Hi, my name is Chip Wiegand. Actually, my nickname is Chip, my given name is Charles, but I've never actually used that name, never, in my entire life.
I was born in a small, well, it used to be small, town called Kennewick, Washington. My family left Kennewick when I was a few years old, I don't know exactly, I don't remember that part of my life, but I think it was before I was of kindergarten age. The family moved to an area outside of Portland. Again, my memories are sketchy, but eventually we ended up near Gresham, to the east of Portland. That was where I went to grade school, first grade through 7th grade. In the summer after 7th grade my parents separated and my Mom moved us north back into Washington, but this time to a very small farming town called Quincy. She wanted to be closer to the grandparents. So, I attended 8th and 9th grades in Quincy. The ninth grade is typically freshman year of high school, as it was in Quincy. But after I finished the 9th grade my Mom moved us to Lynnwood, WA for a job change. In Lynnwood I attended Lynnwood Senior High School (a 3-year high school), so my 10th grade year (normally called the Sophomore year) was basically a second freshman year even though it was my sophomore year. I graduated in 1978 nowhere near the top of my class. I think I only made it through because of my music classes grades.
A few months after graduating from high school I left Lynnwood and moved back to eastern WA to the town of Wenatchee to attend a private college and study music theory. That didn't end well - there was some financial scandal and the college was closed, the church the owned it closed, the gas station the church owned closed, it was terrible. Less than a year in Wenatchee, that was all that lasted. I left Wenatchee, this time when I left it was on a bike. Not a motorcycle bike, but a bicycle. I loaded it up with camping gear and a couple changes of clothes and spent the next 3 or 4 months touring Oregon and Washington, camping out wherever I ended my day's ride. That was a good summer.
That fall when the weather started to get cold and not at all cycling friendly I wintered at my younger brother's apartment in Mountlake Terrace, WA. While there I started attending church. That was where I met Cheryl. We started going out and eventually, a year or so, we were married. And that was the end of my bike touring. Instead I commuted by bike and I also started riding more competitively. Another year passed and David was born. Then another year passed and Austin was born. In June, 1992, Amy was still born. That was a tragedy and Cheryl was never the same after that.
Some 18 or 19 years passed and David and Austin moved out to start their own lives. Cheryl and I decided that was a good time to sell the house and move to Tucson, Arizona. That's what we did - sold the house, bought a one-acre lot outside of Tucson with plans to build a house, and live out our lives in the warm sunny desert of southern Arizona. But life doesn't always go the way we hope, wish, and dream.
The job I had gotten in Tucson ended after a year or so then I started doing contract jobs doing computer jobs, mostly in banks, but it wasn't full time. Cheryl's job in the mortgage industry went away when the entire mortgage/housing industry collapsed. Our plans for building a house died with our regular full-time jobs. Cheryl got a job doing online work, exactly what it was I don't know, she would never tell me about it. As the next few years passed Cheryl began to talk of returning to Washington. That didn't happen, instead, in 2010, she suffered a massive stroke and passed away. I know she is in heaven with our daughter Amy and I'm sure they are happy together.
After Cheryl's death I left Arizona, but not to return to life in Washington. Instead I relocated to start a new life in Colombia, in the Caribbean coast city of Barranquilla. When talking with a long-time friend about my plans, I told him I was going to start a new chapter in my life. He said "No, Chip, you're not going to start a new chapter, you're going to start a new book". And that is exactly how it has been.
So, that is where I am at this time - Barranquilla, Colombia. I teach English as a foreign language to private students and in offices. This is something I never did in the US and I really enjoy watching people improve their lives by learning English because it helps them in their jobs, and that eventually helps their families.
What's next? I never assume to know the future and I don't like to make long-term plans. But my hope is to go to Ecuador, hopefully in 2021, or after the pandemic, and meet some friends in Quito. Then I will decide on the next step.