Mt Geumjeong is probably one of my most visited mountains in Busan, South Korea. Aside from the reason that it’s near, but also because of the different routes I could check out.
Of course, climbing to the top with some friends can make the trip worthwhile.
What’s even more fascinating are the locals; I couldn’t agree more that they are the friendliest, offering you food and rice wine, makoli (I love it so much!). One old woman just told me, I look like a naughty man. Haha! I just don’t know if it’s a compliment, but she gave us more tomatoes and cucumbers to eat!
A year ago, I participated in the District 20 Toastmasters Annual Conference Humorous Speech Contest. There were 15 Toastmasters who competed against and I was able to nail 3rd Place. A humbling and remarkable experience playing just as a wild card since I only placed 2nd in the Division Contest in Kuwait (1st only goes to the District)
Upon moving to Korea in July 2014, I carried a thought that if I really work harder, and think better, I could be really win in a bigger stage, maybe at least managing to be in the global competition if not, in the national.
Toastmasters in Korea belongs to District 93 with only 4 divisions. Comparing to a bigger District 20 with 15 divisions, we could say that it is relatively small. In District 20, there is only one representative per division and there’s semi finals and you need to be at least 3rd to reach the finals and then you’ll get the chance to win. District 93 is different. Since there are only 4 divisions, it means at least 2 representatives can participate per division – In short; I have greater opportunity to reach the District (National) Competition.
Fall 2014, District 93 announced that the contest for the Fall Conference would be the Evaluation Speech. So we did the normal procedures, Club Contest, Area Contest, Division Contest.
I won the club contest 1st, Area contest 1st, and then the division contest; I only need to win 2nd to get a ticket to the District, and the contest chair called me 3rd. It’s okay I thought, there’s still a chance for me in the Spring Conference and thinking that Evaluation Contest is not really my cup of tea. My ultimate goal is to win in the international speech contest instead. I attended Fall Conference and I had a remarkable time too.
Spring 2015 came. This is the time I’ve been waiting for, the International Speech Contest! I prepared again for my contest piece and work on it until my words became my heart, and it happened. I won in the club 1st, in the area 1st, but in the division…
They called me again 3rd… third again… I felt real disappointments this time… Maybe I need to look back again on my speech crafting, on my delivery, but looking at the silver lining, I can visit again Dubai for District 20 Conference as there’ll also be the same conference going on at the end of the month. I can be reunited with my old friends.
And then suddenly I received a message. The 2nd place winner decided not to proceed due to her pregnancy that is almost due. Wow! The universe is working hard for me to be in the District I thought; however, I had a bit of dilemma, the District 20 and 93 conferences will both be happening at the same week! I had quite a stress and feeling a bit canceling my plan and trip to Dubai. I know what I want and probably my friends would understand…
Fast forward, the night of the contest, of course I was shaking but I want to do my best. I really believe in myself I can do it. I was contestant #6. Speakers one after another went to the podium and whenever each person spoke, I couldn’t help myself to say, wow… that was good, he did well… and then it was my turn. I refused to change my speech from day 1 because it is the speech that was really close to my heart a story about my parents and those days we loved looking at the beauty of the fireworks on every New Years Eve, where we would jump and shout and eat together back when we were little. I miss those days… and that day, they heard my story…
At the podium I’m not really sure if I did well, but in my heart, I felt I did my best. I was ultimately relieved after the contest.
The winners were announced Sunday afternoon, and I didn’t get anything. Wooohooo! I’m not sure how to react; yet, If I could only quantify the disappointment it’s probably almost negligible, because although I had desire to win the contest, I realized that winning is not the only thing better that day. I gained a lot of new friends and learned a lot by my experience and I became a better person after this. Maybe, next year I will try again and again, but one thing is certain, that we will never stop discovering our true potential.
Also, I want to extend my gratitude to the people who supported me on this, who believed me and I hope the Fireworks I shared to everyone, will never be forgotten…