There is a gossip story circulating of how Mila Kunis came to Justin Timberlake’s (tool) defense at a press junket in Russia — in Russian. Whatever she says is extremely impressive, cracking up the entire room, while JT looks lost and foolish — which is about how I look whenever someone speaks Korean to me.
Funny, just a few weeks ago, an acquaintance was haranguing me on getting off my butt to learn Korean with a lot of urgency. She insisted that I was lucky to have a heritage and some early exposure to the language, so I really should take advantage of it. I just listened, having long ago grappled with my status as a non-Korean-speaking Korean. I was apparently fluent till age four, but learning a language is hard and a lot of work, and whatever shortcuts I’d be offered from my past wouldn’t be as helpful as say, someone who has an aptitude for languages and motivation. I just shrugged and said, Dude, the truth is, if I really wanted to learn it, I would’ve learned by now. And it’s not like I’m against it, it’s just that there are so many other things I want to do first, like dishes, like laundry.
But then seeing the footage I linked above is so cool, it was the first time I wished I was fluent in Korean. And then in my head, I’m thinking about the Rosetta Stone at home Husband invested in years ago, online programs, etc. — until I realized the only time I’d want to speak Korean is to showboat. Like if I were a movie star who came to the defense of a bonehead colleague at Korean press conference, that would be cool — but do I really want to put in the everyday, tedious effort and drudgery and drilling that is required to become fluent in another language? Um no. My momentary envy is a kin to, I don’t know, someone who sees George Clooney on the red carpet and wants to be his girlfriend. Like okay, maybe being by his side in public events might be fun, but what if he’s really insecure about his hair and you, as his girlfriend, had to constantly reassure him about his hair? I’m being random, but you know what I mean, don’t you? You cannot just want the outcome or a small moment, without putting in the work, and if you don’t dig the work, then you’re not going to get there. Learning a language? Really hard.