Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Go Back Where You Came From

My parents moved to Florida several years ago to satisfy American retirement law.

There are some things to be expected from living in Florida. It is incredibly humid. The rural areas are crawling with mosquitoes and meth-heads. Occasionally, you lose a dog to a hungry alligator.

However, one thing they did not anticipate was the presence of huge freaking snakes.

The Burmese python is one of the five largest species of snakes in the entire world. They are indigenous to Southeast Asia, but somehow they are now breeding like rabbits in the Everglades. Which is ironic since these snakes basically decimated the marsh rabbit population of the area.

They have no natural predators. They can eat basically anything and they multiply pretty quickly while having a 20+ year life span. Plus, they are not easy to locate or track. These snakes are wreaking havoc in the area and there doesn't seem to be a solution in sight.

Plants and animals being introduced to parts of the world where they are not from often causes issues. Sometimes major issues. The Midwest waterways are being destroyed by the Asian carp which showed up a few decades ago. They are voracious eaters who reproduce quickly and have no natural predators in the area. They are choking out many of the local species and actually changing the condition of the water making it unlivable for many other species. This is just one of many examples of how placing living things where they don't belong is never a good idea. Much like how Maroon 5 should have never played the Super Bowl halftime show. Who thought that would be a good idea?

The cane toad was brought intentionally from Central America to Australia to help curb the crop pest population and it was great at keeping bug populations down. However, it also oozes a toxin from its skin. The predators in Central America were immune to this toxin, but the animals in the new habitat of Australia were not. Now there's poison frog goo all over the ground killing the local plants and animals.  And, in my opinion, poison goo is one of the worst kinds of goo.

There are tons of stories of invasive species ruining ecosystems all over the world. In fact, stepping outside your home is a virtual nightmare of foreign monsters everywhere. However, there is one invasive species that seems much more out of place than any of the others.

When the drug kingpin Pablo Escobar was shot dead in 1993, the Colombian government took control of his estate which included a large number of animals from all around the world. They captured and relocated all the animals. Some back to their native lands and some were placed in zoos and animal sanctuaries. However, there were four hippos that were left behind in a pond to fend for themselves. Click here for the story.

Since then, these Columbian cartel hippos have escaped that pond and gotten into the local river and started multiplying. There are now several dozen members to this hippo harem and the local authorities have no idea what to do about it.

I propose a solution. All the hippos should be given full scholarships to Florida State. I believe cocaine-fueled, sex-crazed hippos would fit right in with any of the fraternities there and they would become Florida's problem.

Now if we could just get Piers Morgan and Justin Beiber to go back to where they came from.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Life is Good

Several years ago, I made the fateful decision to combine my gift for teaching with my love for foreign culture and entered into a graduate TESOL program. I started working on my Master's Degree to teach English to speakers of other languages. I had always been fascinated by people from other countries and thought this would be a great way to get to work with them on a regular basis.

This decision led me to move to a bigger city where there would be more opportunities to work with foreigners. Soon after updating my Facebook profile about my intentions (not only for a job, but for school requirements also), I got the attention of someone in China.

After completing my degree, I accepted that job and the adventure began.

Five years ago, the furthest I had ever traveled was Puerto Rico. I had never even needed a passport. In the time since I made the above Facebook post, I have been to Germany, China, Canada, Turkey, Taiwan, Vietnam and Hong Kong. My wife and I have spent the last two and a half years living outside the United States. We currently live on the coast in central Vietnam.

My life is far from perfect, but I love it. This is the happiest I have been in my entire adult life. I love the house we live in. I love that we are in a small coastal town where it never gets cold. I am one of the lucky few in the world who actually loves his job. And I am married to a beautiful, intelligent woman whom I adore. Life is good.