This is Joey.  I will always and forever hold this kid in my heart. He was my 7th grade English student, my music buddy, and a little Korean brother all in one.

Joey can best be described through one of my first conversations with him, upon arriving as a teacher in South Korea.

Teacher Stephanie:  Joey, what are you thinking about when you’re spacing out during my class?

Joey:  Oh, I talk to John Lennon’s Spirit.

Teacher Stephanie:  Really?!??!

Joey:  Yeah.

Later when he is staring off into space:

Teacher Stephanie:  Joey, what is he saying to you?

Joey:  Who, Lennon?

Teacher Stephanie:  Yes

Joey:  Oh, he said to me he said, “Joey!  Shut the fuck up!”


So yeah, that’s Joey.  And Joey turned out to be as awesome, if not more, than this ridiculous dialogue displays.  He has a true passion and gift for playing the guitar, particularly in the style of blues and jazz, and a genuine love for quality music.  He’s already doing shows in bars and small music venues, and he’s only 15.  I’m so proud of him!  He always e-mails me links to youtube videos of Jimi Hendrix, John Legend, Mike Stern, and Wayne Krantz, to mention a few. Here’s an excerpt from a recent e-mail I got from him, going nuts over blues music:


Ah!! Do you know whoes Mr. Bush?
tall teacher who came from chicage as like ya..
i play guitar for worship service with him and dude..
Wow!! How Chicago! i heard from him that
many people in chicago listen to Blues music
since they born. and i talked with him about music
and he knows about many Blues Artists,
Aug!! i want to go to BluesRock Club of Chicago!!
i promise you that when i become professional someday..
i will write better songs then John Mayer’s and play them in
Club in Chicago and invite you and your Brother or All of your Family:)
and give you the Proud of me.
i love YOU 🙂
oh.. sorry i was talking to BLUES not ms. stephanie..”
Haha.  Apparently not only does he talk w/ John Lennon’s spirit, but also to blues music. Anyway, I can’t wait til the day he plays live in Chicago and gives me the Proud of him.  😉
Alright, and now for some pictures!
This is from when I took him, with some of my church friends, to an Eastern Orthodox Monastery south of Seoul.  I brought some head scarves and he was having fun wrapping himself in them before we left.

(He brought out the true kid in all of us)

On another occssion, since Joey loves music so much, I let him meet up with my musician friend, Austin, and I up at Hongdae one friday night.  (Hongdae is art and music central in Seoul…it’s also club central, but I obviously didn’t take him to any clubs.) He texted me and found out that I was in Hongdae w/ a friend, so I told him he could join us if he wanted.  After getting his mother’s permission, he rode an hour out on the subway by himself to meet us!  It was a really fun night of wandering around (he was too young to get into any places w/ live music…aaaand thanks to my awesome navigation skills we actually were lost the entire time, so by wandering I mean we walked around in a huge loop fifty times for like 3 hours…which was actually more fun than it sounds like cuz we were just having a good time enjoying each others’ company). Joey and Austin hit it off so well, they got together for a jam a couple of days later and did some jazz and blues improv stuff.  I even joined in and sang a few numbers! Anyway, here are a couple pics of Joey in front of a cafe in Hongdae called, “Joey’s Cafe.”

At the end of the night, the sky graced us with the heaviest downpour I have ever experienced in my life! We were completely drenched with acid rain by the time we found our way back to the subway, but it sure was an adventure to remember.  And of course, Joey is a student that I will always and forever remember.