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What about your wife?

One of the advantages of working together is that my wife and I are able to share different experiences during the same Special Olympics events. Michelle oversees sports and competition for Special Olympics Southern California, and is traveling to Korea as part of Special Olympics Team USA, where she will oversee the Floor Hockey delegation (athletes and coaches). 
While I’m stuck in a room with a computer*, she gets to experience the “fun” part of the games: the competition. She leaves a day ahead of me, traveling with part of the team, to Seoul. Our schedules, while there, don’t look like they’ll match up at any point but, I’m sure we’ll find a way to spend some time together. We’ll be in different hotels, and different sports venues, for most of the Games. After the Games, she travels with SO Team USA back to Los Angeles while I “float” around Seoul a little longer. 
Michelle is no stranger to SO World Games experiences. She worked the 2007 SO World Summer Games (Shanghai) and the 2009 SO World Winter Games (Boise, ID). She has also worked the 2006 SO National Games (Ames, IA) and 2010 SO National Games (Lincoln, NE). 
I’m very proud of her and the work that she does for the athletes and coaches. It’s her mission to ensure they have all of the support and resources they need to get through the Games. She also goes out of her way to ensure their experiences are safe and enjoyable. 
Michelle’s reputation amongst our colleagues is stellar (to say the least). In fact, in most circles, I’m only known as “Michelle’s husband”, a moniker I’m proud to bear. 

* 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!

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Layers and long-johns

“I know I’m going to catch Hell for this but, what kind of clothes will I need?”

I asked three people that question. And those three people did, in fact, give me Hell. And, they will continue to throughout the trip. Raised in Southern California, and anti-snow, the heaviest jacket I own would probably be comfortable in 40 degree climate at best. My body temp runs normally hot, so seeing me in shorts while others are bundled up is not an unusual sight.
But, subzero temps not counting windchill? Definitely uncharted territory for me.
Over the past couple of months, you may have heard me say the following:

“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.

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Why I am going to Korea

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).