The Beginning

In the beginning, there were these books:

Korea-Indonesia Dictionary and the simplest grammar book

I got asked this a lot: “how did you start learning Korean?” which usually followed by this comment “Is it from Korean dramas?”

Yes, I got to know South Korea, its language and culture from their first drama that got into Indonesia: Autumn in My Heart… or was it Winter Sonata? well it was one or the other. But, I did not start learning from watching.

When in high school, I joined the theater club. I did not know whether it was because of funding or something else, the school were not able to get a coach for us. The club were about to be canceled that year; However, under the lead of one of my high school senior, We persisted that we wanted to save the club.

When there were school open house, where all the clubs display their activities, we begged the school principal and teachers to get a room for our club. Luckily, our language teachers were all behind us. That exhibition bore one good fruit: One of the student’s parent were a serial drama director and apparently he were pretty impressed with what we did. He then became our first coach.

While waiting to get a new coach, we had nothing to do. We came to the scheduled block for the club activities. But we really had nothing to do. Right then, I got to know hangeul/Korean words.

One of my hoobae (후배)/junior were dating a Korean guy. FYI, there are a lot of Koreans living in my neighbor hood. They even had a small version of Korean Town in Karawaci area. Anyways… This girl religiously brought a paper to each class. Each time filled with new words in Korean and the translation, mostly bad words =P. She would take our questions and asked them to her boyfriend. Her boyfriend even taught us the bear song that came out in Full House: 

곰 세마리가 한집에 있어 / There were once three bears living in one house
아빠곰 엄마곰 애기곰 / father bear, mother bear, and baby bear
아빠곰은 뚱뚱해 / father bear is fat
엄마곰은 날씬해 / mother bear is slim
애기곰은 너무 귀여워 / baby bear is so cute
히쭉히쭉 잘한다 / shrug shrug, you’re doing it well!

I was really interested, and felt that this method was not enough for me to get to know korean. So one day I went to the Lippo Karawaci mall by myself to go to the Gunung Agung bookstore. Why? because weeks before that I saw a Korean-Indonesian dictionary but I did not buy it. Then, I felt like I needed to buy that book, so I bought the two books you see in the picture above.

Since then, I started learning new Korean words. The dictionary has a table of the Korean alphabets and how to read it. I self taught how to write my names, my friends and family’s names, any words that I could write in Korean. Every time I watched the Korean dramas, I would forced my self to *slowly* read the signs that appear on the screen. I tried and tried even though I did not understand the meanings of what I read.

And that was how I got started with my self-learning process.

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