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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Vietnam It Is

Looks like I'm going to Vietnam. The English school there has agreed to let me go on a temporary basis - six months - to let me get a feel for the country, the school, the lifestyle, etc. before I make a permanent decision. So now I'll have to put everything into high gear to prepare to leave Phoenix. I'm hoping to be in Vietnam by June 1st.

I'll have to apply for a tourist visa, decide what to do about medical insurance, sell off the rest of my crap, decide if I'm going to put anything in storage, try to figure out what to do with the house, & do a host of other random things before I go.

I'm excited about the new adventure that awaits me.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Rest of the Story

I'm back from my trip to Mexico. I now have a better perspective on what it would take to teach English there. Basically, I wouldn't make that much money - maybe $5 per hour, which would be just enough to get by - & every school I talked to seems to want me to commit to at least a year.

So now I'm actively investigating Vietnam. I can make four times as much there as I can in Mexico, & the cost of living is significantly less in Vietnam than in Mexico. Also, it would be an interesting challenge to live in Asia, since I haven't been there as an adult. I lived in Thailand as a kid, so I know a little bit about the culture in that part of the world. I'm sure that it has changed in the last 30 years, but I imagine that the changes are mostly cosmetic. The infrastructure is probably better, & contact with American travelers is probably greater, but the basic culture is most likely the same. Besides, I'm pretty familiar with Mexico, especially the language, so Vietnam would definitely be a departure from the norm, which is what I'm looking for.

I'm thinking of spending six months in Vietnam teaching English, & saving up some cash. Then, I have travel plans with my friend Charlene in Buenos Aires in November. While I'm there, I'll investigate the job market. If I find something good, I'll stay in Argentina for another six months or so. If not, I'll head to Cuernavaca & try to work there. Of course things could change in the meantime, but that's the rough outline, anyway.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Teaching English in Mexico

I've been in Mexico now for a week, mostly on vacation, but I've popped my head into several English schools along the way to see what my chances are of getting a job teaching English down here.

Looks like they don't even want to talk about giving me a job until I have already moved down here. But I'm not thrilled about moving down here if I don't have a job. Hm. I have an appointment with the director of a school here in Oaxaca City on Tuesday morning. Hopefully I can get a better idea of what steps I would need to take to teach here (work visa, etc).

As for the city itself, Oaxaca doesn't seem any different than any other Mexican (or for that matter, Costa Rican) city that I've been to - I mean other than Mexico City, of course, where I wouldn't want to live anyway. It has a central plaza with a huge Catholic church, & lots of side streets with cars speeding down them, lots of music blaring everywhere, lots of smells (good & bad mixed together), lots of people walking around at all hours. I'm not sure it's any better or worse than any other city to live in. Cuernavaca is closer to Mexico City, where I know people, it's a little smaller, still has the ex-pat community, lots of English schools.

But then there's still Vietnam to think about.

Saturday, April 25, 2009


I'm here in Oaxaca City. They're all in a tizzy in Mexico City about the pig flu. Lots of people walking around wearing masks, no public functions in the capital for a week. They're even going to play two soccer games without spectators (a national tragedy). But according to the paper this morning, there have been all of nine cases of the flu in the whole state of Oaxaca so far. I think we'll be fine.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Here we are in Cuernavaca. Cory's feeling a bit of the "turista", so we've been taking it easy today. We haven't seen any of the sites here other than the zocalo (central plaza) & the pharmacy, but that's okay - I've seen it before. We're still thinking of taking a bus to Oaxaca tomorrow - it all depends on how Cory's microbes feel. I had a great lunch from a street vendor: corn, chile, lime - YUM! They threatened to put mayonaise on it, but I stopped them just in time. Later, I'm going to stop by an English school right down the street to check on a job.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Mexico City

I'm here in Mexico City after two longs days of tourist-ing around. Went to Teotihuacan yesterday, the Zocalo today. Tomorrow it's Xochimilco & Cuernavaca. So far it's the same old stuff, but we'll make it to Oaxaca on Thursday-ish, where all will be new for both Cory & me. The weather has been great - not too hot, not too cold. Gerardo's sister has been wonderful to us & Hugo, the taxi driver is indispensible, as always.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Tomorrow is a New Day

Tomorrow marks the point of no return. My old life will be behind me, & I my new life as a world traveler will be ahead. Look for a postcard!

Thursday, April 16, 2009


I've been emailing with a friend of my cousin who is teaching English in Vietnam at a school in Bien Hoa, just outside of Ho Chi Minh City. They say that I can make $2000 per month, & since the cost of living is so cheap there, I will still be able to save $500 per month. Save $500 per month? What a concept.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Picking Up the Pieces

Day 2 of the sale went much better than I expected on an Easter Sunday. There were no shoppers in the morning, but the afternoon brought several people to the studio to look through what was left after the mad rush on Saturday. It was well worth spending the day there.

This week I'm listing what's left on Craig's List, & will move the final items home this weekend before I leave for Mexico on Sunday. There's still a lot of good things left. (I can't believe that no one wants the blue couch!) Let me know if you want to take one last look before it's all gone.

& if you have a pickup, I may need your help on Friday :)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Going Out of Business: Day One

Day One of the sale went really well. There was a mad rush from 10-11, then the place cleared out & there was no one for about an hour. People trickled in throughout the rest of the day, & my last customer showed up around 4:00pm. I sold a lot of what I had, but there's still lots of good stuff left - including that blue couch!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Putting a Price on My Life So Far

I spent the whole day today organizing & pricing everything at the studio. I'm pooped.

I hope the sale tomorrow & Sunday is busy & that I get rid of most of the stuff. I have to be out of the space by the time I leave for Mexico on April 19th, so if there's anything left, I'll move it home next week. If you have a pickup, I may need your help :D

Once I have a better idea of what lies ahead, I'll have yet another (& hopefully final) yard sale to get rid of the remaining stuff. Maybe by then I really will have just 100 things.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Let's Make a Deal

I've been organizing & putting prices on everything at the studio this week. A couple of friends have already taken a few car loads of stuff, but there's still plenty of great stuff left to bargain for. I have lots of furniture, books, wall decorations, lighting fixtures, dishes, office supplies, & even a plant that needs a good home.

The BIG SALE is this weekend, both Saturday & Sunday from 10:00am to 5:00pm. Come on down!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Thursday, April 2, 2009


I planted some red poppies last year from some seeds that my friend Michelle gave me. They came up tentatively then, so I was looking forward to seeing more of their red petals this year. But none came up. Then finally, on the other side of the driveway, a single poppy plant sprang up. I had one beautiful red poppy, then two, & more on the way. I was so happy to see them.

Then a couple of days ago I came home to find that the poppy plant was gone, torn from its roots by the neighbor's gardener.