The biggest learning experience of my life

When I was twenty-three, fresh out of college with a teaching degree, I decided I wanted some adventure. So with almost no preparation or forethought, I accepted a job teaching English in Pachuca, Mexico (La Bella Airosa: The Windy Beauty...go Groundhogs!).

Within a week I was ready to go back to Missouri. Despite this being an expensive private school, it was underfunded, understaffed, and they had no acting principal. Most of the English teachers were older, married couples, and I spoke such little Spanish it was very difficult for me to meet people. Internet was non-existent, Pachuca was far away from Mexico's many natural and cultural attractions, and people down there put ketchup on their pizza. I didn't even have a telephone.

I had never been so lonely in all my life. I felt I had made a huge mistake. My contract obligated me to stay for two years, and I didn't think I'd last a month. All I wanted to do was go home, and that was not an option.

For the first time in my life, it was all down to me. I could no longer rely on my parents for help. If I was to get through this, it was going to be alone.

Best decision ever. After a couple of months, I started speaking Spanish (I sounded like Tarzan, but still). I made friends. I explored. I begin to feel at home. Instead of two years, I stayed for three, and it wasn't easy to leave then.

Sometimes, the biggest regrets in life turn into our greatest successes.


  1. I know exactly how you feel. Other than a family vacation to Niagra Falls, I'd never been out of the country. And that was just a jump into Canada. I married a guy in the military and moved to Germany for 4 years. Flew over by myself to meet him there. I didn't think I'd make it either, but just like you, one of the best things that ever happened to me. :o)

  2. What a cool story. Oughta be a novel...

  3. Wow! Sticking it out had some serious rewards for you. Have you written a story set in remote Mexico yet? I have been toying with using a setting from one of my travels.

    Mil gracias for this excellent post!


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