I lived in the Philippines for 20 Years
In 2019 I decided to move back to the States
So, as the title of the article says, did I make the right choice?
Since the day I left the Philippines, I have been sad about leaving. I loved living in the Philippines. I miss it badly. I often spend time weighing the decision and trying to decide if I did the right thing by leaving. In the last 6 months or so, I have pretty much settled the argument that I’ve been having with myself.
I think it was a mistake.
There were some reasons that were legitimate reasons for leaving, but we could have worked through those things. Even having been away for 5 years, I still want to go back really badly, I miss the place, and so many people in the Philippines.
Why did I leave the Philippines?
- I had a heart attack and had quadruple bypass surgery.
- I had some issues happening with Feyma’s nieces and nephews.
- Some of my businesses there started to do less-well than they had in previous years.
- Two of my three kids were becoming adults and had decided to move to the States.
- My few remaining extended family members here in the States started experiencing serious health problems.
In June of 2016 I had a heart attack. I had been a pretty active guy, I walked at least a few miles every day, and just generally stayed active. It was a real scare when I had a heart attack, because my Dad had passed due to a heart attack about 7 years before we moved to the Philippines.
A couple of months after my heart attack, I had quadruple heart bypass surgery, and came through that with flying colors. In the two (or so) years after my heart attack, I increased the exercise and started fasting. I would eat on weekends, and not eat at all on weekdays. I lost 231 pounds during that time, and got my health back. I was feeling great, and I also felt that I got top notch healthcare in the Philippines. I can’t say I was worried that the healthcare in the Philippines was sub-par, or that it threatened my life in any way. I just got the feeling that if I was having some health issues it “might be better” to be in the States instead of in the Philippines. This, however, was only a minor issue for me and only contributed to my thought of moving in a tiny way.
Nieces and Nephews
In the time we lived in the Philippines we had a number of Feyma’s nieces and nephews live with us. Some were coming to Davao to go to College, others had jobs in our area so moved in with us, some came and worked in companies that we owned there. There were lots of reasons, and truth is, almost all of these experiences were positive and worked out great.
In 2017, Feyma was going to spend a few months in the States, and something came up that caused a nephew to move in with me. I did not know this young man well, in fact I hardly knew him at all. Against my better judgment, I agreed to take him in. That did not work out well.
Things got so bad with this nephew that I felt I was going insane, and started having some counselling sessions to try to move past it. At one point I even considered just walking out the door of our house, and just keep walking, never going back, just to get away from the situation I was experiencing. I didn’t do that, and with the help of the counsellor I made it through the problems, but this was the point that we made the decision to leave the Philippines. I needed a fresh start and to get away from things that I had no control over.
During my time in the Philippines I always owned and operated a number of businesses ranging from blogs that earned very good money, to a very successful e-Commerce business. I also did Consulting, and my wife did Consulting as well.
During the time I mentioned above when I was under a lot of stress, I was not able to focus enough attention on my various businesses, so some of my businesses suffered. I could rebuild them, but with a number of issues facing me, I felt that making a fresh-start back in the States might be the right move at that time. In many ways it was the right move.
When we moved to the Philippines my kids were… well… kids. When we arrived in the Philippines I had a 7 year old, a 3 year old, and a 2 month old. They were little kids, so it was not for them to decide where we would live. In 2019 my kids were 26 years old, 23 years old, and 19 years old. They were all old enough to choose their place of residence, and for the most part they all wanted to move back to the States.
I did not want to be separated from my kids by an ocean at that time, and Feyma and I pretty quickly started having the “what should we do” talk. Should we move to the States to be back with our sons, or should we stay in the Philippines? We did not make a decision until a few years later.
Extended Family Health Issues
By 2017 the only members of my extended family that were still alive were my Mother and my younger Brother. I was the oldest of the kids in my family. My sister died when she was 15, my father passed about 7 years before we moved to the Philippines.
In 2015 or so, by brother was diagnosed with brain cancer. Starting in around 2014 or so, my mother started having various health problems. Then, in March of 2018, my mom passed. This left only myself and my brother. I was the oldest of the kids, he was the youngest.
As I mentioned, my brother had brain cancer, and from all I could tell, it seemed that his time was getting short. This was also part of our decision to move back to the USA. Unfortunately, my brother passed before I could see him, though. I had already made it back to the States, but his death happened before I was able to travel to where ha lived.
So the items I have listed about all contributed to my decision to leave the Philippines and return “home”.
After Five Years, did I make the right choice?
So, just last week I “celebrated” my 5th Anniversary of returning to the USA. Over at least the past year, I have started thinking that I made a bad decision when I decided to move back to the States.
Generally, it is not a good time to make a big decision when you are under some extra stress. It’s better to work through the situation(s) that are causing the stress before making a life-changing decision. Although I have not made the decision to do so yet, I am really wanting to move back to the Philippines, or at least move to another country (I have been thinking about Ecuador).
So, what are the things stopping me move moving abroad?
- Still wanting to watch our Adult Kids grow up more
- I love our house and the setting
- As we age health issues could arise
- Feyma wants to see more of the USA
For those who don’t know, Cline is our grandson. He is 3 1/2 years old, and growing fast. I spend a lot of time with Cline, and both of us enjoy spending time together, I would miss Cline badly should we ever be apart, and moving abroad again would make the happen. It is a strand situation when you really want to move abroad, but there is something that you really don’t want to leave behind. That is one reason why we have considered Ecuador or another nearer country. To travel to/from the Philippines it is at least a 2 day trip, and you are also crossing a lot of time zones.
I feel that seeing Cline grow up, accomplish things, etc., is very important to me, and I don’t want to miss those things. Moving away probably would not be the right choice for us anymore.
Our Kids are grown up, but there are still milestones in their lives that we want to be around for. Firstly, I expect that Aaron and Jared will be married in the coming years, maybe they will have kids as well. Those are things that we would not want to miss. Yes, we could fly back for the weddings, but that is only a few days or a few weeks to be around. Getting married is an important thing, and will, hopefully, last for many years, and being around to celebrate that part of their lives is important for us.
When it comes to those guys having kids, nothing would make me happier, and I would not want to miss out on that. I love kids, and just would not want to miss more grandkids.
Also, as our kids enter and go through their married lives, I would want to be here to support them, advise them, etc. It’s hard to do that when you are 10,000 miles away.
Both Feyma and I love the house that we purchased about 4 years ago. Our house is on the Eel River in Indiana, and there is a lot of wildlife around that is always out in our yard, etc. It is such a peaceful setting. Although we live right in the middle of town, if you look out the window it seems that you are way out in the country somewhere without even another house in sight.
This is such a peaceful setting and it would be hard to leave it behind.
In just a few weeks I will be turning 62. I’ve had health issues in the past. In the last 25 years I have had both a stroke and a heart attack. Then again, as I pointed out earlier in this article, my experience says to me that the healthcare system is as good as the healthcare I could get here in the States. So, how much of a concern should it be? Probably not a big concern.
Feyma wants to see more of the USA
As most of you know, Feyma was born and raised in the Philippines. She came to the USA in 1991, after we got married in the Philippines. She has seen all of the West Coast, and much of the rest of the Western USA. Now she has seen much of the Heartland, but there are still a lot of parts of the USA that she has not seen, and she would like to see those places. I would love to take her to the rest of the US as well, I enjoy seeing her experience new things, just as I am sure she enjoyed watching me experience and fall in love with her country.
In our remaining years we could both enjoy seeing the USA (I’ve seen almost all of the country, though), and experiencing the places in the USA that we have not seen, or at least she has not seen.
We plan to go to Louisiana later this year. We planned to do that in 2020, but then COVID hit and travel was restricted. I lived in Louisiana for a number of years starting in 1977, but have not been back there for many years. I have some friends there that I would enjoy seeing and introducing my wife to.
Maybe staying in the States would be nice. I still, though, have a strong desire to go back to Asia. Hmmm…