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

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Subject: RE: I Will Find A Way
Date: Tue, 24 Feb 2009 09:56:30
dear mom and dad,

so i've moved from the city of anyang (suburb Pyeongchon) to seoul (suburb Jamsil). i felt really uncomfortable for the first several hours at my new place: it felt like day one in korea all over again: i didnt know where anything was, i didnt know where to eat, etc. But im ok now, im glad for the move b/c pyeongchon was feeling monotonous. AND b/c i can now read a little bit of korean, i was able to walk into a place and order off the menu with no problem!!! i had to pause korean class for a while, but i will definitely resume, especially since i live so much closer to it now.

i havent found teh post office yet, so im not yet able to verify my adrs, but im working on it. i had my first day at my new job today, it ws great and the kids are of course super cute.

well, now youre all updated as to whats going on in my world.
love you miss you and all that of course.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Subject: RE: School Folders, and Other Things
Date: Thu, 19 Feb 2009 02:44:21
dear mom and dad,

the blue folders sound good, please send them. i got the package with the soaps, oatmeal, cookies, thank you so much! My coworkers devoured the cookies and give you trememdous praise. I donated the vanilla scented soap to our bathroom at school... b/c there hasnt been soap there lately, and i only like the smell of vanilla when cooking. the kids loved the cow cartoon on the soap, btw:)

so valentine's day was last week, but in korea it's called "Chocolate Day." This is the day that girls give chocolate to their male friends/family. one month later will be March 14th, where korea will celebrate "White Day," which is the day that boys give candy to their girlfriends only, no other female friends, and are expected to pay 3times the amount that the girl spent on him the month before. One month from then will be April 14th, which is "Black Day." On black day, those that dont have a boy/girlfriend eat black noodles. some of the kids gave me chocolates, which was so sweet... every class ASKED ME for candy, to which i explained that i was giving them the gift of learning, which is infinitely more valuable.

im definitely moving, i found a place yesterday, i'll give the details in the next email. everything is working out cool. im a little sad to leave my neighborhood, ive grown so comfortable here, but change is good. today is thrusday, im moving this saturday actually, so im off b/c i need to start packing. loveyou and miss you.~daughter

Friday, February 13, 2009


Subject: RE: Eyes Wide Shut
Date: Fri, 13 Feb 2009 15:42:41
dear mom and dad,

my 2 year anniversary of being in korea has come and gone! it doesnt feel like 2 years at all, i still really really love this job.

please, can you send me folders? i want paper, not plastic, that look like this on the inside. i seem to only find plastic ones here and i hate them. im sure you will be able to find them at rite aid. please send around 10 of them so that i can have one folder per class

i am soooo over having these fake eyelashes, i wish they would hurry up and fall out already, they're driving me crazy. unrelated: the snow is gone i think, but today we had a lot of rain. it was lame.

earlier this week, headquarters contacted me about moving to a new branch of the school they're opening in a part of town called "jamsil." i think it was b/c i'd asked for a transfer and didnt get what i wanted, so they had me in mind when room elsewhere opened up. it's not as close as i'd wanted, but it's still clsoer to jinny than living here. everything is still processing, so i dont know where exactly i'll be working/living: pyeongchon or jamsil.

ive cut my hair again, WAYYY too short. but oh well, it's hair, it'll grow. my friends said it makes me look way younger, almost like a high school student. among the kids: the first set of classes this week said i looked like a beautiful man, and like a flower. the reaction the rest of the week was pretty much the same: Oh teacher, so short! Like man, but pretty!" well,the girls said that, the boys just said i looked strange. ~daughter.

Saturday, February 7, 2009


Subject: RE: Next Time
Date: Sun, 8 Feb 2009 03:50:09 +0000
dear mom and dad,

i got the box with the magazines, etc. Thank you so much, i always love getting mail. i LOVE the stickers you sent, thank you!!! everything here is peace, i think the snow has stopped for the season, thank goddess.

btw, i am not the one with the university job, my friend Jinny is. she used to work at the same company as me, but she now has a new job, north of seoul. But actually im NOT moving, as i'd hoped. there is no room for me at the branch i want to transfer too, i will try again next term (in 3 months). so im staying in the same place in pyeongchon for now.

last night some coworkers got together to celebrate birthdays, we went to some dingy club in anyang and everybody drank and i socialized until i got bored and left. it was nice to hang out, all of my coworkers are really nice and none have ever been anything other than great to me, but im just on a whole other plane, i guess. partly age difference, partly culture, who knows... but above all, they're nice people. i had a good time.

we're in week 12 at my school, which means in 2 weeks we start anew: new classes, new students, new books, new everything. i will miss jason soooo much!!! i want to take pictures, but for some reason i dont feel like it's appropriate, like unless i can ask their parents first, which is way too complicated, so i'll skip it altogether. You know, i am the most uptight teacher at my school: i dont let the kids tease each other, or make jokes about soju (the local liquor of choice), or bash japan (the korean/japanese tension is THICK), or anything else that i explain to them as "not proper class room behavior/discussion topic. Im very G rated, and some colleagues think it's too much, but i think they dont understand.... i clearly remember when i was in elementary school, and the things my teachers have said that just... well, weren't cool... anyway...

but lucky me, i WILL get some pictures, b/c there is a contest at my school for funniest class/teacher photo. it ate up 30 min of class time but it was fun taking the photos. the elementary students crawl all over themselves to get in front of the camera, and the middle schoolers all hide their faces behind their books. i hope i can get copies of the pics soon.

so i'll leave you with my favorite moment of last week: adorable 3rd grade student john whispered to me, "teacher, i memorized one paragraph of obama (inauguration) speech." i smiled and told him i would be very excited for him to recite it for me during break, which he did, and it was just as wonderful and adorable as you can imagine!!!

Sunday, February 1, 2009


Subject: look pencil
Date: Sun, 1 Feb 2009 23:09:45 +0000
dear mom and dad,

happy new year! Lunar New Year, that is. it happened officially the night of jan 26. Sorry the weather was "cool" for you today, dad, btw, the weather here is 42°F 29°F, AND THIS IS A WARM DAY. but it's jason day, so it'll be ok :)

i got the box with the magazines, splenda and THANK YOU FOR THE STICKERS!!! there are so many on a sheet, i think i'll cut them up to give out 1 or 2 at a time. maybe some i'll stick on the A and A+ tests. well you already sent it, but nevermind about sending any more oil of olay, i found a product here that i like. That is often the case whenever i or my collegues need something: we'll complain for a while that Korea doesnt have X, but then eventually you'll find it, we just dont look hard enough or arent really trying. That being said, can you send me something like Spray And Wash, something to pretreat stains? I dont know why, i seem to have gotten messier here, and my clothes are suffering. AND please send me another small size afro pick, the kind with the fist. I still have the big one and it works great, but the smaller one: the teeth fell out one by one! so it's gone. please send me another one.

my friend jinny is finished with cdi, she's on a break and start her university job in february. it'll require her to move about a 1.5 hour subway ride north of here. she asked me to transfer to the CDI (my school, there are many branches, like mcdonalds) in that area so i can be closer to her, so i said yes. actually im still waiting to see if there's room at the branch for me, but i think my seniority gives me some pull... it'll be my two year anniversary next month, isnt that crazy?! anyway, maybe i'll be moving in a month or so. jinny joked about my having to move with her before, and i said no b/c i love my apartment so much. then one day we had a long talk about unrelated things, and it ended with her asking me with a serious face to move. i said yes.

it's not a big change for me at all, instead of 45 min south of seoul, i'll be 45 min north of it, really it's the difference between 6 and half a dozen to me. being here so far from home, all you have are your friends. i decided i want to be w/my homegirl more than i want to keep my cush apartment. Jinny and i wont be living together, neither of us want that, but instead we'll be maybe 3 subway stops frm each other. im looking forward to it, actually, new school, new location. the change will be good.

i will miss the kids at my current school, tho. its crazy how i know so many of them. when i come to work, i hear down the halls the call of, "Hi Sister Sha!" and when i walk into my classroom, everyone is trying to get my attenion all at once, "Teacher! Teeeeeeacherrrrr!" and i reply, "yes, Student?" and they'll be like, "uhm... uh... look at my pencil!"