Oh the joys of learning another language…

9 Sep

When learning a new language, one is bound to make tones of mistakes left right and center… Sometimes funny, sometimes embarrassing, sometimes outright horrifying… But you should never give up when you stumble a little over these small hurdles – just pick yourself up and keep going and eventually you will get there…

***

My Japanese is still far from perfect, but long ago are the days when I outright struggled to express myself in it… As such, I completely forgot how it felt to be in the “baby” stage of learning another language…

My spoken Korean is abysmal at the moment and today I was made very much aware of just how bad it is…

***

Me, Doull and Omma went to a mall to look for (and buy) some clothes for Doull’s return to his boarding school in England. While Omma and Doull perused the childrens clothes section, I decided to branch off on my own for the first time since I got here…

Bad move.

I went downstairs to look at what selection of womens wear there was on offer, and everytime I went to look at something I was bombarded by sales staff cheerfully greeting me with “오서 오세요~!” (“Welcome!/Come in!”) and occasionally coming over to let me know that it was ok if I wanted to try something on…

Until now I had only really practiced Korean with my homestay family (primarily Doull as i’m not so afriad of offending him by using the wrong level of speech) and as such I froze up and only managed to stutter out a couple of broken phrases before thanking them, bowing and running away with my tail between my legs…

I was very tempted to just go back to where Omma and Doull were but I knew that if I didn’t take the training wheels off soon, I wouldn’t be able to ride free and wild into the sunset with my hair blowing back cooly in the wind

In short – I wanted to speak Korean as well as I can speak Japanese and so I knew I had to start making a real effort…

***

After looking around the clothing sections, I went downstairs to the shoes, sports and beauty floor where I found an umbrella stand. Until now I had just borrowed Omma’s umbrella so I figured it would be nice to get my own…

When looking over all the stand had to offer, I was once again approached by a lovely, kind looking Korean lady who greeted me. I attempted to converse… And again, failed miserably… But she seemed to be understanding and paid attention to what I was trying to say…

I had found an umbrella that I wanted, but it was a little more expensive than I had wanted (25,000 won – around £14) and so I tried to look for a cheaper, similar one (they had others ranging from 9,000 won – around £5)… I like to buy things that will generally go with everything (or most things) I have thus black is usually the colour of choice.

The expensive umbrella was apparently the only plain black one they had, and the staff informed me that it was actually a parasol used for blocking out the sun rays, not just an umbrella. The lady then continued to witter on to me in Korean about something to do with knowing that in foreign countries they don’t use parasols and so when she used one while on holiday, everyone looked at her strangely. Then she asked where I was from and if I was here to study Korean. Then she wittered on some more about how the parasol I had taken an interest in might not be so great because it was smaller than the other umbrellas she had to offer… But… I couldn’t find anything else I liked more and generally, because I am so fussy, when I like something A LOT I find (as long as it isn’t too expensive and I have the money to spare) it is best to buy it, in case I don’t get the chance again…

The lady assured me that it was able to be used to shield against the rain as well as the sun and so I finalized my choice, paid, thanked her and then scuttled off again…

A little further across the store I passed a HEAD sports section with some cute looking mini-napsacks displayed by the cash register (I really like mini-napsacks but they are not too common in England…). After close inspection I found a bag I was really interested in for taking to uni but that also was a little expensive (39,000 won – Around £24)… However… I reeeeeeeally liked it and so went off in search of a cash machine from which I could get some moneyz out…

***

After being directed to a nearby ATM by a friendly member of staff I attempted to withdraw money, only to find out that I couldn’t – Not all ATMs accept foreign cards… But rather than just give up, I asked another nearby member of staff (or rather, tried to ask) where I would be able to use my card… At this point I felt REALLY horrified at my lack of speaking skills and apologized profusely as a result. The lady I spoke to was kind and tried to help but the only cash machines that were around wouldn’t accept my card…

Feeling rejected I finally gave up, gave my thanks and scuttled off again upstairs to meet Omma and Doull…

Once reunited, I recounted my woeful story to Omma, saying that it was really “무서웠어요~!” (Scary). She smiled and assured me that I wasn’t to worry and that it would get better. She also kindly offered to lend me the rest of the money needed to buy the bag but I politely refused – she had already done so much for me…

So, despite still feeling down about the whole affair, I tried to shrug it off and smile as I followed Omma and Doull down to the carpark…

And then, as luck would have it, along the way we passed a Citibank cash point – an ATM machine I knew I could get money from! (HALLELUJAH!!!)

I perked up instantly and proceeded to withdraw enough money for the bag, for the rest of my rent and a little bit extra to last to the end of the month… Then skipped off to the HEAD store and purchased my new bag! (Hurrah~!)

***

And then lived happily ever after…

(^-^)v – FTW!

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3 Responses to “Oh the joys of learning another language…”

  1. Helen September 11, 2010 at 6:03 PM #

    So proud of you!
    keep writing the blog… you’re inspiring me for my trip to japan next year and making me want to do another japnese lesson with my rosetta stone (thanks for the motivation) xxxx i hope i’m as good as you one day xxx

  2. jonny September 12, 2010 at 9:01 PM #

    hey snds like fun and horrible, but worth it =) can u put up some sort of ramanised version of the korean up? =) well if not ill check it, just for ease tho ^^

  3. jonny September 12, 2010 at 9:01 PM #

    romanised… not ramanised lol

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