I’M not going to lie to you, the last couple of months have felt like an extract from Bridget Jones’ diary – only with me as the lead character.
A). Finally finish doing up house in England creating perfect living space and awesome batchelor pad – check.
B). Book random holiday to meet beautiful Mexican girl I met randomly online seven years ago – check.
C). Accidentally fall in love with beautiful Mexican girl in a moment’s glance – check.
D). Seemlessly lose level-headed nature, quit job, rent house and move to Mexico to be with beautiful Mexican girl – check.
Seriously, all the craziness of the last 15 or so weeks is not lost on me.
As I write this I’m sat in the bedroom of my new home in my new life in Tijuana Mexico.
I have no job, no car, and a very vague grasp of the language which surrounds me.
But you know what, as I've said before, all those things I held dear – aside of course from my family and real friends – bear no real significance to what I feel now.
It’s true what they say, your possessions start owning you.
So giving up the iPhone, the car, the HD TV, the all-singing all-dancing stereo surround system, the Sony PS3… the list goes on… was the single-most liberating thing I’ve ever done.
Some people have suggested that, at the age of 34, I’ve had some sort of mid-life crisis.
That’s crazy. I mean, those people in the throws of a mid-life crisis buy a car – they don’t move to Mexico! Love makes you crazy right? In my case I think it just accentuated it.
I’ve never been happier.
Things have been difficult at times. And there has been a pretty large sense of Groundhog Day on more than one occasion.
My life at the moment consists of me waking up late, taking breakfast, playing guitar, watching a movie and greeting Jacky when she returns from work (repeat x 7).
My plan has always been to take a break from work, throw caution to the wind and see what comes up.
During the course of my new-found life of leisure I have of course been attempting to find work. But christ, bureaucracy over here is interesting to say the very least.
I’ve been trying to ‘volunteer’ my journalistic services to a large international event which is coming up in October.
To ‘volunteer’, unpaid, it transpires that I need to have a special visa.
This visa is apparently only obtainable in Mexico City, which is a good three-hour flight from here. And it costs some serious money.
We contacted the immigration office here in TJ and they said – because they’re ‘friends’ with the international event organisers – that they’d ‘waive’ the necessity for me to get the visa.
Only snag is that they also said they aren’t prepared to give me a letter supporting this.
So it seems I can’t even volunteer legally without spending a chunk of money flying to central Mexico.
They did however offer me a ‘tourist’ visa for $15 which will allow me to stay here for 180 days as a holiday-maker. That’s the same passport stamp which I got for FREE on arrival in Mexico.
I tell you, someone really needs to set up a website for tourists which has valid visa information. They’ll make a mint.
You phone the British Embassy in Mexico and they say they ‘don’t deal’ with visa enquiries and pass you on to an $18 a minute hotline.
I do miss working for The Herald. Working at the paper you couldn’t help but feel a kind of responsibility to its readers.
The stories we wrote had an impact on people’s lives. They kept people informed of what was going on and what was right, and wrong, with society.
More often than you’d actually believe ‘Brian’ from Tamerton Foliot would be one of my biggest supporters – if only to help him publicise his monthly table top sale in the village.
“Hi Tristan, great work in Afghanistan… how long were you there?” he asked in the first phone call I received in the office after three months on the frontline.
“Well, actually it was…”
“Anyway,” Brian said interrupting.
“I need you to put something in the paper for me…”
|"Get me the President.... oh, hi Brian"|
Each to their own I guess. It was a good reminder that what you do is only important to those that find it important.
And that’s why – regardless of what a great many people in that newsroom thought – I always had my feet on the ground.
As I said in my somewhat emotional leaving speech at The Herald, I loved every single minute working there. I loved my job.
However in March within minutes of meeting her, I found something I loved more.
So now I find myself in Mexico, which I actually find hard to believe, is apparently a ‘third-world’ country.
I mean, what’s a ‘second-world’ country?!
The other weekend Jacky’s family took me to Pancho Villa which is a Mexican outdoor swap-meet or market.
|Pancho Villa swap-meet/market|
Jacky’s dad said it was important for me to go as it was the ‘real Mexico’.
What he failed to mention was that I needed to go in disguise as a ‘real’ Englishman in that market was going to get charged three or four times the price a Mexican would.
Puppies, furniture, medicine, fruit, fishing rods, pirated DVDs, car parts – you name it and it was being sold.
By the look of it I’m pretty sure a few people actually emptied their vaccum cleaners onto a table and tried to sell their contents.
I walked away with a squash racket for £2, a picture frame for £0.70 and some nail clippers for about £0.80. Result.
On the way back I was also surprised to see a sort of car rally going on on a stretch of wasteland.
This is apparently the weekly car sale where private sellers bring their vehicles to sell.
Did I mention that things are somewhat different round here…?
Anyhow, I’d best get back to doing um… nothing I guess.
I’ve actually got it down to a fine art, and I reckon that in four years time I’ll be entering the Olympics competing against other lads of leisure. At least then I might find it more interesting.