I've headed back to school. Sort of. Last week I began taking Korean lessons at a small learning center in Koreatown. It seemed like a good idea at first, a spur of the moment thing. When I called to inquire about lessons, the voice on the other end told me they started the next day. I said, "Okay."
Here's the thing. I thought I was going to learn some conversational Korean. You know, My name is. How are you? Where is the Starbucks? Who are you and what have you done with my pants? But to speak Korean you need to know the alphabet, you need to know how to read Korean. So that's what we're doing. Next week we move on to learning words and phrases. So far all I know how to say is "Hello teacher how are you?" and "Goodbye teacher, go with peace." But I also know the alphabet and how to put sounds together. There are a few sounds that we don't have in English but those are actually my favorites, so I practice those ad nauseum.
There are two other "kids" in my class, except they really are kids. Probably in their early 20s. One is an adult adoptee and the other is an American-born Korean. We are totally going to have a kegger after the next class.
Mr. Fits, H. and I will probably wind up heading back to Korea in the next couple of years, and I'd love to be able to have basic conversations with people. But I also feel like that by learning the language, it brings me closer to the culture. You can't learn Korean without learning about Korea. That part is invaluable.
The bonus is that I've been bringing home Korean food for us after class: bulgogi, gobdol bibimbap, chap jae, kimchi. So whatever I don't gain in knowledge, I'll surely gain in pounds.