October 6th, 2010
Karjam sang during the Ewha Woman’s [sic] University Korean Language Program Korean Speech Contest as a special presenter. No, it was not a Korean song. First I had to endure 5 speeches and afterwards there was one more special presentation, 5 more speeches and then two more special presentations. The speeches were incredibly boring. Instead of taking the speech contest as an opportunity to show their maximum ability, many advanced students still spoke on extremely easy topics (I thought the relative beginners were more impressive as they have only studied for a short time and spoke on equivalent topics). I found out from Karjam’s teacher that the topic was roughly set, but it was –not- required that all speakers confine themselves to first person accounts on that topic, which they did. There was no creativity, although I heard some very good pronunciation and very well rehearsed presentations. (There were also a few people who’ve been learning Korean too long for it still to sound half like Japanese, and yes, by this I mean the Japanese students had the worst pronunciation). A Pakistani woman who has lived in Korea for 10 years won.
As I still felt extremely low energy and half sick the only other thing I did all day was meet my friend Jennifer who is unfortunately leaving for the US in a week. On the other hand, this is because she’s gotten an awesome professional job using her Korean knowledge (both linguistic and cultural) and I’m very proud of her. We had coffee/tea and talked for two and a half hours, a time period that seemed to fly by.
Photos: Jennifer and our apartment building (we are the top (3rd) floor.