im just one person. for more soko info, please check the fb group BSSK, focused on expats of color

Friday, August 31, 2007


Subject: Re: Coming over
Date: Fri, 31 Aug 2007 01:45:00 +0000
Thanks Sha,

I apologize for taking so long to get back to you. I often start messages, save them as drafts and then forget I saved them. So here I go again.

I really appreciate your responses. I am curious though why do you buy so many socks? And how do you like your apartment? Can you flush in your apartment? Cuba had that toilet paper issue. It was kinda funny how cool it was to be the person with the toilet paper when everyone else forgot : )

I am trippin that Aaron is still in Japan. I thought him when I started doing my research. Can you forward his contact info I would love to ask him a few questions. I am so startled about how complex the process. I feel like I have to sit at the computer for hours in order to really understand the difference between the programs.

I am also curious about why you don't feel as social. You seem very social to me. Are you just feeling super duper introspective? What do you do in your free time? Can you tell me again how much you make and what your monthly expenses look like. When do you think you will come back to the States to visit your fam? How often do you talk to your parents?

Its interesting, I'm taking this West African dance class and it seems like most of the folk are big Black women whereas when I tried to take the an Afro-Haitian dance class most of the folk were white girls.

Okay someone is calling me right now. I'm going to send you off.Love.

The lack of unity will guarantee failure.
--Professor Clinton Adlum, University of Havana
Subject: RE: Coming over
Date: Fri, 31 Aug 2007 02:02:36 +0000

I am curious though why do you buy so many socks? i dont know. b/c i can i guess. you can find them for 50 cents to a dollar.

And how do you like your apartment? i love it.

Can you flush in your apartment? i do. i dont know if youre not supposed to... but i do.

I am trippin that Aaron is still in Japan. I thought him when I started doing my research. Can you forward his contact info I would love to ask him a few questions. yeah, i'll find his email for you. give a bit.

I am so startled about how complex the process. I feel like I have to sit at the computer for hours in order to really understand the difference between the programs. once you get the ball rolling, it's surprisingly smooth and easy getting a job here. im here for all your questions, too.

I am also curious about why you don't feel as social. You seem very social to me. Are you just feeling super duper introspective? i dont know. it's my own sha-ness i think.

What do you do in your free time? i read a lot. internet surf. write. watch tv. walk around my neighborhood.

Can you tell me again how much you make and what your monthly expenses look like. i work 4 to 5 days a week, 6-7 hours a day, and clear a little over XXXXthousand each paycheck. my rent is 600/month. i pay 120/month on utilities. i send home 800-1000 every month (to my parents, and on my student loans.)

When do you think you will come back to the States to visit your fam? i will come home at the end of my contract, but im almost certain that i'll come back to kroea to teach the next term.

How often do you talk to your parents? i email them two to three times a week. i called once, but only b/c my dad was out of town and i wanted to check on my momma.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Date: Aug 27, 2007 6:55 PM
Hi Whatcha up to? You don't update your blog (the black teacher one) very often unless you have another one you update. Is everything expensive out there? How long are you going to be gone? Is there much of a night life? I was thinking about scraping together some money and coming to visit. -Bro

Date: Aug 28, 2007 8:45 PM
hi brother! thanks for emailing, im doing good :)

i have another blog it's pretty much just the emails i send to mom and dad, and occasional emails from friends. i write mom and dad maybe once a week.

is it expensive out here? not as cheap as most expect, but it is less expensive than san diego. i live in an officetel (like a studio) and pay 600 a month. an additional 120 or so for utilities/water, etc. i get paid once a month, work 4 or 5 days a week, 6-8 hours a day, and clear a little over $$$ every paycheck. im insanely happy: i make enough to pay the rent, pay student loans, and send dad some money for the credit card debt i ran up on his card (tho mostly i've been paying the loans).

my contract is half over. if my school will have me, i will renew and stay at the job longer. i plan to stay here at least for another year, maybe two, to finish paying off the loans, and save up a bit. maybe even longer, if the job is still going well. after that, i think about teaching esl somewhere else. maybe japan, or somewhere in asia, since it's where i am now. maybe someday teach in a spanish speaking country, too.

nightlife: i live really close to seoul. in seoul, the two main parts of town for nightlife are itaewon and hongdae. itaewon is like tj, in that it's nice during the day, lots of shopping and restaurant, but at night w/all the drunk foreigners and military, it can look pretty sleazy. hongdae is sort of the same with clubs/bars on every corner, but not as dirty looking. maybe closer to like downtown daygo is like?

if you'd like to visit, let me know. give me maybe two months notice (maybe around the time it can take to get your visa anyway), and i can pay your plane ticket and have some spending money for you. give me three months if you plan to bring ketso or a friend with you.

it'd be nice to see you; you can bring me OB super absorbent tampons; seems most women use menstrual pads here. just kidding, i just wanted to make you uncomfortable. im not really kidding, tho, i would want you to bring tampons. ~sis

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

teacher finished!

i randomly found this picture on a google image search. this guy was an english teacher in korea, and he used to constantly get "Teacher, finished!" 100 times over after the kids finished an assignment, so i think he made up this "hands on head when youre done" rule. maybe i'll use that too, it's cute. notice the little boy on the left making a pig face.

Monday, August 27, 2007


Date: Mon, 27 Aug 2007 06:55:10 +0000
dear mom and dad,

hi! i've got about half an hour before my class begins and figured i'd better write, it seems as though mom is afraid something is going on? :) im fine mom, just busy.

when i first got here, i had nothing in my apartment, so i spent a lot of time at the internet cafe. now i have a lovely couch, cable, a plant! and i've friends to chat with and hang out with. i spend more time grading and writing comments on student work. i work more on bettering my teaching. so, ive not been setting as much time to go to the internet cafe as i used to. AND as you guys know, i try not to use the computer at work. so, ya know. everything is fine.

it's the start of a new term today, and im excited to meet the new students. i miss the old ones already. i had one student during summer named Howard, i dont know how old he was, 7 maybe? no idea why, but he'd always put his hands on top of his head when he'd talk to me, it was the cutest thing ever.

i still have daily chats with different cab drivers on the way to work. today the driver asked,
"your country?"
"american" i answered.
"english teacher?" he asks.
"deh." (yes)
"how much your salary?"
to this i just smile, and he laughs.
coming close to my stop, point and say, "Adjoshii, yogi yo." (sir, right here).
"ah, you know adjoshi?" he laughs, "Old man!"


Sunday, August 26, 2007


Date: Sun, 26 Aug 2007 17:02:05 +0000
Hey Sha,

I've been thinking and thinking and I think I may join you in Asia. For real, I think I am going to make a couple of appointments at some places in the City (San Francisco). whats in san francisco?

I do have a few questions though. How are you liking the experience? i like it very much. ive not regretted moving here for a second. i like my job, i love the kids, i like the pay/savings potential. Do you miss home and friends overly much? yes, but a bit is my own "fault." im not terribly social, so i dont hang out with people here as much as i could. my coworkers are hella nice, but when they invite me out, i dont go more than half the time. i have met a few sistas here, and we get together for lunch a few times a month, but again, i dont hang out much with them either.

How connected, or disconnected, are you to music, culture, movies politics? of korea? not at all, but im not really looking. i think it depends on the school you work for, and who you know. i have a friend that works in public school and her korean co-teachers tell her about all kinds of events coming up: festivals, concerts, etc. i suppose i could find that info out if i tried harder, but ive not bothered yet.

Do you have folks you would consider as friends? yes

Can you buy clothes that fit you (Asians are really petitie)? ive not done too much shopping. i've bought lots of socks, and t-shirts. when i walk through itaewon, the shop owners hold out their business cards for me to take, saying, "we have big size, we have big size!"

What things do you do for fun/nightlife? in seoul, two places most popular are the parts of town called itaewon and hongdae. i would compare itaewon to tijuana. it's nice during the day, very ethnically diverse, tons of great restaurants and shopping, but at night the foreigners and military come out and it can look sleezy. ive only been to hongdae a couple of times, looks nicer, and they're the same: bars/clubs on every corner.

Do you get to travel to other parts of the area i.e. Islands in the South Pacific? no, b/c i work for cdi and we get very little vacation time. tho that has not stopped my coworkers, they plan trips around their weekends and have visited japan and north korea.

How are the toilets? there are bathrooms everywhere. there is not always soap and toilet paper. i carry toilet paper with me everywhere and have been thankful for it many times. when you pee here, you dont flush the toilet paper down the toilet, you but it in the wastebin in the stall next to you. but they're cleaned regularly. well, no, i guess it depends on where you are? ive not yet been in a public toilet that wasnt acceptable, but my friend works at a public school and she said the bathrooms smell pissy. there is always at least one western style toilet everywhere you go. the rest will be squat toilets.

What are your regrets? i wish i couldve bought a laptop before i came, and downloaded my music into it. i wish i had more money with me when i first got here.

In your opinion is Korea or Japan a better place to be? aaron would be the one to ask about japan, he's been there 3 or 4 years now? i dont know enought about japan to comment. but i can say that im really glad i ended up in korea. the pay is really great, and most times you get free housing and paid/reimbursed airfare. if you think you're in it for a while, maybe come to korea first, save up some money, and then go to japan after your korea contract.

Have you been able to do any freelance tutoring? no, it's illegal to, and really i like my free time, so ive not bothered to try to find any. however im pretty sure you CAN have a second job at cdi, youre considered "freelance" and you just need to have your arc card adjusted. i think. im not sure.

overall i really love it here. i will for sure extend my contract and stay. ive not done much in in terms of traveling and socializing and all, but i dont feel like im missing out. its not that i'll never do these other things, im just not doing them NOW. i dont feel like i only have a year (or whatever the length of my contract is) to do these things, i'll be here for a while. there'll be time enough for travel and such.

Friday, August 24, 2007


number 1 mcee in the world, jean grae. i love her!
hi sekou! life is wonderful. the school i work at rotates by term (3months) im already on my 3rd term, it's crazy. how are you?

things are good here. im making serious payments on my student loans, pretty happy about that. i'll be here for at least another year, by then the loans will be paid off and i'll have paid back my dad all the money i owe him. well... maybe a year and a half. if my job keeps me. things are going ok at work, but i mess up here and there and im paranoid that i'll get fired. not that that's been hinted at towards me, it really is my own paranoia.

im having trouble socializing here. my coworkers are nice, and other foreigners ive meet are all nice enough, but every outing is staying out late at a bar (late like, 7 the next morning) and i just dont roll like that anymore. and i've not liked any club ive been to, all the music is mainstream rap music, southern, laffy taffy white t walkitout type of stuff which i dont care for.

other than that tho, i really do like myjob. i adore the kids, i think they're all so smart, and i dont mind my pay at all. i keep having this reoccurring dream that im back in san diego, trying to go to Harar (the ethiopian rest on el cajon blvd?) and when i get there, i find it's gone. i do enjoy my life here in korea, but i do look forward to a term off when i can come back to daygo, eat my food, see my people.

ah anyway, how is you btw?

Monday, August 6, 2007


Subject: RE: Next Class
Date: Mon, 6 Aug 2007 04:33:41 +0000
dear mom and dad,

hey whats up, not much here. things are going well, my plant is looking just wonderful, it makes me so happy, i think im going to get one for my apartment too.

to clarify, i dont have ANY time off just yet, im teaching the summer classes in the morning, and then my regular classes in the afternoon/night, which is why i'd been so tired, although these last couple of days have been pretty good, getting used to the schedule and drinking lots of water.

i will have one week off sometime next month i think. mayma and i are talking about going to thailand, we'll see. i know nothing about thailand, and i'd like to be more prepared and learn a bit about the culture/customs and such first, but we'll see how the timing goes.

otherwise things at work are going good. i just finished the summer class about an hour ago, and am now prepping for the afternoon class. we just finished those "level up" tests in the afternoon classes. remember before how i had to administer and grade the tests for the students, the test that determines whether or not the student will go to the next level in english? it was such a nightmare before, since it was my first time doing it and it took me forever to grade each one. THIS time was so much smoother. the kids are dying to know whether they "leveled up" or not. i am too, actually, since i think all my kids are geniuses.

a lot of changes will be happening at work. the term is nearly over, only 2 more weeks i think. my friend jeremy is gone as i told you before, went back home to finish grad school, and actually mayma is nearly done too, her contract will be finished in three more months and she'll be going home to new zealand. just last week, i found out THREE of my coworkers have put in their notice and are leaving korea soon too, their contracts ending and/or just moving on to other things. wow!

well, i think that really that is the nature of esl here, many just come and complete their contract and then go home. time flies, really, im nearly halfway through my contract already. a lot of people email me asking me if i like it here, more specifically asking when if coming back to san diego, as if i'll never come back?! well, im here until february at least, and i will come home but it's with no promise that i wont leave again. i really like this job, things are good here. but i dont feel like i "left home" or anything, im just away, not dead. :)

Friday, August 3, 2007


<--not my kids drawings, but i'll load them later when i have access to my own computer.

Subject: RE: Over Watered Plants
Date: Fri, 3 Aug 2007 04:48:52 +0000
dear mom and dad,

good news, my plant looks like it's going to be ok! i came in the last couple of days and the soil is looking semi-dry. im very happy about it. the plant is happy too.

work is good, it's another week over of these summer classes, *phew!* after teaching morning and night on monday, and wednesday, come thursday i sleep clear until 3pm just about. well, on and off. i adore those kids but they drain me!

this morning i had the kids write little stories and make them into books, expecting only 1 or 2 sentences per page, but many did damn near a novel! it makes me happy b/c they worked so hard and wrote so much, but geez now i have so much to read and grade!

hey i got home the other day and there was a package in my mailbox. i didnt remember ordering anything, and it didnt look like an envelope from you all. i opened it and OH MY GOODNESS cousin myhasa sent me a gift from amazon! she sent me a couple of books, i couldnt stop smiling for like three hours! do you guys ever see her/talk to her? im going to send her an email, but if you see her, tell her thanks again, it was so nice of her. well, i have about an hour until my next class, so i best go and prep. my greetings to senor gonzales. ~daughter.