24. Hold Me Tight

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Anna had tried not to think about it the whole weekend, but now she was at the Soulmate Registration Office for her first Korean lesson, and she was very nervous. Rationally she knew there was nothing to be nervous about. It wasn't as though her teacher would be expecting her to know anything. However, Anna thought of this as the beginning, the start of a journey where she would find out if she would eventually be able to speak Korean. It felt like a lot of pressure. There was no choice, she had to learn, and ideally, she needed to do it as fast as possible.

At that moment, she wished nothing more than having one of her soulmates with her, perhaps Hoseok's reassurance or Taehyung's powers of relaxation. I think I need Taehyung to never leave my side. I'm such a stress head. Anna took some deep breaths to calm herself.

"Anna? I'm Tom," called out a voice in English. She looked up to see a young man smiling at her. Anna nodded and followed him into an office where they sat down on either side of a desk. "Hello, I will be your teacher. It's nice to meet you," he said in Korean.

"안녕하세요?" she said hello back gingerly in Korean. (an-nyeong-ha-se-yo.)

"Don't worry. Don't look so panicked," he tried to reassure her in English. "That was just a little test. So, do you know what I said?"

"Umm, hello, I am your teacher?" guessed Anna. She knew 'Hello' and she also recognised the word for 'teacher'.

"Not bad," he commented. Then he went through each phrase with her in both English and Korean and got her to repeat them back to him. "Okay. So, you know a little Korean already?"

"Not really," denied Anna. "I've been trying to teach myself, but with little success."

"Why did you start learning?" he asked.

"Oh, I'm a fan of BTS," she admitted, "so I wanted to understand them without subtitles, but it wasn't essential, and now..."

"Now you need to learn because your soulmate is Korean," he finished.

"Yep," she sighed.

"So, you know how to say hello. Can you introduce yourself?" Tom started testing her knowledge.

"저는 아나입니다." (jeo-neun Anna-im-ni-da.)

"Good. What else do you know? Thank you? Yes? No?" he questioned, and Anna was happy that she knew all of those words.

"감사합니다. 네. 아니요." (gam-sa-ham-ni-da. ne. a-ni-yo.)

"How about Goodbye?" he asked next.

Korean has two ways of saying goodbye. One for those who are leaving and the person they're speaking to is staying, and another for if you're the one staying and the person you are speaking to is leaving.

"안녕히 계세요. 안녕히 가세요." (an-nyeong-hi gye-se-yo. an-nyeong-hi ga-se-yo.)

"Great!" Tom was impressed so far. "Do you know which one is which?"

"The first one is if you're the one leaving and the second if you're staying?" Anna took a guess.

"Correct. How did you know?" he asked.

"ga, or ga-da, means to go. So that one means the person you're speaking to is going, or at least that's how I remember which one it is," she explained.

"Well done," praised Tom. "See you're off to a good start!"

"Thank you," she smiled shyly.

"If you can, during our lessons reply in Korean. This will help you get used to using the words in everyday conversation. Okay?"

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