It’s odd, but despite the fact that I have absolutely no experience in the professional business world, I feel like I’ve been playing the stock market for the last three years living here in Asia. I work as an ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher. When I took the class to get my ESL certification, my teacher told me I should make sure all my employers pay me in US dollars, regardless of what country I seek employment. I’m glad I didn’t heed her advice.

I began working in Thailand in May of 2007 where the national currency, the Thai Baht, was at an exchange rate of about 37 Baht to the US dollar. My contract started me at 35,000 Baht a month (roughly $945). This was a decent wage for a comfortable Thai lifestyle. By the time I was ready to leave Thailand in March of 2008, the US dollar was wavering between 32-33 Baht on the currency exchange. I received more than $90 in a raise without doing anything. My wage of 35,000 now came to roughly $1093-1097. Now that might not sound like much, but when you consider that your average Thai bartender makes less than a US dollar an hour, money like that makes you feel like a middle class civilian.

I left Thailand to live in Japan, where I currently pursue the ESL field at 2,500,00 Japanese yen monthly. A well traveled friend informed me that less than three years ago, the exchange rate was 130 yen to the dollar. It was roughly 112 yen to the dollar when I arrived here. Guess where it’s at now, nine months later? It’s at 89 yen to the dollar. I went from earning $2,232 a month, to roughly $2809! I thank my lucky stars I have been saving it all in a Japanese bank.

I don’t know how many Americans these days spend time traveling around our numerous holiday destinations, although I imagine with these trying economic times, not so many. On a holiday to my home state of Arizona with my Japanese girlfriend, she insisted on seeing the Grand Canyon. How could I refuse this wonder of the world to a foreigner? I heard more people speaking French and German than I did English. With the Euro so strong to the dollar, the Europeans are now visiting America as though it’s a third world country. Ironically, I and many others from nations of a similar economic standing, took, and continue to take holidays in my beloved Thailand for the same reason the Europeans are coming to America.

If one needs proof of the plummeting, US dollar, he need only look at the exchange rates and the migration patterns of those vacationeers from the first world. Who knows when an individual such as myself should begin exchanging back the motherland’s banknotes from foreign wages, but perhaps I should talk with an economist, or better yet, a stockbroker.

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