|A man struggles to remove snow on his car and on the street in PyeongChang, northeastern South Korea, on Jan. 22, 2013, after more than 30 centimeters of snowfall hit the region in more than 24 hours. (Yonhap)|
* Let’s face it, being stuck in a room with a computer is actually one of the few places where I thrive. Though it may seem like a punishment, for some, it’s not all that bad for me. But, I really do enjoy being out and about, away from computers. No really, I do!
“I know I’m going to catch Hell for this but, what kind of clothes will I need?”
“How do I pack winter clothes for 18 days?”
“Do I wear underwear under the long-johns?”
“Will I seriously need long-johns?”
“Damn, these long-johns are hella-itchy!”
“Layers… Hmm, layers…”
“Does *insert clothing item here* count as a ‘layer’?”
The local Columbia Outlet received a good portion of my last few paychecks. As a result, not only am I (hopefully) prepared to face the cold, I’ll also be masquerading as a Columbia clothing model while there.
Recently, I was invited to the 2013 Special Olympics World Winter Games, in Pyeongchang, Republic of Korea, to provide additional support for the Games Management System (a software program that Special Olympics uses to run competition divisions, schedules and results). This is the same role that I served in 2011 during the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens, Greece.
I’ll be there for 18 days, 13 of which I’ll be working the Games. The remaining 5 days I’ll be exploring Seoul with some of my colleagues.
There are a few reasons this trip means a lot to me: First, one of my biggest professional accomplishments is organizing, centralizing, establishing policies & procedures, and training users to utilize the Games Management System in an efficient manor for Special Olympics Southern California. That was a project that took a little over two years of my professional career. And I like to think that my being invited to serve this role is a bit of a reward for that.
Second, this will be my first trip back to Korea since being born and leaving there at eighteen months old. I will admit that it’s drumming up some emotions though, I haven’t quite yet decided what to do with them. I’m very much looking forward to exploring both Pyeongchang and Seoul. Some have asked if I am going to try to locate my birth family while there. No, this won’t be the right time to do something like that. And, I’m not even sure that’s a search I want to take on.
And third, simply being a part of Special Olympics World Games is an experience that I wish everyone could have. The environment and atmospheres are difficult to describe. I can only sum it up as, amazing. It’s what I imagine a peaceful world should be. And the experience from both 2011 (Athens) and 2013 (Korea) will help as we begin to prepare for 2015 (Los Angeles).
Yesterday, I joined a Flickr Meetup that began at the Chantry Flats Trailhead, in the mountains above Pasadena/Sierra Madre. We followed the Gabrieleno Trail, for just over 2 miles, until we reached Sturtevant Falls. It was a fairly brisk, cloudy morning. Perfect for photography. The trail follows the Santa Anita Wash, which provided serene sounds of a creek as we trekked through. Gorgeous hike.
Some things I learned from yesterdays hike:
- Never underestimate the awesomeness that is meeting new people and listening to their stories.
- Man alive, I’m out of shape.
- I love watching other photographers’ creative process.
- According to my Fitbit, I climbed 86 floors (equivalent to the Transamerica Pyramid). If that’s true, that’s pretty cool. But, man alive, I’m out of shape.
- I need to get out a lot more; there’s too much beauty around here (greater Los Angeles) that I take for granted.
- Kids, don’t smoke. Because, even after you quit, you’ll pay for it every time you attempt to do any kind of exercise. Especially in higher altitudes.
- When attempting to cross a creek, don’t fall in.
- If you fall in, make sure your shoes are waterproof.
- If your shoes are not waterproof, HAHAHAHAHAHA!
- Rocks, in a creek, can be slippery.
- A walking stick would have been helpful.
“What’s disheartening about the political process in America is that, after an election, there’s far too few voices who mean it when they say, “Let’s compromise and do what’s best for America,’’ and far too many who say, “OK, what do we have to do to win in 2016?’’”