Login   |   Register

First Steps

By Tom Wiseman

Gradiators, READY?!

So, you've already graduated (or are about to) and you can live through anything if Magic made it. Tired of hearing all that crap about "the best years of your life" being behind you? Fear not, life after college is actually pretty awesome—no essays, no grades, money for things like “leisure activities,” travel and a sick new wardrobe of clothes that would have been cool on campus but are now deemed “inappropriate.” Not to mention time to read novels (plus a fine selection of novels in mint condition collected over the last 3 years), food that isn't pasta with grated cheddar and ketchup for every meal, a strict work/leisure cut off, a feeling of satisfaction, those oh so comfy laurels to rest on, time to actually start learning things...you get the general idea.

Or is that just me?

Of course I am neatly sidestepping the enormous upheaval and the slide into a deep, dark pit of depression as winter draws in and you have less career ideas than when you were 10 years old (professional footballer is no longer an option. Proper Football I mean, not “American Football.” That's just futuristic Rugby.)

Or is that just me again?

As sweet a gig as it was, I eventually came to terms with the fact that I couldn't sit in Dad's house and office forever. So what did I do? I umm'd and ahh'd and procrastinated until there was no more procras' left to 'tinate and I finally settled on a career—World Explorer!

But how to finance the scheme? I considered a job with the Foreign Office but upon further reflection I realized that I don't like offices or "The Government.” So I decided instead to become a teacher and build understanding throughout the world in that way.

Every journey begins with a single step...

And so here I am in Mexico.

I have started teaching and I am loving every minute of it. Classes are a dream, I am completely focused on language, whereas in the before times I was limited to day dreaming about it whilst I should have been doing something else! It is hard work, especially as I am not the best grammarian, but grammatica is a wonderful field of study. The days are long—7am to 8pm—but I get a few hours off during the afternoon and I have plenty of time for a siesta.

When I am not tearing around like an idiot in the midday sun that is! I neglected to submit my US visa waiver card (I-94) due to some confusion boarding the aeroplane so I have had to make 2 trips to the consulate here in SLP (it was closed the first time). With that under control I then left my bank card in an ATM in a corner bodega—thankfully the wonderful people who work there collected it and held it safely for me! Incredibly this was the 2nd time I had done so in as many weeks, thankfully there was a model citizen at the bank in Washington D.C., too! I'm not looking forward to it happening a third time, because, as The Alchemist knows:

"Everything that happens once can never happen again. But everything that happens twice will surely happen a third time"

Yes, I have been listening to the desert and reading the signs as I cruise to work on the Rio Santiago, which, despite its name, is in fact a road and not a river for most of the year here!
When I'm not busy with all that you can catch me hand washing my drawers whilst listening to Weezy—now that's Dedication!

As I go about my daily business I recall the words of a certain someone, who himself knew a thing or two about adventures; as a Mr. Bilbo Baggins once told a young Frodo on his departure from The Shire:

"It's a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no telling where you might get swept off to."

Nowhere is this advice more pertinent than on the broken streets of Mexico's cities! In fact I once helped to pull my good friend Trevor out of a chasm in an Acapulco pavement, but that's another story...


Tom Wiseman hails from Oxford—the area, not the University—and is spending the year teaching English in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. His blog, "The Tao of Teaching," appears regularly on Gradspot.com.

©2010 Gradspot LLC