Wednesday, November 9, 2016

2016 US election: I am looking at you...

I think it helps to write things out, it makes you feel better about a situation.  I have avoided posting anything political for this election season, but now that it is done I wanted to share some of my thoughts. 

1. I am looking at you America. This is the 2nd most embarrassed I have ever been to being an American in my life.  As someone who has spent the majority of their adult life outside of the US, and who spent a lot of time outside the US during the Bush administration; it's going to make it harder to be outside the US.  Apart from that, I am simply dumbfounded that someone who says and does the things he does was voted in by the American people.  This is not an America I represent, and not an America I want to be a part of. 

2. I am looking at you social media.  I am not going to post something about how this is the time to move on from our differences and lets all try to work together.  I don't think we should stop fighting against racism, fear, misogyny, and all of the other hateful things that Trump promotes.  Also, it's important to remember that 90% of the things he says he will do, probably (hopefully!) will never happen.  

3. I am looking at you Hillary.  You just couldn't play a clean game could you?  There's a preschool lesson here: Cheaters never prosper.  I mean, seriously, who really cares about a bunch of emails that may or may not contain classified information?  People praised Snowden for sharing that stuff with the rest of us.  There's no doubt that you had sensitive, embarrassing and probably politically condemning information on it, but you just had to cheat & lie.  It was just one more thing to stack on the pile, then you had to cheat Bernie out of the running.  We get that you really wanted to be president, but you lost to TRUMP!  How did that even happen?!?  People saw you as just another part of the political machine.  You must come across as really sleazy, if the Donald Trump, who's made a career of being awful, seems like a better person than you. And now, we are stuck with him, all because you couldn't win with out cheating, and you got busted. 

4. I am looking at you Democratic party.  At the last election, I criticized the Republican party for not putting up a competitive candidate.  In a period where the country was tired of the 1%, they put up a 1%-er (Mitt Romney).  I thought, "Read the room, Republicans".  Then in a year where the country is fed up with the ineffective political machine, where people are tired of two-faced politicians, the Democrats put up the Queen of the Machine.  Does she have the qualifications? of course!  Was she experienced? definitely! She probably would have been a great president, but she was Claire Underwood  (the similarities are uncanny).  She was a part of a political system that people were just sick off.  She was not someone people were excited about, she was someone that seemed less horrible than a dirty old man.

5. I am looking at you Republican Christians.  There has not been a single argument from a Christian that I have heard that has legs.  "He says he's a Christian" So does Hillary, and she's been saying it since the 90s (or earlier for all I know), and he just started saying it at the start of this election cycle.  "She's a liar"  So is he, check any fact checker. Don't kid yourself that there isn't a politician out there that hasn't lied a TON, it's all part of the game. Saying horrible things is not "telling it like it is", it's just being mean/ un-Christlike. "She wants to kill babies"  Again, so did he until this election cycle, conveniently.  But we can tack all of those up to partisanship.  What it came down to Christians, is that most of you had a stronger connection to a political party than what you say is true.  This is a guy who has bragged about sexually assaulting women.  He confessed to doing these things.  He encouraged violence at rallies.  He made numerous racist remarks. And while media has downplayed this aspect, he has been married 3 times, because of marital infidelity, and bragged about trying to get a women to cheat on her husband with him. But, apparently, all of this is not as bad as someone who is probably/allegedly/ok-almost-definitely a liar?  I don't get it, I have never seen him act in a way that would make me think- "hmmm, this is the guy for conservative Christians."  Sure, you like Mike Pence, and he matches your values, but he is not the President, and it's not likely he will be. Trump has made it abundantly clear that Mike will not be charge, and that he is his own man.    

6. I am looking at you Baby Boomers.  Wow, you guys came out to vote. Way to go. Just like Brexit, the youth of a nation have been impacted by a group of disenfranchised (mostly white) boomers.  The world is changing, it has changed.  Trump's antiquated view of the world is destructive, and doesn't represent the direction the world is going. I am sorry you didn't feel welcomed in this world, and you felt the need to "make America great again", but that America you remember wasn't great for everyone. [Fortunately for us, this is a 4 year deal, sorry UK.]

7. If nothing else late night television is going to have a great 4 years.  Donald Trump is an entertainer, and he will certainly entertain... (I just hope it's not at the expense of others)

Ok, whew, that feels good to get off of my chest.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

5 months of adventure comes to a close...

“He was a million miles from a million dollars, but you could never spend his wealth” ~ One Republic

Oh man, I just noticed the date on my last update, and I am WAY over due.  I have had a lot happen since March 4th, so I’ll update the best I can.

After I became a divemaster, I took my Instructor Development Course (IDC).  It was a ton of fun, but also a lot of work. I would spend the day in the classroom or in the swimming pool practicing dive skills, and then I would spend the evenings studying.  The people in my class were also a ton of fun, and the teacher was also really cool.  After the course there were 3 days of exams.  On the first day I had to take a written exam on dive theory (science-y stuff), I was pretty nervous for the exam because during all of the practice exams I had failed every one of them, but in the end all of the late nights of studying paid off and I passed with flying colors.  After the 3 days of exams, I was able to spend a week with Christine just enjoying Thailand.  She then headed back to Korea and I spent another week in Thailand, basically just bumming around and hanging out by the pool.  After that I returned to Korea, and I began subbing for the school Christine works at. 

So the past couple of months has basically been me just subbing for the school, and catching up with friends from Korea.  It’s been fun; one highlight was seeing some friends from the states that came into town for their brother’s wedding.  I also saw a bunch of students that I had lived with for years graduate.  So now it’s summer break and we are staying in Korea for the summer.  Christine and I have been spending our days re-organizing the apartment, laying around the apartment, and playing pickleball (a cross between ping pong, badminton, and tennis).   Our current plans are to maintain the status quo for the summer and next year.  Christine will teach 5th grade, and I will sub as I work on my masters degree.  One thing I am really working on is being content with the season of life that I am in right now, and believe me, that’s easier said than done.  It’s interesting how much a man’s identity is found in his occupation, or “what he does”, but I need to learn to appreciate the life of a trophy husband…and also I should probably work more on my abs for her.

So one thing particularly fun is that we’ve been watching all of Boy Meets World.  First I love the 90s, but this show particularly has a lot of nostalgia attached to it.  One thing I have found watching this as an adult is that the students in the show had amazing teachers (Mr. Feeny and Mr. Turner).  In fact, a friend of mine that is watching the show as well has agreed to have a competition with me that if we ever teach together we will compete to use Mr. Feeny speeches in class.  The thing that stands out to me particularly about the Feeny character is that it didn’t really matter what trouble the students got themselves into as long as they learned something. It was the idea of constantly growing and pushing oneself to be a better person.  I guess it’s a good reminder to ask myself “Did I learn something?”

Ok, so for those of you keeping track at home that I had mentioned in a previous post about how we wanted to start a family….well…no news.  I mean, we inherited a turtle, but I don’t think that’s what you guys are looking for.

And so I will leave you with an awesome video of my beard progression from my 4 months of adventure this past year.

Thanks for the prayers and keep it real.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014


Wow I can’t believe it’s been over two weeks since I updated! I am so sorry about that, but this has been my first day off since then, so I guess an update is over due. 

Anyways, it took a little longer for me to finish my dive master training due to having to do a visa run in there.  A couple of weeks ago I had to take a trip to Malaysia for a night in order to get a visa which allows me to stay in Thailand for an additional 2 months with a possible 1 month extension.  The whole thing was kind of crazy and involved 9 strangers packed into a van overnight for way too long with some really awkward “frank exchanges of ideas”` (not involving me, but the strangers were fighting). 

So back in Thailand I finished up my dive master training, which was a ton of fun, but also really hard.  Again, I learned a ton about diving, and I feel like I really have improved as a diver. But now I am officially a Divemaster!  After that we had a BBQ out on our lawn to celebrate and also to say wish a happy birthday to our friend Dima, who has unfortunately sine gone home.  We had a new girl from India move into his apartment that will be joining me for my instructor training. 

After that I took a course on diving with nitrox/enriched air, which is interesting. It involves breathing more oxygen and less nitrogen.  After that one-day class I spent the next week just fun diving.  It was pretty awesome to just dive for the love of diving.  I saw cuttlefish, squids, sea horses, sharks and… sea cucumbers and blue starfish! (Below is a leopard shark)

So a random note on photography and videography of the underwater world.  I have been carrying a little gopro in my pocket when I am diving and whenever I see anything especially cool or rare I bust it out and film it. So yesterday I uploaded all of my videos to my computer and I realized I am awful at photography.  So unfortunately there weren't many usable videos or photos, but when everything is all said and done I will put together a video of all my favorite 2 usable seconds of underwater creatures. 

So now I have some time to just relax and study before my classes to become an instructor (IDC) starts.  Next Monday I will be in the classroom for a couple of weeks, and I will take my 3 days of exams right when Christine comes to visit, so she will be here to celebrate the completion of my scuba studies!

I think the highlight of this experience for me so far is all of the diversity.  My neighbors are Australian, Indian, Iranian, Japanese, Thai and French. Also everyday on the boat is such a wildly diverse group.  I find myself frequently sitting around conversing with people from all over the world and all walks of life.  Also all the diving has me thinking about lessons learned and life parallels from each dive experience.  This must be a throw back to my wilderness staff days in camp life and doing debriefs about everything.  Hopefully down the road I will put some good life parallels in my blog. 

An easy one is about protecting the things we love…Everyday I find garbage on the ocean floor, which means there is someone on a boat somewhere throwing garbage over the side.  The places we go to are protected areas only visited by divers for the most part.  So if divers are polluting the places they are about to swim in they are basically taking the things they love for granted. It’s abhorrent, and heartbreaking.   In life it’s easy for us to take for granted the things we love around us everyday, but when we do that all we are doing is throwing garbage in the ocean, and at some point there will no longer be a beautiful ocean to visit.  So go tell someone you love them today!  I love you Christine!

Thanks for the prayers, and keep it real.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Meet the neighbors!

Ok, so I am torn about putting this out there, because I am embarrassed to admit I have seen the show, but does anyone out there watch the show Girls? and if so, is it suppose to be satirical? Or realistic? Are there really people out there who are like, "yeah, I really connect with these characters" –is this an honest depiction of millennials? or is everybody watching acknowledging the fact that these people are all super self-involved and delusional? Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the show, and think it’s hilarious, but I had a realization that this might be actually realistic to some people, and I could be watching the show all wrong. (I am too embarrassed to make this a facebook status, but a google search didn't help me find an answer so I am taking it to the people).

Ok, that was a short tirade now for an update.  First, things with diving have been fun but hard.  It’s a lot of work, but I am learning a ton about diving, and I am improving as a diver regularly.  I am also seeing tons of underwater life, so I’ll probably make a video of all the sea life after the trip.  As far as not updating more frequently, this has been because today is my first day off since the last time I updated.  They keep me busy.  If all goes as planned, I should be done with dive master training by Sunday, and then I just have to dive as much as I can to get my dive numbers up before March 10th.  If I don’t get to 100 by the 10th, then I have to wait until April before I can start my next stage of classes. The next stage is trainging to become an instructor.  Today has been my day off, so I have mostly been running errands, like getting fitted for a wetsuit, doing laundry, etc.  I did drive my scooter to a very western mall, and watched Robocop for 3 bucks. 

So now meet the neighbors… 
On the left is Kassie, she’s an Aussie who just started the same program I am doing, so she’s a little bit behind me.  She just recently quit her job and decided to make a life change and become a dive instructor.  She’s doing her dive master training here, and then will do her instructor training in the Maldives for a few months. In the middle is Dima, he’s from Kazakhstan and he’s not a diver, he just finished university and so is spending a couple of months in Thailand before he heads back.  He’s hilarious, his English is so-so, but he’s determined which results in some awesome miscommunications. And on the right is Barak, an Iranian, that recently finished his instructor course and is now working for Dive Asia full time.  He’s hilarious too, he’s always looking for ways to strum up some business for himself, like starting his own website that sells dive gear. You can also see Teeny has made an appearance and is enjoying the company.  They are a fun bunch that like hanging out on the porch in evening. 

Apart from that, I don’t really have time for a social life or even too much exploration of the island. When I get done with a day on the boat it’s usually 7:30ish and then I have some studying to do for the next day, and I am usually pretty beat.  I am in my new apartment now, which is just 2 doors down from my old one, but there’s no pump outside of it, which means I can sleep with out earplugs, plus the new shower is much better. 

Well that’s all for now.

Thanks for the prayer, and keep it real.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

First week in Phuket

Well the past week and a half have been pretty exciting. We had a pretty relaxing week in Phuket with long time friends, and we stayed at a hotel that was a little fancier than we have been traditionally use to.  Our room would literally open right up to the pool, so we would step out onto our veranda and have a couple of chairs and steps into the pool. It was pretty amazing.  That week Christine and I did 3 dives off of Phuket and we saw some awesome stuff.  Check out the short video for a couple of things. We saw a baby great barracuda, which was pretty amazing.  Unfortunately we didn’t get any footage of it but we do have a hilarious video of Christine thinking she turned off the video when she actually was turning off.  (she did some take some amazing footage of an octopus though)

So last Friday the group headed back to Korea and I stayed behind. Saturday I did my emergency first responder course, so now I am officially EFR certified.  I think by the end of everything I will actually be certified to teach an EFR course.  Then Sunday I began my training for rescue diver.  In the morning we were in the pool working on drills, and then we drove to Kata beach to do a dive.  Some of you might remember that Kata beach was the place that Christine and I got engaged back in  2009.  I saw some pretty awesome stuff that dive like a sea horse, lobster, pipe fish, and a giant purple jellyfish, that looked like some weird floating orb in the water.  It was amazing that it was just off of the shore.  I did some practice rescue stuff, and then the next day we went out to the islands and I did some more tests, so by Monday I was officially a PADI rescue diver. 

Yesterday I began my divemaster training with a half day of classroom stuff, just going over my responsibilities, and what all I’ll be doing by the end of the training.  I am essentially an intern for the next month or so.  I think one of the nice things about this current stage of my life is that I am not putting a lot of pressure on myself.  It’s not like this scuba thing was a life long dream or anything, so if I decide that it’s no longer fun, or if I just miss Christine too much, I can just go back home. No worries.  Right now things are going well though, so time will tell.  (although if I do go home, I’m really hoping to skip winter).

My instructor is the only guy that works here that’s first language is English, and he’s from India.  He’s also about to have a baby, like literally any day, maybe even today. My next-door neighbor is a guy from Iran, and he’s a lot of fun.  He just finished his instructor training and is planning on staying here in Phuket for a while.  I think I will probably do blog posts on some of the people I have met later. I currently live in a small apartment with a kitchen and bedroom and bathroom, no air conditioning but then again you get what you pay for.  My place is currently about $650 for 3 months, and if I get the AC upgrade it’s $2250 for 3 months, so it looks like I am going with out AC.  Next week I am changing apartments, just moving a few doors down to one that’s a little nicer and has a bigger fridge.  When that happens I’ll do a video of the dive center and my new apartment.  That’s the one nice thing about the place, I am literally right at the dive center.

Well that’s about all for now. Check back sometime next week for an update. I think Sundays will be my day off if I can swing it.

Thanks for the prayers, keep it real.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The last couple of weeks...

So today I was watching the show Community, [mild spoiler alert] and one of the actors on the show is leaving the show, and so they are writing him out of the show by having him leave to sail around the world.  Is it weird to get sad seeing a fictional character realizing my dream?  Although, now I guess it's just something that everyone does, so no big deal (I wanted to circumnavigate before it was cool)...

The last couple of weeks have been back in South Korea.  It's been a little weird being back, but it's been great seeing friends again, however briefly.  I think it would have been weird to come back here after 18 months away and see just a whole new crowd, and not recognize any of the faces. One of the most awkward things is talking to people who didn't know me well, and haven't been following what's been going on, and answering the proverbial, "What are you doing here?" I mean what are any of us doing here, maaaaan? (said in that voice that sounds like someone trying to make something deep out of something congenial).  For the past couple of weeks, I've been visiting some of my favorite Daejeon haunts, and catching up with friends.  I've learned that riding a scooter on ice is super difficult, and that I really really can't wait to spend the rest of the winter somewhere warm.   
 It's still been hard processing a lot of what transpired on the trip, and the choices that have been made.  Many people have told me that God has a plan for everything, and although I know that it's true, sometimes it's hard to believe it.  Right now I guess I am just trying to figure out what's next for me.  I have a couple of things in the mix, but I am waiting to find out if they will work out or not.  So more on that as information comes to light.  I am really wanting to get back into something where I can positively impact lives.  I miss the days of having a greater purpose- it's always nice knowing that even when I have a bad day, I am doing something for a greater good.

Today we leave for Phuket, Thailand.  A group of 7 of us are heading there for Lunar New Year, so that should be pretty fun.  I've been there a number of times and I love it- good weather, good food, good diving.  So as it is right now I am going to be spending the next few months there working on my dive training, and so I should be finished with that by the end of April, and from there I will come back to Korea, and continue working on my studies in education.  I know there's probably questions about how the whole diving thing will work, and where I will stay, and logistical stuff like that, and so to put your minds at ease, I will continue to update this blog over the next few months (hopefully about once a week).  I will also try to put together some more videos of diving and Thailand.  

Thanks for reading, and thanks for your support.  

Thanks for the prayers, Keep it real.