On Cultural Encounters and Tangents

By Maggie Velasquez-Choi

After asking C.F. David to forward my e-fanmail to the “Eyes Of A Child” writer (I keep up with the Boise City News online) he did so then emailed me back and invited me to volunteer to share my “interesting insights” (as he called it) in my own column. He'll be sorry he asked. I tend to talk/write too much, step on toes and sling “not-so-smooth-stones”.

I decided to title the column “On Cultural Encounters and Tangents”, because it's a little about culture and a lot of “that reminds me…” and “speaking of…”. Since this is the first article it's the boring setting (introduction of myself and my background) to give you a little idea of where these ramblings are coming from. Future articles should be more entertaining, thought-provoking and witty.

In a nutshell, I was born in a farming village in Durango , Mexico in 1967. My parents, Tereso and Irene Velasquez and my siblings and I, came to America in 1973 after two drought years. I attended Boise City schools from kindergarten until graduating in 1986. I attended OPSU for two years then transferred to my Seventh Day Adventist church's school (Southwestern Adventist Univ., Keene , Texas (close to the DFW metroplex)). I signed up to be a missionary overseas after completing my bachelor's degree in education ( Texas certified in teaching K-8 elementary school, K-12 Spanish, K-12 English-as-a-second-language and SDA Bible teacher). I chose South Korea . I arrived here ( S. Korea ) in 1992 and planned to stay 10 months. I stayed five years, two years in the mission field and three years teaching in a university and the government's Ministry of Education. In 1997 I returned to Texas and got into teaching there for eight years. In 1998, at age 31, I married my Korean souvenir, Tom Choi. He was working on his masters, then Ph.D. in computer science at the University of Texas at Arlington . I made the living and he made the living worthwhile. Upon his graduation in May of 2005 we (Tom and I and our, then four-year-old black pug, Missy) moved to S. Korea , since it's customary for the son to take care of his parents (and live with them). His father doesn't want to live in America . Yes, we have a nice house in a nice neighborhood in Arlington . His father has traveled with us to more beautiful American national parks than most Americans have seen themselves, but he prefers to live in his beloved S. Korea . In America we tend to think that most of the world wants to come live in the U.S. but it's my experience that most people prefer to stay in their own country unless they're driven out by dire poverty or war. Sooo, Tom works at Samsung Electronics, in an R&D department as a senior engineer developing stuff that, if he told me the details, he'd then have to kill me. Okay, almost done… bear with me while I wrap up last year… So, we arrived here with me being seriously sick for a year with Lyme disease that I had caught from a tick bite in Texas . Three months after apparently being healed we went for our second try at in-vitro fertilization. This coming April, three months before my fortieth birthday, we'll be welcoming Andrew, our first child.

We'll take it from there next week.