A Few Words About Me

Nothing beats having a blank digital page on which to write stuff. That (was) the fun of the early internet – add your own style, your own thought, your own spin on things. No need to be efficient with words… this is my page to shamelessly ramble.  :)

I suppose my life until the present could be seen as a series of dualities: North America Mike, South America Mike. English Mike, Spanish Mike. Pre-digital me, and now-digital me.

The Pre-Digital, Northern Hemisphere Me

This part of my so-called life spanned about 30 years and is more and more distant to my current memories, so I’ll summarize and be relatively brief:

  • I was born & raised in Westmont, Illinois, (in the north-central part of the United States).
  • I went through the high school routine and passed through the university as well. Studied a few things – if you’re interested you can see my CV.
  • At the university, lots of books were read, many tests were taken. Some things were learned and, as happens sometimes, the things I learned didn’t have much to do with the books.
  • I had the opportunity to spend 3 months in the south-central part of Chile, in San Pedro de la Paz (Which is next to Concepción, an even larger city).
  • I discovered the computer lab in the basement of student housing.

The trip to Chile would stoke my interest in Latin America in general and would play a key role in moving me to where I now reside.

My adventures in basement computer lab land found me searching on the internet (pre-Google) for information on how to create a website. Little by little I began to piece together HTML, CSS, Javascript and PHP….  I always had a fascination with computers from an early age, being fortunate enough to have had access to one. Started with Windows (Windows 1, to be precise) and after more than 20 years of that, I hopped on over to Apple. Lots of programs have come and gone. If you’re interested, check out some must-haves that I recommend.

But the internet – this was different. Now I could connect with other people, places and information.

The Now-Digital, Southern Hemisphere Variant

After a more than 14-hour trip which involved sleeping a bit in the Atlanta airport and lugging around my wordly possessions in 2 suitcases, I arrived in Chile in August of 2008. I was able to come thanks to TeachingChile, a company that helped connect English-speaking teachers with schools and institutes in Chile for over 15 years. I began working in the central-ish city of Chillán, where I met my wife.  Two years and an 8.8 earthquake later, our child was born!

An unexpected turn of events saw me transition away from teaching and brought me to work with TeachingChile, the same company that helped me arrive here. What started as periodic website creation and maintenance began to expand into freelance work. My persistent pastime began to morph into a full-time profession.  At this time my time working in language institutes came to an end in Valvidia – to this day, it's the last time I had to physically go to an office.

In 2017 I had the chance to join the wonderful team at Optuno working as a Web Designer and later Project Manager, which I continue to enjoy to the present day.

In recent years, I’ve also enjoyed exploring new places, traveling extensively around Chiloé and the Argentine Patagonia.