Lesson 1: Pronunciation & brush strokes

Hi All,

I’m going to do a weekly write up of my sessions as a revision topic for myself  – and hope they’ll be useful for other lesson learners as well. It’ll start pretty easy as I’m going back to the beginning to ensure a solid foundation!

Lesson 1: Pronunciation


We started with some flashcards, that are actually a children’s game but support with practicing some different sounds. There were a couple of interesting things that she told me here that I hadn’t picked up with my other teachers:

  • ㅔ and ㅐ: I always thought there was a subtle differents in the sounds that I just couldn’t hear, but apparently they can be said essentially the same way! The other good thing to hear is that it’s equally hard for a Korean to know which one to use so you mostly just have to memorise the spelling.
  • ㄱ, ㅋ, and ㄲ: First one is soft sound like gaah, second one should produce “wind” out of your mouth when you say it, 3rd one should be more guttaral and come from your throat
  • ㄷ, ㅌ, and ㄸ: Very similar logic to above, but the interesting thing for me was that ㄸ is said with using your toungue (which I definitely didn’t do before)

Apart from that, we essentially revisited final consonant sounds and brush stroke order – which is more to learn the correct way of doing things from the start, but not always going to make a large difference either way.

All in all, it was a pretty solid ‘refresher’, although nothing too ground-breaking. She said I could tell her if it was too easy, but I wanted to pace it a bit as some of the things I’m lacking are the basics anyway – and I think pronuniciation is always a good thing to practice.

A x


Language learning take…..5?

Hello everyone,

So unfortunately the planned Korean class got cancelled that I wanted to take in SOAS. I then signed up for one at Kings starting in March and that also got cancelled…. it seems that other people who work normal hours don’t want to do language classes on Saturday morning! So it seems that group sessions are out of the window for me at the moment as I’m currently based in Amsterdam during the week for work.

But….I’ve now agreed with my boss that I can have weekly Korean lessons (in the office) on Friday afternoons. I’m really pleased he accepted as I think F2F will make a big difference on keeping commitment; and there’s something much nicer about personal interactions rather than Skype which I did before. I think I got lucky because I asked him the same week that one of our other seniors left, and so I think he was feeling keen to keep me happy!

I had my first lesson last week (will do a separate write up) and we’re starting right from the basics, with the aim that I can catch up the really simple things I’ve forgotten, like numbers, and we can then speed up a bit once it gets to the grammar that I’ve less forgotten.

Fingers crossed anyway!

A x




Signed up for language course…

photo 1

Hello people,

I’m actually going to be taking a class in Korean starting in 17 days!

I freely admit that this has been on the back-burner for far too long; and the bf is now agreeing that I need to learn properly – even if only to keep his parents happy.

So, after a long break, I am back to the study books. I’ll let you all know how it goes – it’s a pretty basic course run by a university in the UK called SOAS, but I’m hoping it will help me to get back into the swing of things and stay on top of it this time.

A x

Wanderlust list


So caveat: this one is not about Korean or Korea

I’m not going on any big holidays this year (its too expensive after buying my flat!!). We’re just spending 4 days in Amsterdam as part of my birthday present to J. However, I have been getting travel lust recently. It means that I’ve been spending too much time on google looking at all the places that I want to go.  J is also quite an avid traveller given his upbringing – he keeps asking me where I’m thinking of going next (pretty much a hint that he wants to do something more exciting right?!)

So I kind of wanted to have one place where I can write down everywhere that I want to go (not in order) and can add to / cross of places as I make it there / change my mind etc. As you can see, its going to take a long time to get to all of these places but here it is for now:

  • Mongolia – horse riding
  • Thailand
  • India
  • Nepal
  • Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • Patagonia, Chile
  • Cuba
  • Budapest, Hungary
  • Morocco
  • Portugal
  • Russia
  • Iceland
  • Norway
  • Vietnam 
  • Italy
  • Poland (again)
  • China (again)
  • Korea (again)

If anyone has any other cool ideas to add to the list, or has been to one of these places and knows a good tour company / good places to visit, do let me know!

A x


Hello World! I am still alive….


Hey peeps,

So sorry that I disappeared for a ridiculous amount of time……

There’s been quite a lot going on in my life and Korean language learning has fallen completely by the wayside. But I thought I’d pop up and give you all an update as I know this blog still gets some degree of viewing. I’m not promising that I’ll blog as regularly as before but I will try for something like once a month as I try to get back into some degree of learning at least. So, here’s what’s been happening:

  1. I’ve been working in Germany for the last year. My project ended up extending massively so I’ve now been travelling Mon-Thursday every week for the last 12 months. I’ve just been sold on another project until the end of September so will be travelling to Germany / Italy for another 4 months
  2. I’ve bought a flat in London. Haven’t moved in yet but have been spending all my free time doing painting / cleaning / shopping etc. so has been taking a lot of focus on top of the long working hours.
  3. I actually have a Korean boyfriend. Completely unintentionally; we actually met on a standard online dating site in the UK and he contacted me because I mentioned I’d been to Korea on holiday. He’s a teacher and lived in the UK for more than 10 years so we speak in English.  However, its going pretty well and is already pretty serious even though we’ve only been dating for 6 months.

BF’s parents live in Korea and his older brother is married to a Korean girl so they are less westernised than the BF is. Apparently his Dad is completely fine with him dating me, but his Mum is a little bit less sure so far. She’s worried about things like if we had kids and whether they’d speak Korean. It’s a bit far in the future yet (I’m only 24!) but at the same time, it is an incentive to try to make an effort so that BF doesn’t feel stuck in the middle. He’s certainly not bothered about his Mum’s views at the moment and I met his brother for the first time last weekend (who was thrilled he was dating) so I know he’s pretty serious about me – his brother’s wife only met the family after they’d been dating 2 years. But anyway, I think it means I’ll be getting out my Korean books again for the first time in a year and gradually trying to remember the stuff I learnt / stuff that could be useful.

Hope everyone is doing well and wish me luck!

A x


Kdrama review – Moon that embraces the Sun


Today’s drama is a definite favourite that I have watched more than once: The Moon that Embraces the Sun

Plot: This is a historical drama in which Kim Soo Hyun plays a prince, Lee Hwon, who then becomes a king. The first few episodes show the young prince and his meeting with Yeon Woo (Han Ga In), a strong and intelligent girl who actually makes the Prince think for once. She ends up becoming the Crown Princess but then is attacked by a shaman who makes it look like she is dead (because the Queen Mother wants to kill her and chose another girl). The Crown Prince genuinely loved her and never gets over her – although he does marry the Queen Mother’s choice, Bo Kyung, and then never consummates the marriage (to her anger….). The other event is that Yeon Woo’s brother marries the Crown Prince’s sister – who actually had a hand in Yeon Woo’s death.

We then get a time jump and find that Yeon Woo is not actually dead, but has lost her memory and thinks she is a lowly shaman called Wol. By chance, she meets the Crown Prince (who is now King) and then ends up at working at the Palace. A variety of situations then occur where they keep meeting and he keeps questioning her identity. It turns out the King’s half brother, Yang Myung, was also in love with Yeon Woo and starts to fall for Wol as well (hoping that she is someone entirely different). Wol gets punished and sent to work in a medical centre for being an adulterer due to her meeting with Yang Myung. However, she is then brought back to the palace to rid her old pavilion of her own ghost (the new Queen has gone a bit crazy and keeps hearing noises). Wol finally gets her memory back and soon reunites with the King and we get happy endings for most of the characters that deserve them.

Phew, a bit difficult to condense into a couple of paragraphs!

Review: I absolutely love Kim Soo Hyun in this drama. He was so amazing at portraying the absolute torment of someone in love who lost the person most precious to them. Honestly, I would have just watched his performance and none of the other scenes! However, I also thought that the two child actors did a great job in the early episodes – and would have happily kept them for longer. I don’t think the female lead, Han Ga In, was quite so strong, although this was also partly the writing that made Wol seem pretty weak compared to her original personality as Yeon Woo. There were also a couple of stupid sub-plots like Yang Myung being killed at the end. The beautiful scenery and historic costumes / imagery, plus a pretty good OST saved it half a star I think. Seriously good viewing ratings (42% for the final) reinforce that this should be on anyone’s ‘To Watch’ list!

4.5 stars 4-5-stars