PATRIOT SURVEY SAYS: Korean-American: Reese, TT, Pocket, Mokja, Miss Piggy

Teressa jean aka reese, tt, pocket, mokja, miss piggy

Teressa jean aka reese, tt, pocket, mokja, miss piggy

I. Name/Meaning:

  • Teressa - Harvester
  • Jean - Gift from god

II. Nickname/Backstory:

  • Reese - Dad gave it to me

  • TT - college friends

  • Pocket - I like clothes & bags with strategic pockets or I won’t consider buying it.

  • Mokja - I enjoy food and drinks.

  • Miss Piggy - I ate well as a child and had big cheeks.

III. Country(ies) of Origin and Residence:

  • USA & South Korea

IV. States/Regions Lived/Visited in the United States:

  • I’ve visited 38 out of 50 states plus D.C.

V. Languages Spoken:

  • English, Spanish



VI. Favorite Dish:

  • Are you ready??? Soul Food & Korean food (mac&cheese, greens, dressin, fried chicken like grandma style,fried catfish,  jamaican oxtails, fufu & goat & moi moi (nigerian), Kalbi, tegigogi, mackeral, kimchi, buchu kimchi, dukguk aka ricecake soup, mee ok guk aka seaweed soup, Busken cookies, Tates cookies, sweet potatoe pie and peach cobbler with a crispy flaky crust.

VII. Favorite Phrase/Slang:

  • “Big ol’ nasty..” (It’s a positive precursor)

VIII. Favorite Quote:

  • "It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men." ~ Frederick Douglass

  • "Never look down on anybody unless you're helping them up." 

IX. Favorite Song/Artist:

  • Marvin Gaye and Whitney Houston. You can’t make me choose.

X. Three words to describe each of the following:

  • USAOpportunity, individualistic, arrogant

  • YOUR EXPERIENCE IN THE UNITED STATES: Diverse, fortunate, segregated  
  • HOMEMom, Dallas, Brooklyn

XI. Which cultures do you represent?

  • Black and Korean

XII. Where do people assume/guess you are from?

  • Hawaii in the summer. Mexico when they find out I teach Spanish. 

III. What is the most "creative" way (positive or negative) someone has expressed themselves to you with regard to your cultures?

  • "Ni hao ma."

XIV. What are the biggest differences between your cultures?

  • Genotype, language, food

XV. What are the biggest similarities between your cultures?

  • Hardworking, family oriented

XVI. Share your experience/observations returning to your country after living in the U.S.:

  • Food is how I remembered...delish. I was welcomed but I did not feel like I belonged in Korea. It stems from a combination of my shame of not speaking Korean and of people staring.

XVII. Share your experience/observations returning to the U.S. after travelling/living abroad:

  • I have been conscientious of representing two distinct cultures since before I can set an age (at least 5) because people have made a point to either call me names 01+++or ask curious and ignorant questions about my mixed family. Upon returning from Ecuador to study Spanish or Jamaica & Korea to vacay, my perspective regarding ethnic differences had broadened and my humility increased. I became more appreciative of some basic opportunities of education and extracurriculars that many young girls would never consider.

XVIII. Share your experience/observations traveling to different regions within the USA:

  • Even though there is prejudice everywhere you go, it is interesting to hear the difference of perception of hospitality and courtesy versus someone who is being frank. 

XIX. How do you define a patriot/patriotism?

  • A person who is proud of, fights for and promotes the ideals of their country

XX. What does it mean to be an “American”?

  • To live in the Western hemisphere. To be U.S. American is simply to have citizenship. The American dream is a loaded and relative term because there are many cultures and subcultures that have different ideals, values and expectations

XXI. How would elders in your "other" country define an “American”?

  • White

XXII. How would the youth in your "other" country define an “American”?

  • White

XXIII. What “American” qualities/traits do you most admire?

  • The possibilities of economic prosperity

XXIV. What “American” qualities/traits do you least admire?

  • The process/negative effects of the pursuit of economic prosperity.

XXV. What makes a country exceptional?

  • It’s ability to create a just, safe nation in which to live and prosper.

XXVI. When you watch international competitions like the Olympics or World Cup, who do you root for?

  • I become Switzerland.

XXVII. In what countries have you eaten McDonalds or Starbucks?

  • Ecuador & USA

XXVIII. Favorite country/place you have visited or lived or want to visit/live? And why?

  • There are too many that I have yet to visit and I don’t have a favorite. I loved Ecuador, Jamaica, Korea, Mexico, Puerto Rico and I have touched/traveled to 38 of 50 states.

loca for cola?

loca for cola?

XXIX. Share a significant memory (or memories) two involving both/all of your cultures.

  • National holidays like Thanksgiving always had soul food and kimchi.

  • When I was seven during a fourth of July parade, my brownie troop was invited to sit on a float with an international theme and I wanted to wear a Korean hanbok dress. My troop leader said I had to wear this beautifully adorned burgundy sombrero. (but my 7yr old mind could not appreciate or see past it’s large round brim). My culturally insensitive troop leader touched my arm and said I had to wear it because of my brown skin. Regardless of her intentions, I cried as I walked home with my big hat.

  • Listening to this talkback from my students as a Spanish teacher: 

    • "I'm Black, I don't speak Mexican."

    • "I'm White. I speak American."

    • I'm Mexican. This ain't Spanish."

XXX. How has living in the United States impacted/influenced you?

  • I bought the dream that anyone can be “successful” if they work hard and then as I matured, I realized how imbalanced opportunities truly are presently and historically. There is superficial equity and systemic injustice throughout most organizations. I fight for the underdog and the miseducated. Living in the U.S. has made me humble, appreciative and conscientious of these socio-economic and gender inequalities in education and opportunity.

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