Thursday, July 15, 2004

Coming and Going with the Cicadas

I knew this year I would be moving, however, I thought that move would be the one I’d been carefully orchestrating over the past year to San Francisco. When that fell through in January due to a variety of reasons beyond my control, I started following up on leads with my company's Latin America division. It was never my intent to move south, just travel there and live here.

In sales and marketing they’re constantly imploring us to “take it to the c-level” which translates in English to mean selling to the CEO, CIO and CFO’s of companies – the decision makers, not the peons. I decided that would be a good strategy for my own internal job hunt. At our annual meeting in January, I ran into the VP of our Americas group with whom I had already built something of a rapport.

I asked her pointedly if there were positions for which I would qualify in Latin America and she instructed me to email her the following week. I followed up and she put me in touch with a hiring manager. He and I had an informational interview and then I didn’t hear from him for a while until he called me asked me if I was interested in a particular position. I asked him where it would be based; he replied “any country you want in Latin America”.

After a slew of calls, a zillion questions and some initial skepticism, I decided I was leaning on taking the position and that I was interested in going to Mexico City to check it out.

Now you may ask why I would choose Mexico City when I could have chosen Buenos Aires, Santiago or even San Juan, PR. Well, I felt like the former were too far while the latter was too close and too American. I wanted an authentic in-country experience, but I still wanted to be close to the states to do some races and visit my girlfriend Katy.

Plus, half of my job responsibility is to support that office while the other half is to support the rest of Latin America. Since most of my work will be there, that means I will have to run around less and I will have more time on weekends to travel on my own. How would I enjoy Argentina or Chile if I were always traveling elsewhere?

I had never been to Mexico City, but I had heard all the news-fed, fear-based accounts; pollution, crime, traffic; repeat. Wait, were they describing Washington, DC? It’s the murder capital after. I wanted to check it out, so the other week I went under the guise of a business trip. I now happily report that I’ve located some nice, tree-filled neighborhoods close to the office so I will be able to walk or bike and I won’t have to get near a car unless I want to. The city is quite beautiful in places and I am going to be living next to its version of central park as well as a lengthy bike trail.

I accepted the position and am moving to Mexico for a year! My current job ends June 30th. This summer I will be traveling back and forth to Mexico before I actually start August 23rd. I am doing a language school immersion program the last week of July and first week of August in Cuernavaca, Mexico and plan to live with a family in Mexico City at least when I first arrive. I am completely psyched and excited but am also a little nervous too. I plan to rent one of the other rooms in my house to cover the mortgage and am planning a big yard sale to get rid of all the excess stuff I've accumulated over the years.

I will miss DC and all my friends and I hope everyone will come and visit. Please consider this your open invitation to visit the Mayan Temples at Tulum, to practice yoga on the "Mayan Rivera", to go mountain biking in San Miguel, to visit the national anthropology museum in Mexico City and well, much more...