Monthly Archives: December 2014

Recover From A Break-Up Gently

Going through a breakup is a painful, and often unavoidable, part of life. While some of us are lucky enough to spend our whole life with the first person we fall in love with, most are not.

I am most definitely not one of those lucky souls and have been through my own fair share of heartache. Feel assured that you are not alone and others have felt heartbreak just as you have/are. Heartbreak truly and utterly sucks. I am one to try to find the positive side of anything but, while a breakup itself may have some pluses, the pain from a broke heart is, in my opinion, one of the most needlessly painful experiences one can go through. But we can learn to cope, and sometimes in life that is the only thing you CAN do.

So, with a positive tune to song us through, let’s discuss a few ways of getting over a breakup as gently as possible.

1. Try not to fight

Photo 13-03-2014 01 56 45I know emotions can run high and the distress of the situation can take your mind on a little joyride of pain and fury, but try to avoid heated arguments and burning of bridges.
Most likely both you and the other person involved will both be hurting, so try not to pour any more salt into your wounds by dragging things out unnecessarily.
Of course, if the other has said or done something wrong, you have the right to your feelings, but try to let your emotions out in a healthy and constructive manner. No screaming, smashing things or violence. Try to keep your emotions healthy and don’t cause more problems that will make moving on any harder (it’ll take you a lot longer to move on from a breakup if you are feeling guilty for acting out of line or in the clink for GBH)

2. Give yourself space

Photo 03-11-2013 16 25 37Maybe you and your ex want to be friends. Perhaps your friends want to take you out to drink the problems away. Maybe you want to try to convince your ex’s friends to change their mind.
For now, leave all of that.
A breakup is stressful, it’s traumatic and you need time to cool of and steady yourself. Don’t keep reopening the wound by continuing to hang out with your ex right away. Don’t let your friends try to kind a quick fix cure for your upset. Don’t try to fix a situation you aren’t in the right state to fix.
Take a step back, take a look at yourself and focus on what you need. Maybe you need a nice massage or a trip to the gym to burn off some of that stress. Maybe you need to remember what YOU need and put yourself first for a while.
Food, water, sleep and health are a good few areas to focus on. Are you eating right (and enough)? Are you drinking good clean water? Are you sleeping right? Are you investing enough time and attention to your health and fitness?
Focusing on yourself will help you to clear your mind of relationship worries and get you focusing on the proactive and brilliant YOU who has been out of your own spotlight for too long. Take time, treat yourself right and don’t let the greif and frustration drive you into trouble.

3. Safety First

When your mind is in ‘crisis mode’ from the shock of a breakup it isn’t functioning right. You can lose track of what is sensible and what isn’t, it is times like this where you have to behave with extreme caution. The smartest person may still be tempted to the path of self-destruction that comes with this state.

“I just want to go out, get drunk and forget it all.”

“Maybe if I wreck myself, they will see how bad I am without them.”

“I want the world to see how much I hurt by hurting myself.”

I don’t want my life anymore. Nothing matters anymore.”

Do any of these sound familiar? These are very common thoughts for people to be thinking when they are in a tempest of the heart. Your conscious mind needs to take over and be the sensible one in this time because your unconscious mind could be running on low power while you recover.

Things to avoid:

photoExcessive drinking: You are not dependent on alcohol, it will not help you or solve your problems. Do not use it as a solace for your emotions or a balm for the reality. It will only damage you and give you further problems (alcoholism, substance dependence and health problems) to deal with.
Drugs: Never a good idea anyway, drugs will only make things worse. Often drug takers get into them because they are looking for something to stop the pain, but it doesn’t work. I have known people who have taken drugs to try and comfort themselves and it only makes it harder.
Sleeping around: I know it seems like the perfect payback or a good way to move on from your problems, but sleeping around and ONSs are not the answer you are looking for. It can hurt you, the people you sleep with and also puts you in the firing line of a lot of risks (unwanted pregnancy, STDs, etc).
Travel: When going through a breakup, I would not recommend going on vacation or to a foreign place until you have fully recovered. It might seem like a great idea that will clear your head and help you solve all your problems, but life doesn’t always work like ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ and home may be the safest place to be. When you are travelling while distressed things can go awry very easily as you are in a vulnerable state of mind and prone to making ill-advised choices. If you do HAVE TO travel during this difficult time, pay great attention to yourself. the choices you are making and your own personal safety (and DEFINITELY avoid drinking, drugs and sleeping around!!)

4. Rebounds

I was going to add this to the list of things to avoid, but I thought it needed it’s own paragraph to discuss it. Now rebounds are a very common “move” for people trying to get over a breakup, but what they don’t realise is that a new relationship does not erase a previous relationship. That pain will still be there, and it could carry forward into future relationships if not properly handled.
A rebound relationship is kind of like using a person – a living, breathing individual – as a drug to try and numb the pain from a relationship that you cared about. It doesn’t feel good to be a rebound and it won’t help either of you later.
I would recommend again rebounds as it could just drag out your pain and save it for later.

5. Avoid self-torture

Photo 16-10-2013 11 38 19I know you may want to listen to all of “your songs”, go all the places you went together, look at all the photos and read all the records of the great times you had together and wonder where it all went wrong, but that doesn’t matter.

Life is constantly changing and you are on your own path in this life. People may come into your life that you think will be there forever but, somewhere along the way, they fall back. That is okay. I know it seems like a really cruel sucky reality, but once you accept it, things get a lot better.

6. Be happy

The Dalai Lama says that happiness is not just experiencing the emotion of happiness, but carrying a happy attitude to life. He says that you can feel happiness at any time in your life, even if your emotion is anger or sadness. It does sound a bit hokey and “herbal”, but it does truly work.
Try to take all of the events life drops you in a just go with them as best you can. If you cannot change it, make it work.
Perhaps the end of this relationship is just the beginning of something great happening? Maybe it is making way for something even greater to come into your life. I’m not saying that there is something controlling your life that thought “Hmm, I want to give them this, but I’ll have to make some room. I’ll just take away their relationship.” But you can take every situation and try to MAKE it something positive by your own hand.
What if you could take this pain and suffering you are feeling and harness it into something powerful? You could do so much with that strength!
So many great and inspiring people grew to what they are because they refused to be held back by their suffering, their “story”. Look at the people with terminal illnesses who still look upon their lives with joy and gratitude – Now THAT is strength!
With the loss of this relationship, what are you going to to to make sure that you turn this “Plot twist” into an advantage?

7. Stay Active

Don’t disappear off the face of the Earth. Take the time you need, but don’t abandon your life. Avoid making big “I am going offline from life because I am miserable” posts on Facebook, Twitter, etc. Perhaps those cute cat pictures or motivational quotes someone shares might help you to see that the world isn’t such an awful place.
Remain active in your community. Maybe join a voluntary scheme to help people in need. Very little in life helps you get perspective and feel better more than helping people, and there is a lot of good you can do.

8. Keep Perspective

You are a human being among 7 billion other human being, living on a big rock spinning around a big ball of burning gas. Of all the species of creatures, we are lucky to have a consciousness and the capability to think, to speak, to make art, to laugh, cry, enjoy things, make plans, explore and care. We are all very lucky to be here and we can all do extraordinary things.
You are a person and I am sure that you have great talents inside of you and out of the 7 billion people in the world, I know that you will find your perfect match when the time is right.

9. Allow time to do its thing

In time you will grow to feel better. The memory of the relationship won’t fade, the break-up won’t fade, but the pain will. You will learn to move on and learn not to think about it every minute or every time you see their face or hear their name.

You must remember that while this pain hurts now, it is just a path to recovery and you won’t feel this forever. You will grow, you will move on and you will be happy again if you just allow yourself to heal. Let go of regret, let go of the things you should have said or wish you had done and just let it become a chapter of your life that has has its ending written and you will remember, and maybe even treasure, for years to come. Try not to resist the scar of time that will close up this part of your life. You can move on and find even greater happiness if you truly accept the past and allow it to rest. Don’t rewrite it or keep trying to take things back to then. Even if you got back together with your ex and live the rest of your lives happily together, that’s a completely different chapter you are sharing. Whatever your future holds, let it come and let the past go and open your arms, and your heart, to accept the gift of the present.

 

I really hope this piece has been helpful to you and, if you are going through a breakup, I sincerely hope that I have managed to help you in some way to feeling better. Just remember that you are lovely, you are good and you are going to be okay and Learn With Amy, and all of your friends and family are there for you.

Leave any comments, questions and suggestions in the comment section below, or come over to our Facebook or Twitter to connect with us and other readers! Xx

Using Kdramas To Learn Korean

©SBS
©SBS

Learning Korean is fun and rewarding, but it isn’t the easiest language there is to learn. This means that we need a helping hand where possible, and television can be really useful. As well as studying Korean in textbooks and online, I use Korean dramas to reinforce my learning. It is really useful to have a casual and native source of dialogue where there is little to no risk of being taught meaningless phrases – which has happened to me a number of times.
A lot of foreigners use British and American television for learning English, so it makes sense that it works in the reverse.

Really listen

I know it’s easy when watching the dramas to kind of glaze over the words being spoken (with the usual exception of ‘oppa’, ‘eonni’, ‘eotteoke’ and ‘jinjja’) and just watch the subtitles all the time. You’re going to have to curb that habit and pay attention to the dialogue. Listen to the words and try to learn the individual words and phrases.
If a phrase sticks out at you that you understand, write it down and try to listen out for when it pops up in future.

Compare

Korean books 2When you study Korean in the textbooks, try to listen out for each of the phrases you learn in the dramas you watch. Some of them, like “남대문 열려있다”/”namdaemun yeolyeoitda” (Translation: “The south gate is open.” Meaning: “Your fly is open”) will not occur very much, but listening out for the Korean you know will get you hearing and beginning to comprehend the dialogue you are hearing.

Turn off subtitles

When you are beginning to find your feet in the language, try turning off the subtitles and watching the drama without them and seeing, from the amount of Korean you know, how much you understand of what is going on in the story.
It might not make a ton of sense for a while, but you’ll start understanding more and more with time, practice and immersion.

Personal taste

Just like anywhere in the world, people’s voices can differ hugely and that can be a big help to hear and identify little details in the language that you many not have noticed before. Listen for the way individual actors speak as a way of helping your comprehension and pronunciation. Lee Min Ho speaks Korean quite differently from his former ‘Heirs’ co-star Kim Woo Bin and Kim Soo Hyun’s voice isn’t the same as Bigbang’s T.O.P (Choi Seung Hyun).
Also, pay attention to the little bits of emphasis in the words. Those could go a long way to helping you remember the meaning, the way to convey emotion in the voice as well as help you to hear every sound in the word (which comes in very handy when you’re learning to write in Hangul)

Getting it right way ’round

One of the things that listening to Korean dramas helps with the most is sentence structure. Because the speaking is so natural, but slower than the usual conversation between Korean people (which is incredibly fast), it is easier to hear which order the words come in for more complex sentences than you are often taught in textbooks. In textbooks, the phrases you are taught are often very basic, but dialogue is a lot more complex, and thus great for learning practical skills needed for natural conversation.

Overall, try to focus on the language with as little relation to English as possible. It is its own unique language, and the less you try to understand it with regard to a totally different language, the better grasp of it you will develop in time. Understand that also a lot of words and phrases don’t directly translate to English. For example, the phrase “힘내요” is used to say “It’s okay” or “Don’t worry”, but often it is translated as “Cheer up”, which can mean that it is often misused and seems weird when used in the correct context, because it doesn’t match up with the English “meaning”.

I really hope this piece helps you to improve your Korean study (and perhaps give you a good excuse for more Kdrama marathons). Let me know what you think of this piece in the comments below and come join us on the Facebook and Twitter! X

Tongue twisters from around the world

Tongue twisters are words or phrases that are difficult and confusing to say. learning and performing tongue twisters is a common pass-time for kids on the UK, but I never realised until I met my best friend (and guest writer on Learn With Amy) that tongue twisters are hugely popular all around the world!

So, for all you language enthusiasts out there, how many of these tongue twisters from around the globe can you say?

First: How do tongue twisters work?

Tongue twisters are phrases that are difficult to articulate as they require fast delivery and/or contain a complex combinations of phonemes. Often they contain two or more sounds that alternate between use of the lips, tongue, jaw and larynx.
Many studies have tried to identify how the complex phrases affect the brain, but the studies have found that tongue twisters actually slow down how fast the brain takes in the information. Tongue twisters aren’t just hard to say, they’re hard to READ too!

English:

The most commonly loved tongue twister in the UK is the famous rhyme, based on the story of Mary Anning, that goes:

She sells sea-shells on the sea-shore.
The shells she sells are sea-shells, I’m sure.
For if she sells sea-shells on the sea-shore
Then I’m sure she sells sea-shore shells.

As it turns out, Mary Anning was actually selling various fossils on the sea-shore as a supplemental income to her family!

Gilbert and Sullivan were famous writers of comic operas that featured tongue twisting lyrics that fast paced and comedic. One of their most popular operettas was The Mikado (Sometimes called ‘The Town Of Titipu’), an opera that satirised British politics and society – made acceptable by subtly masking it with the Japanese setting.
One of the songs, entitled ‘I Am So Proud’ features these very tricky to say (and SING) lines:

To sit in solemn silence in a dull, dark dock,
In a pestilential prison, with a lifelong lock,
Awaiting the sensation of a short, sharp shock,
From a cheap and chippy chopper on a big black block!

Some tongue twisters also try to get you to say ‘bad words’ as a trick for getting muddled.
Try the following tongue twister and see if you can say it all without swearing:

I slit the sheet,
The sheet I slit
and on the slitted sheet I sit.

Did you say it? Eh?
How about this one? Be careful – You might say something you don’t mean! Tee hee

I am not the pheasant plucker,
I’m the pheasant plucker’s mate.
I am only plucking pheasants
Because the pheasant plucker’s late.

Not that easy, are they? Well, things are about to get a lot trickier as we bring different languages into it! We all know that Japanese is quite a tough language, but it’s about to get a lot trickier as we take a quick look at the tongue twisters that even Japanese people find difficult!

Japanese:

In Japanese, the word for ‘tongue twister’ is ‘早口言葉’/’hayakuchi kotoba’ which directly translates as ‘fast mouth words’ – No kidding!
Here’s a fairly easy one to start off with:

“生麦、生米、生卵”
”なまむぎ、なまごめ、なまたまご”
“Nama mugi, nama gome, nama tamago”

The meaning of this phrase is “Raw wheat, raw rice, raw eggs”. Tricky, but they get harder!

“蛙ぴょこぴょこ三ぴょこぴょこ、合わせてぴょこぴょこ六ぴょこぴょこ”
”かえるぴょこぴょこみぴょこぴょこ、あわせてぴょこぴょこむぴょこぴょこ”
“Kaeru pyoko pyoko mi pyoko pyoko, awasete pyoko pyoko mu pyoko pyoko”

This one, which hurts to say, translates as “A frog jumps twice, three times and six times in all.”

If you’re a fan of gardening and fine cuisine, give this one a go:

“にわの庭には、二羽の鶏はにわかにわにを食べた”
”にわのにわには、にわとりわにわかにわにおたべた”
“Niwa no niwa ni wa, niwa no niwatori wa niwakani wani o tabeta.”

This is such a fun one (and made me feel good, because I understood it without the translation – yay, go me!) and it translates as “in Niwa’s garden, two chickens suddenly ate a crocodile”

Korean:

Korean can be a tough language for some to learn as the words can sometimes be quite long and a little less straightforward to say than Japanese can be. However, it’s a beautiful language that’s a lot of fun to learn and speak.
Now, from my experience, easy Korean tongue twisters are difficult to come by, but they’re very satisfying when you get them right. Let’s get this started off right, with a nice bit of soy:

“간장공장 공장장은 강공장장이고 된장공장 공장장은 공공장장이다”
“kan-jang-kong-jang kong-jang-jang-eun kang kong-jang-jang-ee-go, dwen-jang-kong-jang kkong-jang kong-jang-jang-eun kong kong-jang-jang-ee-da.”

This one means, “President Kang is the president of the soy sauce factory, and president Kong is president of the bean paste factory.”

“육통 통장 적금통장은 황색 적금통장이고, 팔통 통장 적금통장은 녹색 적금통장이다”
“Yuk-tong tong-jang jeog-geum-tong chang-eun hwang-saek jeog-geum-tong-jang-i-go, pal-tong tong-chang jeog-geum-tong jang-eun nok-saeg jeog-geum-tong-chang-i-da.”

This mouthful translates as “6 dong bank book savings book is the yellow bank savings book, 8 dong bank book savings book is the green bank savings book.”
Not easy, are they?!

 

So, what do you think? Do you like Japanese and Korean tongue twisters? Let us know what you think of them!

Learn With Amy’s 2015 Challenge!

10432552_1013181298695894_8304708746044163524_nLearn With Amy is all about improvement, working together and fun. I want this website to serve as an informative and enjoyable environment for people seeking information on as many subjects as I can offer.

Whether you are a fan of cooking, Korean culture, personal development, squeeing about cute things, art, writing or acting, I want to be there to enlighten and encourage you to invest in your interests. In the coming year I am bringing a lot of big improvements to the site, but I also thought that some kind of a program to follow would be a good way to begin, and also perhaps serve to even further expand your interests by offering you a wide variety of activities and challenges to try.
So, each month in 2015 there will be a month-long challenge for you guys to follow. It could be something that you do every day, or something that you work on slowly throughout the month, or simply try once.
Also, to make things a little more exciting, there will be a giveaway with each challenge, so you can share your participation with us and at the end of the month, I’ll choose a lucky reader to send a prize.

January Part 1 – A Diary

I want you to start a diary. It can be any kind of diary you want, as long as it is managed with a healthy attitude. No voodoo scribbles or raging. It can be anything from a language diary to practice a language you are learning, an achievement diary, a dream or thought diary or a gratitude diary — anything you want, as long as it is unique!
To enter the giveaway, share your diary idea with us on the Learn With Amy Facebook page, on the Twitter or my Instagram using the hashtag #LearnWithAmy2015challenge and link us, or submit your entry using the contact form below!
The winners of the monthly challenges will be announced and notified at the end of the month, so keep an eye on here and the social media to hear if you are one of the lucky peeps!

(No purchase necessary. No cash prize. No sponsors are involved in this giveaway)

Merry Christmas from Amy!!

I would like to say a very sincere thank you and Merry Christmas to learnwithamy.com’s thousands of readers from around the world and everyone who contributes and supports the site’s growth and reach!
This site has come such a long way since its launch in April of this year and I know that things will only get bigger and better in time.

Thank you so much for being a part of our journey, or education and our online family.

Merry Christmas!!

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Christmas in Britain

Having a lot of Non-British (and Non-European) friends, I have recently needed to explain what a British Christmas is like. Christmas in the UK can ca very different from Christmas everywhere else, and also the gap between traditional ideas and the actual practice can be vast too!

I thought that a post explaining the British Christmas would help those interested and living in Britain to understand what it’s like.

 

A British Christmas has many constant traditions that are generally followed in most families and as well as traditions passed down through individual families.

 

IMPORTANT!

So many of my friends from other countries aren’t made aware early enough of the fact that, unlike many other countries, almost all stores and restaurants are closed on Christmas Day. As it is the biggest Bank Holiday of the year, you will be hard pressed to find anywhere open on this day, so do travel or go out hoping to spend your day shopping!

 

Christmas Tree

10881372_744730272278315_703694050_nPracticed all around the world, the Christmas Tree is a large part of the Christmas experience. Often the first decoration that goes up, there are many different kinds of Christmas trees, from artificial trees made from plastic and wire to the numerous breeds of living Christmas trees!10863574_744730308944978_1390974284_n

 

Often decorations have sentimental value and can be passed down through the generations.

 

Santa Claus

Santa is a jolly old man who travels the world in the night and early morning of Christmas Day, delivering presents to all of the good children of the world.

However, Santa isn’t a familiar figure, beyond the recognisable red and white costume, all over the world.

In Britain, he is also referred to as St Nicholas. Santa is a very important part of children’s Christmases and a huge aspect of the Christmas experience.

1468624_554252424659435_95944891_n
A friendly reindeer

Santa Claus is told to be a jolly character who keeps lists of good and naughty children. Children in Britain can often be persuaded into behaving well by the suggestion that Santa will add them to the ‘naughty list’. Santa often deposits presents for good children (and coal for the naughty ones) either under the Christmas tree or in large festive socks called ‘stockings’.

Traditionally, Children would have hung their own socks at the ends of their beds or over the fireplace, but these days stockings designed purely for carrying presents are more common.

Santa Claus is said to travel the world in a sleigh, pulled along by 9 flying reindeer. Children will traditionally leave a gift of a snack and drink for Santa and a carrot for the reindeer.

Mistletoe

10866961_744730185611657_1567386601_nMistletoe is a white leafy plant with white berries and, for reasons I am unsure, it is tradition to hang mistletoe around a room and two people caught standing under it are supposed to kiss.

It’s a strange but cute tradition and it’s very common for people to hang a plastic alternative the the poisonous plant for the benefit of couples.

So be careful where you stand!

The Queen’s Speech

Every year on Christmas Day, a message from the Queen to the people of Britain is broadcast. Once considered a very important part of Christmas Day, the Queen’s speech isn’t really a big focus point of the day for most people. It’s usually just on in the background while everyone eats their Christmas dinner.

 

Hampers

One very common gift for people to give each others, outside of immediate family in the same house, is a hamper.

Hampers are like baskets or boxes of savoury items like jams, marmalades, quality canned and jarred goods, oils, wines, beers and many different kinds of long-lasting food or drink stuffs.

 

Lights

10863654_744730275611648_229699229_nIt’s popular in Britain to dress the insides, and often the outsides, of your home with festive lights, to make the atmosphere bright and happy.

 

Christmas Dinner

68375_376608909090455_867312872_n Christmas dinner traditionally consists of a whole roasted turkey or goose, roast potatoes, a variety of vegetables, stuffing and gravy. There a so many brilliant recipes for Christmas dinner dishes that you can include in your spread. One of the best sources of festive food delights is Nigella Lawson’s Christmas book:

 

It is also common for pudding to have Christmas pudding, a steamed fruity cake, often including nuts and brandy butter. The cake can be covered in a brandy and lit on fire before serving (of course, always use extreme care when handling fire, especially when indoors! Setting fire to your Christmas pudding is not recommended)

 

Do you have any other questions about Christmas? Share them with me either in the comments, using the contact form below or on Facebook or Twitter! Merry Christmas! Xx

Bigger and better: Expanding Learn With Amy

lwa photo tagHey, guys! It’s been a few days since my last post, so I just wanted to give you all a quick update as to what’s going on with things.

I have just had some really good news – I have just been promoted (again) at the restaurant I work at, and I will start my new position when we re-open in January. We’re closing up for Christmas on the 23rd and I only have one day off before then, so I might not get to post a LOT before Christmas, but I will be posting as much as possible over my holiday time and making big plans for the website, that will come into effect in the early months of 2015.

So, I wanted to share some of the announcements for the site with you all:

Firstly, we are indeed expanding onto Youtube!

I’ve had a few people asking if I would be making videos, and I am very pleased to say that I will be doing so and that as many posts as possible will be paired with a video to match! So that is the plan.

In answer to a few people asking, I am not entirely sure whether I will start vlogging. I’m not sure that my life is interesting enough to vlog and, with work, there isn’t an awful lot to vlog about. If an interesting event comes up that seems worth recording, I’ll consider vlogging it.

 

Learn with Amy books!

To help aid in learning, I’ve decided that Learn With Amy will expand into books and other learning materials. These will include books for adults and children as well as workbooks and courses.

 

We are also opening a store!

No, not a real-life store (yet), but the website will grow to include an online store where you can buy Learn With Amy books, clothes and personalised and custom things designed by me.

 

The website’s getting a makeover

The website, still with its little downy baby feathers, is going to be getting a makeover and will have a bright, stylish new look.

This might cause some technical difficulties as we work out the kinds and add all the new features, but we’ll make sure any problems are fixed as soon as possible.

 

Collaboration!

I’m planning to collaborate with number of online content creators and hopefully organise interviews with some exciting people! I’ll keep you updated on this as much as possible!

 

Comics

You already know my KPotD (Korean Phrase of the Day), but I’m expanding into a wider range of comics very soon! I’m going to be playing around with some ideas and trying some styles out, so any feedback and opinions are very welcome!

 

This is a lot of exciting news and I’ll be working very hard to get this all rolling, as well as settling into my new position in my workplace, so bear with while I get Learn With Amy to its next step in its growth.

So let’s make 2015 great together!

As ever, feel free to contact me using the contact form below, leave a comment or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram! Xx

Ringing In The Resolutions – Making (And Keeping) Your New Year Resolutions

So, Christmas is almost upon us, and that means that 2014 is in its last few days. And what a year it has been! Whether this year has been good or bad, it is coming to an end and that means that it is time to clean the slate and prepare for a new year.

How are we going to make this next year even better than the last? That’s all we really need, right? Improvement makes the world go around, and we have to find the ways in which we are going to improve ourselves and our lives in this next calendar year.
One of the most common ways of attempting change is through the writing of New Year Resolutions, where you resign yourself to a goal that you want to achieve as soon as possible.
In my opinion, there are many flaws with the way resolutions are often approached, and I myself use a slightly different tact which has helped me to achieve more of my goals in the last couple years than ever before.
Attitude

dancing photo

As I firmly believe, attitude is 60% of the work. With a good attitude, 60% of your workload is covered, you’ve got a strong foundation and source of energy in yourself in the healthy and balanced way you think. It’s the same in writing your resolutions – How does your attitude affect your writing???

Paying careful attention to your attitude, and how it comes across in your writing, can be really useful in checking yourself and finding optimal phrasing.
I know how easy it is to write a goal like “Get of a** and actually do some acting” (I believe I actually used that one in the past) but it’s not making it any easier or any more likely to be achieved. Try to find a way of phrasing that can emphasise your determination, energy and passion for the goal (even if you have to play it up as more than it is — Better to over do it than under do it)
So, instead of using the previous phrase before, I might say “I will pursue roles that fascinate me and do my best to be cast in them” which is both realistic and positive.
Timing

diaries

So many resolutions go something like this “Lose 12lb”, “pass driving test”, “Be more happy” or “Quit drinking” All very blunt, all very lifeless, all very ‘off at some point in the future I’m not really sure of’. None of which are very helpful for being an achiever.
The way I write my resolutions is from the prospective on looking back at the end of the coming year.
I begin my resolution with “By the end of 2015, I…” and then follow it with retrospective goals that I wish to have fulfilled by the date I read it later, not some vague time in the future after I have written and forgotten about my resolutions.
For example, “[By the end of 2014, I] want to have been consistently happy” or “[By the end of 2014, I] want to have made mostly decisions that I felt confident and assured in” or “[By the end of 2014, I] Want to have my website up and running”
All of those are goals that I am very proud to say I have acheived. Notice how they aren’t too fixed, they are positively phrases and focus on the retrospective evaluation as a guide, not the “I’m gonna do this later” attitude of the other example.
Keep a diary

diary

This year, I tried an experiment and decided to keep a resolution journal. A diary in which I kept my year’s resolutions and could write journal entries at points where I felt I wanted/needed to document. This idea, even if I didn’t do it an awful lot, went very well and I now have something to look back on as I work through next year’s resolutions.
Another purpose of this journal was to give me a little boost when I needed reminding of WHY I was working towards these goals.
We all have weak times and those days where we just feel like “What’s the point? Why am I doing this again?” and that time is when you need your ‘full self’ to step up and remind you of your mission.
Keeping a detailed record of your journey can help to keep you powering on thought those times where you want to give up, just because the horizon’s a little too far away sometimes.
Remember that it’s your thing

your thing drawing

I know how tempting it is when people ask “So, what are your resolutions this year?” to just spill every detail until you feel like they aren’t even your goals anymore. It’s tough and can really take the steam out of your engine.
Try to think up a short little outline of your goals what doesn’t give up everything, but gives just enough so people are satisfied as well as knowing that it’s your thing, your business and not really THAT open for discussion.
I am always reminded of the phrase “Mind your mind, for it will surely spoil” when I think of telling people my plans. It’s a risk and sometimes it’s best to have an educated and rehearsed response for when times are tricky.
In my whole life, I cannot think of even one occasion where I got caught up in trouble by be careful about my words.
Also remember that you reserve the right to change! maybe later on you DON’T want to convert that attic or you DON’T want to shed that extra KG. Life changes, nothing is constant and your goals, in no way, have to be fixed. You’re allowed to change your mind.
Believe in yourself

happy hedgehog

This is often the hardest step for people because, sadly, in modern society is very common for people to be subconsciously trained to feel bad for wanting something or believing they are capable of what they want or being better than they are supposed to think they are. Society teaches us that it is bad to be selfish, bad to want and terrible to have the cheek to go after something purely because we want it.
Well, I have news for you! Life’s too short to put up with that bovine waste for one minute, let alone your whole life.
Do you know what I believe? I believe that we are all here for only a certain time. Whether we live just one life, many lives or have an afterlife awaiting us. Our time in the here and now is precious and we owe it to ourselves, our loved ones and those beautiful results of fate, luck and serendipity that got us here today! We are lucky and we are alive right now – so we can achieve.
I believe that you can do it I believe that there is a power in you to do great things and I just KNOW it’s just down to you to use it.
Check yourself

Now, having goals is all well and good at the start, but the problem is often recalling them. I can tell myself that I’m no longer going to drink energy drinks after 5pm, but the question is whether I will REMEMBER that rule at 5:15 the next day when I’m cracking open a can of Relentless!
Try to come up with some method of regularly reminding yourself of your goals and resolutions so there is less chance of them just slipping from your mind.
Give yourself an incentive

balloons

This also feeds into remembering that it’s your thing, checking yourself and self belief as giving yourself and incentive, whether it be intrinsic or extrinsic motivation, it means that you are on a mission for yourself, you’re striving for something which has some form of physical or emotional reward at the end and that you have a reminder to achieve the goals, especially if the ‘prize’ is something you want a lot.
Next year, I have decided that if I achieve 3/4 of my resolutions, I am going to get myself an iPhone or macbook and if I achieve ALL of them, I’m going to go on a trip somewhere awesome (Maybe America, Japan, Australia or Italy)
Now, believe me, next year’s resolutions aren’t going to be easy – but I’m already hyped up!
Wanting to achieve your goals for the sake of achieving your goals is fantastic, but it does sometimes help to have that little extra motivation that can keep you going when your actual goals are p***ing you off.
Do good

free hugs

They say that doing good by others does good by your soul and I really agree with that. Very little feels better than that moment you realise that you have done something that has made someone feel truly happy or loved.
At the beginning of the year, my sister and best friend went out on Valentine’s Day to spread some love and caring to all, thinking both of those who were happy and those who would be sad. We wanted to do something to really brighten people’s Valentine’s Days and so we decided to do a Free Hugs and Free Balloons stand so we could give people a balloon and a hug
This event was so lovely as so many people were surprised that 1) We weren’t asking for money for the balloons and 2) that young people in the community would think to do such a thing! It wasn’t our first Random Acts of Kindness event (and won’t be our last) and nothing beats seeing that look in people’s eyes where they feel cared for purely because we are both human, with no other obligation or reason than love and humanity.
So, in your resolutions try to think of some ways or set some goals that can help others around you. And make sure you tell those you help “Don’t pay it back, pay it forward”
Good ol’ pen and paper

One nice idea for a resolution is to include with it a letter addressed to yourself at the end of next year, from your present self to talk about the goals, the plans and where you were that will lead to where you end up next year. It can be a great way of seeing how far you have come in the year and could also be a good pick-me-up for those times where failure feels like it’s creeping up on you and you need a good dose of motivation.
So, I hope that this piece has helped you in some ways with the writing and keeping of your resolutions. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please share them in the comments below, on Facebook or Twitter or using the contact form below! Good luck with those resolutions! Xx


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Why Kim Soo Hyun And Lee Min Ho Will Go To Military Service (And Why That’s A Very Good Thing)

In the international Kpop and Kdrama communities, there is a lot of speculation about whether Lee Min Ho (이민호) and Kim Soo Hyun (김수현)will enlist in the military in the coming year.

There is a lot of uncertainty about whether they will even go through the dreaded 2 year of service, but the answer is quite simple. If they should wish to remain as employable and popular public figures in Korea, they have only one option. They’ll go through with their military service.

 

A lot of fans of the stars (and many other male artists yet to serve) have expressed their wishes for them not to go through with military service, not realising the consequences of such a decision.

In Korea, military service is considered almost a rite of passage. Any man who shirks his duty to his country is considered not a real man and the severe public condemnation is a painful price to pay, especially for those ever-watched public figures.

Yes, there are some circumstances where people are excused from their military service, but they can be difficult to prove or, in some cases, completely overlooked. Some people go as far as to fake mental illness or even the extreme of inflicting physical harm upon themselves in order to gain the pardon they desire.

However, the cost of doing something like this is massive. When people go to such extremes to avoid serving, you can imagine how seriously people take it and how bad it is when word gets out that they deliberately tried to evade it. It is hard for those who are excused from military service, but the life of those who are falsely pardoned or caught lying is even worse. You are treated like a criminal, a traitor to your country and the chances of finding good work, especially in politics or entertainment, is grim.

The social condemnation is a huge weight to bear that is not easily, if ever, lifted and it has driven some to flee to other countries just to escape the punishment.

I know that life during military service is unpleasant (I will cover that in a future piece) but would you wish the alternative on any of those people you admire? Trust me, they will go through it and come out the other side, like all others before them, and continue with their careers after. It is not the end of the world and I know that they will want it over and done with even more than their loyal fans.

So, in answer to the question, will Kim Soo Hyun and Lee Min Ho participate in their mandatory service? I fully believe that they will.

Will they make it through and be okay? Yes.

Is it better for their career if they don’t go? Nope. They’re better off serving.

Is there anything you can do to help them? Show them the same love and support you would of any of their other work and just be patient. It’s their life, their path and their choice.

 

I hope this piece was helpful and educational to you. If you have any questions, you are (as always) welcome to share them in the comments below, on any of our social media (Facebook and Twitter) or send me a message using the contact form below!

 

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I’m counting on you! Learning to count in Japanese

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Japanese is a fantastic language and if you are interest in studying it, learning to count should be a high priority for you!

Numbers in Japanese aren’t the hardest subject to grasp, but can be tricky to begin with! Don’t worry, with practice and revision, you’ll soon have it mastered!

Just in case you need a refresher on how to read Hiragana, you can refer back to my original post here!

Evernote Camera Roll 120140625 002833First things first, let’s learn the numbers 1 to 10

 

1 = Ichi/一/いち

2=  Ni/二/に

3= San/三/さん

4=  Yon/四/とん (Shi/四/し is another word for four, but it is used less, because Shi also means death, which is written as 死  in Kanji)

5=  Go/五/ご

6=  Roku/六/ろく

7=  Shichi/七/しち (Another word for seven is Nana/七/なな. I believe this is because, like the word for four, ‘shi’ is associated with the word ‘Shini/死に/しに’ meaning ‘death’)

8=  Hachi/八/はち

9=  Kyuu/九/きゅう (Nine can also be Ku/九/く, but this is also thought to be bad luck as Ku also means suffering 苦)

10= Ju/十/じゅ

 

Not too difficult, right? I actually found the Kanji for the numbers some of the easiest to learn. An easy way to revise them is to write the kanji when writing lists, in place of 1, 2, 3, 4, etc you can write 一、二、三、四、and so on. It’s a little more effort, but that practice will help you memorise the kanji!

That’s pretty much the hardest part of learning the numbers, as counting beyond ten is pretty simple.

For example, 11 is Juichi/十一/じゅいち (simply 10 and 1), 22 is nijuni/二十二/にじゅに (Which directly translates as “two ten two”, meaning two tens and two) and 51 is gojuichi/五十一/ごじゅいち (five ten one).

This information will now get you as from 1 to 99

Here I will list the words up to 10,000

 

100= hyaku                      1000= sen

200= nihyaku                  2000= nisen

300= sambyaku             3000= sanzen

400= yonhyaku              4000= yonsen

500= gohyaku                5000= gosen

600= roppyaku              6000= rokusen

700= nanahyaku           7000= nanasen

800= happyaku              8000= hassen

900= kyuhyaku              9000= kyusen

10,000= ichiman

 

Basically, these work the same as the other numbers. The way I think of it is that the numbers go from bigger to smaller. For example, 10,146 is ichimanhyakuyonjuroku/一万百四十六/いちまんひゃくよんじゅろく

It’s a mouthful, but it makes sense!

 

I hope you learnt something new and exciting in this piece. Next, I will write about the next aspect of counting in Japanese, which is counters! Keep learning and see you soon! Good luck!