I've been trying to learn korean but I'm afraid that like most projects I undertake, I am running out of motivational steam. Mostly because, whine whine WHINE...IT"S HARD!!!! My sweet friend carolynn has been ushering me through a children's fairy tale about a princess weaver and I am SOOOOO frustrated because not only can I not understand a thing that I am "reading" in the anime style book, I can't really pronounce anything either and I DON'T EVEN LIKE WEAVER PRINCESSES! (By the way, the word only slightly means princess...it probably has 12 other meanings that I can't comprehend with my american pea brain...)
The other night C and I met at Salt Lake Roasting company and it took me 1 1/2 hours to read 5 lines. Not even a whole page. It's really and truly humbling to feel so completely inept at something that I've been so amazingly attached to my whole life. Words have created the bulk of my identity. When I was a gawky, socially retarded pre-teen, I drowned my sorrows in babysitter club books, saving up my money and buying 4 books at a time and reading them all within 2 days. I was the annoying kid who corrected your grammar and knew the meaning of the word "erudite" on standardized tests. I had(have?) a massively evil tongue and used words to fight, hurt, comfort, define...They have always been my main mode of power. And in a new, distant language I am powerless. I am quiet. I am small. I feel useless. I can't even tell you what happens to the weaver princess let alone write poetry and express my personality effectively.
I was walking home on South Temple reading the signs on buildings the other day and I realized that I have been taking all this reading for granted. In less than two months, I won't be able to easily read ANYTHING.
I realize that all this thinking about language is a luxury. There are millions who can not read even their first language let alone a second one. There are refugees who are thrust by violence into new cultures and new languages with new alphabets every moment. They learn because they must to survive. Mine is certainly not such a dire situation, but I have goals...I want to be IN korean culture as much as possible and that means learning the language. sigh. I guess it also means ingesting a huge piece of humble pie and adopting a more tenacious attitude about my linguistic pursuits... (it also means using as many of my big words as possible before being reduced to hand gestures and grossly exaggerated facial expressions to match my monosyllabic grammar..."must...have...drink...gim chi...is....make...me...dead!!!!")