Monday, May 1, 2006

5 1/2 Weeks

Posted in Foreign Service Life, Generalities at 8:17 pm by graceandpoise

There is a light at the end of the tunnel. It has seemed until now that language training was never going to end, but that is finally beginning to change. For the last month or so, I have been tweaking my schedule so that I will hopefully be able to meet three major goals as I head off to Seoul: one, to get to post when my boss-to-be wants me there; two, to take advantage of the full allotment of "consultation" and packing days that I am entitled to as I get ready to head out; and three, to take a few vacation days to go home to Seattle and "reset" on my way to Korea. To give myself the ability to do this, I've had to shorten my language training by a couple of weeks, so as of right now, I have exactly 5 1/2 weeks left of language training before I start the next part of training: the general consular course (aka: "ConGen"). So there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and it looks so pretty!

That said, today I began a new phase of language training. The Korean language section has something they call the "Consular Module," and for the last several weeks of training I am meant to spend around 1/4 of my time on it. This short, targeted mini-course introduces no new grammar rules or conjugations, yet so far it's still more intimidating to me than the regular course that includes all sorts of convoluted grammatical stuff. Why, you may ask? Mostly, it's because of the surprising similarity Korean has to German. Being that I know German, one might think this would make things easier, but that's not the case. You see, the similarity to German is only in the fact that Korean, too, ends up having super-compound words that seem like they go on for three pages. Again, those who know me also know that I love this fact about German – it gives you the ability to say in one word what it takes English a sentence full of prepositions to say. In Korean, however, it simply addles my brain. I am not yet comfortable enough with the writing system or the component parts of words to have these things even begin to make sense. So when you hear rumors about some silly white girl at the visa window in Seoul who's holding things up because she takes 10 minutes to spit out the word "employment verification document," you'll know who it is.

In other news, yet another A-100 class began today at FSI. For the first time, I think I stand a fair chance of getting out to post before any of the people in the newly entering class. We shall see, though. I'm just happy to finally have the ball rolling on preparations for my move to Korea.

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