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

Monday, March 30, 2009


Subject: no need for kneaded erasers
Date: Mon, 30 Mar 2009 09:11:05 +0000
dear mom and dad,

thanks for mailing my student loan payment. eventually i'll set it up so that the payments are automatically deducted from my bank account, but that will have to wait until my next visit home so that i can go to the bank to arrange it. today i sent more money (500,000 won, so its around $340 USD), please can you send another student loan payment for me?

the money is being deposited, right? im worried, b/c i remember one time i sent money and my bank here sent it to the wrong account. let me know the money is coming through ok.

so just yesterday i was roaming around in my neighborhood and went to lotte dept store, and found an art supply store that... wait for it... sold kneaded erasers!!! so, dont send it if you didnt buy it yet. sorry about that ^^

things always happen like that: you find it when youre not looking for it. I was complaining to jinny about how i couldnt find the post office and she tells me, "there are post offices everywhere." i told her i know, but i hadnt found it in my neighborhood yet, and i was annoyed. she tells me, "dont get snippy, im just saying, there's a post office in jamsil." I told her again, but yelling, I KNOW, but i cant find it! arent you listening?!" she calmly says, "just walk around until you find it." i tell her thanks for the help and called her dumb. a day later, i was walking around my neighborhood and gotdamn, there was the post office, a block from my house. well, i know where to go to mail my next batch of postcards.

ive another favor to ask (as i am eternally your daughter and i'll have favors to ask forever and ever and ever): please can you order this and send it to me? it's an opaque projector. You can have brother dave order it online, it doesnt have to be this exact one if he finds a better deal. I liked this one b/c it takes 5x5 paper and can enlarge it 14 times. If dave finds one that does bigger for around the same price, i'd like that. He can also just get it direct from DickBlick art supply in downtown san diego, instead of ordering online.

ah, one more thing: can you send me bedsheets? there was a bed in the new place when i moved in, so i gave away the old one. this bed is much bigger. it's 60 inches wide, 80 inches long, and 8 inches thick.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Subject: care pkg
Date: Tue, 24 Mar 2009 12:40:06
dear mom and dad,

hi! i have absolutely nothing to talk about, but i know it's been 5 days or so since my last email and if i didnt write soon, i feared a guilt email would be in my inbox.

oh, dad, i got the card you sent from grandma, thank you, ive sent her a postcard. You know, every month (maybe 7 months in a row) i sent a postcard to mary lovelady, ninong cooper, grandma, and aunt lyn. i havent in the last 2 months tho, b/c no one ever let me know they got them, i wondered if the korean post office was tricking me and throwing my cards out the window:)

ive taken up drawing again. oil paint is my preferred medium you know, but i dont have the proper ventilation nor the room to do it here, plus, dad, youre not here to build my frames for me! But paper and pencil i can do myself...i found an art supply store for all the things i needed, except for a kneaded eraser. so, uhm, please can you send me a kneaded eraser in the next pkg you send me? You can have brother dave get it at any art supply store: there's dick blick towards downtown san diego, or Michaels or Aaron Brothers in mission/fashion valley.

speaking of things i cant find: i can no longer find my beloved calorie free instant tea mix by lipton, they dont carry it at emart (like walmart here) anymore. if it is there in the states, please send me some. im going through withdrawls. it looks like this. (if its not there, maybe can you peek around to see if crystal light makes something like a lemon tea?) i would also like non fat/low fat creamy peanut butter (i think the brand i used to like is Jiff or jiffy), and fat free chocolate pudding mix, if it exists, im shooting for the stars with that one. also please send me a pack of monostat 7 one day yeast infection cure, b/c i would die having to go to the pharmacy to ask for that should i need it (usually i draw pictures of what i need since i cant speak korean... can you imagine the conversation i'd be having with the pharmacist that day!!).

sorry that this was an email of me asking for things, i know that's pretty lame. but life is rather steady, ordinary, ive got nothing to talk about. i'll try to have a more interesting upcoming week for a better email next time.

thank you and love you lots.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Subject: i got the cds
Date: Thu, 19 Mar 2009 04:13
Dear mom and dad,

yesterday i got the box with my cds and the Ashirts, thank you so much!!! mom, i love the card, i read it over and over again, i love when you write to me. i get the sense that it was difficult foryou to part with the cds :) You shouldve told me you wanted to keep them, i wouldve asked for something else instead! Well, thank you for sending them,and in exchange, is tehre anything i can send you from korea? maybe candies to give to the neighborhood kids? chopsticks? anything? let me know.

oh, mom will love this: i just finished reading Angela's Ashes, and all those descriptions of flowerly white potatoes triggered a craving. so yesteday i came home w/a bag of potatoes really excited to cook, and then realized i didnt know how to work my stovetop. it's a gas stove top, unlike the electric at my old place. i odnt konw if something isnt connected or what, i just know taht i turned the knob and nothing happened. ah well. maybe the cleaning lady can help me.

i went to japan last weekend, but only for a day, actually. b/c my visa expired, i had to leave the country and then come back and now i have 3 months to get my paperwork together. many teachers have to do this, it's called a "visa run." most stay for a day or so, walk around the town, etc, b/c their job pays for it. my job DIDNT so i stayed for a day and didnt leave the airport. jinny helped me find the ticket to japan for only $188. i had the money to stay longer and properly see the sights, but im cheap. it's cool, b/c it rained the whole time. i read 2 books and watched 3 movies on my mp3 player (loaded on my mp3 by my good friend/tech genius Ed, btw.) i spent my day wandering around, getting the layout of the north and south terminal, finding which chairs were most comfortable to sleep in, browsing the airport mall. there were 10 other foreigners with me who stayed the whole night in the airport, none of them were teachers, tho, just people who missed a flight, or awaiting a morning flight.

at the airport/check in/etc, none of my bags were searched tho during my day there, i was stopped for a random passport check around 5 times. each time, i'd smile all stupid and point out to the police/security guard taht i was born in japan. most of them gave me a slight smile, one pretended to get excited to humor me. The reminds me of one time when i brought Brother Dave with me to some shop, and when i found the sales clerk was from eritria, i happily blurted, "Oh, ive been to ghana!" She did a slight smile. Brother Dave says, "uhm, yeah, how is that connected, b/c she's east africa, you went to west africa, on the other side of the continent, Dummy." Well, yeah, i guess... i just really wanted to feel worldly and important:)

it wasnt much of a trip, but i for sure want to go back when i take a proper vacation. the plane ride was a short 2 hours which was awesome. loveyoumissyou. ~daughter.

Saturday, March 14, 2009


Daehangno Philippine Market
* Time & Day: 12:00-17:00 every Sunday
* Place: In front of Dongseong Middle & High School in Daehangno
How to Get There

Take subway line 4 to Hyehwa station, and go out exit 1. Walk ahead until you reach Dongseong Middle & High School on the right.

other blog/market info:


Subject: pics, phil market, rae
Date: Sun, 15 Mar 2009 04:14:07
dear mom and dad,

i dont remember which pictures ive sent you already, so i sent them all again. these are the pictures from the "Fun Photo Contest" we had at our school. the contest was pretty lame, i think my job just wanted an excuse to take pictures, so they threw this contest together. i say that b/c they only took pictures of 3 of my 8 classes, the same for many of my colleagues. ah well, still i got some cute pictures and i like them.

i got a new student last week with no english name. I asked if he'd like me to give him one, he said yes. i said, "how about ray?" but when i typed it out, i wrote RAE out of habit. i backspaced to correct it, but he said, "No, Teacher, Rae, i like better." i said OK! :)

things are going good at my job, the kids are cute, my coworkers are friendly, etc etc. not much to say. ive just been waiting to renew my visa, i got an extension until june 15, hopefully that darned criminal background check will get here by then! i think it took 6 weeks to get it the first time (the one that korean immigration rejected), so hopefully the request i sent for another will go faster. PLUS, i know you have taken care of that letter i asked for, dad, so which ever comes first, i can use to renew my visa.

the move from pyeongchon to jamsil has helped keep me close to my good friend jinny, who i talk to almost everyday. a couple weekends ago, she took me to a part of town by Hyehwa subway station where we walked around in the philipino market!

as we were walking around, jinny asked me if i understood what people were saying. i said to her, "uhm... that guy said 'Pare' which means 'dude,' i think... and... uhm, that woman said 'anako' so she's talking to her daughter... uhm... i think she wasnt impressed. i was pretty embarrassed *blush* i may not speak tagalog, but i know the food!

while there, we ate menudo and dinaguan, not nearly as delicious as you make it mom, of course, but it was pretty tasty. most of the vendors were for hot food, but some canned/bottled and other goods were for sale. i pointed out Bagaoong to jinny, which i told her was so delicious on mangoes. we saw bags of pandesal and i told her how its so good when it's fresh, and i love it best with cheese whiz.

well, now im hungry, so i'll say good bye. loveyoumissyou, etc. ~daughter.

Saturday, March 7, 2009


<---- me at 33!
Subject: RE: Right On Girl
Date: Sat, 7 Mar 2009 04:57:15 +0000

dear mom and dad,
thanks for the birthday email, thank you for giving me life 33 years ago :)

mom, dad mention that you wanted to give me a present? ah...actually, i miss my music. do you have all my cds? will you send me my cd case? with a letter from you, i would really love that. and some A shirts, size large. yes, that's what i want: my cds, Ashirts, and a letter. ok?^^

so i worked on my birthday, i teach this new class which i LOVE, the kids are younger and soooo cute; the building we're in is new and the kids are wonderful, things are really good. i liked pyeyongchon very much, but it's nice to be in a new place, things were so routine and monotonous where i was. i like my new apartment, tho i dont care for the korean style bathroom of the shower head being mounted over the toilet... but hey, when in korea... *shrug*

when i got to work that afternoon, my boss had a cake waiting for me. i walked into the teachers lounge and everyone turned around and saw me and looked confused. then my boss comes up behind me frantically yelling "surprise!" i guess they'd all been waiting for me for a while, my boss left the room to check if i'd arrived yet, and when i came into the room 1 min later, it threw everyone off. ha! well, i love teaching, but i dont come to work an hour and a half early like everyone else does... they didnt realize, and i guess were waiting for a while. hee hee!

after work, i went out with my coworkers, celebrating the opening of the new school, and a sucessful first week, etc. The food was good, it was nice. i was the first to leave, of course, b/c it was late and i was tired! my coworkers protested, "but it's your birthday, you cant leave!!!" i told them that im 33, not 23, and i dont do the "stay out all night" thing anymore:)

i got new glasses, i included a photo. my friends said it looks like a jail pic, but i told them they're just jealous b/c im very mature and sophisticated now that im 33 years old. ive also included some pics from the photo contest i told you about. two of my classes won, so they got pizza and choco pies. they only gave me one pizza for 14 students!!! we drew names out of a box to see who got pizza and who didnt. :( but actually, everybody got a little bit, b/c the kids are so sweet: they gloat and brag about getting to eat pizza when others dont, but then they share it with everyone. Like mom did with the hershey bars when she was a little girl in the philipines:)


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

email from my brother

i sent another package of candy/snacks to my brother.
i think i did it jsut to get his emails^^
Date:Mar 4, 2009 8:44 AM
Subject: Happy Birthday
Hey Sis,

First off Happy Birthday. I hope your students brought you lots of birthday presents. If they didn't, tell them that your brother is very disappointed in them. They should respect their teacher and shower her with presents on her special day. i told my brother about how the kids go nuts when i tell them he works for sony and test games for a living. they think he's God.

I got your package with the candy. I tried to take it to work the first day you sent it but K insisted that she gets through it first to pick out the candy she liked (his girlfriend). Everyone at work either loves it or hates it:
  • Everyone tripped out about Krunky and started doing the Dave Chappelle impression of Lil Jon going, "WHAT?! OK!!"
  • Whoa, the Green tea candy tastes just like Green tea!
  • One of the guys I work with who is attempting to quit smoking likes the weird flavored cigarettes. He says the shock to his system helps him curb the urge to puff.
  • Another one of my co-workers is all about the Chicken Chips. He's Hungarian and he said it reminds him of the pre-capitalism snacks they used to ration out back when the country was under communist rule.

Have fun, stay out of trouble, and eat some Vegan cake.-Bro