I met Chris in South Korea, when both she and Alan, the man who became her husband, were in the US military. Recently, we talked online, and she told me what moving around the US, Korea and Germany had meant for her. Thanks to Chris for the photos.
You said that, in each of the different places you have lived, you left a different person than you came.
In Hawaii, when we talk about our lives and subjects like this, we say we “talk story”.
Every place I went had a certain effect on me in one way … Read More
When I moved to South Korea in 1988, the country was recovering from the dictatorships of Park Chung-hee and Chun Doo-hwan. In a week it would host its great coming-out party, the Seoul Olympics, which despite being well organized would be temporarily mired in controversy, with the national inferiority complex exposed.
My first impression of Seoul was that it was as militaristic, as nationalistic, as drab and as prudish as post-revolutionary China could be. and far more misogynistic. Pro-democracy student demonstrators battled with riot police, although it was clear from their own organizations that they didn’t know what democracy meant. … Read More
When I arrived in Asia in 1984, everything was so new that my mind simply would not take in what it saw. I wandered around bug-eyed, marveling at everything but feeling content. I thought, “Isn’t it wonderful that I’m not experiencing any culture shock.” Two things I was ignoring were the fact that the actual shock was not due until later—when it did come—and the fact that my nightly retreats into British murder mysteries certainly qualified as trying to escape from my environment.
Part 1 of this interview focuses on Trecia’s anthology of essays by black women about living in Asia. In Part 2 we share our observations. Unfortunately, her dealings with her employer were not atypical of those of westerners in general. Trecia is now back in North America at a job which suits her talents and experience in intercultural relations. Since the interview she has taken on a job as intercultural co-coordinator. (Link)
In my two and a half years, seeing other westerners come and go wore on me. Because on the one hand you’re not really … Read More
The title of Trailblasian is a coinage of ‘trailblazers + black + Asians. The book is an anthology of personal experience stories written by black women living and working in Asia. The editor, T.K. McLennon, Trecia, found most of the contributors online. She was inspired by the Nigerian writerChimamanda Ngozi Adichie, who in a TED talk warned against “the danger of a single story.” Trecia explains, “When you only hear one story or a narrow set of stereotypical stories about a group of people, it keeps you from knowing or having a better balanced understanding of that group.” Trailblasian … Read More