At first MJ said she was probably getting married. But seeing as she got engaged suddenly over Christmas, I wasn't sure how serious she was, or if she was just considering it. Then she said was almost certainly getting married, and the wedding would be this summer, and could I make it all the way to Korea to be her bridesmaid? But she also left things vague enough for me to think that there was about a 30% chance she wasn't getting married, and if she were to tie the knot, maybe it would be next year. And then it became definitely getting married, and definitely this summer, or maybe September. And now it is most definitely late May. I have bought my plane ticket, so whether she gets married or not, I'm going overseas for the first time.
JLR and MJ and I had planned to go to Korea together next summer, the summer of 2013. We'd been planning it since last year. MJ's from Korea, so she already speaks the language, which JLR and I find pretty handy. So we had begun saving for the trip, but at the pace of someone saving to take a trip in a year and a half.
And then came the big announcement. My end of the phone call was a mixture of happy, excited language hiding the "Holy frijole, that is sudden, I'm not sure I'm prepared to go to Korea and if you get married will you come back to the States because it would make me very sad if you never come back, and I bet you won't come back because that's typical of how things go with me" anxiety I was feeling. And after I fretted about MJ going to Korea to get married and never coming back, I came back around to fretting about money. Y'all, I do not have the however much saved. Sure, I have savings, but it's my emergency fund, my "what if my car breaks down in a big way or I get fired" savings. But I just can't say "no." So I'm going to Korea this summer. I have purchased the plane ticket, I have requested the time off from work, I have begun freaking out about how I need to lose the 5 pounds I've put on in the past year so I will look half-way decent in my bridesmaid dress, if I really am going to be a bridesmaid, because that's still not clear to me, given MJ's tendency to be skimpy with details. And I have begun freaking out about my lack of The Necessary Language Skills.
I asked MJ if I would have to give a speech. Most weddings I've been to, the bridesmaids don't give speeches, but all I know about Korean weddings is the one wedding I saw in a Korean tv show, wherein the bridesmaids gave speeches. So I was feeling a bit anxious about this possibility of giving speaking Korean in front of a live, native-speaking audience. Not just saying, "Hello, pardon me, could you tell me how to get to...?" in Korean, which I can do, but a whole speech, which people would need to understand. So I asked MJ about the speech issue.
MJ: Well, we don't really have a bridesmaid tradition in Korea.
Me: [breathing sigh of relief]
MJ: But don't worry, you'll do fine.
Me: [What?!?] Oh...okay.
I've been studying the Korean language for about five years, but in a very casual way. I learn about 2 or 3 new words a month. Yes, it's that slow. I try to learn more than that, but the words just don't stick with me. Here are things I know how to say:
- How are you? Are you doing well? I am doing well. 어떻게 지내새요? 잘 지내세요? 저는 절 지내세요.
- Are you busy? I am busy. 바빠요? 저는 바빠요.
- I don't have time / I have time. Will you have some time tomorrow? 시간이 없어요. / 시간이 있어요. 내/ 일은 시간이 있을거예요?
- I'm hungry. Let's eat. (but I only know how to say this very casually, to a friend) 배고파. 먹자.
- Coffee, please. 커피 주세요.
- I don't have coffee. 커피 없어요.
- Do you have coffee? 커피 있습니까?
- I'm studying Korean. I don't speak Korean well. Do you speak English? 한국어 공부해요. 한국말 잘 못해요.
- I don't know. 몰라요.
- Yes / No 네 / 아니오.
- How is the weather? 날씨가 어때요?
- Where is the _______? ______ 어디에요?
- I like _______ / I don't like _________. ________를 좋아해요. _______를 좋아 안해요 (or 안 좋아요?).
- Why? 왜요?
- Why me? (but only to close friends) 내가 왜?
- Random vocabulary words: boat, shoes, potato, milk, water, blood, book, pencil, bag, arm
- Words that sound very similar to the same word in English (e.g., cake is pronounced something like kay-eek-uh)
I guess I'll be studying a bit more now.