Thursday, June 17, 2021
Thursday, May 20, 2021
I saw that Dale Hansen will be retiring September 2nd and it inspired me to post this. For those of you who don´t know, he has been the local sportscaster for Channel 8 WFAA in Dallas for 38 years. I never really have gotten into enjoying sports but, I always have enjoyed his commentary/opinions about the social issues of the day.
You see, he has been a constant presence in my life for my entire life. I remember watching him as a kid when my parents would watch the local nightly news. (This was in the days before cable/satellite when we had limited options for TV channels). For as long as I have been alive, he has been doing his job. It is odd to think that he is 72 years old now and getting ready to retire. John Mccaa,Gloria Campos,Tracy Rowlett and Troy Dungan have all long since retired. I know none of those names will mean anything to you (unless you are from DFW) but they meant a lot to me growing up. They were my trusted news source.
Pete Delkus is the meteorologist who replaced Troy Dungan (Troy had been at WFAA for 34 years by the time he retired). I have never cared for Pete Delkus, he just rubs me the wrong way I guess. But now, he himself has been with WFAA for 16 years after replacing Troy Dungan who was there for 34 years. It is amazing how time flies.
I am constantly amazed at how old I am (and continue getting older!) Some days I feel like I am just 18 years old (even though that was nearly 20 years ago) other days I feel like I am 80. I don't know where the time has gone and how it has gone so fast. I have been blessed with an incredible life though. I have not gotten everything that I ever wanted, however I have gotten everything I ever needed and more. I have seen and done so much in my short time here. The old saying goes, you can't escape death or taxes and I believe that to be true. My grandmother is 85 years old and still going strong. I can't imagine how she must feel when she thinks about what has happened over her lifetime and where the years have gone.
I am currently 36 years old with a 5 month old daughter. I have kept this blog going in one form or another since 2009 so a lot has happened to me over those years (and will continue to happen) I am not afraid of death or getting older but I do hate the fact that time is unstoppable. Eventually it comes for us all. So you need to take advantage of every second that you are given. I cannot imagine what the world will be like when Eliana is 36 years old and beyond. What a journey this has been (and continues to be) for me.
Wednesday, May 12, 2021
I wanted to vent about this because I have an opinion that maybe many people share. (or possibly no one else haha).
I think most people would agree that the police in the United States are far too militarized in general and kill far too many people of color. As a middle class white guy, I have never experienced discrimination or racism so I won't pretend to know what it is like. I do know a problem when I see one though. The problem of police killing unarmed people is a big problem.
I know there are good police officers. I have police officers in my family and I know the vast majority of police are good and honorable people trying to do a hard job with not enough resources and sometimes not being paid well.
However, there are also police officers like Derek Chauvin who murdered George Floyd. In my opinion, The problem is not that there are too many ¨bad apples¨ the problem is that the system encourages bad behavior by not holding police accountable and giving them qualified immunity in almost every circumstance they know that they can do whatever they want and get away with it.
There are also cases like the killing of Ma´khia Bryant, a 16 year old black girl who was killed for attacking another person with a knife. The case has drawn outrage because it is yet another killing of a person of color by the police. However, I do not have all the details. I was not there nor have I seen the video. I am unsure why she was shot instead of tasered but if the media reports I have read are correct, she was attacking someone with a knife (or trying to) and the police officer did what he thought was his only option to save a life.
I cannot and will not judge that officer for what he did as I was not there and I have no idea how I would react in the same situation. However, at the end of the day one life was ended and another saved. I have seen people calling for defunding the police nationally or, for abolishing police departments completely.
To me, this is absolutely ridiculous. Society cannot and should not function without police. They provide a good and necessary service to society. However, I have never (and probably will never) have to fear that the police will kill me. My perspective is one of privilege. I do recognize there is a problem and I truly hope for everyone's sake that my country can get it together and make some real changes. We most definitely should be funding more mental health workers and dispatching less police to situations that they should not be expected to cope with.
That's all. If you made it this far, thanks for reading. Take care. Tyler
Friday, May 07, 2021
Originally I was going to make this a short status update on Facebook but then I decided I would put it here because I had too much to say to fit into one status update. Yesterday, I was watching a short video on Youtube about the very real possibility of humanity going extinct due to nuclear war. In my opinion, nuclear technology should only be used for power generation and nothing else. No one should have nuclear weapons.
I believe this is reasonable (although unrealistic unfortunately to think that we will live in a world free of nuclear weapons) because humans have had the ability to kill each other since the beginning of time. However, only since 1945 have we had the ability to kill the entire planet and everyone and everything on it. No one should have that amount of destructive power. We as humans have the ability to kill many, many people in various different horrible ways without killing the entire planet as a side effect.
The worst feeling for me as a new father is that I am powerless to protect my daughter against this threat. Every parent wishes their child(ren) have the ability to grow up safe, happy and healthy. Unfortunately, our world is populated by fallible humans and human based systems to prevent nuclear war. Frankly, I am amazed that we have gone this long without an all out nuclear war or huge global accident/terrorist attack.
Currently, something like The United States, Russia, China France, The UK, China, India, Pakistan, Israel, Iran and North Korea control all of the worlds confirmed nuclear weapons. With the U.S. and Russia holding the vast majority. Just the U.S. and Russia alone, have enough nuclear weapons to kill everyone and everything on the planet many times over.
These few countries that have nuclear weapons want to tell the rest of the world that they can keep their nuclear weapons (or even produce more) without consequence yet they do not want to allow other countries to develop nuclear weapons. The U.S. is constantly fighting with Iran and North Korea trying to prevent them from getting nuclear weapons (or producing more than they already have) yet the U.S. is unwilling to destroy their own nuclear weapons.
If I was North Korea or Iran why would I listen to the U.S. if they are unwilling to do the exact thing they are asking of me, why would I want to listen to them? I am not anti American by any means. But what right do we have to tell the rest of the world what they can and can't do? I am anti destroy all of humanity with nuclear weapons.
Another way to look at this would be, if I tell my daughter that she can't have any chocolate ice cream but I sit there and eat some chocolate ice cream right in front of her and additionally I am the owner of an ice cream store so that I can produce more ice cream anytime I want and I can refuse to share it with anyone else. The situation that we have with nuclear weapons is exactly the same.
The idea that having a huge amount of nuclear weapons to prevent nuclear war is a bad one. Mutually assured destruction benefits no one. I cannot go back in time and prevent the invention of nuclear weapons. Nor can I destroy every nuclear weapon ever made or prevent their misuse. The current system we have of checks and balances to prevent all out nuclear war is not a good one and frankly I am surprised that we have not had a failure so far. We need to improve this system.
The best I can hope for is that my daughter can grow up in a better world than I have and maybe one day humanity will be free of the threat of extinction from nuclear war and we can worry about robots gaining sentience and killing us all. Sorry this blog post has been so depressing, I try not to think about this stuff too much because it just depresses you knowing that you can't do anything about it. Gotta live your life to the best of your ability with the time you have.
For all of the problems that we have in the world, there is still a ton of beauty and good things also. I try to focus on those. Thanks for reading my rant if you made it this far.
Tuesday, April 27, 2021
Tuesday, April 20, 2021
I recently finished up my memoirs (for now, it's an ongoing work in progress that I plan to continue) and I have had this blog since 2009. I will publish my memoirs at some point but, they are more a gift for Eliana (and just for my own sake) than anything else. I want her to know about my life, her family and where she comes from.
However, I realized that I haven't taken the time to sum up my life in short form before so I thought I'd try now.
I was born 3 months premature in 1984 with excess fluid on my brain and epilepsy (among other health problems) but against all the odds, I beat the doctors predictions and I was not in a vegatative state.
I had (and still continue to have) two great parents and a wonderful, normal childhood.
Fast forward to age 24 and after living a fairly conventional life in Texas, I decided to move to Australia in November of 2009 after getting laid off.
At that point, I think I had visited maybe 8 countries for short trips and I just planned on staying a year in Australia then heading back home.
Well one year in Australia turned into a second year in New Zealand then 6 months of traveling in South America.
By the time I was 26, I had moved to Thailand to teach English, I left there after a year and at age 27 I moved to Colombia which would be my home until age 34.
While in Colombia, I managed to get married and start living a real adult life. I had great friends and a great job (eventually) but all good things must come to an end.
When I was 34, Jenny and I decided to move to China. After living there for almost 2 years, we decided to make the move to Spain to be closer to her family.
I was 35 when I arrived to Spain. After about 5 months of living in Spain I had a problem with the valve that controls the amount of fluid on my brain. I ended up having 3 brain surgeries to correct the problem.
Prior to all my brain surgeries we found out that Jenny was pregnant. I was very happy, but during much of her pregnancy, I was in the hospital or in physical therapy relearning how to walk, talk, eat and drink again. My recovery was (and is still ongoing) but after 6 months of hard work I have regained almost all of the physical and mental abilities that I lost.
Eliana was born on December 14th 2020, since that point I have been motivated to get in the best shape physically and mentally that I can so that I can be the best father possible. She has been the best thing that has ever happened to me.
Now, in April of 2021, amid the corona virus pandemic, I am looking for work again and still working on my recovery. However, I consider myself one of the luckiest men alive. I have now visited or lived in 45+ different countries, survived various brain surgeries, gotten married and had a daughter.
I am blessed beyond measure and grateful for every breath that I get to take. I look forward to seeing what the future has in store for me. I married a Saint in Jenny who took care of me while 9 months pregnant and when I was in the hospital for 12 weeks and I have super supportive family and friends. I couldn't do this life without them. For all these reasons and more, that's why I consider myself one of the luckiest men alive.
Thursday, April 01, 2021
I wanted to write a little bit about motivation. I have had a long, hard six month journey to get better since I had my brain surgeries. Some people have told me that I motivate them and they are not sure that they could go through something similar to what I have been through and still be optimistic about life. I am flattered and honored that people consider me an inspiration. However, I think it is just a question of finding something worth fighting for and keeping that in mind while you go through your struggles.
Everyone has problems that most people know nothing about. What I have been through has definitely been hard and I would not wish this on anyone nor would I want to repeat it. Although, there are certainly people fighting battles harder than what I have gone through. My motivation has been my wife and daughter. There were times where I wanted to give up, throw in the towel. The pain was terrible physically and mentally. I was unable to eat or drink anything and I couldn't even walk! I think anyone would be depressed in those circumstances. Especially with my facial paralysis that affected my speech, as an English teacher the ability to speech clearly is extremely important to me.
There were times when I was scared and depressed not knowing if I would ever regain the ability to walk,eat,drink or talk correctly again. But especially after Eliana was born in December of 2020, I made the conscious choice to keep fighting. I was only 35 years old when this happened and I reasoned that I still have a lot of life left to live.
I started off this journey six months ago unable to eat,drink,walk or talk. Eventually I was able to speak again and with intensive speech therapy and physical therapy I managed to regain my ability to speak and decrease my facial paralysis. I also managed to eat solid food again and drink water, juice and other liquids.
I moved from using a wheelchair to a walker. I set a goal for myself that once Eliana was born in December I wanted to get rid of my walker and walk on my own. At first it was very painful and I was very weak from all the muscle and body weight I had lost during my operations. But Eliana arrived on the 14th of December and I did get rid of that walker!
But I knew that wasn´t enough. I wanted to be independent again. So I set another goal for myself. I would run on the treadmill and do five pushups. I wanted to be an active father in my daughters life so I knew I couldn't give up. Now I am up to 42 (and counting!) consecutive pushups, 11 pullups and I can run a fair distance on the treadmill. I really have come a long way in six months. I am not 100% but I am getting closer. Really the only thing I cannot do is drive (due to my loss of lateral vision in my left eye)
I still hate exercise but after exercising five days a week for six months I am probably in the best shape of my life. Now, I really value the ability to exercise and work at a normal, boring job. I had those things taken away from me for a time and I know it could happen again. Now I place a lot more value on being healthy and doing something boring like going to work. There are many people who do not have that luxury.
I write you all this not to brag at how amazing my recovery has been, but to let you know that no matter what challenges you have in your life, there is always someone going through something and if you set your mind to it, you can overcome your challenges. You know who inspires me? ¨Team Hoyt¨ this was a father-son duo who ran marathons together (sadly the father passed away recently at age 80). The son was born in 1960 and his umbilical cord got wrapped around his neck and he had brain damage. The doctors said he would never walk, talk or be normal. But his parents refused to believe this. They eventually got him a computer that he could use with his eyes, to ¨talk¨ when his father was 36 years old and his son was 11, the son said he wanted to run a marathon. Obviously being paralysed he couldn't run but he wanted to experience it. His father had never run any long distances in his whole life.
But do you know what his father did? He trained for a whole year pushing a stroller full of concrete 26 miles. Eventually he started running full marathons pushing his son in his wheelchair and they ran marathons together until the father was 78 years old! They ran over 1200 marathons together. Prior to becoming a father I could never understand the love that a father has for his child, however now having Eliana, I can completely understand why he did what he did. Oh, the guy from Team Hoyt? His son who was supposed to be a vegetable his whole life, graduated from college and now designs customs computers to help paralyzed people like him. If that is not inspiring I do not know what is.
I want to end this, thanking all of you for your support. I couldn't have done this without you. I still have a ways to go to be 100% but i'll get there. Thank you for everything and just remember not to give up and keep on going.
Thursday, March 18, 2021
Tuesday, March 09, 2021
Now that we are in March, things have been progressing for me. Today is my brother Lucas´ birthday (happy birthday Lucas!) but I wanted to update yall on my progress so far. In the public rehab place, I have been released from speech and occupational therapy. I will continue with physical therapy three days a week (at the public rehab) and my physical therapy at the private rehab.
I have been approved by my neurosurgeon for my eye surgery (the Botox injection didn't work) to correct my lazy left eye. I am not looking forward to yet another surgery but hopefully this will solve the issue of my balance and headaches and be my last surgery. I am well on the way to normality! Eliana is growing like a weed and I have an interview for a job. I am so thankful to hopefully be working again soon. Jenny has also had an interview so hopefully both of us will be working soon and we can finally get our own house. The only downside is that we will have to put Eliana in daycare if we are both working.
I decided that in June I will do another skydive to celebrate my one year anniversary since my operations and if my parents get to come here to Spain to visit us, I might even convince them to jump with me! Well that is all that I really have to update you on but things are going as well as can be expected and I am a lucky man. Things could be much worse. Til the next time, Tyler
Thursday, January 28, 2021
Thursday, January 21, 2021
Monday, January 18, 2021
I have started writing my memoirs and to be honest, I have updated those more than I have this blog! So, I will copy and paste everything I have written from 2020 and 2021. So much has happened to me in such a short time since we left China!
Well it looks like in 2019 I was overly optimistic about 2020. This has not been a great year for anyone so far.
Our plan was that Jenny would leave for Spain in September and I would stay until January 2020, to finish out my contract and then I would fly to Spain to rejoin her. This four-month period of time was the longest amount of time that we had been separated since we met each other. It was not easy to be away from my wife for so long, but I was staying busy working and getting ready to move. There were times that both of us were lonely and missing each other and it felt like the days would never go fast enough.
However, before we knew it January 24th had arrived and after finishing all the things I had to get done at the university, I boarded my flight from Shenzhen to Madrid and then onto Pamplona Spain. Finally, after four months I was able to be reunited with Jenny once more and start my new life in Spain.
From this point forward, I will need to arrange my working visa, we need to get a car, I need a driver’s license, or a new apartment and all the basic things that one needs to start a new life.
We will see what happens for me (and Jenny and our family and friends) in 2020 and find out what life has in store for me and us. I look forward to seeing what happens.
As of March 2020, the biggest story here in Spain and around the world is the Corona Virus (or COVID-19) that has paralyzed the world. Everything has shut down here in Spain and worldwide. We are in our third week of total lock down here in the house. We can leave (one person only) once a week for groceries or to go to the pharmacy or hospitals. Luckily, Jenny and I are still able to work online. Many people are not so fortunate. The only people allowed to be out are the ¨essential¨ healthcare workers.
As of March 31st, 2020, there are 801,061 cases worldwide with 38,748 deaths. These numbers will just keep climbing unfortunately. This is unlike anything the world has seen in over one hundred years at least.
Spain is currently third worldwide in the number of total cases (94,417) and second worldwide in deaths with 8,189. Scary stuff. Luckily, so far no one that Jenny or I know here has been personally affected but that could change. My sister in law works in the hospital and many people are getting infected.
But Jenny and I now have jobs, an apartment and a car so as of right now we are still doing ok. I am more worried about my family back home in the U.S.A. than I am about us though.
The U.S. is generally much less well prepared, and people seem to be taking it much less seriously there. Our current President and administration are not helping matters. I truly hope that things get better sooner rather than later.
Hopefully the whole world will have learned something from this, and we can all come out stronger from this. The only positive thing is that (at least for now) we humans are doing much less polluting and general destruction of our only planet.
April 5th, 2020, a day that I will remember for the rest of my life. This was the day that Jenny told me she was pregnant with our first child. I still can't believe that we have created a new life that will arrive in nine months. I am beyond scared, so nervous and unprepared but excited. I have no idea what I am doing, and I know nothing about babies but now I have something beyond myself. Someone who will live beyond me.
I have a legacy, someone to pass on not only my genes but also my ideas, parts of my personality and more. Of course, I am not the only person involved in this process, in fact, I have the easy part. Jenny has the hard part! Our child has 50% of her as well.
We are partners in this new adventure and many years from now, maybe my future child will be the one reading these words.
Now we have a responsibility to try and give the best life possible to our child. I hope Jenny and I are as good at parenting as our parents have been. I couldn’t ask for better parents and I know she would say the same.
We will have big shoes to fill. As of May 25th, 2020, we are in week twelve of our pregnancy. We still do not know if we are going to have a boy or a girl, but we are super nervous and excited either way.
In three days, we will go for our first sonogram and hopefully be able to find out the gender of our little one. As soon as Jenny told me she was pregnant I felt a change inside of me. I became extremely emotional and excited at the thought of becoming a father and to have done my part to help create a new life on this planet. Creating a life is one thing, raising a child is a completely different matter!
However, I am positive that Jenny will be a great, loving, caring and involved mother and I only hope I can do half the job that my dad did to raise me and that I will be a good father as well. I sure am going to try my very best to give our child the best life possible.
I already feel more love than I ever thought possible for him/her and our baby is not even here yet!
I am excited every day to see and feel the changes in Jenny's body, knowing that our little one is growing inside her and I cannot wait to hold my child in my arms.
This is unlike any experience I have ever had, and I have never experienced the feelings that I now feel with anyone or anything else in my life.
This is a new and exciting adventure! I got to feel Eliana kicking in Jenny's belly. That was an exciting day for both of us.
We are very happy and excited and can’t wait until she is in our arms. We are hopeful for a smooth and uneventful delivery so we can see our healthy baby.
After arriving to Pamplona in January, I got a job at the public university until March but then we went on lock down and we were basically locked down to the apartment until the end of June so we didn’t get to do anything outside of the apartment and then I ended up in the hospital. In June 2020, I started vomiting and experiencing headaches. This started my eight-week journey at the hospital in Pamplona. Spain. My mom has come over from Texas and Jenny´s family has been great. I ended up having three brain surgeries.
The first surgery, the doctors tried replacing the shunt tubing. After that didn't work. They decided to take out the shunt tubing for a week to monitor the flow of liquid.
Well that didn't work either, so they ended up taking my thirty-five-year-old shunt and giving me two new programmable shunts. These shunts can be adjusted with magnets without having to open my head to do another surgery. So, I survived three brain surgeries, but I have a lot of recovery ahead of me.
Unfortunately, I have lost weight and mobility and I am still weak, and I have some facial paralysis with a wonky left eye that needs correcting (hopefully it will be self-correcting with time, but eye surgery is an option for the future if needed)
So, I have lots of rehab ahead of me to get back to 100%. But I am hopeful that with time and some hard work I can fix my left eye and get rid of this facial paralysis.
I know that physically I will gain my weight and stability back, so I am not worried about that. But it has been nice having my mom here to help and give me some good Southern food. Of course, we will get to see them again in December when Eliana is born. I can’t wait to hold her in my arms and hopefully both of us will be 100% healthy in December.
Friday, February 14, 2020
Sunday, December 23, 2018
They have a lot of things with sauces and creams in the middle, a lot of spicy or sweet and sour flavos. They eat a lot of rice here and lots of green veggies. They love to eat fried food and food with a lot of oils and stuff. I really am quite amazed that they are as skinny as they are here with all the fried food that they eat.