Here is a picture of us during our December, 2002 trip to Thailand to show off James to his great-grandmother.

Here's the general overview. I grew up in Chicago, got a poli sci degree at the U of I at Chicago, then went to study Chinese in Taiwan at National Taiwan Normal University for a year. After a year in Taiwan studying Chinese and teaching English, I was eager to see other Asian countries since they were in easy reach of Taiwan. A Thai friend from college had always said I could stay with their brother. So I left Taiwan for Thailand. Well, what my friend forgot to tell me was that their brother spoke no English. So, besides knowing nothing about Thailand, I was living with 4 Thai guys and little or no English to translate anything. So with their broken English I somehow learned basic numbers and how to ask "How much?". That was just enough for me to go outside the house and order my own food from vendors on the street by pointing and asking "Tao rai?", so I wasn't going to starve. Then I picked up a phrase book, practiced with the guys at home and went to look for a job. And between home, work, eating, and a little casual dating, of course, I quickly built up my fluency. It was truely a wonderful experience just to plop down into a new country with no knowledge or preparation ahead of time. I was exploring a world where everything was new and different. Having acclimatized myself to Chinese language and culture, it was sometimes frustrating to now live in another new place where I understood nothing. I made many mistakes through misunderstanding, but Thailand was such a great place for a young, single guy, that I couldn't help fall in love with it. Beautiful beaches, wonderful jungle-covered mountains, coconut palm and banana trees growing like weeds everywhere, commuting to work everyday, by boat along the smelly polluted canals, what was not to love?
For about half of the five years that I lived in Thailand I worked for ECC Thailand where I discovered the joys of personal computing while I taught English. It was there that I met my wife, Ratana. I was teaching adults at ECC, when in strolled a very shy but very attractive cosmetic company manager. But there were plenty of attractive women in Bangkok and in my classes too. What started the conversation with Ratana was that she was wearing a little cross in a 95% Buddhist country. One day, Ratana stopped coming to class. Being the consciencious instructor that I was, and having all the students home numbers, I called her to see what was the matter. Well, it turned out that she could no longer attend class because she was so busy at work. So, since she was no longer my student, I asked her out on a date. Our first date was a bowl of noodles at a local street vendor near her brother's townhouse, where she lived. It took about a year before I met her parents. We dated for about two and a half years then had the monks at the local temple pick an auspicious date and were married in April, 1993.
Now herb name is Ratana, but everyone in Thailand is also given and official nickname at birth. Hers is "Oi" (sugarcane). Oi was born in 1964 and grew up in Ban Mi District in LopBuri province, central Thailand. Lopburi City is quite interesting as it used to be a part of Thailand that was controlled by the Khmers around 700 years ago and has some great Khmer/Hindu-turned-Buddhist temple ruins.
After getting a business degree at Ramkhamhaeng University , Bangkok, she went to work in the the marketing dept of a cosmetics company. We met in 1991, fell madly in love, had a big all-day, all-nite buddhist wedding out in her home town in 1993, worked for about another year at Ruamrudee International School (a very, VERY cool place to work) while we ran our own language school with 100+ students, saved up some Baht, sold the school (my school, not RIS) and came to the US.
I went to school at the U of I again and completed a Masters in Linguistics, then found out it was desperately interesting but desperately useless. So I called local computer training companies and turned my hobby into a job. Oi worked at John Crane International then got a job at Molex Fiber Optics when we moved out to the suburbs. I left Catapult Software Training where I was an end-user trainer just starting to do advanced Access and some Visual Basic courses in late 1997 to start a job at Metamor Technologies where I got certified to teach Visual Basic. In 2000 I began a new job (both Catapult Software and Metamor have gone the way of the dinosaur) with Apropos Technology, a computer telephony software company in where I am Director of Business Applications building, customizing and maintaining web based applications using ASP, JSP and PHP with SQL Server and mySQL backends.

Here are a couple more pictures of us, one taken at our wedding in Thailand and one taken at the wedding of my father to Rita Labedz in 1995.

Edward and Ratana Teune getting married in Thailand