Why do I want to leave home? St. Louis, MO is a medium-sized, mostly suburban city in the heart of the Midwest. I’ve left before (within the States) but always seem to come back. It’s no secret to anyone that knows me that my distaste for St. Louis borders on hatred, and it was a foregone conclusion that I’d leave as soon as I completed my MBA.
My life here feels so boring that I seem to have gotten back into the habit of getting in trouble. It sounds corny and clichè, but I feel I’ll be dead or in jail if I don’t get out of here. At the downtown St. Patrick’s Day Parade a few weeks ago, I punched three guys consecutively in a crowded bar. My cousin said one must’ve had a broken nose there was so much blood. I was so drunk I wouldn’t have recognized them if I saw them later that same night. Two days later at the Dogtown parade, my primary partner-in-crime, George, shot me with a BB gun. I hit him with a full beer. We almost traded blows. Then his Hennessy-drinking friend and I almost traded blows. Then George beat up his Hennessy-drinking friend while I held back the other Hennessy-drinkers so it’d be fair. At Delmar Lounge after my going-away party, George punched somebody and my brother kicked him in the head. He and his friends waited for us outside but nothing happened because a cop was parked right there.
All my interesting nights are the same immature bullshit. I hate waking up hung over every day. Lately, it’s a miracle if I can get some exercise in before I start drinking again. I love my friends but I don’t see them enough to stay. This town is so average, boring, and conservative. There aren’t enough interesting attitudes or ideas here to keep my mind occupied. As they say, “an idle mind is the devil’s playground.” I have a wild side and St. Louis just doesn’t offer enough to fulfill my needs in a positive way. After grad school, I assumed I’d get a job in New York, Chicago, or whatever big business hub.
Plans have changed. In August 2006, I left the country for the first time and got absolutely cracked-out addicted to it. The next summer I took two more international trips. Altogether, I spent five weeks in London, Amsterdam, Lithuania, and Brazil. I went to UMSL, which was ranked eighth in the nation for International Business (tied with Georgetown). I got active in the International Business Club and AIESEC. I made friends all over the world.
Given these developments, a market research position in New York didn’t seem like it would take advantage of the international focus of my education. Furthermore, NYC wouldn’t be as exciting as it would’ve two years ago. So I accepted a job outside the US to (A) fully leverage my education and pursue my interest in other countries and cultures, and (B) satisfy my need for adventure.
But why Peru?
First of all, everyone has heard of globalization. The world economy of my lifetime will look much different than it did for generations before me. The traditionally rich countries’ economies will be rivaled by traditionally third-world countries. The fall on the Berlin Wall and the the Internet have resulted in an incredibly dynamic boost in human potential. Three specific regions are projected to (and already do) experience explosive growth: Asia, Eastern Europe, and South America. Given the state of the world, I want to ride the wave of this historic period in an emerging market.
But where? Hint: I speak Spanish.
Living and working in any of those three regions would obviously fulfill my need for excitement and adventure. But I wouldn’t be telling the whole story if I implied that my fluency in Spanish were the only reason that I was only looking for work in Latin America. I loved Europe, but I fell in love with Brazil. Latin culture felt so right for me. The people, the food, the music, the passion!
This is usually where someone makes a comment about the women. Yes, I have a track record of dating Latina women. It didn’t hurt the case for South America, but I’m going for the whole package. I loved Europe but never got the feeling that I wanted to live there. I did get that feeling in Brazil.
I don’t intend to come back. I bought a one-way ticket. I don’t know if I’ll be in Peru, but I hope to make a new life somewhere in Latin America. I even have a backup plan. In case I can’t find work in business and need money, I’ve been certified to teach English.
Moving is hard. I do not underestimate the challenges and culture shock which lie ahead. There will be things I miss about America. I can guess what kinds of things they will be, but I don’t know for sure. I’m not forgetting that I had it pretty easy in Brazil with two Brazilian friends to cart me around. Each one had a car. Each one had educated, English-speaking friends. I didn’t have to learn streets, take public transportation, communicate in Portuguese, make my own friends, find an apartment, or any of the difficulties of moving to a new city. I’m not ignoring this. I’m not unrealistic. And I’m not afraid. I have a dream – an abstract dream of becoming a marketing professional who can facilitate international business in Latin America.
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