People always ask me why I’m learning Korean and how I got into it. Well, I was pretty much born into a Korean church, so I was raised around the food, the culture, you know, the works. It was just natural to start learning. Later on in my life, I started to become curious about North Korea. My grandfather was in the Korean War and the founder of our church was born in what is now North Korea (before the country was split into two).
I took a Korean Literature class Winter Quarter 2011, which pretty much ended up being a Korean history class, which was great, because that’s more of what I’m interested in. We scratched the surface of Japanese colonialism and all of the inhumane things that Koreans had to go through before the Korean peninsula split up. This was very informative and helpful, but I found myself wanting to know what happened afterwards.
I started doing my own “research” (aka) Google, and reading up on how horrible North Korea’s situation actually is right now. In the words of the World Press Freedom Index, it is in a “Very serious situation”, which is as bad as it gets. This isn’t surprising seeing as North Korea is #177 out of 178 countries on the World Press Freedom Index, second to last only to Eritrea. It goes without saying that that’s just awful, especially when the only thing that separates it from being a country of a “Satisfactory situation” (South Korea), is a made up border at the 38th parallel line. Simply unacceptable. Unification is possible and I want to make sure it happens. I can only ensure that by becoming fluent in Korean. It’s my daily fuel when I’m running low. We can do this, Korea.
Story time! Our Korean culture teacher back when I was in Jeonju asked our class what we wanted to learn about. We expressed that we had interest in North Korea. So, one day, he was talking to us about how North Korea feels about the United States. Of course, this was all being taught in Korean, and he used a word that we didn’t know to describe North Korea’s attitude towards America. Using his cellphone Korean-English dictionary, he looked up the word and struggled greatly through the pronunciation of the words ‘hatred’, ‘detest’, and ‘abhorrence’. Oh my. Wish me luck.