Monthly Archives: September 2013

Face-off with facebook

I asked my mum to change my password and not tell me. My dodgy plan is to spend the time on Korean instead and not have to deal with people’s constant negativity on facebook. Korean for the win!
Not that I actually posted anything there for the past year and a half, but now I cannot log in and waste time that I could spend on Korean or even sleep if that is really what I need more than procrastination. I guess I will find a way to get info from my MSc class, there must be alternative sources of information sharing. I hope…

Want to study Korean

I want to read another few pages in my new Korean children’s book before going to bed, but I’m exhausted. Woke up at 5:10 to go to work, and I still have a loooot to read for one course and an article for tomorrow in another… Aaaaargh! Want to study Korean more!

Do you know your blood type?

Knowing that blood type matters in Korea, for anecdotal and/or superstitious reasons, I’ve tried to find out what blood type I am since I was having a blood test anyway. But it’s a lot more difficult than anticipated.
Apparently that’s not something they can just tell me (unless testing for blood donation stuff), and getting pregnant just to have the test does not sound like the best long-term strategy. Seriously, my doctor said they would test me if I wanted to start a family but otherwise no.

It seems that you can also pay to have it done in some particular clinics, but it costs some £200 :-O I might just wait a little bit before embarking on that adventure!

Do you know your blood type? When did you get to know it? Did the doctor just tell you?

Korean childrens books – basic? Maybe not…

A few weeks ago my mum asked me if I wanted to go with her to London to see the family there. As if there were any other answer than a resounding yes! We quickly booked tickets, I studied like a mad person to avoid falling behind in grad school, and this past weekend we then went to see family and of course buy a few Korean things.

Until now I haven’t really read proper books. Entering that stage has been work-in-progress for a loooong time. Maybe this is because to be honest about my skills, I have an “okay” Korean foundation, but not a really great foundation. I have my moments, but whenever I picked up something that I might have read in my mothertongue or English, it was aleays too time consuming, and sometimes it was like a puzzle, trying to figure out the meaning of a sentence by deciphering the meaning of four words that each could mean five different things depending on the meaning of the other three unknown words. This has frustrated me to no end…

A while ago I vented my frustration with family and spoke to my mum about reading childrens books vs. books aiming at a slightly older audience/study books. Her stance was pretty clear: childrens’ books are not only about vocabulary. If I also want to learn even more about the culture, I must not skip the step of reading childrens’ books since they always contain “important lessons” that parents want to teach their children. How to teach children how to be a good child/responsible adult according to the Korean standards? Reading what Koreans read to their children is likely to shed a bit more light on what that means, and if they happen to read some of the same stories that I read as a child, well then that should tell me something too. True…

Also, once children reach the age where you can give them proper books rather than the ones that can survive a bit of chewing, the stories can both be great from an artistic perspective and make really good use of vocabulary. I have saved my old childrens’ books, and when my mum reads to my nephews, she will make a point of asking them about words that are a bit different/difficult/not considered part of daily use for a child or even some adults nowadays.

No point in asking for advice if not actually taking the response seriously so I bought three childrens’ books (and chopsticks, but that’s sort of off-topic :-))and I really cannot wait to read them. Picking out childrens books for myself was actually fun. I try to find good stories for my nephews so they will think I’m the coolest geeky aunt in the whole world, but it’s different when it’s for yourself.

I wanted to take pictures so you can see what I bought, but it is simply too dark (at 2pm!!!) to take good pictures because the weather is so dreadful today. Next post, promise 🙂

Whatever those TOPIK folks are conspiring about, I will be ready. And also enjoy the journey 🙂

Day at home

Today I had somewhere I had to go in the morning and since there were no lectures, I’m already back home. I tried to download the spreadsheets with data for the econometrics hand-in, but the server is down! 아이고… Maybe that’s a blessing in disguise since I could seriously use a break.

Maybe I should take a look at my new Korean childrens’ books that I bought in London this past weekend… More about that in another post 😉

Just gained time

This weekend I have just gained 12 hours ny not having to do something I initially planned. That means extra time for Korean 🙂

I might have to spice it up with some extra maths (I’m doing pretty well on the law readings, but I don’t even dare think of what would happen if falling behind in econometrics), but this is going to be a good “Korean-week”.

What I’ve done already:
– I’ve progressed with TTMIK
– Listened to an audiobook from TTMIK
– Written a bit in Korean over KakaoTalk

As for the group work, I have e-mailed my group and asked if they would like to meet. I figured that rather than being grumpy I might as well be a bit proactive and try to get it to work. And who knows, maybe they are even nice people… One person I couldn’t locate and another shared first name and last name with few too many for me to dare and guess an e-mail in the uni e-mail adress book.
So far one person has responded. One. In two days.

Threat to my completely packed schedule: group work

Second day of uni yesterday. They allocated us into study groups and I have very mixed feelings about this. Mostly I just feel they are wasting my time.

For some things it makes sense to have a group, for others it does not. How they have composed the groups is another thing entirely.

Of course I would like to get to know the people in my new class.

Actually finding out who they are:
How the heck am I going to find out who these people are when all I have is a list allocating groups based on last name? Facebook stalk them? Wouldn’t it make more sense to tell people to look around, find three people in the vicinity of where they are sitting, and exchange names and numbers? You know their faces and there is a certain degree of self-selection in that those who care tend to sit in the front half of the auditorium and the slackers/perma-late people tend to hide in the back. Everybody’s happy. Or at least more happy than if they don’t know who their group mates are.

The kind of deliverables
They expect us to allocate work between 11 people??? This is going to get particularly ‘interesting’ for the econometrics hand-ins. You don’t do maths ‘together’. You can discuss verdicts together, you can test each other’s knowledge in a group. You can sit together and each do the assignment and help each other out if there is something that you feel unsure of, but what is likely to happen is that 2-3 people who understand how the numbers work do their thing and the rest look on and put their names on the paper. If the case is difficult it won’t get easier by gathering more people around the table since not everyone will actually get to do something, which in turn will not help at the exam.

It takes too much time
Having a group of 11 people means that you need to coordinate calendars of 11 people. On a weekly basis. You need to hear the opinions of 11 people. Just finding a time when everybody can meet will likely take longer than actually writing the paper.

Maybe I’m just getting old and grumpy… I really don’t mind reading a lot or doing assignments or having to work with somebody else, but please don’t create a set-up that lets group work invade my life. It takes time from other things. Such as actually getting stuff done so I can study Korean!