January 18, 2004 - Monterey Herald: Korea RPCV Paul Karrer spent many years abroad as a Peace Corps volunteer

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Korea: Peace Corps Korea : The Peace Corps in Korea: January 18, 2004 - Monterey Herald: Korea RPCV Paul Karrer spent many years abroad as a Peace Corps volunteer

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-151-196-35-236.balt.east.verizon.net - on Thursday, January 22, 2004 - 8:21 am: Edit Post

Korea RPCV Paul Karrer spent many years abroad as a Peace Corps volunteer

Korea RPCV Paul Karrer spent many years abroad as a Peace Corps volunteer

Castroville instructor's stories in compilation


What does Paul Karrer, a fifth-grade teacher at Castroville School, have in common with boxing legend Muhammad Ali, writer Maya Angelou and singer Stevie Wonder?

Karrer has the honor of being included along with those luminaries in an anthology of short stories, essays and poems called "Open My Eyes, Open My Soul," which examines and celebrates diversity and multiculturalism. The book was compiled by Yolanda King, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s daughter, and author Elodia Tate.

Released in time to mark Dr. King's birthday, the contributions cover a wide range of issues but are all deeply personal.

"It is a celebration of our common humanity," said Karrer, a Monterey resident.

Karrer will have the opportunity to meet with King on Tuesday, when she when she is scheduled to appear at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium.

Two of Karrer's short stories, "The Baby Flight" and "Korean Kisses," are included in the anthology. King and Tate even mention "The Baby Flight" in the book's introduction.

"There are certain stories or poems that, when we say the title, a smile crosses our face and we blurt out, 'I love that story.' Sometimes we say a name of a title like 'The Baby Flight'... and everyone sighs and repeats the title in unison."

In the foreword to the book, Dr. King's widow, Coretta Scott King writes, "These stories and poems illuminate the lives of people struggling to make meaningful connections by reaching out with courage and love across the chasms of race, religion, culture, boundaries and other man-made barriers."

Karrer, 50, says Tate contacted him via e-mail about 10 months ago, and he was surprised to hear back from her just two days later.

"Whenever I write, I try to move people by making them laugh and cry," said Karrer, who has spent many years abroad as a Peace Corps volunteer and as an English teacher.

Karrer says he has written hundreds of short stories, five of which have appeared in the "Chicken Soup" series of inspirational books.

In "The Baby Flight," he recalls how as a young man teaching English in Korea, he took part in a government program that offered volunteers heavily discounted airfares in exchange for looking after infants being flown to the United States for adoption. Karrer describes how he was initially repulsed by one of the babies, who clearly suffered clearly from dwarfism. During the flight, Karrer fell in love with the little girl and even called her Tina.

In the second story, "Korean Kisses," Karrer hits even closer to home, reflecting on how he and his wife Mi-Ra, who is Korean, had been subjected to vicious racism as an interracial couple in Korea. Their daughter, Amber, is considered a "tiggie," a deprecating term for a person of mixed ancestry. The essay captures how Mi-Ra returns to Korea with Amber and receives the blessing of Korean people, signified by a kiss Amber receives from a stranger.

Other contributions in the anthology include an essay titled, "The Truth About Islam" by Muhammad Ali. In it, Ali describes how he once gave $100,000 to a Jewish "old folks home" to help keep it open. Ali writes that the residents were probably surprised to learn the contribution came from a black Muslim. "I believe that we all belong to the human race," he writes. "Maybe God made all of our differences so that we could explore them and enrich our lives by learning each other's cultures and heritage."

MLK Day events Parade Rep. Sam Farr, D-Carmel, plans to participate today in Seaside's Martin Luther King Jr. Day Parade. The parade is scheduled to begin at noon in front of the Department of Social Services, 1281 Broadway Ave., Seaside. Celebration of life A lecture and celebration of life for Martin Luther King Jr. will be held at 6:30 p.m. today in Pacific Grove. The second annual event, sponsored by the Stowitts Museum & Library and Circle of Love Foundation, will be in the Pacific Grove Arts Center, 568 Lighthouse Ave. Admission is free, and refreshments will be served. More information can be obtained by calling the museum at 655-4488.

Sukhjit Purewal can be reached at 646-4494.

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Story Source: Monterey Herald

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Korea; Writing - Korea



By missme156 (adsl-69-106-117-45.dsl.mtry01.pacbell.net - on Monday, June 13, 2005 - 12:22 am: Edit Post

Mr.Karrer was my 5th grd teacher and im blessed for that.Everyone i know that was in his class LOVED him he was funny and knew how to keep the kids paying attention.Im now in 8th grade and walk to his classroom and just sit and watch his 5th grade class or help him grade papers.I can remember him telling us about one of his students flunking on purpose so he could stay w/ mr.karrer.
i just wanted to put my point of view in and i hope he reads this

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