Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy Birthday Cho!

Oh my, it's a week full of birthdays!
This special salute goes to my dear brother, Cho. Seven years my elder, Cho has always watched out for me and led the way in many adventures. He's always done all the good things that a big brother should do, but he does them like 200% better than I could ever expect. My mother reports that Cho read to me when I was a baby in an effort to make me an early reader. (As it turns out, I was a really late reader, through no fault of Cho's). That's just where the good times began. One day I was exploring in the woods by our house in Brussels when I encountered a trio of Flemish-speaking bullies (to clarify, they were not bullies because they spoke Flemish--the correlation was coincidental). Incapable of reasoning with the brutes, I called for Cho, who was twelve at the time, and who boldly stepped forward and gave the biggest of the bullies a firm but harmless shove. I felt such pride. When Cho was in middle and later high school, I really looked up to him and always wanted to hang around. While many older brothers would be really irritated with a youngster underfoot, my brother was patient and kind about it. He'd designate special times when I was allowed into his room to look at all his stuff (he had lots of science gadgets, like one of those glass balls that accumulated sparks and a Newton's cradle). As was our family's custom, we came up with a new word for these hang outs: we called it slunking, and it perfectly described my loafing around and thinking I was as cool as he was.

(Above: Cho keeps the tigers at bay with his pith helmet and gun).

My brother is also very talented inventing and building things, and has always been willing to share those talents with me. Together, he and I constructed the second level of my radical two level treehouse--with the things he'd learned from our dad, Cho knew exactly how to build it with proper supports and a cool trap door entrance. And then there was one winter when all the kids had this new kind of fancy sled known as a GT Racer. This sled had runners, a break, and a steering wheel. A steering wheel! I really wanted one of these sleds, because they were fashionable at the time. But they cost like $50 or some other unreasonable amount of money, which didn't seem worth it to my parents (fair enough. If I'd really wanted it, I'm sure they would have helped me save up). Instead, my brother proposed that we construct our own sled. We took a pair of garage sale skis, spaced them about a foot apart, and attached a plywood platform/seat to the top, then headed to the sledding hill with our new contraption. Our town has one main sledding hill, which was densely populated that afternoon. Just as we were positioning the new sled for its maiden voyage, we were approached by some kids with a GT Racer who made fun of our homemade racer. My brother, with his sound knowledge of physics, knew that the skis would actually go really fast, so he quite publicly announced that I challenged the boastful pilot of the GT Racer to a race. A small crowd formed, and someone counted down to the start. We were off, and our homemade sled completely outperformed the GT Racer, putting it and its goony rider to shame. Huzzah!

(Above: Cho displaying his snowboarding skillz. He taught me how to snowboard, ride a bike, and also how to juggle).

The good times with Cho have just kept on coming. Whenever my parents went out of town, we'd build forts out of the couch cushions and watch Dr. Who on Saturday nights. He let me visit him when he went away to college, and while he was at college, one of his jobs was working construction on the new library. Then when I went away to college (the same college) I benefitted from his hard work by studying (and sleeping) in the same library every day. It sounds funny, but I really did think of him when I used the library. My first summer after college, I got to stay with Cho, his wife, and their first little baboo (they've got four little baboos now!) We had a great time hanging around Boulder and drinking Slurpees from the 7-11 (and still watching Dr. Who). And in addition to the fun, Cho has always helped and supported my intellectual pursuits. I think he's proofread nearly every paper I've ever written in college and later in grad school. As I've studied and studied and studied, the topics I've written about have become more specialized (and probably less interesting) but Cho always has an eye for detail and offers excellent suggestions.

There's no way to sum up all the great things he does, but Cho continues to be the nicest and most fun big brother anyone could ask for, and now he also marvelously takes care of his own great family, too. Every time I visit, we have an awesome time watching shows, walking in the woods, and perfecting our Vincent Price impressions. And there's always still Dr. Who on Saturday nights (though truthfully, I doze off pretty quickly). Have a great birthday, Cho! You're the best!

1 comment:

Jill said...

I want to meet your whole family. They sound divine! Happy Birthday Cho.