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ABOUT ME

SOME ADVENTURES SO FAR

***Please feel free to send me a question by going to the contact section.  Your questions and my answer might find their way here with your name tagged to it.  :)

Basic Facts

(1) Birthday: February 9th

(2) Favorite Book: That's a hard question! That's like asking a parent who their favorite child is. Hmmm... I can tell you some of my favorite books. Below is just a brief list.

 

When I was a kid, it was hands down the Chronicles of Narnia. I read that series of books maybe five times each (I can't remember if that was a childhood exaggeration or reality, but I do remember reading the books multiple times). As an adult, I like the allegorical aspects of these books, but as a kid, I just enjoyed how C. S. Lewis created such a rich parallel world. In fact, for a while, I wanted to name my first-born son Shasta. Daniel, my actual first-born son, will probably be grateful that I didn't stick with this youthful resolution!

In high school, "1984", "Animal Farm" and "The Outsiders" impacted me enough that I still remember sitting in class and discussing those with the teacher and my classmates. I vaguely remember identifying with Johnny in the book "The Outsiders". In homage to "1984", I had a poster in my locker that said: "Big Brother is Watching". That wasn't accepted very well by the other students in the school, but I loved putting up those esoterica allusions. A secret code, if you will.

 

During my undergrad, I used to argue with my fellow literature majors that Michael Crichton would someday be inducted into the hall of fame known as the "classics". Time will tell. Though, I think Umberto Eco has a greater chance of that distinction, and I started reading his book "The Name of the Rose" because of the movie by the same title. I love historical fiction, and I probably started reading those during my undergrad.

In grad school, I read the book "Silence" by Shusaku Endo, which greatly disturbed me. I was at a Bible college (Moody) at that, so it really asked a lot of questions about faith and martyrdom. I remember putting down the book and imagining myself in the main character's position. What would I do? Could my faith in Jesus hold even in that situation? Did I truly know that I held the Truth that answered the eternal questions? I hope and pray that I will never have to find out if I could go through that experience! But it did challenge me!

 

My favorite genres are historical novels, suspense, murder mysteries...to name a few. But I don't like to pigeon-hole myself to one genre. At the insistence of a friend, I once read a harlequin romance novel, and I disliked the sex scenes in them. But I liked reading MacDonald's romance novels, even though, for me, they are a bit too simplistic in how their characters interact.

 

Really, this is only a glimpse of the books that I have enjoyed reading over the years.  I used to carry a backpack full of odds and ends, but it always carried three or four books that I was in the middle of reading. Now, I have a kindle full of books I am in the middle of devouring.

(3) Favorite Bible Verse: This question is actually not that hard. I remember one evening during my freshman year in college I was hanging out with some friends of mine at a local "greasy spoon". At the end of the booth we were sitting at was this framed picture on the wall. I can't remember what was in the frame except for that it included the verse John 15:13-14. "Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends. You are my friends if you do what I command (NIV)." I had been seeking truth, the meaning of love, the answers to the eternal questions and just a lot of "dark night of the soul" searching, and during this time, I had said to my closest friends that I would give up my life for them if they asked me to. I know that is weird, but it was my way of saying that I deeply cared for them. So, when I read that verse, it resonated with me. God loved me so much that He gave up everything in order to rebuild the lost connection with His creation. That might sound odd to some of you reading this, but it truly resonated with me. And during that time, I began looking at the claims of Jesus...and falling in love with the God presented in the Bible.

(4) Career: English teacher since 2001 (TESOL, EAP, etc.)

(5) Dream Job: I used to tell my students that my dream job was to be a professor.  It was.  Still is in some ways.  Though, I have other dream jobs now, including novelist, film director, photographer, etc.  Why limit your dreams to one?  Though, right now, I am focusing on my writing career, so the dream right now is to become a full-time novelist (or short story writer).  All in prayer.  :)

(6) Travel:  15 countries (at last count), including South Korea, China, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, Turkey, Israel, Egypt, Greece, and Mexico.

(7) Favorite Place Visited: Boracay in the Philippines or Turkey...or Israel.  I like different places for different reasons.  Though, for writing, I would choose Boracay because I can relax and get some good writing done.

(8) Best Friend:  My wife, Grace Eunhye Han

(9) Religion:  Christian (this is very much a part of who I am in so many ways.  If you are interested in learning more about my faith and relationship with Jesus, then please follow this link - The Gospel in Four Minutes.)

(10) Favorite Quotes: 

            "We work to live; not live to work."

                                    -personal life motto


            "Truthful lips endure forever,
             but a lying tongue is but for a moment."
                                   -Proverbs 12:19 (NIV)


             "I have seen their tears, I have heard their cries and I will give every

                       drop of blood in my veins to set them free."

                                  -Harriet Tubman


             "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he

                       cannot lose."

                                  -Jim Elliot (copied from Wheaton College website)


            “People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.

                     If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind

                    anyway. If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest

                    anyway.  If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy

                    anyway. The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do

                    good anyway. Give the world the best you have and it may never be

                   enough. Give your best anyway. For you see, in the end, it is between

                    you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.”

                                  - quote attributed to Mother Teresa

Likes and Dislikes

LIKES

(1) spring weather (but without the annual "yellow dust" found in S Korea

(2) flowers (absolutely love flowers!  When my wife gives me flowers, I melt.)

(3) a good book to read (but I'm really picky)

(4) a good movie to watch (see above ;) )

(5) Korean food:  dalkkalbi (닭갈비), moksal (목살),

      naengmyun (냉면), hodok (호떡), etc.

      Western food:  Southern BBQ, hamburgers, 

      pizza, Costco food court, TexMex, etc.

      Favorite cuisine:  Mexican (I love Mexican candy and real Mexican food like 

      tamales, but I grew up with TexMex. So, I am a bit impartial to that version.)

(6) a quiet evening at home with my lovely wife

DISLIKES

(1) winter. I absolutely hate cold, wet weather!  I can endure the summer heat more than winter chill because I absolutely love sunny days.

(2) smelly flowers.  I actually don't like lilies that much. The sickly, sweet smell actually nauseates me a bit.  Though, a funny thing about me is that I cannot smell very well, so I have to get really close to some flowers to smell them.

(3) non-fiction.  I greatly prefer fiction to non-fiction, but for a few years, I have mostly read only non-fiction.  I'm not sure why, but I am back into fiction.  Yet, I'm not as voracious of a reader as I used to be. I'm not really sure why, but I hope that will change.

(4) horror movies or ones with a lot of blood. Except for some zombie movies, which I don't find that scary for some reason, I cannot stand being frightened on purpose. I love suspense, but I don't like being scared.

(5) all seafood. I used to get nauseous just at the smell of seafood.  I dislike the taste and texture of seafood.  My wife loves sushi, so it is a bit sad for her. :(  The strange thing, though, is that I don't react to tuna or fried fish.  Basically, those do not have the "sea" smell or taste in them.

(6) introverted extrovert.  sometimes, I like being with crowds; sometimes, I don't.  I'm an extrovert who also likes being a homebody sometimes.  Sometimes, I get so overwhelmed that I just want to find a corner to hide in, but other times, I just enjoy the excitement and energy of people flowing around me.

Color Race in Seoul
reading my wedding vows in 2014
skydiving near Chicago
scuba diving in the Philippines
winning a car when I was 12
the Acropolis in Athens
prep for a proposal that included a flash mob
Short Life Story

A website is a difficult place to summarize a lifetime. Though, I will try.

 

I was born in Texas...correction, Kansas. I would like to think I was born in the state that I grew up in since, for Texans, it is an issue of pride. Somehow, that sense of Texas pride stuck with me, and even though I have lived more of my life outside of Texas, I still consider that state "home".

 

I had a pretty abnormal childhood, I think. Though, possibly, everyone has an abnormal childhood. In sum total, I have five sisters and two brothers...from two mothers and four dads. Sadly, that was due to divorce. Because of the divorces, I lived in over ten different homes before reaching the age of 18. I also went to at least nine different schools from K-12 (including being homeschooled for a year or two). Is that strange?  I would say my schooling and adolescence has molded my character, writing and passions in many ways. For one, I love travelling and seeing new places, and I tend to be at ease in new situations.

A big event that happened when was 16 was when my older brother and I ran away. Thank God we had family to run away and who let us live with them. Thank God I have also forgiven the people who were the reason why we ran away, so I won't go into the details of "why" here. Yet, I will say that my childhood was a very difficult one with a lot of anger, pain and loneliness. Back when I was a teenager, I tended to wear all black, which was a reflection of what was going on inside of me. I remember when I first met one of my good friends, and she said something like, "wow!  You look like you hate the world!"  At that time, I did.

Though, this is where the story of my life takes a huge u-turn. While I was a freshman in college, I tried to find the "meaning of life". Honestly, I was suicidal and just didn't see any hope in life. I drank quite a lot during this one year and tried to find friends, love and hope. I then decided to systematically study the different life philosophies and religions. It was in this search that I found my answers. I found the hope and love that has transformed my life and made it worth living in the "God become flesh" of Yeshua (Hebrew word for Jesus). I have been a Christian since the age of five (that is definitely a long story to tell!). Though, when I gave my life again to Christ during my freshman year, I went from wearing all black to color because of the joy and love that I had found in Jesus.

In giving my life to the one who gave me life, I went on to study at a Bible college. This was after graduating with a BA in English. I eventually went on to become an ESL teacher because I thought this is where I could love both my God and others. I had started my college career wanting to become a novelist or possibly a newspaper reporter. Actually, my dream was to become the Poet Laureate of the United States, but I didn't see that possible. Who knows what the future holds?

My career in ESL brought me to South Korea accidentally. I say accidentally because I never planned to live here and only visited during my summer breaks while I was in grad school to get some experience under my belt and pay my tuition. While I was studying for my MA, I was planning on living in Israel or somewhere else in the Middle East, and my MA in Intercultural Studies included an emphasis on Jewish and Arabic studies. So, it was a shock to myself included when I made Korea my permanent home. Since 2001, I have been "pleasantly" stuck here in South Korea off and on (with two four year lay-overs in Chicago). I don't regret the many lessons that living overseas has taught me.

 

A huge and wonderful event happened to me in 2014 when I married my best friend - Grace Han. Right now, she is sitting in our kitchen watching the news in her language, Korean. Even though being married to someone from another culture has its special set of challenges, I am glad I married her. She challenges and encourages me. Now, I cannot see my life without her.

During the fall of 2016, I got an unexpected break from teaching. Long story short, student enrollment had dropped, and so a bunch of my classes were cancelled. This gave me a tremendous amount of free time to work on a novel that I had been mulling over for a few years, and in about five months, I had the first draft done. The name of the book right now is "Sunlight Under the Korean Shadow:  The Rising Storm". You can request a reviewer's copy if you are willing to help me polish the story.

Since then, I have been writing a bunch of short stories, some of which you can find here on my website. I have also started a few novels. I have a lot of plans in regard to where I would like to take my writing, but I am also laying it all down at the feet of the one who gave me my talent—my God. If you wish to get a reviewer’s copy of any of my works, please let me know.

 

Another big event that has happened in my life is the birth of my son on June 9, 2018. For those who are parents, I do not need to tell you how much a child will turn your world upside down. I love the little guy! But Daniel certainly keeps me busy!

My wife has always been extremely supportive of my endeavors and has also said to me that I am a person of many passions. I love photography, filming, art, poetry and writing, just to name a few. A while back, Grace told me to focus on just one passion—and I chose writing. This website was set up to create a "platform" for my writing and other passions.

 

You are now a part of that story. Thank you!

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