I was delighted to join yesterday’s TrailBlasian Book Launch Party. Here's the book! http://www.trailblasian.com/
Thanks so much to Melissa Watkins and Kenya Evans for inviting me. It isn’t easy to share the stage with others when the focus is on your own book. But they did invite me, and they didn’t make me feel like a trespasser.
Melissa knows about my activities, so she invited me to talk about them 1) to recruit volunteers and 2) raise money from the raffle (and, as it turned out, a “pass around a hat, make a donation”).
In addition to that, there were many cool moments at yesterday’s book launch discussion:
1) On very short notice, 5 of the North Korean refugees and four teachers from the Teach North Korean Refugees project joined the book discussion. So in all, there were 11 in my crew. Thank you, Pam Davidson, In-Jee Lee, Paul Jennings and Nadine Graham Maside for joining—and I’m sorry, I forgot to mention you all during my remarks. I even forgot to thank Melissa for inviting me…
2) A different world. The two contributors to the book read excerpts. I don’t pay much attention to race issues, and now that I am in Korea, they rarely cross my mind. So it was like a blast to the past as I listened to them tell their stories. I suspect that our North Korean refugee friends couldn’t catch the main points or context, but I suspect that they could identify with the struggles of being strangers in a really really strange land.
3) NKs aren’t interested in NKs. One thing I have learned: North Korean refugees are not interested in North Korean topic events. I have learned that they are less likely to show up to NK topic events. NK related parties? Sure. NK related discussions in English? Not so interested.
4) One of the refugees asked me if I was nervous. Haha! I love public speeches. I can’t remember the last time I got nervous. After a few, I started looking forward to the opportunity—and when no one invites me, I set up my own events.^^.
5) The refugees got to learn more about my work. All they knew is that I arrange the English matching sessions. So a few of them have a greater appreciation for what a great guy I am.^^ Spread the word!
6) My colleague Lee Eunkoo joined. We got about three ideas for TNKR based on yesterday’s book launch party.
7) One great thing about yesterday: I had no responsibility. I didn’t have to recruit, I didn’t have to give directions to a place I had never been to, I didn’t have to apologize to the people who got lost, I didn’t have to worry about who showed up, I didn’t have to get any last-minute excuses from people who suddenly had to cancel. I just had the opportunity to give a speech, talk real pretty, then sit down…