More About Jiab and Jim’s First and Second Lives…..
Jiab was born and raised in Thailand for the first 22 years of her life. Think of every stereotype nerdy girl in movies who is smart, super serious, and doesn’t have time for parties or boys, and you pretty much have her.
Jiab went to Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, where she earned a degree in Industrial Engineering, i.e., how to be an efficiency expert (Jiab gets that look occasionally when out someplace that indicates she is conceiving of a “better way” for the owners to do things).
After working for two years as an engineer in Thailand, she came to the United States and graduated with an MBA from Auburn University. Jiab then worked in financial services for a combined 24 years. Most recently, Jiab spent 16 years with Bank of America, first as an analyst, then senior analyst, and then finally a Bank of America Vice President of credit risk management.
Jiab is the first in so many ways; the first child, the first in her family to venture to the United States, the first to marry outside of her culture, the first to be a single parent, the first to re-marry and create a new, blended (Thai Buddhist/American Jewish) family, and a pioneer in representing Asian women in American banking, breaking through the “glass and bamboo ceiling.” Her life has always been marked by going where there is no map and where risk and reward were never certain factors to measure (even if she keeps trying to measure them).
Jiab has been guided through this, however, by remembering the Buddhist exhortation that suffering is a state of mind, and that challenges are not problems, but “precious jewels” of opportunity to find out what one is truly capable of doing.
Born of a Tennessee man and a proper English woman, Jim was born in a log castle as a citizen of the once, yet eternally, independent Republic of Texas.
Jim’s parents often took him to far away and exotic places, only to be disappointed when Jim managed to find his way back. Finally left on his own, Jim was raised by a travelling band of sloths, accounting for his belief that his appearance, dress, and temperament are “normal.” He called the jungle home, at least until he learned proper English and then correctly called jungle “jungle” and the place he lived in “home.”
Jim was “finding himself” (his parents’ phrase) during his college years till he graduated with a degree in psychology and religion (His senior thesis on southern US Jewish communities was docked points for being titled “Red-neck or Eth-neck?”). Discovering a gift for gab, Jim became a litigation attorney and then a teacher (claiming an expertise in history, government, economics, public speaking, and anything else where there is not a definite right or wrong answer).
Jim met the love of his life through the disembodied, yet oh so personal, medium of the first internet dating sites (the magical land where everyone is tall, has an “athletic build,” and hair). Although wiser than Jim, Jiab still has no reply to his argument-winning line: “I’m obviously smarter than you; look whom each of us chose to marry.” Together, Jim and Jiab have found bliss in raising two boys that are the light of their lives, though aside from these two house cats, they also have two sons who seem to eat and sleep a lot.
Whether demonstrating his own original martial arts moves (such as “curl up in a fetal position and cry like a baby till they stop punching you”) or developing new excuses for losing tennis matches (“The net is higher on my side of the court”), Jim has led a life governed by a single creed, “Dignity is overrated.”
Jim’s dignity on display at a school pep rally!