I'm happy to report that I successfully passed my first semester at language school, and have moved on to the next level. I won't lie -- this has been far more demanding than I ever expected it to be. This semester alone I have two debates, six presentations, three essays, three exam periods, three short novels to read and an entire volume of poetry to read and interpret -- every single poem, individually. All in Korean.
My program is amazing, and they've brought in a graduate of the masters program I hope to enter to teach an additional evening course (for college credit) on Korean literature for free. It's a shitload of work, but that, in addition to one other Korean lit class I'm taking, should give me a sufficient foothold in beginning to learn how to write about and interpret literature in Korean. If you had told me four months ago that I would be, at this point, writing essays interpreting poetry in Korean, I would have laughed you out of the room. But you only find out what you're capable of doing by trying, and you only become capable of doing it by.... well, by doing it.
I still stumble a bit through my daily life in Korean. Speaking will forever and always be my weakest skill, but sitting down to explain Frank O'Hara (for example) in Korean is bringing me a lot closer to the language in a very short amount of time. Studying has become less of a task and more of a longed-for return to writing about the things I really care about. And my critical writing was never very fancy-pants to begin with, so what I've realized over the past month is that there's really nothing that I want to say that I can't, with a little bit of editing spit shine put on it by a teacher or Busan.
These two courses alone have taken me from seeing the idea of entering a masters program in Korean literature as a ridiculous fucking notion to something that, with a little elbow grease and maybe more than a few all-nighters, there's really no reason I can't do.
So for now, my blogging will stay short, because I need my sleep where I can get it (I'm also now working a part time translation job). And I'll sit and wait for the results of the scholarship I've applied to. But one way or another, I can't see the road back to where I came from, from here.