Monday, July 26, 2010
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Monday, July 12, 2010
Sunday, July 11, 2010
“…There was a real interest on my part to try to help improve the insurance related corporate structures in that overall market. Most companies are owned by private stockholders, especially in the smaller countries. These are owner families whose primary interest is to make money. This is OK. However, there has to be an investment in human development in order to continue to make more money, and do so in a manner that allows those non-owners who work with the companies, to have a shot at a decent life. This holds true, especially with the continuing education of those who manage the day to day business end. This message and the delivery of all its related structures, was my mission.
However, I am digressing (nothing new here!!). The stage was beginning to set for some life decisions to be made. On the one side: my honest interest in Latin America. You could say: “loving Latin America is nice but, business is business”, and you would be right. But there is another perspective to that one side. When I went to Latin America because of my work, I was returning to my cultural roots, from which I had been yanked many years before. In fact, at one point I had to re-learn the Spanish language. My trips to Latin America reopened my eyes, mind and heart to the realities of my culture; the good as well as the bad. I had known my culture as a growing child, from the somewhat restrictive point of view of a fairly well-to-do, protective family, in the midst of a protective society. Frankly, I came to fall in love with the people I met, with their simple craziness and with the beauty of the countries and lifestyle. Given a choice, I really did not want to leave this mélange of people, countries, sounds and music; their thirst for learning, and the always present hope for the future. In many instances, this last is all they had to keep going.
On the other side: the developmental income needs of the Association that paid my wages, giving my family and I a very decent standard of living (economically speaking). On the one hand, the income being received from Latin America, despite the truly concerted work of the local representatives (all volunteer work) and my own, due to the currency exchange and the decreasing values of local currencies, was a continually diminishing corporate line in exchange for an ever increasing effort. On the other hand, each day spent with a Far Eastern company, would return about 5 to 7 times as much direct and derived income as the income derived from a Latin American company during the same period of time invested. Obviously, this was not a good combination; the writing was on the wall: my time would be increasingly spent in the Far East.
Anyway, that was a prelude to setting the stage. One of the primary US based member companies had (and has) several affiliated companies in different countries of Latin America, with the primary regional corporate headquarters being in Santiago, Chile. Just about the time I was being told my future leaned to the Far East (I had actually enrolled in Japanese Language courses!!), I was approached by the Latin American Vice President of the aforementioned big company. It seemed they were in need of a Regional Operations and Marketing Manager, who would report to him in Santiago and to the World Wide VP in the USA based Corporate Headquarters. Hmmm!
The offer included a lot of goodies: yearly vacation travel to the US with the family, private American style school for my children, the monthly cost of the house we would live in, and other expenses to be discussed. Of course, a decent salary as well was part of the package. It would also give us time to be a family, since travel, compared to what I did at the time, would be negligible.
It is said often that when something sounds too good to be true, it usually isn’t. Oh, the offer was very real. So is the company (still one of the large cats –although somewhat trimmed by recent developments- in the world). What in the end did not turn out so real, was the actual work conditions and the friendliness and interest of the person to whom I would have to report, and who was enticing me to go. After much thinking, I believe that the actual first step in this long spiral was taken: I made the decision to accept. You see, when I say “I made the decision”, so it was. It was not really consulted with my spouse.
Although done with the best intentions to provide more to my family, this was a major mistake on my part. I publicly do so admit. Actually, the eventual destiny of the marriage was already sealed; we just had no idea yet as to how badly the foundation was undermined…”
Well, we'll stop it there for now. Maybe there will be more if there is an interest expressed or, more likely, if there is a moment in which there is a need to fill the spot... It is part of a longer story, one which is still ongoing and perhaps this is what keeps me from putting it all here.
Be Well!! Be Back...
Thursday, July 1, 2010
Don’t ask me why as to the title above… I really have no idea, it just came to mind when this page opened up in its clean, empty glory. As usual, there are no concrete thoughts as to where I will be going in here, or why. I wonder, is it better to have a defined “content guide” when doing this, or is it better to simply sit at the computer and let the mind roam?. There are many issues floating in the air around my life at this time and doing this is almost like a scape from that reality, to be submerged into a different reality, sort of…
What kind of “reality” should I create for this blog? I truly admire and envy those writers who can actually create worlds of fantasy, the people who inhabit them, their cultures and even their languages. That kind of creativity is, to me, awesome. It doesn’t matter that whatever book did not make it to the top of the charts; the sole idea of that much creativity going from one’s mind unto a clean bunch of papers is totally unreal. Just to sit here and write something relatively short is often taxing; I can just imagine what it would take to complete a full character novel. It took J.R.R.Tolkien some 40 years to complete his trilogy (actually quartet, since the latter three books were preceded by his first one “The Hobbit”). That is total dedication to a craft. In the middle of completing the trilogy of “The Lord of the Rings” he also wrote several books on theology, as well as treaties which were the base for his teachings at the University of Oxford from 1925 through 1959. I know, you don’t probably think too much about this guy but he became, by far, my favorite writer and his work my favorite work. I think I have given the full series at least 16 readings since the first time it came to my attention in 1972. Every time I do, something new pops up: a new slant, a new phrase; an old character seen from a new light. It is fascinating and also a tribute to the author that it never gets old. In fact, I will probably start on it again soon.
I declare myself to be from the old school: I despise the “spoken books”. I think they are a great disservice to the imagination of the recipient, unless he/she is a blind individual; they are the recipients for whom these books were originally intended. Those who can read and choose to get their books via a recorded version are just too lazy to pick up the book and take the time and trouble to read it. No excuses: we are all busy, we all work, we all have things to do; reading 30 minutes every night will do wonders for your gray matter. Not to mention that when you get immersed in a good story of your choice the day’s problems disappear, at least for a few minutes, while the written word takes you into a world created by the writer, just for you. The funny thing, each world created in the mind of each reader is ever so slightly different than the others… THAT is what makes it wonderful: the reader is creating his or her own imaginary world, aided by the words in the story.
You get my drift… Go on and READ!!!
On to something else, except I’m not sure what. Just went into the ITunes “radio” streams and started looking at what they offer there. It is really mind boggling (at least to an old mule like me!!) that in that one list, there are over 150 stations from at least 25 different countries and all offering, of course, the greatest music this side of Heaven. There certainly is a very ample choice and for the most part, free. Actually it is all free but, in some cases, you will be subjected to commercial time just like a regular station, although a lot less yelling is involved. Right now I am listening to a stream (remember when this word had nothing to do with internet and just meant a small, flowing river of water??) through my computer that originates somewhere in Europe (Spain, I believe) and has nothing but light classical guitar music. It is really soothing and great to listen to while working.
Internet, books, stories, they all are like a great long yellow brick road. In the end, we all come to the Land of Oz… or not?
Enjoy the trip, ‘tis the only one you’ll get.
Be Back! Be Well!!
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