Eugene Cho

like father, like son

my parents immigrated to the US in 1977.  i was six.  my father joined the US army while in korea to learn english; he was unable to attend college in korea because of poverty.  as fresh immigrants, we struggled mightily in many ways but my parents were a symbol of great fortitude and perseverence.  while i was embarrassed of them during my teens, they have become my greatest mentors in life; they are not perfect but that’s exactly the kind of mentors i (we) need. 

but there are couple aspects about my parents and particularly my father i wish i could just let go of in my life.  one of those things is his inability to spend money and enjoy things.  it’s common amongst many immigrants and particularly the first generation.  they know hard work and sacrifice.  but they do not know how to rest and enjoy.

i know.  i know.  from a christian perspective, this is a virtue in the quest for simplicity and downward mobility.  but without going into too much detail, it has become sort of a quasi-disease in my life.   i’ve always adhered to the goal of saving as much as i can for ‘the big stuff’ like providing a home and a safe car for the family and giving to the causes of conviction.  i don’t have problems and issues with saving and investing for such matters as attested by the incredible home we currently reside in at ballard.  but, as much as i’ve tried, i’ve realized i just can’t spend for myself.  yes, there are areas of weaknesses such as the new used laptop i just purchased four weeks ago.  but tonight, my wife and i went to macy’s to redeem a certificate someone gave me for xmas.  i paced around the men’s section for about an hour wrestling with purchasing a ben sherman shirt for $30.  it was reduced by 75% and i still couldn’t pull the trigger!  my wife was so frustrated with me.  the only way i get new clothes is if she purchases them for me and when she does, we fight because i ask her to return them.

so after the hour of pacing, we did what we both enjoy doing.  we went to the local goodwill store.  i purchased a great jacket, one sharp shirt, another casual shirt, and a pair of pants for $14.99.  i love goodwill.

my advice to folks:  earn as much as you can within your boundaries, save as much as you can especially for ‘the big picture stuff,’ and give away as much as you can.  and for the small stuff, enjoy but enjoy it at goodwill.  🙂

Filed under: family, seattle

5 Responses

  1. take it from someone living with the opposite “affliction” you are in a much better place… i am a trigger happy spender and long to be a saver…

    now that you know that this comment won’t surprise you… ben sherman stuff rocks….

    but, i also enjoy the goodwill…

    sj

  2. Teresa says:

    I’m with you 100%!

  3. Blake says:

    Good for you P.E. I wish I could be a saver; I pretty much stink at it. When I see something I want for myself I have a really hard time not impulsively buying it.

    I can empathize with you on the Dad part because my own Dad never really wants anything for himself; at least he’ll never admit it. This makes holiday gift buying a real chore because he just doesn’t think about himself much. He’s is the most amazing giver I’ve ever known, but just doesn’t do much for himself. I admire that about him, but it is still a challenge at times.

  4. g. says:

    feel free to buy things for me then, PE. 🙂

  5. e cho says:

    had never heard of ben sherman until one of our church folks gave me his shirt that he outgrew. it’s become my favorite shirt.

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One Day’s Wages

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We have to remind ourselves of this truth every day lest we forget:

Our greatest calling as followers of Christ is to be faithful. Not spectacular. Not glamorous. Not popular. Not relevant.

Be faithful.

PS: Also, it helps to get some Vitamin D especially if you live in the rainy Northwest Thank you, Brooklyn, for the reminder. Umm, @jlin7 is a Christian but he wasn't very Christlike with me on the basketball court. He muscled me into the paint, dunked on me, mentioned my momma, and then said, "Stick with preaching." Just kidding. Kind of.

If you haven't heard, Jeremy Lin is donating his one games wages (approximately $140,000) and an additional $100 for every 3 pointer made to support Girls' Empowerment and Education through @onedayswages. That game is this Friday vs the Boston Celtics!

Join his campaign as he's inviting his fans to donate just $7. - http://onedayswages.org/jlin

Did you know that 32 million girls of lower secondary school age are not enrolled in school.

Did you know that every year of secondary school increases a girl’s future earning power by 20 percent.

Did you know that if all girls in Sub-Saharan Africa, South and West Asia had a secondary education, child marriage would fall by 64 percent.

We can't change the entire world but we can impact the lives of one, few, and in some cases...many.

#jeremylin #jlin #linsanity #onedayswages Don't be held captive to either praise or criticism.

Know who you are.
Know what you're about.
Know WHO you serve.

The answer to who you serve makes all the difference... It's the day after International Women's Day - and it's still important to celebrate the contribution of women in our lives, society, and world. As we honor women all around the world, I'm also reminded of how women and children are those who are most deeply impacted by injustice - especially poverty.

Sadly, I have witnessed this reality in too many places. ​In 2012, I traveled to a remote area in Eastern Kenya as part of a @onedayswages response to a famine that struck the Horn of Africa region. This famine impacted nearly 13 million people and according to some sources, took the lives of about 250,000 people. During my trip there, I had the chance of meeting many people but the person that still remains in my memory was a Muslim woman named Sahara.

She was so hospitable in inviting us to her small and temporary home. During our conversation, I learned that ​Sahara traveled 300 kilometers (a little under 200 miles) – some by cart and some by foot – as they sought to escape the worst drought that has impacted East Africa (Kenya, Somalia, and Ethiopia) in the past 60 years.

This is not a misprint.
200.

She traveled about 200 miles on cart and foot. ​And all along, she was ill. If you look closely ​at the photo, you might notice the large lump in her throat - likely a large cancerous tumor.​ She did not travel alone. She traveled with her husband who I was not able to meet because he was staying with one of his five other wives in this polygamist community.  She did not travel alone. She also traveled with her six children – the youngest being about 1 and the oldest being around 8. She had just given birth to her sixth child when they began her journey. Her youngest was severely malnourished when they arrived to this new settlement in a town called Benane. 
Sahara and her children all survived this journey. They survived because she persisted. 
In honor of Sahara...and so many other women who keep...keeping on. I have to remind myself of this every day...because I can forget every day:

Don't be lazy and make assumptions about people. Ask about their story. Then listen. Be humble. Be teachable. Be human. Be a good neighbor.

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