05 December 2013

Say What?

Yesterday, on my way home, a cab driver overheard me talking on the phone. I was speaking Korean and he only caught my end of the conversation. After I hung up, he asked me if I were a kyopo. I said yes, thinking he had a really wise ear. Then he said, you must be from Japan.

Most people don't know, but I studied Japanese for nearly two years. The reason nobody knows is because I sucked at it - therefore failed to make it to the advanced modules - and kept the defeat to myself. The only people who know are the people I studied with, most of whom I never liked to begin with. 

My whole life, people have been telling me that I sounded weird. My German, I think, is fine, but it sounds odd to people because they see it coming out of a Korean face. My English was heavily influenced by German teachers, American street culture and a full-time year of life in London.

And then there's my Korean. My mother tongue, if you will. It's funny, it's my mother tongue, but it's my weakest language. It must be difficult to teach a stupid child in Germany a tough Asian language, that's where I really admire my parents. They knew it, and they knew it twenty years ago.

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