Friday, January 30, 2009

Venezuela Picture Update

Right after the holidays, I was fortunate enough to have friends join me in this beautiful continent. We started our travels in Venezuela, but before I go into what we did, let me introduce the cast...

To leadoff, we have your run of the mill primadonnas MIMI and STU

Next up we have the always amiable PEDRO with his not always so friendly personal bodyguard, ALEX "THE TERMINATOR" CHOI.

Then you have CHRISTINE (Big Spoon) and SHU (Little Spoon)

Finally you have me, ROBERTO SEO (El Tigre for short). You know, lately I've been getting a lot of comments on my hair. I like to call it the "Lion's Mane," some others call it the "I can't believe you were too lazy to not cut your hair for 5 months" look. You say potay-to I say po-tah-to.

Our adventure started in Canaima Park, which is home to Coca Cola colored water (due to minerals or something) and beautiful waterfalls (including Angel Falls, the tallest waterfall in the world).

We spent several nights in the area and went on several day trips via foot...


and plane...

Random Question: Why do I get this reaction from girls so often??? =(

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Ecuador Picture Update


Beginning from the end of November through early December, Quito is pretty insane because of the city's birthday (around Dec. 5 or so). The city celebrates with bullfights and people partying all the time and everywhere.

I was able to attend one of the bullfights, and though some may find them interesting, I found them cruel because they made a huge show about toying with a poor bull and then killing it when it was in a weakened state. I say bullfighters should grow some real balls and kill bulls with their bare hands. That would be more interesting (and fair).

I must give Quiteños credit and say that they know how to party. During the Quito days, streets were PACKED with revelers and live bands.

As the Quiteños showed me how they rolled...

I had to represent my hood and show them how we roll...

Random point of the day: If you're still wondering why China is becoming a superpower, this is why. Quito is a ghosttown on Sunday and hardly anything is open, except...


Manta is a beach/fishing/shipbuilding city on the coast of Ecuador. Not much going on there but kinda cool.

In Manta, as in the rest of the world, if you're holding 2 machetes, you pretty much don't need to be wearing any pants.


Hard times call for desperate measures...

Puerto Lopez is a very small beach town where my buddies and I took a boat trip. The most enjoyable part was catching our own fish and eating it for the best ceviche I have ever had.


What has Greg MacDonald done for me to dedicate the funds I raise for Jericho Project in his honor? Well, his sudden death made me realize how fragile life was and how I had not quite lived life because I had never pushed myself to excel at anything. I had carelessly bided my time as if tomorrow would be handed to me. In fact, I had lost my academic scholarship and been kicked out of the Honors Program just before my deployment because of my hard-partying and careless ways.

Though his death helped me realize what I had been doing wrong, it is what he lived for that inspired me to take control of my life. He LIVED to ensure that we, Americans, had the opportunity to make the most of what we have. Since I returned from the war, I have dedicated my time (the most important asset in life) to challenging myself in all aspects (while still partying pretty hard). My decision to run the Ironman is a byproduct of this newfound attitude towards life. By dedicating the race in Greg’s honor, I am displaying my gratitude for his impact on my life while contributing to his legacy. In addition, as he inspired me to take control of my future, I can do the same for another veteran by raising funds for Jericho Project. Please help me raise $12,000 (the amount necessary to house and support one homeless veteran) by donating to my cause and thus positively impacting the lives of a struggling veteran and his family.

Mac gave his life and in doing so taught me a valuable lesson. I must take advantage of life’s opportunities. If I fail to reach my full potential and let any opportunities to improve myself go to waste, I am not only disappointing myself, but also all who sacrificed so much to help me reach this point. As a US Marine and responsible human being, I will never let that happen again. Semper Fidelis Mac…and thanks.

To learn more about my story and/or to donate to my cause, please click here.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Quality not Quantity

I know I have been MIA and I apologize. My excuse is that my writing capacities have been taken up by applications to Master’s programs. Since my writing tank was pretty much on empty, I did not want to dilute the quality of this blog so I refrained from writing about uninteresting topics such as “what comes first, cereal, or milk?” or the number of papayas I ate on that particular day (papayas, the new crack cocaine?). I’ve also been traveling for the past several weeks to get in some quality vacation time before I hunker down and begin training for the race.

With that said, the “Official” 5 month training program started on Monday so yesterday was training day numero 3. I definitely did my part to prepare myself to begin the training program (yes, there is a prerequisite level of fitness in order to begin training for the race), but I am BEAT! Maybe I woke up on the wrong side of the bed 3 days in a row, am eating the wrong cereal (somebody Google Translate “Wheaties” for me please) or maybe it is because I have just begun.

I have always encountered the most difficult period during the beginning of any experience. At boot camp, the training regimen was consistently more challenging with each passing week; however, I recall the first few weeks to be the most trying period. While working upwards of 100 hours a week at UBS, I struggled the most during the first few months of employment.

I believe that in every meaningful undertaking, you will reach a breaking point where you can either turn back, or fight through. Since many people turn back in these situations, I believe that what you do at the fork in the road not only sets you apart, but also defines you.

Are you going to be discouraged after your first glimpse of choppy seas? Are you willing to do what it takes to reach your goal? Are you willing to sacrifice for what you believe in?

I believe in this cause. Though I have not quite reached the breaking point yet, I know that when I do, I will fight through it because though I may be beat, I will not be beaten.