Friday, October 25, 2013

Happy Notes

There are little victories I've been having and I wish to share some of them with you.

Today I successfully used a Korean search engine to find an address of a Korean business and then input the address in Korean into the Korean equivalent of google maps, find another location to start from in Korean and searched for a walking route. I didn't use a translator or ask a Korean for help. It took me half an hour but I did it all on my own and all in Korean!

I'm making Korean friends here of course and some of the time it's hard getting my point across in English. Recently I had this problem and decided to try to text in Korean. The first text I sent I translated myself with words I know already. The second text was moored complex so I just used google translate. Come to find out, my Korean friend understood my text, but not the google translate text.

Woot! It's the little victories that matter the most sometime.

It's so encouraging to know my Korean studies are improving enough I can now communicate in the smallest way and also successfully use Naver, the Korean google. By no means can I read Korean websites easily and I still spend a lot of time translating websites and sometimes it's impossible, but it's getting better and that makes me happy  :-)

After living here for almost 4 months I've acquired a couple friends in town now. One is a nice lady that owns a bakery and every time I come in she gives me something for free or discounts my purchase. She is so sweet and speaks no English. It's still scary trying to talk in Korean, but I'm starting to repeat prices and quantities back to her and she is always so happy when I speak in her language.

I am making good friends with the girl swimmers. It is so nice. They are always asking me how to say something in English or asking me what a word in English means. I help them every time and laugh with them when they mispronounce words or struggle with certain sounds. They get frustrated, as we all do, when learning a new language, but they are happy to have someone to help them and that makes me happy  :-)

I discovered a new health food (new to me), black rice. It's more nutritious than its cousins and quite tasty and easy to cook, AND they sell it here. I now eat one meal of black rice with a sliced banana and seeds and nuts all mixed together. It may sounds weird, but it's actually really good. AND dare I say healthy? You can read more about black rice and its health benefits here.

The citrus season is almost here. One of the things Jeju is known for is its citrus fruit. And lucky me, I've made a friend at Aqua Planet whose family owns and operates one if these citrus farms and he is going to sell/give me citrus fruit for the winter. Yea! Happy Ronda :-)

I've been practicing nightly at Aqua Planet and recently I heard a buzz. So I went hunting for the source of the buzz and discovered I have two seams open on my violin. Doh. Bad news. This caused me to stop practicing in the super wet environment of course, but also lead me to have absolutely no place to practice. This is when I enlisted the help of a friend at Aqua Planet after realizing I wasn't getting help elsewhere. I begged for help to find a new home to practice any time I wanted (within reason of course) and that was dry or where I could at least buy a humidifier. My friend searched and searched and every affordable place was quiet only or was willing to only have one hour of practice in the morning. Of course that's better than nothing, but I do my best practicing at night when I'm more awake as a musician. I kept pushing and my friend kept looking and we finally found a dry and fully furnished "apartment" where I can practice to my heart's content and that is within walking distance of work since I don't have a car or bicycle. Granted, the price is half my salary, but for my career, it's worth it. My sanity as well, I should point out, will greatly benefit from a place to regularly practice since there are many things in Korea that I struggle with and playing my violin helps to sooth my heart and soul.

One other super happy Ronda face is from the care packages from friends :)  Having no winter clothes or shoes and wishing for some American products, friends have come through and mailed me stuffed boxes full of goodies from home. I now have clothes to wear so I won't freeze and natural products that will keep my skin happy and their owner too!


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