15 In Others / General

Happy 13th Blog Anniversary

13 years learning languages, 13 years writing about language learning. It’s been such a wonderful journey, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. This space has seen me in my ups and downs, provided solace, motivation and encouragement to me in different stages of my life.

This blog started out as a persona space, and I had wanted to write about my love for Korean dramas – hence the blog name! Over the years, it has evolved to a space where I write about language learning and my journey with languages. I am thankful for each and everyone of you who has stumbled upon this space, and in particular, those who have stayed with me over the years. I actually do remember most (haha don’t dare to say all) of you, and even though we may have never met, I cherish the connections we form here 🙂

13 years. 說長不長,說短不短。It feels long, and yet, when we think of language learning as a lifelong commitment, it feels like I’m still very much a young learner. Language learning has brought me so much joy, and made me fall deeper in love with books and reading. In fact, increasing the number of languages I can read in has increased the number of books I own (and e-books!) and I find myself constantly in a state of having more books than I can read. It’s a happy problem (not so much for my wallet) and I’m always grateful for the ability to enjoy more books in the world.

As I’m typing this, I’m sitting cross-legged in front of my coffee table, and there are at least 10 books on the table, a couple more on the floor and several on the sofa behind me. In this moment, I feel very blessed and happy and I just want to note it down. 🙂

Sometimes, I feel like I need to read more and read faster to “clear” the stack of books. But then I remind myself that reading is meant to be an enjoyable activity, not to be rushed, not to be forced. And so, I shall take my time.

In this anniversary post, I think it’s befitting to talk a little about each of the languages that have brought me so much joy in the past 13 years.

Korean. It’s hard to be an “advanced” learner at times. At times, I feel like I was more motivated when I was an intermediate learner. As I’m very partial to textbooks (ahahha), it was very clear to me that I had so much to work on when there are more advanced textbooks out there. Does it make sense? I know that beyond textbooks, there are so many other books / materials out there and it’s also true that I don’t understand everything perfectly now. But when you reach a somewhat comfortable level of proficiency, I feel a lower drive / motivation. I read more Korean novels these days, but other than that, I’m not doing much to improve my Korean at this point. Time to think a little bit more about how to learn as an advanced learner 🙂

Japanese. My relationship with Japanese is quite interesting. I didn’t prioritise speaking / writing, given that I was more keen to be able to enjoy Japanese media content as a “goal”. I read a lot, I listened a lot. I write at times, but I don’t speak. hahaha. In the end, I have a very skewed Japanese proficiency where reading >> listening >>>> writing >>>>>>>>>> speaking. Not proud of it, so I always tell people, please just try to improve on all four areas and not think that “I only want to be able to read”. Sure, there’s always areas to focus on, but placing too much focus on only one/two areas may bring regrets later on. On the other hand, I’m sure that if I get to spend an extended period of time in a Japanese-speaking environment, I’ll improve quite fast. But unfortunately, doesn’t feel like that will happen anytime soon. And frankly speaking, it’s rather embarrassing (personally) to hold a N2 certification and not speak like one 😛 Recently, I’ve been reading more in Japanese and truly truly loving it. I had spent a couple of years neglecting Japanese (almost) entirely, so I am very glad that the language has not deserted me. Just the other day, I was re-watching something in Japanese and this time round, I had to watch with Spanish subs. It’s amazing that I can now understand everything with ease, and even have bandwidth to read the Spanish subs and try to learn some vocabulary here and there 🙂

Thai. I’m so glad that Thai came into my life last year, and I’m just taking it slow. I don’t know where this journey will bring me, but I am just happy to cruise along and enjoy the sights.

For those who are still reading this, please leave me a comment and say hi! I always lament that blog readers are somewhat a dying breed, and blog commenters even more so 🙂

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  • Reply
    Mango S
    1 June, 2021 at 9:19 AM

    Hello! Although I don’t post comments much, I do read most of the posts! Congrats on your 13th anniversary!!

    • Reply
      1 June, 2021 at 5:22 PM

      ♡♡♡ Thank you!!

  • Reply
    Madison (Someday Korean)
    1 June, 2021 at 9:28 AM

    Congrats on 13 years! I’m coming up on 11 years since I started learning Korean, and it’s weird to think so much time has passed since then.
    As for the speaking thing for Japanese, I can relate to that feeling of “ugh why is my speaking proficiency not up there with the other skills”. Even though the logical side of me always wants to say “it’s not like you have Japanese friends to communicate with or need to speak it in your daily life”, there’s that ever-present feeling of “I just want to be better at it” haha. (I have that same feeling with Mandarin)

    • Reply
      1 June, 2021 at 5:22 PM

      Hi Madison! Yeah it’s really weird to think a decade has passed. hahaha yeah I’m in the same situation where I don’t have Japanese friends and there’s no need (or opportunity) to speak at all. I’m also too tired to look for language exchange. Small talk doesn’t excite me.

  • Reply
    1 June, 2021 at 9:47 AM

    Hi, congratulations on the 13th anniversary of this blog. I’ve found it enjoyable to go back and read about your journey when I need motivation.

    • Reply
      1 June, 2021 at 5:21 PM

      Hi David! Hope you are doing well and thanks for reading the blog ♡

  • Reply
    1 June, 2021 at 10:15 AM

    Yes, I suppose the streaming approach is the modern way. But I don’t think personal blogs are dieing, unlike newspapers. I enjoy the read. Must admit that I have rather lost all motivation now that I’m not in Korea and never did have a basic conversational capability. Any Korean speakers I meet now are very proficient in English…

    • Reply
      1 June, 2021 at 5:21 PM

      Social media and short posts are a lot more common these days ): But yeah, I still enjoy reading and writing blogs a lot. I know how you feel. Need to find something to rekindle that motivation again 🙂

  • Reply
    1 June, 2021 at 10:52 AM

    Wow. 13th Anniversary already !!!!! I have reading your post for so many years and got to know more about korean language.
    You also know mandarin. Maybe you may include mandarin in your languages that you know. ㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ
    Always enjoy reading your blogs. To more happy years and more blogs…stay safe and healthy

    • Reply
      1 June, 2021 at 5:19 PM

      So nice to have you as a friend for the past few years! ♡♡ hahahaha I left out English and Mandarin oops. Should keep them in too, since we’re always learning, even for native languages. Hope to see you soon! ♡

  • Reply
    1 June, 2021 at 4:25 PM

    Hi Shanna! Congrats on 13 years of blogging! As I said in a past anniversary post, I’ve been reading your blog since early 2013 and always enjoy it. 🙂
    It’s so interesting hearing about your language-learning journeys!
    I used to beat myself up for being so bad at self-study (I thrive in classroom settings and I tend to just prioritize other things in my free-time), but over the years I’ve learned more about myself too, and I appreciate your reminders about doing it for the joy. But I still envy your commitment haha
    Looking forward to future anniversary posts!

    P.S. I left a comment on your Drama-binge mode post several weeks ago, saw that it didn’t show up, and left the same comment again a few days later, which still doesn’t show. I wonder why 😮

    • Reply
      1 June, 2021 at 5:18 PM

      Hi Anna! Thank you ♡♡ Always glad to see you around! 🙂 There are also a lot of times where I neglected my languages but I learn that it’s okay, as long as I come back to them! We all need breaks every now and then, even for hobbies!

      Oops! I just went to search the comments and found in the spam folder ): No idea how it got there, given that this comment went through fine. Restored the comment!

  • Reply
    2 June, 2021 at 3:05 PM

    Hi Shanna,

    Congratulations on your 13th year blogging. I have been reading all your posts as a quiet supporter. We exchanged some emails on Korean text books. The first time I read your blog, you were introducing the EHWA books and i got them.

    And in our most recent correspondence, I bought the Pysco-pass novels to challenge myself to read Japanese.
    I have yet to be able to do that at the moment but I am reading Spy Family in Japanese now. (An improvement from my intermediate plateau).

    Keep up the blogging. Promise to read them all.

    • Reply
      3 June, 2021 at 1:50 PM

      Hi Ivan!

      Thanks for always being so supportive! 🙂 I just went to google Spy Family and I’m intrigued! Looks like a very interesting story. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Reply
    6 July, 2021 at 10:47 AM

    Congratulations on your 13th year blogging ! 🙂
    I’ve been a quiet reader of your blog for a few years now and even if I don’t usually leave comments, I always find your content super interesting and inspiring ! I’m an upper-intermediate Korean learner now and to this day your books reviews are always sooo helpful ! You’ve definitely been the reason I’ve bought some of them ^^
    Reading about your journey and your love for languages is always inspiring for a fellow language learner. Thank you for that and keep blogging 😀

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