Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Who Am I? Getting to Know Hiram

My friend Ken Mueller (@kmueller62) who blogs over at I Threw a Brick through a Window tagged me in his response to a thread or "meme" started by his friend Aaron Aiken (@aaronaiken) whereby we're supposed to introduce ourselves a bit and tell seven weird or random things about ourselves, and then tag seven more people to keep it going. So... Here's some interesting facts to know about Hiram: 1. I was born and raised in Ghana. This is usually the first thing I tell people because it either increases their interest level and makes them pay more attention to me, or it totally turns them off and they don't listen to a word I say afterwards. In either case, the next question I get is either "Where IS that?" (or the variation "Where is THAT?") or "Oh, yeah, South America, right?" - from which we can conclude that most Americans have no knowledge of Geography. In Europe and even in Canada the next question is usually "Oh, really? what were you doing there?", but in the USA I have to follow it up with the statement "Ghana is in West Africa." This is usually followed by interlocutors commenting "Oh, right. I have a friend in Africa - do you know them? They're in Kenya. Or South Africa. I forget which." Hello??! You better be sure of which one, because they are 5,000 miles away from each other and at least that far from where I grew up. 2. I like to create stuff. Whether it's music, songs, recording other people's music, turning clay on the wheel, painting, LEGOS, drawing, figuring out how to take stuff apart and put it back together, woodworking, construction, etc... I like it. I like to work with my hands and see an idea take shape and become reality. I also like collaboration, working with others (I play well with others) to create stuff that is bigger than any of us individually. And sometimes the results are better than other times, but I'm always trying to learn and expand my horizons. 3. I like to travel. There are so many cool and beautiful places in the world that I haven't been to! Though I have been to a few - Africa (both West and East), Europe, Scandinavia, all around the US (this place is HUGE!), Central Asia.. I like to make friends from as many different places as possible and then save up my money and just go visit them for a month or two. I find you don't really get to know a place unless you're there for at least a month - gives you a chance to get a handle on the culture and language so you can begin to appreciate it. My undergrad degree was in Intercultural Studies, so I have some training in how to assimilate into a new place, and I'm all about immersion and putting myself in situations that stretch me. Learning situations. 4. The Bible. I try to read it often. There is so much wisdom and truth in that book, and I feel like if I can read enough that I'm continually digesting what is in it, the words and stories will transform my life - my thinking, my actions, my heart, and everything else. I've experienced some of that transformation, most notably through memorizing Romans 8, and it makes me hungry for more. 5. Cycling - "I like to ride mY biCYCLE.." Yes, yes I do. We had these little BMX bikes in Africa growing up that some thoughtful church or person sent over in a missionary barrel (along with used tea bags and the like) and we would ride them all over the place. Some of my favorite memories are setting up jumps on the dirt road outside our house and seeing how much air we could get. When we lived in California someone gave me (or I bought at a garage sale) an old road bike that was my transportation everywhere - we learned to fix everything on them and keep them running, and would often ride 5-10 miles one way to get places. It's hard to beat the thrill of speeding down a hill knowing that a slight error in balance can seriously disable you. And it's great the sense of independence that owning a bike can give. But I'm not incredibly serious about it - I probably wouldn't join a club or anything. 6. Language. I really like it when people use language properly. Maybe it's just because I've read a lot of books from a young age and so I know when it doesn't read correctly, but misspellings and improper grammar annoys me slightly. This isn't a hard and fast rule, especially because I screw up from time to time as well, but I really appreciate it when things, particularly language, is done right. This kind of extends to most other things in life - if you're going to bend the rules, you have to have a good reason. A good reason to bend the rules of language is if it communicates meaning better when you do - but only then. I remember submitting something to the yearbook at my college years ago that had to go through the editor. I didn't see it after the editor 'edited' it, and when I did see it, the yearbooks had all been printed. For some reason, this English major had changed a verb in my piece that referred to the plural noun 'rhythms' and made it singular ('pulses') -not quite sure why, maybe because it came before a plural noun. The phrase then read 'rhythms pulses', instead of as intended 'rhythms pulse'. That kind of stuff annoys me. But I let things go in the interest of keeping the peace - and of moving on and getting things done. I'd rather get things done than have them be perfect, but if I can do both - so much the better! You may notice that I write a lot, but tend to speak very little. 7. Competition - it doesn't interest me that much. What motivates me is relationships with other people, or competing with myself. When I was interning with Samaritan's Purse in Afghanistan in 2004, my fellow intern Danny and I were challenged by some interns in Honduras (girls, btw) to run the Chicago Marathon. So we took the challenge, registered for the race, and started training. Only, I wasn't as motivated as Danny - once I got back to the US in September and started back into school (taking 19 credits in my final semester) I kind of dropped the training thing. I did a couple of long runs and some short ones, but my longest run was 14 miles, and that was 3 weeks before the race (supposedly, to train for a marathon you're supposed to run at least 20 miles only a week before). So in October I went out and met up with Danny and our fellow interns and ran the Chicago Marathon - I do not recommend this training schedule to anyone. After the first 16 miles or so, I was incredibly sore. So much so that it hurt more to walk than to keep moving along at slightly more than a jog. I finished the marathon in about 3.5 hours, but was limping for the next two weeks. It's amazing that I didn't hurt myself more. That's an extreme case of being motivated by relationships more than competition. Wow - done already. Here's the part where I tag seven other people. Consider yourself tagged: Ed Walt Paul Katrina Mike Tim Beth

3 comments:

eplacencia said...

Wait....LEGOS? Your public demands photos.

Ken said...

sweet stuff. but you failed to mention your love of dancing...

simplysewn said...

Thanks for sharing all that interesting information, Hiram.
I recently had to tell the 14 year old I work with not to refer to Africa as a country. I did inform her that it was, in fact, a continent. I guess we'll just have to inform Americans one student at a time.

Mike had some good things to say about your rehearsal the other day. I'm hoping to try to get out to the gig if possible.