I was lucky enough to be born in Hawaii, where I was only able to attend Enchanted Lake Elementary School before we moved away when I was seven. I didn’t realize how good I had it until we returned for a family vacation in 1992 and I realized that our house was only a five minute drive from the beach. The most first question I get asked when I tell people I was born in Hawaii is always “Oh, was your dad in the military?”. I guess that is still the first thing people think of when they think of why someone would move to Hawaii. (He actually was in the military and got stationed there, but that is long before I was born). After Hawaii, my dad’s job took him and us to Sydney, Australia. We stayed there for three years, making a trip back to the states once a year, where I spent most of my holidays in Green Bay, Wisconsin. While there, I managed to somehow skip over first grade and landed in second grade in Balgowlah Heights Public School, where I had to wear a uniform and was the new kid with the funny accent. So what can top Honolulu and Sydney as exotic locations to live? Try Detroit, Michigan. We moved there in 1986, via New Zealand and Disney Land. Actually, it was a very nice suburb called West Bloomfield and was a great place to live. Only there for a year, I went to Green Elementary School for my fifth grade, where I was again the new kid with the funny accent (this time Australian). in 1987, we moved to Blue Bell, PA (it’s outside of Philly), where my parents still live. There, I attended Wissahickon Middle and High School, where I ran track and discovered Pink Floyd. I also traveled to Alaska and Hong Kong while we lived there.
After I graduated high school, I went off to Slippery Rock University, where Rick was also earning his degree. He was a member of Sigma Pi, which joining seemed like a good idea also, so I pledged in the Spring of ’95. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but it also gave me a huge shot of confidence that I still carry with me today. While at SRU, I took advantage of their study abroad program by traveling to England to complete a semester at Teesside University, in Middlesbrough. While in England, I was once again…yup, the guy with the funny accent and one of the international students, with whom I traveled all around the UK and to Amsterdam. On my first day of orientation at SRU, they told us to look to the left and right and that only one of the three of us would make it to graduation. I guess I was the one that did, because I managed to finally graduate in the Spring of 1999.
After I left college, I had no idea what I wanted to do professionally (to a large extent, I still don’t), so I did what anyone else would do – I flew to San Francisco and took the Green Tortoise back to Philadelphia. I highly recommend it if you have a few spare weeks to kill some time. Not having found my calling on the bus as we made our way across the US, I packed everything I owned into my Honda Accord and drove up to Westchester, New York. A good friend of mine from college worked for a family up there and lured me there with promises of a big paycheck, fantastic stories to tell and all the Snapple I could drink. I took a job as a nanny without ever having a proper interview or meeting anyone and was in for a huge surprise. The family was headed by a man on the Forbes 500 list, a billionaire (yes, that’s with a “b”) who had a staff of about 50, spread out over two estates, and I had my fill of stories by January. I again packed my life into my Accord and left New York in early 2000 to reap the fortunes of the dot com boom in Northern Virginia, the Silicon Valley of the east coast. I was hired at UUNet, where Rick had worked (see a pattern here?) for a few years and done quite well. Apparently, my timing was a little off as I got to enjoy a solid three months of boom, followed immediately by several painful years of the bust.
I then took jobs at MCI/WorldCom, WorldCom, MCI, and Verizon Business (where I work now), luckily never having to change desks; the name on the outside of the building just kept changing while along the way, I can now say that I worked for the company responsible for the largest accounting fraud in US history. For the last eight years, I have been doing shift work, basically working 10 hours a day (including weekends), four days a week, which is nice as it affords me a lot of time off to do stuff like painting and traveling. I went to places like Costa Rica, Las Vegas and Savannah, GA. On one of those trips, I met my wife, Pilar, while in Lima, Peru in March of 2004. I have since been to Peru 14 times (click here to see why) and to Europe and Australia once.
After a two year fight to get Pili into the US, she finally arrived in October of 2007. We took advantage of her not having a job to take as many trips as we could in a few months. In January, she started looking for a job and landed one on her very first interview, but then moved on to greener pastures. We live in a condo in Falls Church, Virginia, and both work full time. In our spare time, we take lots of trips, ride our Waverunner and go to a lot of shows. I also spend too much time on the internet and we watch a lot of tv in our spare time. In 2009, we went to Hawaii, so Pili could see where I started my life, and went to visit Rick in Thailand (with a stop in Hong Kong) in 2010. We’d like to take the following trips (in no particular order) someday: Dubai, Germany, Italy and California.
I can still remember when I discovered the old school internet my freshman year of college (1994). I used to go to one of the older computer labs on campus and use Gopher to search for stuff on Pink Floyd and whatever else interested me at the time. It wasn’t easy to navigate and it wasn’t very pretty to look at, but I still remember being amazed that there were other people out there that had the same interests as me and were willing to try to share what they had with strangers – for free! Over the next few years, the internet somehow got a lot better looking and a lot easier to use. All of the sudden there were pages like Yahoo! that were trying to make sense of the hundreds of new pages that were popping up every month. E-mail was easier to use and there were colors everywhere besides just ugly black and green. You could meet and chat with people all over the world that you would never have otherwise known. “Dot com” was now a new part of everyone’s vocabulary. My favorite part of this new phenomenon was that you could sit down at a computer and just get lost by following links. It seemed like all pages were linked to one another in some way. You could start at one page reading about one thing and end up at a completely different page on an entirely different subject two hours later just by following a series of links. Pages were rampant with hyper links, which seems like a thing of the past on many web sites these days. Wikipedia is a great example of a page where this still exists and is how I hope this site will be.
As I said above, this web site was primarily set up to have a place to share the photos from my trips so that we could show our families, but I am gradually adding other things to it, such as articles like “How to marry a Peruvian” and my thoughts on why US immigration policy and the TSA in the United States is a joke. You can also see some more lighthearted stuff like some recipes and, of course, a Links page.