Just a little introduction. I'm sorry if I'm a little too heart-on-sleeve for any of you. I got married to the girl of my dreams less than a year ago, who walked into the cell phone store I was working at... More detailed version here:
2 years ago today is when a stranger who had stepped off the plane for the first time from Korea 3 days prior tried to get a cell phone from the cricket wireless store I was working at....I was away at lunch and had put up a small note saying I'd be back. She and her host mom, thought the store was just closed, but luckily she was hungry and so they stopped at the hole-in-the-wall chinese food restaurant 2 doors down. When I came back from work, I went to the chinese food restaurant to buy a soda like usual (free refills!), saw her.....thought about striking up a conversation, but since I had been down on my luck for a loooong time, I decided against it. Went back to work....and as soon as I started regretting it, she and the lady walked in! Later that night I took her to meet a couple of my friends...so that I could wash my hands of her because I found out she wasn't single at the time. Within 2 days I decided I needed to go for broke for this girl...Within 3 weeks we were dating, and within 6 months I went to Korea to meet her parents and propose, and then within another 6 months we got married here. I really should send a thank you note to her ex-bf who didn't even bother to call her or skype with her once after she arrived in the US... My parents were really skeptical when I first told them about her, especially the part where she was a Seoul National University graduate (#1 college in Korea...ask any Korean--it's harder to get into than Harvard, especially for a girl). If you don't know about Korea, it's a 1 shot society...if you don't get into like the top 3 schools...you could very easily end up working at supermarket. What's more is even if you do get into one of the top schools and get hired by a company like Samsung, they force retire you at the age of 50? with no retirement benefits!!! Another 2 crazy facts about Korea...there is no mortgage...you have to pay cash to buy a house. There are no student loans. You basically have to come up with tuition yourself or your family has to pay for it. hahaha, anyway...my parents did a background check on her to see if her story checked out and indeed it did. With all those years of disappointment and unfulfilled expectations.....all those years of playing Counter-strike instead of going to class in college.........even my parents /grandparents agree now that I would never have met this girl/perfect wife/perfect daughter-in-law/perfect granddaughter-in-law had I not screwed up so much not only in college, but bounced around from job to job for like 7 years after graduating...... This girl loves me for me and that's realllllly cool. I did everything the opposite way that my parents wanted...they said to become a doctor/get a solid career first and then the ladies would line up. For me, that would never have been OK. I had a hard enough time getting girls liking me for me--why would I want them to like me for my money/job? I thank God for her and so does my family. Rather, I have no doubt He placed her in my path which was very quickly spiraling downward at that time. Anyway, I found out later that she thought I was a chinese food delivery boy when she first saw me at the restaurant because of my haggard/unshaven appearance. Clearly not in proper work attire :-P
Wrote this song and am singing the hook (my friend raps in it and produced it)...and this is how I proposed to her--first told her I wrote her a poem....and then stuck a pair of earphones for her to listen to my song.
The rest is history :)
So, now I'm back in school, retaking classes, on the uphill climb of giving myself every shot of getting into grad school. Money is tight of course. And she is quite strict with our budget!!!! I had bought and sold TF10's and barely got them again recently this black friday for $95 this time for good (before I was just unsatisfied with comfort and the crazy noise isolation). I recently went into a guitar center to just check out the headphones that they had....and I immediately fell in LOVE with the beyerdynamic DT880 pro.... Was just stunned at how much better my music sounded. This was only the beginning of my crazy last 2 weeks
While the wife was out of the country visiting family, I was given a couple hundred dollar allowance. Hahaha..... With this $250 or so + her old htc EVO phone worth maybe $100.....I began buying and selling and trading phones on craigslist...............mainly for trying out different phones with Wolfson DACs in them (which I read about on head-fi and google upon researching the DT880).
With a flurry of some wise sells and trades, which included buying a near mint Droid Bionic for $100, trading that for a NEW 16gb iphone 4 the very next day, and buying a like-new Nexus S and Epic for $130 total.....and a couple other Galaxy S phones like the Vibrant and Fascinate for around $80, Sony Xperia Play phone for $20, selling them for about $150 each after flashing to Cricket service........and TRADING my wife's old EVO phone + $45 1 month cricket service for a MINT Droid RAZR....... It kinda helps that I work at a cell phone store on sundays....(same store as I met my wife in) but I sold most of the phones on Craigslist..
The fruits of my labor:
I ended up with a $350 used Aria AC-35 made-in-spain classical concert guitar (new price $1900) for my dad's birthday, a brand new pair of Beyerdynamic DT880 250ohm for $215 which got me started with this audiophile madness and head-fi addiction, Droid RAZR for my wife (one of the newest phones out, which I can sell for at least $300 easy), the $80 Samsung Galaxy Nexus S for me as my main music player and android device on wifi, a $50 used Trends PA-10 tube amp, Little Dot MKIII tube amp (from head-fi classifieds), and $300 extra cash that I can stow away for future discrete hifi purchases or buy the wife a welcome home gift :P I also figured out after a year of owning the Korg SV-1 stage vintage piano that the only thing wrong with it was the sustain pedal....I just took a chance and bought the pedal while I was at guitar center. The $13 new pedal feels like I saved $1200....I was about to sell the thing since I never played it. The sustain just wasn't anywhere near long enough, so playing sounded choppy and unlike a real piano. BTW, it's a wonderful keyboard and it has a built-in tube amp in it! This has been a crazy 2 weeks without my wife, but the only bad thing is that this all has been at the expense of my focus on school and studying.....I have a couple weeks until finals and am needing to glue my bottom to the chair and eyes to the books. If I can pull that off, it will have been oh so worth it.
Where there's a will, there is a way for even poor head-fi'ers...and even ball 'n chained head-fii'ers :D
Wife is back in 2 days. g a m e o v e r hehehe
Check out my link for my FAVORITE MUSIC ever in my sig, complete with youtube links. I told my friend recently...man, if I could only spread the gospel like I try to spread my music. haha
With the overwhelming positive responses to this, I have written even more details which you may or may like to read :)
As you can tell, I like to tell things in excruciating detail.
ADDED 4/21/2012 - This is probably one of the most profound things that happened in all of this, which I forgot to mention until now. The reason why she chose Portland, Oregon instead of some other city like Vancouver, BC, or more popular US town like San Francisco or Los Angeles was for the very fact that, being the very diligent student that she was, she wanted to be immersed in a town that did not have many Koreans. When making her choice for what city to go to for 3 months, and then 3 months in NYC, she asked in a forum what city someone could recommend for being safe and having a low Korean population. I was the first person she met besides her host family :-)
I was a hopeless romantic since Pre-first, 1st grade......... For me it was seriously one huge crush after the other. I would write diaries in middle school... LOL. Most of the time, I was left wondering if they even knew I existed. And you don't know how much effort I put into trying to subtly and indiscreetly create chance encounters so I could get the girl to notice me, but alas it was only until the 2nd year of college after spending my entire freshman year SUBTLY nonchalantly chasing after one girl, that I had my first girlfriend. That lasted like 3-4 years until I had to call it quits. My break-up words were something like, "It must be hard for you, knowing how much I love you and you don't have those feelings in return. I'll give up"... My 2nd (and penultimate relationship) lasted 4 and a half years when out of the blue, only a month or so after finally getting acknowledgement of the relationship by my parents, she decided to break up with me. Just like that. Needless to say, my world came crashing down. I was more than 50lbs overweight, got laid off the week after the breakup due to missing a couple days of work, and then
Another crazy thing is my wife says she didn't have any feelings or thoughts up until I gave her a mood ring which kept telling her that she was "in love". (she's a really honest person..I'm not sure but she may have never lied in her life....Might be a Buddhist thing. I'm more used to being a hypocritical Christian and being around a bunch of hypocrites)..... anyway, a couple days before we started dating (I already told you that within the first week I met her, I told her I wanted to marry her...and told her that constantly), I took her to the beach. It was a really windy and rainy day at the beach, so after walking on the beach for a little bit, we stopped by the local aquarium's store (because it was closed). I bought her a mood ring and a sand dollar. I explained to her what it was and I guess she saw the "key" for which color means what... I saw her looking at the ring at least few times the rest of the day. I thought she was just kinda fascinated at the color change and thought maybe they didn't have them in Korea). Well, she later told me that she was just intrigued because it kept on turning the color for being in love. She says she HONESTLY didn't have any feelings for me until looking at that ring and wondering why it kept turning the color for love? So that windy rainy day at the beach inspired me to write this piano piece....the melody to which I later turned into my proposal song! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aHlXJn10QaE
I used to not even be able to look directly at a pretty girl in the room. It killed me that my friends would/could completely turn their heads and some were bold enough to look at them long enough to get caught :-P
Anyway, the fact that I am an only child may explain a lot about the way I am, but it also for sure explains how i can speak Korean pretty fluently. Most 2nd generation Koreans lose the language for the most part because they talk exclusively in English with siblings once they start school. I haven't been very careful to write in proper sentences here, but I am pretty good at correcting grammar and pronunciation. My wife came to the US for the first time while working on her masters to just take a break from it all. My parents were concerned at first because they were suspicious of her motives (i.e. Greencard marriage, etc. Especially before 9-11, it was a BIG business... People would literally pay $50,000-$150,000 to do a green-card marriage). I didn't clarify this earlier. The fact that they verified that she actually went to SNU, calmed their fears a little). I had learned spanish for 8 years and also taught English in Korea during a Christmas break and it was enjoyable to me. My korean is maybe a 10 year old native level, although I get made fun of for my accent, which my fellow Korean friends think is a gringo (American) accent. It actually comes more from the fact that my mom is from a particular town in Korea that uses a slightly different accent/dialect. I don't have a very large vocabulary, but I can express myself even better than I can in English as a whole (I think Korean is a more "intimate" language--it's easier to make really accurate depictions of feelings/descriptions with simpler words) I can only read/write at a maybe 2nd grade level... You don't know how much I complained at my parents for only having me throughout the years. Turned out to be something necessary for this whole thing to have worked out. The problem is now that we almost exclusively speak in Korean at home, which isn't the best for her improving her English D: Still, as descriptive/articulate that I try to be in English and having a college level education, I communicate better with my wife than I have with any other person in any language :)
I'm getting caught up in too many details so I'll just sum it up with 2 more interesting tidbits. My wife had always told herself that she'd never even DATE someone who is blood type B. In Korea they've even made a movie about it--"My boyfriend is type B". I guess it's because we have a short temper, apparently...kinda true for me now that I am more extroverted. I think I mentioned it before a little earlier, but I was seriously bummed out after finding out the first day that she had a boyfriend. I didn't want to waste any more time/money at that point, because my last date was with a girl who turned out to have a boyfriend...! Every other girl I asked out pretty much had a boyfriend. So, I was really in a "the good ones are all taken" mode.. The 2nd day I met with her was when I decided that I needed to go for broke. 3 weeks was what it took to finally wear her down :D In reality, it was only a couple days before we started dating that she even considered dating me because of the mood ring...!
The events that had to happen for us to actually get married and make everything work financially/satisfactorily with both sets of parents, etc is another miraculous story, which I'm positive won't be as interesting to you all :)
Below is something I wrote in a response earlier, but I think should be added to the story. It might get someone to give the piano just a couple hours....and then be hooked for life :D Maybe I'll plug the piano instructor's band, which has been getting played on radios across the nation and you may have heard of them. www.mnemonicsounds.com Quite good
One more thing I forgot to mention is that about a couple months before I meet my wife, I started taking piano lessons. Everything I am playing on my youtube including the proposal song that I wrote is a product of 5 hours of lessons from a really great piano instructor. Before I met my wife, PIANO was what I felt like was my long lost calling...I have found few things more satisfying and enjoyable as sitting down and playing songs that actually sound good and are easy to play. I haven't taken any lessons since, but plan on it. I can also just improve by practicing. If you're no longer a kid, obviously it's gonna be hard for you to pick up an instrument. Learn CHORDAL PIANO. It's so easy. Pretty much muscle memory. I've heard of the Suzuki method, but I'm serious...find someone who can teach you chordal piano and you'll be able to play ANY song you want in no time. It's the same as learning guitar chords and playing from a "fake book", except easier because you don't have to press down on strings with awkward hand positions like on the guitar. Anyone who knows music should be able to teach it. After maybe 2 hours of lessons and just a couple hours of practice, you will be well on your way. The average person who has never played piano will never know that you're just a beginner player. =)
Basically all I'm doing for most of my piano songs are playing the 3 note chord in the root position and just improvising a little with sus2 and sus4 keys. Simplest example is the C chord. You play C and G in left hand (I & V keys) and then on the right you play C, E, G (I, III, and V keys). Csus2 and Csus4 is just playing the II or IV key with the right hand. So like CDEG (I, II, III, V) or CEFG (I,III,IV, V).
This requires no musical talent, I promise. :D
A note about me and describing stuff in excruciating detail-- I argue the same way, so you don't want to get into an argument with me! hehe However, I never embellish or exaggerate a single detail to the least degree. I can't stand it when I argue with even my best friend who makes HUGE exaggerations just to make a point--but they're so out of proportion, that it's completely unfair!! (EDIT: I've sorta come to the realization very recently that I am probably a hard person to argue with--at least for my best friend and Mom, who interestingly argue the exact same way with me). It's quite frustrating, but they complain that I don't let them finish their thoughts--because in my mind I think they're going off on tangents and are making moot points. I experienced recently what it felt like to be on the receiving end of that during a doctor's appointment--I was trying to tell him some valid points and I could barely finish a sentence without him interrupting me--I guess doctors are on a huge time crunch....but still it was really frustrating, but possibly revealing of my own flaw). Hehehe
So quite some time has passed since writing this first post--and I've done way too much trading and buying and selling. Unfortunately distracting me from my studies--what can I do to stop the proliferation and mutation of this head-fi/hifi disease?????
Sold the Trends tube amp, got the Fiio E17,
Sold wife's Droid RAZR due to battery life and irreplaceable battery - got her the Galaxy S2 instead
Sold my Nexus S, bought iPod video 5.5gen-----just sold/shipped today.
About to get a Cowon J3, but considering another Galaxy S phone - probably Captivate or Vibrant this time since they have 16gb built in + a memory slot
Selling my yamaha music mp3 recorder, bought Roland R-05 wav/mp3 recorder from Head-fi member...
Bought and sold a couple more phones that I bought while working.
I might be forgetting some more......but even more time wasted researching and thinking about buying/selling........ :'(
Bought and sold PS Vita (which I bought when I found out it had a Wolfson DAC and sold 3 days after--too uncomfortable for hands even for gaming) - been trying to sell my modded PSP-3000 which also has the Wolfson...
Someone chop off my hands right now...!!!!!!!!!
Edited by hyogen - 8/28/12 at 5:10pm