저희 어머니는 한국 분이고 아버지는 일본 분인데 엄마가 저한테 영어로만 얘기하셔서 한국어를 조금밖에 못 배웠어요. 저 초등학교 때 엄마가 좀 후회가 되셨는지 저를 한국어 학원에 보내셨지만 그땐 제가 한국어에 관심이 별로 없어서 공부를 제대로 안 했어요. 대학교 여름방학 때 한국어 공부를 다시 시작했는데 수업 시간말고는 한국어를 쓸 기회가 별로 없었어요. 나중에 런던에 유학갔을때 한인 친구를 만나고 친해져서 스페인으로 여행을 같이 갔어요. 스페인에서 민박하고 다른 한인 친구의 집에서 숙박했어요. 어느 날 아침에 민박 아줌마가 김치찌개 하고 여러 가지 반찬을 주셔서 "스페인이 아니고, 한국에 왔구나"라고 생각했어요. 유럽에 있었는데 한국에 있는 느낌이 들었어요. ^^ 일년반쯤 전에 친척들 만나러 한국에 갔었는데 언어 장벽때문에 대화하기가 너무 힘들더라고요. 한국에 있는 사랑하는 가족들하고 더 친해지고 싶고 한국 문화를 더 알고싶어서 직장을 leave of absence 하고* 한국에 가버렸어요. 한국에 있는동안 많이 배웠는데 아직도 너무 서툴러요. 미국에 돌아오고나서 많이 잊어버렸고요. 답답할때가 너무 많지만 유창하게 말할때까지 열심히 공부하겠어요. ^^
I wrote this in Korean first so the translation won't be word-for-word spot on, but the gist of it is there... actually, reading my "English translation" makes me cringe b/c it reads like a twelve year old, but oh well... translation is below.
My mother is from Korea, and my father is Japanese, but my mom only spoke in English to me so I barely learned any Korean (when I was younger). In elementary school, I think my mother came to regret not teaching me (from a younger age) so she sent me to Korean school. However, at that time, I had little interest in learning the language so I didn't take my studies seriously. One summer vacation during college, I started studying Korean again, but outside of class, there were very few opportunities to use it. Later on, during a study abroad stay in London, I met a Korean friend and we became very close, and even went on a trip to Spain together. There, we stayed at another Korean friend's place, as well as at a Korean boarding house. One morning, the boarding house ajumma served us kimchi jjiggae and an assortment of Korean side dishes, so I thought to myself, "This isn't Spain... we came to Korea!" Although we were in Spain, it felt like we were in Korea. About a year and a half ago, I went to visit my relatives in Korea but our conversations were limited and difficult because of the language barrier. Because I wanted to develop a closer relationship with my family and learn more about the culture, I took an extended leave of absence and up and left for Korea. I learned a lot during my time there, but I still have a lot to work on. As soon as I got back to the States, I felt as though I was forgetting everything. It can be really frustrating at times, but I plan to study diligently until I'm fluent. ^^