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

Monday, February 25, 2008


Subject: ben
Date: Mon 25 Feb 2008 22:03:52 +000
dear mom and dad,

my hair is growing. please send me an afropick. i'd like the kind w/a fist at the end, Dave knows which store i like (a black owned business by fammart, right across from wrigley's).

the weather has been warming up and im so friggin happy!

i went to a concert w/some of the sistas last week. slum village (american rap group) came to seoul and it was such a great show. i think me and the sistas were the only black people there, a few other foreigners sprinkled here and there, but mostly korean; none of them speak any english and yet doing their best to yell out the lyrics to the songs, it was nice.

it's a new term at school now. had my last day w/Ben this week. Ben is by far one of the brightest students in that class, sometimes i feel like he's the ONLY one who listens, so i will miss him very much! he's very quiet and soft spoken tho, but incredibly respectful of me. he doesnt make jokes or get casual like the other students. although he's quick to answer class related questions, when i ask him something casual like if he had fun over the weekend, he always smiles and looks down and says, "i dont know."
i tease and ask "Ben, you dont know if you had fun?
still looking down and smiling, he answers, "yes."

during the last 3 minutes of my class, i always announce to the kids to pack up their bags, straighten the desks, be sure to do your homework and goodbye. Ben, always going above and beyond, stays an extra minute after class to walk about the room to ensure the desks are perfectly straight, pushes in each chair so that it's flush against the desktop, and picks up every single sliver of trash he sees. the first time he did it, i thought it was so awesome and told him his parents must be so proud of how well mannered he is. after a while, i just figured he's got ocd or something. i asked him if he keeps him room at home as immaculate as me makes the classroom.

"Ben, do you organize your sock drawers? So that there are the same number of socks in each row? group colors together?"
Ben smiles, looks down, and says, "i dont know."

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


<--Namdaemun gate
Subject: RE: Cold In Korea
Date: Tue, 19 Feb 2008 01:39:08
dear mom and dad,

so i finally had my meeting and signed on with my job for another year. hooray! it's still very cold here. boo. i'll be in the same office, keeping the same apt, so im pretty content overall.

it looks like i wont be home for a while. there've been a lot of changes at work and im not too comfortable about asking for time off now, especially since i just resigned. ideally i'd like to be home for all of february for black history month (you know!) but we'll see what happens. i'll of course keep emailing in the meanwhile.

i still dont have internet! but one of my coworkers is leaving to go back home to canada and he has graciously offered to sell me his computer. i know for sure it will work in my place, since he's using it for internet at his place right now. so we'll see that that goes as well.
what goes on under namdaemun
did you hear that Namdaemun here in seoul burned down? Namdaemun is a historic gate that was designated the number one national treasure of South Korea, it was over 600 years old, i saw it on airang news. turns out the guy who did it was a 67 korean man, he'd been convicted of arson before. he said he hated society, or something, and that's why he did it. unfortunately i didnt get to visit before the fire, but i heard plans to rebuild are in the works. hey, i read that the canal market in camdon suffered a fire recently as well! is it shitty of me to say that im glad i got to go there before it burned? *blush* i heard no one was hurt, so, ya know...

we're in the last week of this term now and the kids are begging for candy and pizza and parties, all of which i decline. i'd love to reward them, but it's against the rules and for the better b/c im sure they'd go crazy with "last day" excitement. my class yesterday that usually gets all A's on the test got B's and C's yesterday b/c they didnt study. i told them all that i had planned pizza and movies for class that day, but would cancel since their grades were so poor. they were really sad and whined a lot. now that was shitty of me... funny to me, too, but pretty shitty... ha!!!!!

im finishing up teaching an abridged version of "call of the wild" by jack london. it's really interesting teaching it w/curtis in the class b/c he is a fan of dog meat. i'll be at the board breaking down sentences:

me: what does the book say about Buck the dog? What kind of dog is he? which of our vocabulary words are they using?
kids reading from the text: Aggressive!
me: yes, that's right. what does that mean? How else can we describe Buck? what are some other words for "aggressive?"
kids: Mean! Like to fight! Strong!
curtis: Delicious!
entire class laughs.
students beg to know if i've eaten dog meat.

Friday, February 8, 2008


picture from google image search, of course.

Date: Fri, 8 Feb 2008 05:02:47 +0000
dear mom and dad,

hello from "cold as i dont know what" korea. aside from the weather, things are great. im still waiting to resign a new contract at work, but these sort of things tend to drag, not just at my job, but all of korea, so i'm told. one friend told me she wasnt resigned until 3 days before her contract was up. another homegirl of mine went all they way to the main office, and they forgot she was coming and wasnt ready for her, and consequently had to postpone. ive heard the same sort of thing, from different english teachers, from different schools, so, im one of many. i have no idea when i'll be home for a visit. the kinky kurly products were for me to pick up when i came home for a visit... so... nevermind that for now. mail them if you can, but if not, s'cool, it's nothing urgent at all. maybe i'll come home in april, or may. i dont know.

i never got the internet hooked up. it's a long story w/ the computer being old and my not being able to communicate w/the internet person. maybe next week after the holiday, i'll try again. Korea has two different New Year's days and Feb. 7 is celebrated as Lunar New Year, the first day of the lunar calendar, called "Sul Nal."

i got the blue bed sheets this week, thank you soooo much! i got the orange ones a while back too, i swore it felt like i emailed you a thank you for it... maybe i just dreamed it. but again, thank you, they're much appreciated. a girlfriend of mine was admiring them, begging to know where on earth i found western style sheets here. told her it was all Love from home!

this term at school is over in two weeks. i'll miss these kids. i got this one little girl Cathy, she's so cute. she really makes me feel like a successful teacher, b/c she said she'd never gotten an A on the tests before she came to my class, and now she gets A's almost every week. well... i do give lots of test hints... maybe im doing too many... *panic!*

during class break last week, cathy got a hold of my cell phone number in class, and wrote it on the board smiling wide and asking, "Teacher,is this your number?" it's written on the back of my phone (as is for most of us, the cell phone people put it on a sticker when you get your phone). i told her yes, to erase the number, and never to call me.

cathy "But why, teacher?"
me "what are you going to call me for? to say hi? 'hi teacher, i love you!' "
the class laughs.

the next day i get a text msg:
hey sistersha!! sup??
are you teaching?
Cathy <3

i write back:
stop texting me
and study your vocabulary
for your test on monday.
~sister sha.

reply from cathy:
well, i texted u only once!!
happy sol na new year! :)