Getting Personal: It is all about me..

(by and about 'Jacob'Dong-il Shin)

1. What time do I typically get up? What do you do the first hour(s) of the morning?
I was a night person, and I thought I was most productive at night. I was wrong! I was just a workholic then. I wake up at 7:00 a.m. to 7:30 a.m each morning and I think I'll wake up earlier. Sometimes I still write until 12 or 1 in the a.m., especially before a due date is coming, and I get up late.

In the first hour of waking up, like everybody else, I get ready for work! I don't like to shower, but I do if I meet people at school or in meetings. I get dressed, eat, drive to work. I often have devotions, and read one local paper when I am free in the morning. I grab a cup of coffee, go online and sometimes play with iPOD, or a to-do list. I often check personal and business e-mail, respond when appropriate, check my calendar for the day. I try not to rush in the morning; I did rush when I was young.

2. What did I have for lunch today?
Jimmy Jones sandwich. Number 9 Italian Night Club. At my desk, alone -- a working lunch. I also like a 6-inch sandwich from Subway and often eat at my desk doing paperwork. I sometimes have lunch at home with my wife. At school, my lunch is sometimes with my students or co-workers. I have become an indepent thinker/writer recently, and I am trying to have a weekly lunch with a group. If time is allowed, I prefer to go to a new restaurant where it offers us a lot of choices. I love to explore.

When I teach over the noon hour (often I do at campus), I just bite a slice of bread.

3. Best high school memory?
Too many and complicated to list just one. Baseball games all day. Basketball practice in late evening. When I didn't have friends to play with, I practiced alone. I loved sports. I still do.

4. My favorite pair of shoes.
My white running shoes, Asics brand, a gift from myself after I made a sweet decision in March 2010. It isn't the shoes that are special, but warm memories of myself that flow when I wear them. I'm training for a couple of marathons in 2010. The guys at Dick's helped me pick them up. Not much expensive, but they've been great. I wear them to all the marathon games (Champaign half, Chicago full) in 2010. I have a pair of black sneakers that I like because they go with casual suits, slacks or jeans. They are so comfortable that I even try to wear them in the winter.

5. What does a perfect Sunday afternoon include?
Picture A: At home, in my robe, reading my favorite newspapers - not online versions, but the physical papers -- then moving on to a good book. Then out with friends or family at somewhere fun. Then around 8-ish going back to work on a my writing project. Evenings, I sometimes work for Monday. On Sundays, however, it's mostly a time to decompress and loving people.

Picture B: Baseball practice with my son, not showering, lunch somewhere at coffee house, read my favorite magazines and comics in Sunday paper, and then a nice nap. In the fall and winter, I often watch basketball games with my son; in the spring and summer, it's baseball games on TV.

6. Was there one book I read as a child that I still cherish?
This is a tough one - it was not unusual for me to read some books a week! I still have a number of favorites. Maybe I will go with "Alice in the Wonderland" (I forgot most of it in there), which I recently plan to read again.

I can quickly tell the book I cherish as an adult. That's 'What I talk about when I talk about running' written by Haruki Murakami. It was translated into Korean: 달리기를 말할 때 내가 하고 싶은 이야기. I read it over and over, once on my Kindle.

7. Where on earth am I dying go go? Why?
Anywhere if with my loving people. I prefer home when I can. If I am financially allowed to go out, I would like to see the Europe, especially England. I was there for my academic research some years ago, but I hadn't prepared properly for the trip and I was rushed. Visiting there one day is on my list of things to do before dying. Also I like Cheju Island. I was there first for my honeymoon.

8. My favorite pet?
My wife does not allow my family to have pet. I am still looking for a dog who is so behaved (s)he never need a leash.

9. Have I discovered as I matured that I am becoming like one of my parents? Which one and how?
My first answer is "my mom." I think I take after her. I am more like my mother as I age. But I see both in the mirror every morning now. I certainly see my dad in my face, and it surprises me. My dad for his interest in family; my mom for her caring heart, emotion. I'm also now glad I got my dad's gray hair.

Now my son is becoming like me, and my daughter is becoming like my wife. It is fun to watch them grow.

10. What would I order for my last meal?
It would depend on whether I had all of my own teeth.

11. What can I NOT live without?
Like everybody else, oxygen. And books, bookstores, or somewhere I can connect to the Internet. And, what about my glasses. I hate seeing things looking fuzzy.

12. Who do I have on my iPOD?
As for music, I listen Christian music, and I think I like every kind of music except hard rock - except in Seo Taeji's comeback album issued some years ago. I find many of my daughter's selection (mostly Korean pops) playing in my car.

13. What's the happiest memory of my life?
Way too many to list. One happiest must be living in 2010, when is my sabbatical year in USA. It is a big change. May 1995 and April 1999 when my daughter and son were born. I can remember almost everything about the days of birth. The moment I held my daughter and sons in my arms at hospital. Very nervous but UNFORGETTABLE! Also, my family were quite happy when we bought our first home in 2006. It had been 15 years since my wife and I got married in 1993.

14. If I could host a dinner party with any three living people in the world, what three people would I invite?
I would have to be all my family.

15. What's my best advice I 've ever been given?
At church, I were measured against myself and not the others. I try to pass the same lesson to my students now. You can accomplish much if you don't care who gets the credit. I earn my self-esteem when I don't sweat the small stuff.

16. What's my best piece of advice?
Keep writing. If you want something, write first. Then go after it all the way. OR 'I am an artist at living, and my work of art is my life.' It is from Japanese philosopher Suzuki.

17. What was my first job, and how much did I make an hour?
At age of 15, I delivered flyers at street for around $1 per hour. I also worked for a restaurant - minimum wage. If memory serves me, it was a big experience.

18. What was a pivotal decision in my career, and how did I arrive at that decision?
Career-wise, maybe this is the one: I turned down my usual and attention-getting job in a huge project of test development. In 2007, I was offered the jobs like as rating and rater training coordinator, or item development coordinator in newly developed test battery of English. However, I was very disappointed at the politics undergoing there, or selfishness of the involved professionals then, and I simply walked away. My dream was, and is to grow as a fun- and justice-seeking ethical professional, and I felt like my dream could not be realized in the usual context of my works. I decided to stand alone, and I trained myself to become a writer. There is no position that means more than to me than a writer publishing influential or charming books. I still struggle and I don't think I am a successful writer yet, but I have been blessed by the 2007 decision and haven't looked back with regret since. I don't have to sacrifice my most important job as a dad, husband, teacher, and writer to hold the fame-pursuing politically driven career. I am happy for me; I have a career that combines my writing and teaching life, in one place.

19. Do I have a bad habit? What is it?
I don't exercise during winter and too much in summer. I snore.

20. How do I handle a stressful situation?
Every time I make mistakes, I almost stop and slow things down. Sometimes I walk, run, or write. Or taking a walk in a huge big bookstore. Taking to my wife. She listens and I talks. I try not to react to the situation before taking time to breathe and reflect.

21. Future plans?
Just stay calm. Read and write. Have an impact and grow, not only as a professor but also as a person.

(maybe continued)

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