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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The family that karaokes together stays together. #ChoFamilyKPopFamily Family time in one of my favorite cities in the world - especially when the exchange rate is so favorable. Thank you, Vancouver, for being such a great refuge for our souls for the past 20 years. #QuestVancouver It's the day after...that day.
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