Archive for March, 2005

You may remember last year when my entry into the Seminary’s March Madness Bracket contest paid off with a prize for second place, despite my knowing next to nothing about college basketball. Well, I still know next to nothing about college basketball, and there’s no prize on the line this year since I’m now an employee rather than a student at the seminary; but I filled out another bracket anyway. I won’t claim that courting a young woman who happens to attend the U of I hasn’t biased my pick for the team to win it all, but it turns out that they’re nigh undefeated, so they probably belong there regardless.

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Where is Hanna from?

Hanna is originally from South Holland, IL where she grew up with six siblings. She currently resides in Urbana, IL where she shares a house with her younger brother, older sister, and a friend.

What does Hanna do?

Hanna is a Ph.D. candidate in Computer Science at the University of Illinois—Urbana-Champaign. At this point I only understand enough of what she studies to say that she works with really big matrices on a computer all day. However, I’m hoping to brush up on my Linear Algebra one of these days, so that I can better understand her research when she tries to explain it to me.

Outside her research, Hanna is both athletic and musical. Her sports of choice are volleyball and softball (or so it is rumored–I’ve only heard tales of volleyball games so far). Her musical talents include singing and playing the euphonium.

How did you meet her?

The short answer is that we met through an online Christian dating service.

The long answer begins with my becoming a member of ChristianMingle. Why, I do not recall exactly. I suppose I thought it might be a good way to meet a nice girl I would not have otherwise met (how true that turned out to be). In October 2004, some time after creating my account, I received an email through the site from a young lady named Vera. In her message, she had this to say:

My name is Vera. You have a well-put-together profile, and you will be a great catch for someone. No, I should say God will make you a great blessing to the some special girl in his own time. I didn’t dare to initiate a chat because I don’t see myself as conservative, young, or sharp enough to be a good match for you. Also, I’m not into classical music and certainly couldn’t hold my own in a discussion of “The Lord of the Rings.” As a matter of fact, you sound a lot like my younger brother…

If you have time, check out HannaVZ’s profile—she’s my sister!

The next day I received a “smile”—a short, predefined message—from the aforementioned sister that read, “Your profile caught my eye, please don’t be shy!” However, it wasn’t until some weeks later, some time in November, that I finally began communication with Hanna. We connected almost instantly, and over the course of the Advent season we began the process of getting to know one another better through instant messaging and email. On January 1st, the beginning of a new year, Hanna and I talked on the phone for the first time. Our phone calls quickly grew in frequency, and became our preferred means of communication. Busy schedules usually meant that we couldn’t talk until later at night—9 or 10 o’clock—but our conversations would last until midnight or 1 AM. It wasn’t long before we began talking of meeting in person. Finally, on February 26th, Hanna came to St. Louis, and we met face to face.

How can I find out more about Hanna?

Visit her website: http://www.ews.uiuc.edu/~zvander/

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Greetings my blog friends, I have someone to introduce to you. I’d like you to meet Hanna, the lovely new lady in my life.

Steve & Hanna

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Steve,
I was reading World Magazine today and discovered you’re famous.
– Kevin

Yes, it’s true. I’m famous, and here’s the proof.

When a reporter from World Magazine came into the seminary library looking for someone to interview about social security, it seemed unusual, but not especially exciting. When he sat down with me in my office during my lunch break and asked me a few questions about the state of social security and Bush’s plan, it didn’t seem like much would come of it. I figured he was scouting out a bunch of twenty- or thirty-somethings, taking notes on what they had to say, and intending to use the choicest quotes in his article. Little did I know I was about to become the chief example in the cover story of a national news magazine.

By time the article was published, I had forgotten about the interview. When Hanna sent me an email asking how many free copies of World I would get that week, I was left a little puzzled. I immediately called her to figure out what she meant by the email, so she got to break the news to me about the article and to experience my shock first-hand as I looked at the article online for the first time.

So there it is—my proverbial 15 minutes of fame. I guess I should enjoy it while it lasts.

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