As many of my tourist friends might wonder, so may the astute K5 reader ask himself: why would anyone look to leave such a pleasant, colorful, visually stunning country? Well, I don't anticipate you'd be very surprised to hear the social order is quite rapidly deteriorating. For instance, just this week my father got his first death threat over the phone, and was forced to deposit Q10,000 in a bank account just to keep his family safe. It makes little sense to report this to the police, since if the sad bastards are indeed caught and punished, they will most assuredly seek revenge. Not the best of ideas.
What's more, just the other week I was walking by myself to get lunch at a restaurant a few blocks away from work, which is in the city's Centro Histórico -- the Old Downtown. On the sidewalk, near Central Market, I got a literal kick in the ass! This man, who must have under the influence of something, was gesturing wildly at me and trying to provoke me into a fight... but he wasn't alone. As usual, there wasn't a cop to be found, so I went back to my office building to fetch an armed security guard; when we got back to them they had left in a bus, people said.
There's also the fantasy I've had most of my life of living in another city; a more civilized one, safer, with easier --cheaper-- access to technology. Even if just for a short season. Finally, let's not forget Stan, and how it showed how terribly unprepared and in such a precarious situation a poor country like mine can be.
My current field of work is IT, and I have a comp sci degree/BS from a highly reputed university in the region. However, during college I worked as an ESL teacher at Guatemala's then finest English-teaching institution for about 4 years, an experience I still miss. As a job, I enjoyed it far more than being in charge of the IT department at a medium-sized government institution, my current gig.
So, what does K5 recommend? I've been thinking a bit about Canada, particularly because of the many relatives of mine there and the general mindset of its people -- but the cold is a bit off-putting. Lately I've been looking at ESL teaching in Asia, with Japan sounding especially enticing -- Thailand's also looking pretty good. What I'm thinking of is doing this thing for a year or three, and possibly even permanently if it's a good enough deal.
The place I'd like to hit would ideally reunite a few conditions: First, it'd have to be more or less immigrant (Latin American) friendly. I guess that pretty much rules out the US for me. Then there's the violence thing: I'm taking a break from insecurity, so crime rates would have to be lower than Guatemala City's -- a requisite I imaigne won't be too hard to comply with. Of course, its immigrant work policies would have to be a somewhat friendly... or at least easily circumvented. Also, I'd like it if people's asses don't freeze off most of the months of the year. I'm not a big fan of cold climates. Cute girls (nsfw?) who are into Latino guys: a big plus. The destination would ideally be civilized and technologically hip. Finally, it would definitely not hurt if there were no draconian laws on cannabis consumption.
Hopefully this wishlist isn't too unrealistic. But if I'm only doing this once, I'm going for all the marbles. And, hey, I won't mind not getting rich, as I'm perfectly willing to teach English --which I'm very fluent in and can bullshit a decent native speaker (American) accent-- or Spanish. That said, I'm also a decent Linux geek, and if I can land something where I'll get a nicer paycheck than teaching, well, even better.
And, why not say it, there are a few things I've got going for me: One, the University degree. I believe that my alma mater is highly regarded in certain circles worldwide, and my curriculum did not look too shabby compared to the ones of other famous unis I've looked at on the nets. Two, my Linux skills. Particularly my experience with web programming and internet stuff. Three, my joy of teaching, plus the English-teaching experience -- and a couple of semesters heading a course at my old faculty. If I may say so, I think I'm a quite competent ESL speaker, and while not the bright-eyed, fresh-off-the-boat idealist, teaching is actually an activity I find (mostly) fun and stimulating... as opposed to the computer janitor business. There's also my youth, 27, and the few languages I know -- Spanish (native), English (fluent), German (basic), French (beginner).
I'd really love to hear some of your own experiences, particularly if you've tried something similar. I'll also welcome general advice, especially if you live in a city that sounds a bit like what I'm looking for.
Muchas gracias, mis camaradas kuro5hineros. Espero con ansia sus comentarios.