My thoughts on philosophy, language learning, photography, theology, and life in general. All are welcome! I hope my random ramblings can somehow improve your life. I'm really only writing for my own benefit, as a journal of sorts. Hope you enjoy.
Some of you may know that I'm currently attending a special Korean language program in Korea. I'm studying at Kyunghee University (경희대학교) in Seoul. It's funny, even as I'm trying to type the name of the university in English, I'm having trouble, because I only see it in my mind's eye as 경희. Well anyways, I LOVE IT! One of the best things has been the friends that I've made already. I'll be honest, I could get the same classwork/teaching in Japan (on Okinawa), they occasionally have teachers come and they put on a great class! But, the real benefit of coming here to Korea is the chance to interact with it everyday and everywhere, especially as I make friends. If I were going to class on Okinawa, sure it'd be able to go home to my family every night, but my use of the language would be limited outside of class. While I'm here I have to use Korean all the time! I use it to do laundry, turn on/off the heater in my room, order coffee at the coffee shop (though they use a lot of English there), order food at every restaurant, at the grocery (that was tough, I don't deal with food that much in English, so it was much harder in Korean), etc. etc.
Really the best part though, is making Korean friends. The very first night I was here, I had eaten dinner and was looking for a bar that the waiter had recommended. I was lost, and as I walked I was looking for someone from which to get directions. I saw a young(ish) looking man walking my way and we made eye contact and I guess my face said I had a question before my voice did, because he stopped, pulled out his earphones and greeted me in English. I generally make it a habit to not try to talk to people wearing earphones so after telling him I had a question I appologised for interrupting him. I told him what I was looking for, and in true Korean style, he said that he would go with me looking for it. Well, quite easily, we found the bar and he came in with me, sat down and we talked for hours, even though he had been at work since early that morning. Turns out, he's a writer for a Korean newspaper the "Segye Daily [News]" ("세계일보"). We chatted for a long time, exchange contact information and went our merry ways, though we've gotten together again since at a beautiful little cafe that has more LPs than one could ever hope to finish, at which he introduced me to a friend from high school (or middle school I don't remember). Since that first chance meeting I've made many other friends, some of which replied (within minutes) to an ad I posted on Craigslist (odd, I know I've never used Craigslist before).
Which brings me to the point of this whole entry:
I was chatting with my newest language exchange partner (언어교환친구) and we started talking about communication. Let me tell you, this was really difficult with my limited vocabulary! Try communicating something like this:
In a different language! Talk about meta! Talking about communicating whilst communicating and dealing with the worst types of interference. It's not pictured on this particular diagram, but anyone who's studied communication knows that it's never this simple. There's so much interference between each step. The "sender" has interference in translating thoughts into words, or in my case into words in different languages. Then there's interference in the channel/media, maybe the "receiver" doesn't hear the whole message, maybe the receiver is seeing one visual/non-verbal message but receiving a different message, etc. etc. Well, I love this kind of thing and the only thing that I don't like about spending time here is the constant reminder/humbling I receive showing me just how much I don't know when it comes to expressing myself in Korean.