38 Chicago, United States
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My self-summary
After taking a detour through Africa on my way back from six years teaching English in Japan, I'm finally home in Chicago. I've been back in the states for 5 years and am finally starting to feel settled here. I even have a "real" job as a special education teacher. Working with the population I do is, well, an adventure. Adventures are not always easy, but in the end (hopefully) they prove to be rewarding and fulfilling.

I really do love traveling. I've been lucky enough to make it to places like Egypt, China, Russia, Kenya, Tanzania, Vietnam, Cambodia, Papua New Guinea, Chile, Mexico, England, Ireland, France, Italy, Spain, and more! I am the kind of person who would rather book a hostel than get that new flat screen TV, or buy a plane ticket rather than save for a down payment on a condo. I figure life is too short. I collect memories, not things.

I care deeply about being a positive influence on the world, and when I travel, I prefer to go through a volunteer organization whenever possible (I'm not really into Vegas trips or laying on a beach). It's really quite selfish, actually, because you get such a better experience that way. However, I am somewhat inherently lazy, so I would love to be with someone who inspires me to do more good out there. (Part of the reason I picked special ed is because I'm forced to help others every single day, whether I feel like it or not. Build it into your routine, I say, just like exercise. That, and I love my kiddies. They really are special.)

Still, returning to Chicago has been tough since I don't seem to be following the unspoken rule of "go to college, get a career, get married, move to the burbs, and start having babies". Maybe I am being too hard on myself and my city, but all I want is to meet more worldly, open-minded people here in Chicago. I know you are out there, so send me an email, would ya?

I love to sing, and you may well catch me singing in the shower, while washing dishes (oh who am I kidding, I don't wash dishes!!), or even (if you are lucky) will hear me on my guitar. (Now don't get too excited. I am one of those 3-chord type players, but I think I'm getting better.)

Lastly, I just discovered I really like using parentheses in my writing (hey, who doesn't?!?)
What I’m doing with my life
Still recovering from one of the toughest years of my life working for the Chicago Public Schools ('09-'10 school year). You may ask if it was the kids or perhaps the rough neighborhood which made my life so difficult, but the answer would be "no". It was coming head to head with an immovable bureaucracy which did not allow for joy or creativity.

The good news? I now have a job working as a teacher on an inpatient child/adolescent psych unit. And I love it. Yes, it can be challenging at times, but it's the kind of challenge which inspires you to become better at what you do.

Recently went to Egypt...super cool experience. Although climbing the Pyramids, taking a trip down the Nile, and riding a camel were cool, what I enjoyed the most was talking to Egyptians about the recent protests and uprisings. They were so passionate and excited! Definitely inspired me to get involved with the Occupy Chicago stuff and other activist work. Feels good to be fighting for the things I believe in, at least in some small way.

**Update: Speaking of activism, over the past year I have become very involved in the fight to save public education including writing articles, joining in protests, marching on Washington, and speaking at board meetings. I don't expect everyone I meet to be involved in this crusade, but I do want to give you a fuller picture about who I am. I believe in dialogue and discussion especially around controversial topics, and I will not hesitate to share my opinions. Ok Okcupid boys, you've been warned...
I’m really good at
Directions (I almost never get lost. Kinda freaky, actually), languages (when you hear me speak Japanese, you'll get it. I've actually had whole phone conversations and the person on the other end never knew I was American), singing (well, maybe "good at" is the wrong choice of words, but I sure do like it! Especially at karaoke--the real Asian karaoke, that is.)
The first things people usually notice about me
Well, for the guys from Okc, it's usually "you look nicer than your photos." That's a compliment, right?
Favorite books, movies, shows, music, and food
Books? Recently have been a total nerd. Currently reading up on all the current education reform books (Diane Ravitch is my personal hero and I love her book The Death and Life of the Great American School System.) I also like Michael Pollan's books, In Defense of Food and The Omnivore's Dilemma. Some other favs are Life of Pi, Slaughterhouse Five, The Poisonwood Bible, Jane Eyre, Harry Potter Series (C'mon, if you don't like it, that means you haven't read it!) Anything by Toni Morrison, Isabel Allende, Kurt Vonnegut, Dave Eggers, Alice Walker, Amy Tan, Barack Obama :)

Movies? Shakespeare in Love, Snatch, Love Actually, Fight Club, Shawshank Redemption, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, The Princess Bride, The Goonies, Once, The Last Unicorn, Amelie, 今、会いにゆきます

Fav Songs? When You Say Nothing at All: Alison Krauss, At My Most Beautiful: REM, Near You Always: Jewel, Midnight Train to Georgia: Gladys Knight, Volverte a Ver: Juanes (I have a secret, er, not so secret? passion for Latin Pop!), Cuando Me Miras Asi: Cristian Castro, Leaving on a Jet Plane: John Denver, First Love: Utada Hikaru, 月光: 鬼塚ちひろ、桜坂&Squall: 福山雅弘、This Love: Angela Aki

Food? Sushi (obviously!), anything pickled (kimchee, pickled radish, cabbage, etc.), curry (mmm...), guacamole, the ribs/mac n'cheese/brussel sprouts lunch served in my hospital cafeteria (SO good!), deep dish pizza (see, I AM from Chicago), rice and miso soup for breakfast, seafood (ALL of it! especially crab, lobster, and scallops), Cherry Garcia ice cream, my morning coffee.

Oh, and I'm a total NPR junkie. (High Fidelity member, of course! Eh, I really just wanted the mug...)

Also, I love me some Daily Show and Colbert. Watch DVDs a la Arrested Development, 30 Rock, & The West Wing...
The six things I could never do without
1. My loved ones
2. My morning coffee
3. A good book on my nightstand
4. Intellectual stimulation
5. Music (and my guitar)
6. Ok, I admit it, my computer
I spend a lot of time thinking about
Why are there so many choices in life??
The most private thing I’m willing to admit
I enjoy singing and dancing when I'm alone in my apartment.
You should message me if
You are serious about international travel, you love stimulating conversation about actual topics (all I mean by that is something more substantial than talk of TV or sports), you want to make a difference, you voted for Barack Obama, you watch the World Cup, you care more about love than money or career, and you are ready for a real relationship!

For me, dating used to be about about seeing if we are compatible for marriage. And I still do want to create a loving and inspirational relationship with a person who shares my passions about being a positive influence on the world. (I encourage you to read my post on 'My vision of marriage'.)

HOWEVER, I have begun to rethink what dating is. The way okc dating pans out does not feel real or authentic to me. I don't know after just a couple dates who you are, but the way it works now, the decision of whether to continue dating needs to be made nearly instantly. I'm not quite sure how to reconcile this difficulty.

Oh, and of course, most importantly...