Saturday, May 9, 2009

It's that time again

It must be blogging time because it's 4am. 4am is always blogging time. That TED talk about 4am being the time that "nothing good happens" is actually a load of .... It's just the time that I catch up on my blog.

Okay, so let's explain the picture first, and then I'll let you know what's popping in Ulsan.

That picture was taken in Jinhae during the flower festival. I went because some of the people in that picture invited me to go with them, which was nice since there was a nother group of people that I considered friends who specifically didn't want me to go with them. So, I went with these people, who are all 2nd generation TaLK scholars, and we went to Jinhae to check out this Cherry Blossom festival.

Well, it was nice, but somewhere in the mix I ganked my ankle. However, I didn't notice until the next day, when my ankle was hurting a little. It got worse on sunday and then on monday it was painful, and on tuesday, I couldn't think because I was in so much pain. The doctor said I sprained my ankle and that the cause was because I was overweight, so, he said, I needed to diet.

Thanks Sherlock, like I didn't know that.

Anyway, they gave me crutches and a weird half-cast split thing (which wasn't done right, so it wasn't helping) and put me into physical therapy. Thing is, the physical therapy wasn't really working, so I got off that. The pain has continued for weeks now though. Oh well.

Alright, so updating.

Well, this week ended another semester of Korean Classes, which means now I've completed Beginner 3-4 and Intermediate 1. I'm still really horrible at Korean, but in the evening classes with the POE, I'm apparently better that almost everyone in the class. Also, I was listening to my audio files, just the dialogues, today and discovered that I understood what people were talking about. To be honest, I haven't been studying very much since the TOPIK exam, so the only thing that I can figure is that the Lord is really pouring on the blessings for some reason....

...Anyway, Marie and I have a make-up class sometime during this week break to learn how to use and conjugate passive verbs, since we both apparently suck at it, but I was praised by the teacher this week. On our final, I did well grammatically, but really horribly in the vocab department. Vocab, she said, grows no matter what, but the grammar was important. So, she said, I was doing well despite barely getting a passing grade. I think her usual gracious nature is going to step in and provide me with a B like it has the past few semesters.

..but we all know I'm at C level.

That's why I decided to stay. Oh, I don't think I mentioned that before. In July, my contract with TaLK ends and I go back to America, never to return to Korea and poised to lose all the Korean Language skillz I have acquired during my tenior here. BUT, the University of Ulsan introduced me to a new program they are starting called "Learn and Teach in Ulsan."

Wonder who they stole the name from...

Basically, I'll be tutoring english at the university for 9 hours a week, and I'll be studying here. Since PSU has been talking about how this time won't matter, how I'll lose financial aid if I go over on credits, etc. I decided that I'm just going to sign up for the Intensive Language Course, which should 1) help me to speak better Korean and 2) raise my vocabulary level.

Besides, since I'm having to study Korean around my already busy schedule, if I make my classes all about studying Korean, then I sorta streamline the process, don't I. And by streamlining, I get rid of all kinds of anxiety and stress. Basically, asides from the 9 hours a week of tutoring, the rest of my time will be dedicated to studying Korean, which means that I should be able to accomplish what I set out to accomplish during this first year here.

So, I'm sure that I can come home fluent in Korean. Which is great, because I want to work for the US Department of State in the future, and Korean is a "Critical Needs" Language, which means more bonus points for me. More bonus points bumps me up the hiring list and next thing you know, I'm off to work in an embassy.

Lot's of travel, decent pay. Sounds like the perfect job for me.

Actually, the money isn't that great, but since its like 30k more a year than I'm even used to imagining, that's not a bad deal. Besides, if I do move onto a masters (but I'll be like 31 when I finish that, so maybe not) then my pay goes up every year I work for them. And if I do aim for a masters, then I'll have some time to learn Chinese, a "Super Critical Needs" language, thereby guaranteeing my acceptance into the organization (and also seriously increasing my pay. As in, at the end of the 5 years training period, my pay will have increased about 6-7 thousand dollars. That's not a bad deal if you think about it. Maybe I will spend that extra two year...

Anyway, when I do finally finish all this work toward the career choice, then it will be like major monies for me. I don't know what I'll do with it all, but since it's all just imagining and speculation right now, I don't really want to plan for it.

Staying here does mean on thing for certain: I'll be putting off my college graduation yet another year. That's right, I may have graduated from Beaverton High in 2003, but I won't be graduating from Portland State until 2013 at the earliest. I'm not worried about that though, because when all is said and done, I'll have all kinds of experience, all kinds of knowledge, and all kinds of abilities at my fingertips.

And the only person I have to thank for all that is the Lord. He's been at the helm, and so far, it's been an amazing ride. The scriptures say that insomuch as you keep the commandments, you will prosper in the land. I've discovered that is true. The church said that if I went on a mission, I would be blessed in more ways than I could imagine. I've discovered that is true. My mission president, the church authorities, and many other people told me during my mission that if I gave up control and let the Lord fly the plane, I would never regret it. I've discovered that is true.

All these things are true, and when I finally do finish school, with my Bachelor's Degree in Japanese and my Bachelor's Degree in East Asian Studies, minors in Economics and Korean, and, IF I do make it all the way through a Master's program (the one that I've sorta set my sights for is the Double Masters in Diplomacy and Asian Pacific Policy at SETON HILL in Jersey), Masters Degrees in Asian Pacific Policy (which assumes that I will be learning Chinese) and Diplomacy, then I will show up on the door step of the State Department, tired after 12 years of College, speaking 4 languages, having over 16 years experience with Asian thought, culture, and history, being one of the few Korean Specialists that exist in the US anymore, and then I will turn to the Lord and say, "You were right, it was all worth it."

Because, at that point, I will have secured my future, my families future, my childrens future, and the honor of both the UHLS and LEWKOWITZ families. I will also set the bar for successive generations, something for them to look to and say, "Holy Crap, I gotta get to work!"

Well, that's the update. It was full of nice dreams and delusional thoughts, but there it is.

Happy Trails people