It’s that time of the year when everyone tries to summarize the past 12 months or so in one blog post. And I’m here attempting to do just that. My 2014 was a year of change and stepping out. It was packed with adventures and memories that I don’t even know where and how to begin without ending up typing a very lengthy post.
Let’s start with how I ended up taking my very first Korean proficiency exam in Manila. Well, I guess no one in the world hasn’t heard of the Super Typhoon Haiyan and how it destroyed our city, Tacloban. Because of that typhoon, things happened and it just wasn’t safe to stay here so we had to evacuate to a much safer place. I ended up going to Manila. I got to attend my cousin’s wedding in Subic and celebrate last year’s Christmas in Manila with my mom and my sister. It was my first Christmas away from home and away from my dad and brothers. I also got to welcome the New Year there. Our place was located on the 23rd floor of a condominium building so I had a good view of the fireworks. It was amazing.
During my stay in Manila, I got to meet my bestfriend, Marianne, for the first time in person. Yeah, I met her online in 2010 and we’ve been good friends since then. Meeting her in person probably was one of the best things that happened to me in Manila. And she’s one of the reasons why I’m dying to go back there. I miss going to the mall with her, singing in Timezone until our throats hurt, the quick visits to the convenience store to buy ice cream, spying on other people using my camera’s super zoom, the sleepovers. Yeah, I miss it all. I wish it only costs P20 to visit her so we can do all these things at least once a week but alas, plane tickets are just ridiculously expensive now that our airport is under repair.
Other than Marianne, I also met Arin, one of my friends who is self-studying Korean like me and Jerry 쌤, a Korean I met on Facebook. He came here on a business trip and he was kind enough to spare us a few hours to eat and hangout. It was also nice of him to buy Korean books and cosmetics for us because it would’ve cost us a fortune to have them shipped here via EMS. I was so happy to get 6 secondhand Korean novels for only P1000.
I also decided to take TOPIK exam. I’ve been wanting to take the exam to test my Korean skills but I don’t live in Manila so I never got the chance to. I finally got to visit the Korean Cultural Center. I didn’t really care much about the exhibits they were holding then — they were having a Pucca exhibit and I’m not a fan of Pucca. I was more interested in their library and their huge collection of Korean language books. They had everything I wanted. They’ve got Ewha Korean 1 to 6, Yonsei Korean 1 to 6 and all the TOPIK books that I wanted to study with. Too bad I live far away from KCC. I’d love to study there everyday. I even toyed with the idea of taking Korean language classes there but I had to go back to Tacloban because a job was waiting for me.
Sometime in April, I got a text from a Korean soldier and he was offering me a job. He even called me just to make sure I really knew how to speak even just a bit of Korean. I accepted the offer but I couldn’t start working yet because I still had to take the TOPIK since I already paid for it and it would be a waste if I didn’t go through with it. After the long wait, I came home excited (and nervous at the same time) to have my first job interview.
After college, I’ve spent 3 years being unemployed. It’s not because I couldn’t find a job but because I wasn’t allowed to work. Fuck discrimination against PWDs. So I started learning Korean language to keep me from extreme depression. And that was the best decision I ever made in life. The only thing I regret about it is that I wish I had started earlier so I’d be more fluent by now. But I still got hired even though I’m not fluent in Korean yet and I started working for ARAW Contingent 필리핀 합동지원단 on May 5th.
On May 7th, I got a very rare chance of working with the cast and crew of Real Men (진짜 사나이). I got to work with Super Junior’s Henry, ZE:A’s Park Hyungsik, K.Will, Jeon Junmyeong, Rainbow etc. I even got to take a selca with Henry. I got to spent 3 days with the cast and the crew. But I didn’t get to really talk to them because time was precious and there were still a lot to be done.
A month after I took TOPIK, the results came out and I passed and got a Level 3 certificate. I wasn’t really happy because I expected to get a Level 4 but my score (69.75) didn’t reach the cut off for Level 4 which was 70. I failed to get 0.25 more. But oh well, a pass is a pass.
I started teaching Korean language to high school students and adults for ARAW. And because of that, I got interviewed by Korean media. Most days, my Korean speaking skills suck but I was glad I was able to answer every question they threw at me. As much as I like teaching Korean, I decided to quit my job and put up my own Korean restaurant. While working for ARAW, I got to meet people or got introduced to people who could help me with my restaurant like suppliers, cooks etc. It was tough leaving my teaching job because I got attached to my students and the Korean soldiers that I worked with. It wasn’t easy choosing between two dreams. But I decided I could still teach while managing a restaurant. So the planning and the construction started and the restaurant started its operation on the 26th of October.
Through ARAW, I met Pastor Kim Younghwan and his family. They invited me and my Korean friend to spend 추석 with them. It was my first time to celebrate it.
ARAW continued teaching the students and they invited TOPIK to hold the exam here as well. I got to take TOPIK again. Most of the students were beginners and I’m probably the only Filipino here in our city who can communicate in Korean so I was the only TOPIK 2 examinee. It was awkard as hell. I passed the exam and got a Level 4. Almost got Level 5 but again, I was a few points short from reaching the cut off. Ugh. There’s still next year so I’m planning to form a study group with my students. I’m aiming for Level 5 this time so I hope I don’t pass out from preparing for the exam while managing a restaurant.
Before I end this post, I would like to thank everyone who believed in me from the very beginning. I wouldn’t be who I am if it weren’t for you guys. I look forward to another wonderful year with all of you. Thank you so much. ^^ ♡