Tuesday, November 13, 2007

105 Diaper-Free Days left, Reflections of Baba

I thought the title would look inventive. Actually, it's true Mi Sung is expecting our baby #1 in February 2008. I'll be 35.1 years old when the baby's born, and I can already imagine the diaperama, and I have been browsing the ailes in the supermarkets to check on prices, about $25-30 CDN a pack in South Korea. Maybe we should use the old towel wrap that my Romanian Baba (grandmother) used on me back in the early 70's when all the diapers ran out? By the way, Baba just celebrated her 98th birthday in Windsor, 82 years since she left a small town in Romania coming to Canada without a single relative. She the "Rock" or "Corner Stone" of my family in Canada, always without fail setting the best example for all of us to follow (if we choose to). Baba is my personal Hero, the one person in my life that took care of me as a baby, always shared her unconditional love, was unbiased, undistracted by her own priorities, and survived a lot of tremendous obstacles including poverty, destitution, and being an endentured servant upon arrival to Canada on a remote farm in Saskatoon. Later in life, she met my grandfather (Stoijon, Stephen in English), he had been born in 1887-1889 in Bosnia. In his early teens, he traveled to Germany and later Italy to find work. He eventually landed in Detroit, and laid brick "cobble stones" when the roads were crossed by horses, and only a few cars. He had many friends living across the Detroit River in Windsor. He crossed the border since he wasn't a citizen of either country, and settled in Windsor. In the 1920's, he worked for the Ford Motor Company, in fact, his employee # is in the hundreds, he worked in the Foundary and later became a supervisor. Ford's required all management at the time to purchase a new car every year. So the last healthy-working year for my grandfather was in 1935. He purchased his last Ford, a 1935 Ford V-8 Deluxe with spoked wheels and straight-8, aluminum block engine, no heater, no air conditioning, two bench seats (first model to have a back seat after the earlier coupes. If the engine didn't start by battery, there's a hand-crank in the front grill, turn it to start the engine. The Great Depression wiped out a lot of my grandfather's legacy in Windsor. After years working in the foundry, he developed many respiratory illnesses (Black Lung Disease in short), and was continually in/out of the hospital while my father was only an elementary school student. My father learned to drive at 12 years of age in order to drive my grandfather to the hospital or run errands for my grandmother. My dad said that many of the streets in Windsor were either dirt, pavement or brick "cobble stone" in some areas. My father drove this 1935 Ford after the Depression into the late 60's (1967 to be exact) when he graduated from St. Clair College as a general accountant. He worked for the Toronto Dominion Bank on the corner of Ouelette Ave and Riverside Drive (Chrysler Building today) and then moved to become an accountant and business manager at the Windsor Star newspaper. He devoted the next 18 years to the Windsor Star and recruited my sisters and I work in the mailing department. Together my family worked for the Windsor Star for 43 years combined, but the Windsor Star downsized my father two-years before he would be eligible for his Retirement Pension. After 18 years of dedicated service, working many Saturdays for free, the newspaper betrayed his loyalty and the memory still haunts me till this day. Back to the past, my father and his sister had tremendous responsibilties to support their family in Windsor. As a result of my grandfather's departure from Fords for his health problems, and the financial liquidation that took place during the Great Depression, they had limited means. Baba left Romania at 16, she had little formal education and left school to work at a young age (perhaps grade 3 education), but her practical knowledge to survive in this world took her around the world without English. In Canada, Baba was always a hard worker because her life depended upon it. To this day, she cannot read/write in English, she never had time to learn and the people she worked for in Canada, used her for cheap labor, which made literacy an impossible task. Today, Baba will still talk-your-ear-off because she learned to speak English so well. She used to live with my family in Windsor, there were 8 of us living together in one small house. She used to cook fresh donuts at home and give me the four/five to tuck under my shirt, before my sisters and cousin came to get theirs. She always treated me with respect, she taught me about life through stories of the sometimes terrible and funny experiences she had been through in her life. I have learned so much from my grandmother, it would not be possible to express it here. She has set the best examples of honesty, integrity, morality, compassion for others, and unconditional love that I seek out everyday in this world. I want to live to be like her, it will take a lot of patience and understanding to succeed as she has in her lifetime. She used to love watching wrestling WWF (Hulk Hogan, Rowdy Roddy Piper, etc.) and eat KFC in the paper buckets, cooking, cleaning, washing clothes (sometimes by hand) and hanging everything out back on the clothesline. She loved spending winters in Daytona, Florida in her early 70's and 80's watching the party-animals, the Bikers, the College Partyers tearing down the hotels nearby her. She's my grandmother, and I love her. In total, my family has overcome many difficulties in our history in Canada, it's never been easy... ^^++

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About the Korean-World Author

Brian Perich was an English as a Foreign Language (EFL) lecturer for a decade, father, and adventure cyclist based in South Korea.

Previously, Brian has led Canoe adventures in Quetico Provincial Park, Atikokan, Ontario, Canada (1993/1999); led Grand American camping adventures (2000); lived at Paramahansa Yogananda's SRF Ashram for 5 months (see the film "AWAKE"), formerly worked in titanium welding at Agilent Technologies, formerly worked in Winery industry in Marin County with Kendall Jackson in California; Surfing and Meditation continued for several years in California, British Columbia, South Korea, Yoga training in California 1999-2000.

Between 1994-1998 - Brian completed his own adventures with motorcycles. His motorcycling marathons took him across the United States and central/western Canada, while traveling solo over an astounding 24,000km in 60 days! Brian endured 900 mile/1300km average days in the motorcycle saddle and apparently loved every minute of those adventures.

Today, he has given up motorcycle adventures altogether, but finds an outlet for his enthusiasm in outdoor recreation while bicycle touring and micro-blogging about those experiences on his mountain bikes.

While employed as an English teacher in South Korea, Brian has became an advocate for bicycle touring on his mountain bikes. The Korean-World blog originated from those small adventures in Korea, now expanded to cover his recent trek down the TransMongolian highway to the Gobi Desert, cycling 900km east through the Khentii grasslands and in 2012 crossing Mongolia in 45 days, 2500 kilometers 1553 miles. HimalayasX expedition Brian previously cycled across western China, the Taklamakan Desert, the northern Himalayas of East Turkestan Xinjiang/Uyghur Autonomous Region, the corrugated back roads and mountains of Kham Tibet. Brian successfully completed his 2011 mountain bike expedition with 3200 kilometers / 1988 miles unsupported, on/off road MTB adventure cycling.
Brian has completed his second mountain bike journey, MongoliaX expedition - Crossing Mongolia 2012, an unsupported mountain bike MTB expedition across 2500km of Outer Mongolia from Ulanbaatar to Altai Taven-Bogd National Park bordering China, Russia and Mongolia.

In 2013, as a sequel to a trilogy of cycle tours, Brian enjoyed a more leisure bicycle tour onboard his Koga-Miyata World Traveller seeing the northern tier of the United States and western Canada covering 3400 kilometers / 2000 miles in 30 days. This North American cycle tour was called Totherocktour. Enjoying the adventure of bicycle travel and every great conversation started while traveling on the road - has refueled his inspirations to cycle around the Earth. In 2013, while he cycled solo from the Great Lake State of Michigan, United States to Banff National Park in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. He weaved through local communities and reconnected with friends, family and community after spending almost a decade in Asia.

Brian is now supporting several non-profit foundations through expeditions: IDEAS Foundation of Canada IDEAS is the acronym for Intestinal Disease Education and Awareness Society which supports the IBD community, those suffering from IBD-inflammatory bowel disease, also known as Crohn's and Ulcerative Colitis.

The second non-profit foundation is ETE.ORG - Education Through Expeditions, UK which supports educational outreach programs inside schools around the world. ETE connects explorers with students in the classroom, through an interactive online program in development (Beta).

Brian is researching support for a 18000 kilometer bicycle expedition across the Americas: North, Central and South America - ONE -Arctic to Argentina
Please contact him if you are interested in helping out.

Twitter: Cycleagain
Location: Gangneung, Gangwon-do, South Korea or southern Ontario, Canada.

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Brian's friends have also been...Cycling in Korea!

Brian's friends have also been...Cycling in Korea!

Cycling in Korea, Warning: always wear a helmet! (I gave mine to my friend)

Cycling in Korea, Warning: always wear a helmet! (I gave mine to my friend)

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