• 2.1 Summer & Fall 2020

    October 25, Eviction

    My Saturday was going well, treating myself to noodles in a window cafe where everyone stared at me and then egg tarts by the beach, until I recieved a text from House Owner. Freshman had caught the male Korean roommate feeding the corgi chocolate even though he had been warned against doing so several times. This was the last straw for House Owner and she gave him twenty four hours to move out. The corgi is in fact a rescue: someone had found her north of Seoul trotting along the side of the road, chain dragging behind her. She’s afraid of cats though she behaves like one: she doesn’t like…

  • 2.1 Summer & Fall 2020

    October 23

    There are days that are just plain good. This week has been full of them. Once I decided not to enroll in the next semester of Korean, my stress levels dropped significantly. This also means I can take a longer vacation in the US without having to worry about school deadlines. A call to Delta got me a changed flight and a hundred dollar credit; my teaching exams were easily rescheduled; with some panicking I finally found a rental in Seoul for quarantine upon my return since the presence of roommates means I can’t quarantine here, and special city rules say I can’t use a Busan Airbnb to quarantine. House…

  • 2.1 Summer & Fall 2020

    October 21, Peak

    A friend texted me earlier this week asking if I wanted to… model. In the attic of my heart there has always been a desire to be a model. I imagined being “spotted” at the mall, at Disney, on the beach. I wanted to submit my photos to the Ford Agency self application page. I browsed Craigslist ads. People always told me I was pretty so wasn’t that the ultimate conclusion? To be professionally recognized for my appearance? The reality was that I was chubby, tall but awkwardly long limbed, unaware of how to dress myself, averse to makeup, and had a face too long to campaign for anything. And…

  • 1.4 Spring 2020 (COVID Archives)

    October 18, Tourist

    The past two nights before sleep has come to me I’ve thought of my students with the tiniest bit of longing. I thought about my hoarse-voiced third grader who improved so much and said hi to me instead of C; my little daycare kids on whom I got to test run my own classroom setup; Jeongyeon helping me make ramen at a convenience store in the dead of winter; the conspiratorial look of a third grader during G’s choral music; the girl who looked at me, I winked at her, and she winked back; my former sixth graders linking arms with me and catching me up on gossip; the little…

  • 2.1 Summer & Fall 2020

    Persimmon Season

    It is fall and persimmon season has begun. Until this year, I have never had a ripe persimmon and now… Well now I can understand every poetic reference to the fruit. Without my subconscious knowledge, Korea has won me over with fruits I’ll be sure to miss in every season: mild yellow melon, sweet tangerines and tangy hallabong from Jeju, dusky orange persimmons, fibrous jujube, bitter yellow apricots, violet-hearted figs. Local fruits are only sold in season and what a difference it makes.

  • 2.1 Summer & Fall 2020

    October 12, Roommate Synergy

    I finished dinner in our upstairs shared dining room and was downstairs washing dishes when the house owner slid up next to me and whispered: “I asked Freshman if she wanted to take our dinner and join you upstairs but she said since Korean male roommate was home from work, she didn’t want to.” I laughed and said in a low voice, “I can’t blame her.” I don’t know in what particular way he aggrieved Freshman but in any case it was a point of validation for my occasional frustrations with him! The house owner continued with a thrilling conclusion. “So I suggested making a downstairs dining room in the…

  • 2.1 Summer & Fall 2020,  Korean

    Chuseok Extra

    Rachel recounted to her cousin as we were en route to the mulli fields how sometimes Korean men start using casual language* with me from the start which we both find incredibly rude and disrespectful. I imagined the cousin going pale in the backseat— he had been using casual language with me from the start. However, I barely noticed since I had presumptuously done the same. He was an easy person to be around so I never thought of it as assumptive like certain Seoul men. I actually started using casual language with Rachel this week at her suggestion and it carried over when I met her cousin. I used…

  • 2.1 Summer & Fall 2020

    Dance Party

    I was downstairs sprawled on the floor with house owner and Freshman trying to explain the concept of coffee creamer when we heard thumping EDM and the telltale signs that our boy roommates were getting tipsy upstairs. They were clearly having a fun party of two free from embarrassment or shame. At one point I heard the Brazilian ask, “do you want me to cut your hair?” To which the Korean responded with a sing songy “NoOoOo~”. It was funny. And I’ll admit, cute. Boys just want to have fun.

  • 2.1 Summer & Fall 2020


    Chuseok, or Mid Autumn Festival, is a celebration on fifteenth day of the eighth lunar month. It is celebrated in Korea along with China and other East Asian countries. Koreans typically return to their hometowns, pay homage to their ancestors, and eat typical harvest foods like rice wine and special rice cakes. Thanksgiving is the American parallel. Rachel, Busan tutor has officially earned a name, invited me to her home for a sleepover and extended Chuseok holiday celebration. She picked me up at the station the day before and our adventure began. I wasn’t sure if I could call her friend just yet. Weren’t we too different? Then she told…