacrifice, the bigger the disappointment is when the results are not what we expected. Shouldn’t we pat our own shoulder more for not giving up, for continuing to work hard even when results are not what we expected? Shouldn’t we appreciate ourselves for being better than we were yesterday even if the step we took forward is hardly visible? Shouldn’t we be more grateful to us who worked so hard for what we love? It takes as much courage to give up as it takes to go on. It is always our choice to do one or the other.

As for me, I may not be the best learner, but I never wanted to be that. All I ever wanted was to never give up on learning Korean, on learning new languages, a hobby of mine, as you already know. I am doing that and that alone is great. I am still learning and studying hard. I have a passion that motivates me to work even more. Every step I take, every new word I learn, every page I fill with my thoughts in poor Korean is still an effort I make toward my goal. Who cares is not perfect? If it was perfect than I would stop learning and that would be more painful than advancing slowly.

It is hard to see that your progress is not matching the efforts you put into something you really like doing. But the satisfaction you feel when you see you finally got it cannot be described into words. I remember how proud I was when I realized I understand more Korean than I thought while watching dramas without English subtitles or even without Korean subtitles at all. I was so proud that I started crying like a baby. I was that happy and satisfied. When something is making you that happy, you know you must never give up on that thing. Continue doing it no matter how slowly you advance. One day you will be surprised by how much your efforts have flourished.

So keep learning, keep doing what makes you happy no matter what others say, no matter how hard it gets. You will get there someday.
Until then, stay positive and healthy and I’ll see you around.