Here are my answers to the interview Barry prepared for me!
1) You mention in your bio that you are a translator and interpreter. How many languages do you speak, what is your favorite, which do you think is the most unusual language you know and tell us an interesting incident you had using your translation skills.
I am a native Spanish speaker, and I speak English with fluency. I also studied French in school for about 4 years but I have lost a lot of that language for lack of practice. I can still read French as well as Italian but it is mostly because of their based in Latin, and their similarity to Spanish. I can say some phrases in Korean, Japanese and Portuguese, but nothing beyond informal conversation. I have studied a little Korean before and it is a language that I would really like to learn. Their alphabet is similar to ours in the sense that the characters represent sounds and not meaning like Chinese or Japanese character sets.
I got into translation and interpretation professionally after college. In reality though after learning English I became my parent’s translator and interpreter in many situations. I did interpretation for a hospital back in Chicago as a volunteer and I have done document translation for agencies around the country. Time does not allow me to do it as much as I used to, but I love doing it. It also requires a lot of practice both in the translation and especially in the interpretation side, so I am probably a little rusty.
An interesting incident, for some reason none come to mind right away. I am trying to think of something funny and I cannot remember anything at all. A lot of the interpretation that I have done has been pretty serious because it has been in a healthcare setting where you are trying to be invisible. You really have to try to make sure that the patient is communicating with the doctor and not with you. You are supposed to be a bridge of communication.
I guess this kind of counts. I used to listen to American music quite a bit before I learned English. I had never understood the lyrics of course, and did not take the time to translate them. I remember one of my Friends from Colombia really liking a song, that I had listened to before but then I listened to it knowing English and to my surprise the song had a lot to do with sex and drug use. I guess it was kind of funny that I used to listen to so much stuff that I had no clue what the heck it was saying.
2) You list several Dan Brown novels as your favorites, including “The DaVinci Code” and “Angels and Demons”. What about Brown’s writing attracts you, and do you read similar novels? Also, in light of reading “Angels and Demons”, how did this past week’s death of the Pope resonate with you?
You have learned good grasshopper, hiding two questions in one. I enjoy Dan Brown quite a bit for the same reason that I enjoy Michael Crichton. They melt fact and fiction together in a very seamless way. When they write, they immerse you in a world that seems very real. I love using my imagination and Brown has transported me to places like Rome or Paris that I have never visited but want to now more so than before I read the books.
The Pope passing has resonated quite a bit with the book. Knowing what conclave means now, and just a lot more about the ceremony and what happens during this difficult time. I feel a little more clued into this situation thanks to the book.
3) Why did you decide to study martial arts, and how do you think this study has helped or otherwise influenced your spiritual life?
Believe it or not I was picked on quite a bit when I was younger. Most of it had to do with my age. I was about 2 years younger than anyone else in my class… something I don’t talk about much and will probably not ever really elaborate on. I wanted to learn Martial Arts as a form of self-defense; not knowing it would be such a different influence in my life.
When I met my teacher, Master Jang, it was an experience I would never forget. He is a charismatic person that is not only full of life but also full of wisdom for his young age. He was not that much older than me, but he already had lived so much. I studied under him for about two years and ever since then I have not been able to find another teacher. He influenced my life more than he probably knows. The coolest thing about it is that he is a friend, not just my teacher. I actually was a groomsman in his wedding.
Martial Arts are based on spiritual beliefs; a lot of their tenants regardless of the art are the same. The one that sticks out the most when I read your question is that TaeKwonDo is a way of life. Any spiritual walk has to be something that is constant, something that perseveres, a way of life.
4) Why did you decide to start a blog?
I have always wanted to have a diary, I also wanted to start writing. I want to some day become a writer, I am not where I need to be with that, but I am working towards reaching that goal. It has also been an emotional outlet, a lot of times not in a literal sense, but sometimes it has been. It has been a very good thing for me in the last couple of years.
A reason that I did not realize until I met Cielo, is that via my blog I was reaching out for understanding in many levels. More levels that just the superficial ones. I am not sure why no one else got that as much as she did, but that is one of the many reasons we are together. She has been reading my blog ever since we met and I love writing with her in mind. I love writing poems in particular.
5) Tell an amusing anecdote from when you and your wife were dating that she would kill you to reveal to the world
Cielo and I are not married yet we should be next year! We are getting close to finalizing details and soon we should have a countdown. I try to keep my personal life out of the blog in many ways, and I really do not like to write about others in my life in a direct way. I know it is weaseling out of the question but it is the truth. I do give her the chance to tell a funny story about me if she wants to 😉