Category Archives: Personal, work, academia

No wifi in new flat

As you know, I now have my own flat (will move this week!), and with moving comes expenses… going through line items in my budget a while ago, I noted that phone/internet/state license fees add up to quiiiite a bit on a yearly basis.

The last bit might need a bit of explaining for non-Danes. Here in Denmark, you’re required to pay a license fee to the state if you have a TV/tablet/computer/smartphone whether or not you actually use the device to access public service media. This alone adds up to a couple of hundred of dollars per year – for access to programmes I never watch… Looking through my budget to locate other things that stood out, my eyes fell on the broadband and my phone bill. Maybe I could do with just the data plan on my phone? With the working hours I am going to keep when I start working full time from September, I won’t have time to spend hours online at home anyway and my mum thinks it sounds nice if I would come home to watch dramas together with her sometimes on weekends anyway.

I couldn’t find a plan online which matched my needs so I called my phone provider to ask about possibilities to remodel my plan so I would have more data and fewer calling hours included. The guy on the other end of the line told me that actually they were planning to launch a new product which would have a structure much more suitable for my needs and which happened to be half the price of my existing plan. He offered to sign me up for some sort of waiting list and when it finally launched he would change my plan and refund the difference in price that would have accrued while I was on the waiting list. Yes please!!! My new plan is now functional and I got a notice that I will get money back 🙂

The result is that I won’t have wifi at home, but I will only have 15 GB data per month, which should be enough to keep up with my skyping sessions with my family abroad and with my Korean tutors and language partner, e-mails, the odd search for information and blogging – assuming I write while offline. But I probably won’t have data for much more than that… That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though, as I’m trying to spend less time online as it is. Who knows, maybe I will even end up studying much more Korean when my internet access diminishes radically 😉

New flat

Today I got the keys to my new flat! It almost seems a little surreal.

So far I’ve had the locks changed, defrosted the freezer, done cartwheels in my new living room, talked to the friend of the family who will kindly help me paint and fix a few things, and just tried to wrap my head around the fact that I’m a home owner.

Now it’s just a matter of time before the paint is dry and I can move my own little Korean/law library into my new space 🙂

I want to go to Korea! But first…

Well, don’t we all?! In my case there are a few hurdles to overcome before I can go: an oral exam later this month, a report which keeps haunting me, and last but not least a thesis (spanning up to 182,000 characters including spaces between words) in which I have to make some somewhat intelligent remarks on the supervision of financial institutions.

In order to be able to take a Korean summer class in Seoul in just a few months I have to hand in my thesis some four-five weeks before the official deadline to be sure to have my thesis defense before flying to Seoul. That means that it has to go to print at the end of April, which makes for a super tight schedule!

Today I finally started writing on my draft in preparation for my first proper meeting with my two thesis advisers. 할 수 있어요!

Last day at my (now) old job

I just came home from my last day at work before starting at my job one next week. That means that I now have a few days to dedicate to academic readings – and of course KOREAN!!!

Honestly it was a bit odd to leave at the end of the day since I’ve been there for 2.5 years, although everyone seems to think I’d been there for much longer. At least I got to leave on a good note with no lose ends in my tasks and a good atmosphere (giving cake probably helped too ;-)). Some of my supervisors and colleagues even told me that I’m always welcome to return if I happen to not like my new job, which is a sentiment I really appreciate.

So. Now it’s time for Korean!!!

Summer holidays!!!

Today I had my last final exam before the summer holidays! It was an oral exam with sooo much to discuss, and I almost made a stupid mistake, but thankfully I managed to save it so it went really well 🙂 That also means that  I can finally begin to plan my summer studies to get the most out of my days. Tomorrow I will make an actual study plan so I can see exactly what I’m up against – I suspect there might be a nasty surprise waiting….

This year I have decided I absolutely won’t do overtime at work during July or I won’t have time to put in enough time in my studies, and this year they really must take priority. I’m even planning to go to the library whenever I can with a friend who is completing her thesis over the holidays. 

All in all, I’m really looking forward to the “holidays” 😀

Happy studies everyone!!!

I. Need. Korean.

So, like the Korean addict I am, I have to read a bit of Korean today. It’s not like I study law or economics efficiently from morning to night anyway so I might as well take a break and read some Korean at some point today. Yesterday I just had to watch a bit of 화정.

It should be a pretty good incentive to get some stuff done quicker as well. First I really must finish some readings about commercial agents and then: TTMIK articles!

Exams coming up…

I think I’m entering a typical pre-exam phase now. It’s not characterised by panic, but by a tremendous urge to do anything but study until I manage to finally sit down and just read. Once I do it’s usually interesting enough, but the process of getting there is paved with a few too many good intentions that are usually not entirely study related. Doing dishes? laundry? general de-cluttering? the other day I even considered whether it was time for defrosting the freezer.

Yesterday and today have been frighteningly slow days for me. Today I have read a chapter on the economic wisdom behind vicarious liability, but I still have quite a bit to go… But never fear, my studies never leave me entirely – yesterday I had a short nap where I managed to dream about liability rules… practical for revision, but otherwise slightly tragic. 

It’s only a matter of time before I develop Korean study withdrawal symptoms.

To all other students out there: 화이팅! 

Home from vacation

This week I’ve been to Sicily with my mum and some people from our Italian school. I think I need a few days to recuperate both physically and emotionally since the trip became somewhat more of an adventure than we had hoped for. I had expected to have a bit of time to study Korean at night, blog a little, and go to bed early, but I was so so wrong… We saw so many things there was barely time to laze around at all.

This was my first “vacation” in about 8 years so when my mum suggested it back in October I immediately accepted her invitation. The first day was really tough. We were travelling with a lot of people from our Italian language school and when we met to check in together in Copenhagen, our tickets showed up as “cancelled” in the system. We managed to sort it out, but you know what they say; 엎친데 덥친격… Just as we boarded the plane one of our co-travellers got a phone call from her husband, who was supposed to join us in Rome, who told us that our connecting flight from Rome to Palermo had been cancelled, and as if that wasn’t enough, about halfway through the flight there was a message over the speakers asking if there was a doctor was on the flight since another passenger had fallen ill – one of our travel companions volunteered and thankfully there was no need for a medical landing. Then we spent somewhere between 11 and 12 hours in Fiumicino Airport in Rome waiting for a flight to Palermo at 03:50. At least there was free wifi so we bought an extra set of headphones and streamed 기황후 while waiting. It was an exercise in patience, but we actually managed to have a good time although we were exhausted in the end. The flight attendants must have been able to see from our super quiet demeanour that we had nothing more to give since their security introduction was shortened to “there are life vests under your seats and all emergency exits are marked with exit signs. If you want further information, let us know”. I don’t even think they repeated that in English or maybe I just fell asleep before that.

The first hotel (in Palermo) had four stars, but there was only wifi connection in the reception, the shower drain was almost completely plugged, the saracinesca (does someone know the English word for that?) malfunctioned, and we barely avoided a fire when my mother tried to use the hairdrier. So… that was pretty eventful. At least I got myself two pairs of really lovely sandals in Palermo, a beautiful pair of earrings in Erice, and my mum has finally admitted that iPads are not only a source of distraction, but can be super useful too when it implies access to Korean dramas while spending a night in an airport.

We had a few more complications counting a bus change because some obscure engine part malfunctioned somewhere in the vicinity of Camporeale (which isn’t exactly the most urban place in Sicily) and our very last hotel had a problem with the water supply resulting in us having no water whatsoever, BUT we also had some very good experiences that I will remember for a long time to come. 

Although my Italian communication skills leave a lot to be desired, I was happy I understood most of what was going on around me – even explanations about particular wine production methods. Two people have praised my pronunciation (YAAAAY!) but I have to say I feel more comfortable speaking with native speakers when I’m not surrounded by other learners.

Why I’m happy that my parents sent me to martial arts classes

This is why all women should train some kind of self-defence. It may not be Korean language related, but maybe it will inspire some of you to expand your Korean culture repertoire with Taekwondo or some other exciting and just slightly violent sport. Even if you don’t use it in ordinary life, it might give you a sense of calmness that shines through, which is why I have decided to share this otherwise somewhat personal story. Today I had a could-have-turned-nasty experience on my way to work.

I was almost by the train station when I realised two men in their late twenties loitering at the next corner that I had to pass. Something seemed… Off.
When I approached I could see them looking at me and talking, but not like you would regularly notice someone else in the street. They *looked* at me. I was listening to music, but quickly scanned the area – there was no-one else around. I crossed the pedestrian crossing, they stayed put while I passed them, I continued towards the train while staying aware of them and then realised one of them suddenly went towards me, walking quickly to to catch up with me. His friend stayed behind to look at us.

The platform was too far away for me to outrun him and I’d have to go through a tunnel. No routes of escape. Not an option. When he was just a few metres from me, the thought “this is it, my training will be put to the test, I’ll have to fight him” flashed through my mind. It seemed like a bad idea to keep my back turned at him given that I was pretty sure he would continue to approach me and possibly also take a swing at me, so I decided to face it straight on to at least be able to see what he was doing before he got to me. I took out my earphones, turned around to face him, and put on my best evil stare. I tried to look calm.

I’m not sure what happened next. Maybe it was the surprise that I did not even try to run and also looked downright murderous, but all of a sudden he got so busy turning around and fleeing that he almost tripped over his own feet before scurrying back to his corner. I walked away quickly, keeping an eye over my shoulder.

Did I at least get a good look at him? Somehow I cannot remember what he was wearing exactly or exactly what he looked like. What I do remember is thinking of my initial impression of him “app. 1.80 metres tall. 75 kg. Slightly delayed reaction time – probably due to alcohol. Bare hands”. I figured that with 5 years of jiu-jitsu and 1 year of judo I would have a decent chance of doing some real damage against an untrained and slightly tipsy guy while getting away fairly unscathed myself.

While I was nervous, it surprised me afterwards that I was not downright frightened. Actually, I was feeling rather annoyed more than anything. It was not until afterwards I thought about how unpleasant it really was.

Only after finishing work in the afternoon did I call my mother to tell her about it. Over dinner my parents got a more detailed account and figured it would be an idea to tell the police even if nothing happened to me. The police officer praised my instincts and told me I handled the situation well. If there (God forbid) should ever be another situation like it, I should call them straight away after getting into safety so they can send a patrol even if I don’t need help anymore.

While I would never stand a chance against a guy of that size with a martial arts background, against a regular bastard I actually thought I could win. That is probably why I managed to stay so calm and not break down in tears afterwards, going to work and have a normal day with my colleagues.

So, I guess the morale of this story is: if you ever thought of going to some self-defence class/taekwondo/judo/jiu-jitsu/other martial arts class, just go! The sooner the better. Yes it will be hard, often frustrating, mostly great fun, and a source of plenty of bruises. Hopefully you will never ever need to use it in the streets, but if you one day do get into a bad situation, you might not even have to use it.

Academic news?

These days are a bit hectic. I do study Korean (reading my Korean intermediate reader seems a bit easier these days), but my upcoming final in June must take priority or I will regret it.

Last week has thrown me a bit off course, since I have “sort of” been offered to do a PhD. That is, I didn’t apply for one, but one of my professors has asked if I would find it interesting to participate in a specific research project as a PhD student. The project is really exciting so I immediately said yes. I have seen no official paper work, I haven’t signed anything, and the budget isn’t even confirmed, but two days ago, I saw that I’m listed by name in the application for the research grant, which literally made me feel a bit dizzy. It somehow makes it feel more final although there is no contract and no money yet. Hence the question mark in the title of this post.

I’m excited, but also a bit frightened to be honest since I haven’t had time to mentally adjust to the whole thing.

My study buddy’s comment was “you’ll end up being fairly well educated, huh?”. I guess that’s one way to put it hehe. Let’s see what happens…