My family and I moved back to the USA 3 years ago
I am trying to decide where home is
In 2019 my family and I moved back to the United States after nearly 20 years of living in the Philippines. The move has been a good thing, we have enjoyed our new life back in the USA. I’ll be writing more about the move in a series of coming articles.
Today I want to look at the concept of where “home” is for us.
For most people, “home” is where they grew up as a child. For many people, they continue to live in their childhood home as an adult (not necessarily the same house, but the same general area). Other people are like me and don’t really have a childhood home. It is kind of a strange feeling to be “homeless” in terms of your life history.
As a minor, I lived in 8 different places
Born in Port Townsend, Washington
I was born in Port Townsend, Washington, on the Quimper Peninsula in Northwestern Washington State. My Mom was from that area. My Dad worked for a major Paper Company and started working for that company in Port Townsend, Washington, although he was from Montana. My parents married in Port Townsend, and I was born there, along with my sister about 2 years later. Within a year after my sister’s birth, my father was transferred to Southern California.
Moved to Whittier, California
I believe it was in early 1965 that we moved to Whittier. We were not there for very long though, and I don’t really have memories there.
Moved to Germiston, South Africa
Within a year or so, my father was transferred to the International division of the company and sent to South Africa. I remember living in South Africa, and I started school there, completing the First grade in South Africa. We lived in South Africa for 2 years.
Moved to Clatskanie, Oregon
Clatskanie is a small town in the mountains of Northwestern Oregon. If I were to say that any place was my childhood home, it would be Clatskanie. Clatskanie was also the place where I lived for the longest period while I was a child, a long stretch of 5 years. I redid 1st Grade in Clatskanie (the school administration and my parents decided that schools in South Africa were probably behind US schools – which turned out to be wrong – so they made me go to 1st Grade for a second time). We left Clatskanie when I was halfway through Grade 6.
Later in life, when I was already married to Feyma, we visited Clatskanie, and unfortunately, Feyma experienced some racism there, which kind of turned me off on a place that I remembered fondly.
Moved to Fullerton, California
When we left Oregon, we headed back to California where my Dad became a Paper Mill Manager for the company. We lived in Fullerton, California for only 1 1/2 years before moving for a temporary job assignment in Glen Falls, New York.
Moved to Glen Falls, New York
We were in Glen Falls for only about 3 months, but it was great. We lived right on a lake (Glen Lake). The lake was only like 20 or 30 feet outside our front door. We kids spent those 3 months on and in the lake daily. Fishing and swimming. Swimming and fishing. It was a great summer!
Moved to Fullerton, California
After that short stint in New York, we were back to Fullerton, but only for about another year. That was a great year, though. When I was young, I was a trumpet player, and a good one. I started High School during this stint in Fullerton and was in a State Champion marching band. At that time, I had a private tutor for Trumpet that urged me to pursue a career as a professional trumpet player.
Moved to Pine, Louisiana
At the end of my first year in High School, the news dropped… we were moving to a small town in Louisiana, Pine. Pine was located about halfway between Bogalusa and Franklinton, Louisiana. When we moved there, I found out they did not have any kind of school band, and I stupidly gave up the Trumpet. I felt it was a good way to teach my parents a lesson about moving again… kids can be stupid. I always felt like an outsider in Louisiana, the culture was so different there. I did, however, come to love Louisiana later in life. “Yankees” were not really very welcome there, and it made life difficult at times.
As an Adult (18+), I have lived in the following
Within a week or so after graduation, I left Louisiana. I moved to Bozeman, Montana (if you watch Yellowstone, it is based in the Bozeman area, although it is filmed near Missoula, Montana). I went to Bozeman to attend Montana State University. My time at MSU lasted for one year. I joined a Fraternity and had a great time. School there, for me, was more about drinking and partying.
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
I wisely decided to move back to Louisiana and go to LSU for the remainder of my school days. It was a good choice, and I ended up staying in Louisiana for about 5 or 6 more years. During my time in Baton Rouge, I studied Economics at LSU and pretty much got out of the party scene, which was good for me. I also got a job in Retail Management, which was very good for me.
During High School I worked after school as a stock boy at a discount store chain called T.G.&Y. A number of years later, during college, I decided to go back to work at T.G.&Y. and got into the management program. I went on to manage a number of stores and got into Regional Project Management with them. I found that I had retail in my blood, I enjoyed it and was good at it, and for the rest of my life I have been doing all kinds of retail. Later in life, I operated a lot of online stores and such, and I give credit for those skills to my early training in the retail environment.
One of my job assignments took me to Amite, Louisiana (about an hour from Baton Rouge) to be the Merchandise Manager at the TG&Y store there.
In 1987, I was tired of the work I was doing. Our company was bought out by a 5 & Dime store, McCrory’s from Pennsylvania. It wasn’t for me, and I wanted out. They had a program where they were converting stores to more closely match the McCrory system. If a manager was successful in converting his store, he would receive a very large bonus. I got the bonus and quit the same day.
My family had been living in Vancouver, Washington, and I moved there, but still got back into Retailing there.
In 1993, Feyma and I bought our first house, it was in Ridgefield, Washington, which is a suburb of Vancouver. We lived in that house for 7 years until I finally convinced my wife that we should move to the Philippines. It was not easy to convince her that moving to the Philippines would be a good thing.
It was during our time in Ridgefield that I started writing books and putting up websites.
General Santos City, Philippines
We left the United States on May 2 and arrived in the Philippines on May 4, 2000. Moved to General Santos City (this is the area where Feyma grew up) and started our new life there. I quickly got involved in online business. We also opened two Internet Cafes there. One cafe was very successful, the other one was just kind of so-so.
After 2 years in General Santos, we decided to move to Davao City. At that time, General Santos had become a real hub of terrorism. Lots of bombings around town at that time and one of the larger bombings took place just a few feet outside the doors of our successful Internet Cafe. People were killed, and there was literally blood on the sidewalks there. It was at that time we decided it was time to move.
Davao City, Philippines
In 2002, after the terrorism problems in General Santos (GenSan), we decided to move to Davao City. Davao is just 2 hours or so up the road from GenSan and I did not really think that moving to Davao would be far enough to avoid further incidents of terrorism, but a friend convinced me otherwise. My friend told me that the Mayor of Davao was very strong and no terrorists would mess with him. My friend was right. Davao turned out to be very safe.
I really came to love Davao City, and it really was home to me. Because I lived in Davao for so long, I have come to think of Davao, and the Philippines generally, as my home. In many ways, Davao has been my favorite place that I’ve lived. I had a good life in Davao.
Logansport,, Indiana, USA
In 2015 (I have never revealed this), Feyma and I were very close to deciding to move back to the USA. Our 2nd son had taken a trip to the USA, and he decided to extend his trip and live with his grandmother for about a year. This was the first time that any of our kids left the nest, and we really missed him so much.
In addition to missing our son, my mother had been wanting us to return to the States for years, and we were sure she would be very happy if we returned. We decided to move somewhere to the Southwest (Arizona, New Mexico, etc). The warm weather was what attracted us to that area. My Mom lived in the Pacific Northwest, but it was colder there and rained almost daily for about 9 months of the year. We did not want that. We told my Mom and she told us that if we were going to move to the Southwest, we might as well just stay in the Philippines. I was pretty shocked when she said that, but in the end, we decided not to make the move. About 4 years later, Feyma really wanted to move, and she told me that in her heart the USA was home for her, so I decided it was her turn to choose.
We chose Logansport due to the recommendation of a friend. Indiana certainly did not fit our desire for a warm-weather destination, but there were other factors on the plus side, so we decided to take the plunge. I am glad that we did. I have come to really like Logansport. As I sit here in my office looking out the window at a few inches of snow, and a river with ice chunks floating down the river… I am not so sure I like the weather. But truly, I really am fond of the small-town feel of Logansport.
I think that we made the right choice… both moving back to the States and also choosing Logansport as our destination.
So, where is home?
I can’t really answer that question definitively. If pressed, I would say that there are 3 answers in my mind:
- I have no home.
- Clatskanie, Oregon
- Davao City, Philippines
If pressed, I would say that #3, Davao City would be my answer.
This article will serve as the basis for more articles on the topic of places I’ve lived, things I’ve liked about those places, and so on.