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

Sunday, September 30, 2007


click here to read an email i responded to asking about isoaltion/lonlieness in korea.

Saturday, September 29, 2007


Date: Sat, 29 Sep 2007 00:56:28 +0000
dear mom and dad,

we're already nearly halfway through the term already, it's crazy. things are going rather smoothly; my growing experience is helping, but the students make things go so smoothly as well.

we got 8 new teachers at the start of this term. i am now termed a "veteran" since this is my third term with the school. it's nice, b/c i dont have to go to so many meetings anymore, thank goddess.

i was browsing on a foreigner/korean website and found that Sookmyung Women's University offers free korean classes, im for sure going to take advantage next term (so that'll be... uhm... december?). it's a bit far, about half an hour on subway from where i live, but it's free so really i cant say a thing. plus, it took me this long just to get comfortable with saying "hello" and "thank you" and i think im ready to get to learning how to talk better.

my only fear, however, is that december is for sure amongst the cold season. and you know how sun spoiled i am. i can foresee me having troubles leaving the apartment to go to class if the weather is cold. lord give me strength to endure the ridiculously cold weather.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


Subject: RE: nuthin
Date: Wed, 26 Sep 2007 10:48:58 +0000
dear mom and dad,

i got new glasses a while back, did i tell you? it only cost me $30 or so, i was floored. well, it turned out too that the frames i liked most were cheapest, but still.

the guys at the optometrist were super nice to me. while waiting for the new glasses, they offered me some sort of fruit libation by pointing at the bottle, smiling, and giving it to me. i felt, like, honored/flattered. i dont know, it's because i always get so embarrassed having to talk to people b/c ive not learned any korean beyond "hello" and "thank you." lucky me that most people speak a little english. so now i can see so clearly, like every blade of grass, every leaf on every tree, it's beautiful!

things are going fine. classes are going to be cancelled again here and there for the middle school students to take their exams, and i look forward to going through this pile of magazines from you all that i havent had the chance to read just yet.

it's chuseok here in south korea, which is sort of like thanksgiving. public schools are cancelled for near a week, i think. many people who live in seoul arent actually from seoul, and as a result many take several days off to travel to the boonies to be with family during the holiday.

for the holiday at my school we had ONE day off (tuesday, which was the actually day for chuseok). woo, the students were mad! i smiled and told them, "Everyday is a great day for learning, here at cdi!" to which of course they whined, "oohhhhh teacheerrrrrr...."

really, shouldnt i be mad at them?! if they had their parents call and say they werent coming to class, i wouldve had the day off too, dammit. :) ~daughter

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

happy chuseok!

it's my ONE day off for chuseok. thus far, ive spent it eating cereal, using my treadmill and elliptical, i'm watching a csi marathon on tv, and ive just finished doing my eyebrows. i may do a biore nose strip. later im going to cook some rice for dinner. maybe have some fish. dont know yet. below are pictures of some gifts given for chuseok. gift sets are popular. ive seen many of toothpaste, spame, tuna. my job gave me a really pretty bottle of wine, which i gave to the cabdriver who took me home that day.


Saturday, September 22, 2007


Subject: Date: Sat, 22 Sep 2007
dear mom and dad,

teddy says he came by the other, do you like your chopsticks, mom? (smile) and dad, i DID try to transfer the money into the washington mutual account, they clicked the wrong button or something. i was at the bank when i called you for the account number, remember? who knows what happened. anyway, when i transfer money again next month, i'll double check that they have the right account number.

so i was in itaewon the other day (the "foreigner" part of town) to meet the sistas for lunch. im the only non-vegetarian! not that i havent tried, but just dont nothin taste as good as meat sometimes! tho i did have the soy enchiladas that day, they were pretty tasty.

i took the bus home, instead of the subway, which was so much nicer to actually see where i am instead of being underground. but hey check it, that marked the first time i took the bus all by myself. im so integrated!

last week i was on the subway with a couple of coworkers going to a meeting for work. i was with jane (korean-american) and leo (canadian). we were chatting, complaining about how far we had to travel for the meeting, etc, and a korean man leans in on leo and quietly tells him something. leo apologizes.

"whats wrong?" i ask, b/c leo is one of the nicest guys you could meet, really, what does he have to apologize for?
"he said that this a public place and we're being too loud."

mom and dad, i was so embarrassed! i have seen the foreigners on the train friday and saturday nights on their way to a club, and they ARE loud and obnoxious, but us? but LEO? he's so soft spoken and kind! i felt super bad. i talked in low tones the rest of the trip. leo, never loud in the first place, kept quiet too. jane, however, got really annoyed, and kept right on loud-talking, louder than before :) she's from new york, and has an aggressiveness about her. i apologized to leo again later, who said he was fine. well, looks like i was the only one bothered/embarrassed. geez, im such a stick in the mud.

im using my treadmill daily, i will break the 220s dammit. a few more months. ~daughter

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Subject: RE:
Date: Wed, 19 Sep 2007 22:02:59 +0000
dear mom and dad,

i know mom is probably chomping at the bit since i've not written a proper email in so long; thought it best i make some time to do so. :) things are good, lots of little blessings happening everyday. for example:

last week, i set off of buy a treadmill. a friend advised i take the subway to dongdaemun stadium as there are many shops there related to exercise equipment. now, im ashamed to admit that ive not learned a lick of korean yet (just havent been able to set aside the time) and i am too proud to ask for help for anything, so i ventured off to buy this treadmill on my own.

i was braced to pay a foreigner mark up since i was alone, but every place i went into kept quoting me prices of over a thousand dollars! i pointed to the ones that were obviously used, and still $700-900 was quoted to me.

giving up and on my way back to the subway, i stop by one more shop. the woman quotes me $750. i start to walk out, and she takes hold of my arm and chatters on in korean smiling, and i just smile back and say, "korean moleo (i dont know korean)." yeah, sure was smart of me to go shopping off by myself! *sigh* well, i really wasnt expecting having to bargain. it's way easier to shop for groceries and such, the price tag is there and it's what you pay. i think im not aggressive enough for all this haggling.

so as this woman is talking to me, this random older korean man comes between us and starts talking to her, and he turns to me and asks, "do you need help?" i tell him i wanted to buy a treadmill but the price was too high. long story slightly shorter: this wonderful random man negotiates for me and gets me a treadmill for $300 including delivery! holy cheese and crackers!! :) the world is so nice sometimes!

well im off, im going to email this man and tell him thank you again, and then im headed home... to go use my new used treadmill!!! ~daughter.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Subject: RE:
Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2007 02:17:24 +0000
dear mom and dad,

hi! i thought it best i set aside some time to write an email more than two sentences long to quell mom's paranoia. ;) i've been getting the magazines, i got American Legacy yesterday, thank you so much! i really appreciate having these things to read when i have the time.

so yeah, things here are good. no complaints about the weather in this email today, the sun is out, it's nice. some little bit of news- maybe you both will be annoyed, or maybe you both expected this, but: i hired a housekeeper. ive told one friend back home, who called me bourgeois, but i dont care b/c the housekeeper is friggin awesome.

seriously, so what if i hired a housekeeper? it's quite affordable here, and there's nothing wrong with paying someone for a service.

i dont know her name, actually. she told me, because still everything said to me in korean goes in one of my ears and out the other. she speaks very very little english, but is so friendly and all smiles. when she came the 1st time, she brought me tea and pulled out her notebook of english phrases and asked me if i had siblings, where i was from, how i like korea. im pretty sure she didnt understand any of what i responded, but i appreciate her efforts.

she comes once a week and sweeps and mops the floors, does the dishes, cleans everything in the bathroom, and takes out the trash. she does laundry, too, but i handle that part myself. she left me a note translated by my coworker that she thinks im really nice b/c of the way i separate my trash :)

how is brother dave, and ketso? give them my greetings when they come on sunday, doing their laundry and washing cars. ~sha.

Sunday, September 2, 2007


<---google image search for "consternation."
Subject: RE:
Date: Sun, 2 Sep 2007 17:50:21 +0000
dear mom and dad,

hi whats up? same here, but oh this weather is changing... the sun and heat are leaving me... im sad to see it go!

i was at the internet cafe yesterday, and i dont speak enough korean to chat with the owners (an elder couple), but you know i smile and bow. the other day, the man comes up behind me and gives me a little canned coffee drink! he's so sweet, the owners have done that a few times, just come by and give me little treats for no reason. they're super sweet to me.

work is going good, got all new kids in my classes and some of the former students popped into my class to find me and say hi, made me feel all glowy warm and smiley. ive been in korea 200+ days now, isnt that crazy? time flies.

hey mom, kanisha said she came by to see you the other day, she loved learning those tagalog phrases you taught her. :) hey mom, TAKE HER UP ON THAT OFFER TO WALK WITH YOU, MOM! you need to stretch your muscles.

so usually after work, all the coworkers hang out a bit outside the building, chatting about the day, the students, maybe hitting up a place to eat. it's been cold lately and one of my coworkers noticed my look of consternation:

"sha what's wrong?" he asks.
"it's friggin cold," i complain.
"uh oh," he announces to everyone, "the summer is over, it's starting to get cold. this may be the last we see of sha until next summer!"

*pish* he aint lying. i hate the cold.~sha.