Just as the sun rises and sets, plans can and do change. We left Guam three weeks ago today to return home to our home in Calbayog City for an extended stay. Our plans were to stay for 6 to 7 months through the completion of our next construction phase. The planned construction was to build out the second story guest quarters, upper deck observation kubo, and to complete the compound wall in front of the new property. While we did set in motion the process of completing the front wall, the rest of the construction was placed on hold. Reason: We Are Selling – As-Is!
After arriving back home here, it didn’t take long to settle back into our normal routine, though it soon became abundantly clear that our needs have changed. Spending so much time on Guam for the better part of two years caused us to make some significant adjustments to our lifestyle. For starters, we were back at the gym 4-5 times per week and we bace to our once active lifestyle… nearly the same one we left back in Mississippi (when we had time for it). We quickly realized how much we missed being active with the bowling league, racquetball, Zumba, golf, movies, dining out, etc. All of these things are available to us on Guam but, not in Samar. It didn’t take much time after leaving Guam before we realized how much we missed it all.
When we first settled in Samar (2013), and the fact that we left all our life’s stresses behind (working, career, bills), the idea of retiring in paradise and the enjoyment of not having to do anything – was totally welcomed. It was almost utopian! Even though I brought along my kayak, bicycle, tennis racquet, and fishing gear, life here has become mundane, for us anyway. Mundane is good for anyone who is looking for pure relaxation with not having much to worry about. But for me, things got rather boring. I’m guessing that because I have been active my entire life (in many things), I still have a need for something more than sitting on the beach and staring at sunsets, not that I don’t do that any longer, because I still do. The location we have in Samar is perfect for that. In fact, it’s almost too perfect… if all you want to do is relax. And the fact that we built our current dwelling to accomodate us having a relaxed, western lifestyle IN the Philippines made this home perfect for us. But, there is still something missing.
While my wife Teri was happy to be back home and surrounded by family, over the last few years, the family has grown and splintered. Back on the U.S. mainland, I grew up as the oldest of 6 children and while my parents were still alive, we were always a close-knit family. Since the parents have departed, we too had become splintered… geographically and with seemingly emotional detachments. We have all gone in differing directions, spread between Texas and San Diego, and us… “Living in the Pacific” (over there somewhere as far as my siblings are concerned). The close bonds of sibling-hood have diminished over time. And the way I understand it, that is becoming more and more common throughout western society. NEWS FLASH… It’s also happening in the Philippines!
With a good economy comes the dissolution of the family. As folks look to greener pastures, young adults are leaving the family homestead looking for expanded opportunities (complimenting the “Death of the Traditional Family” resulting from less auspicious family development and the decline of two-parent households – a totally different subject). It happened to my Mother’s side of the family in the 60’s and 70’s where Chicago was once home to the entire family. It didn’t take long after Uncle Georgie moved to California in the early 60’s that helped to encourage my Grandparents to explore migration to a much warmer climate in the Texas Hill Country in the early 70’s. In a few more years, the entire family would be dispersed across the country from Washington to Mississippi and Texas, and Florida and California. These days it seems everyone is just too damn busy going in their own tunnel-focused direction that nobody has time for each other anymore (visualize a family sitting around a restaurant table, all on their cell phones!). This was a huge aspect in our decision making process to move to the Philippines – the importance of family togetherness, and the fact that Teri had been away from the family for over 27 years, it was exciting to have that back, at least with her family if not mine.
But just as in the West, the Philippines has experienced a rapidly expanding economy in recent years. The numbers of students advancing their education in the Philippines is at an all time high, and upon graduation from college, many job seekers are opting to head to the larger metropolitan areas like Manila and Cebu for opportunities. Even today, much of the provincial areas of the Philippines just don’t hold much of an opportunity to earn a good living and as a result, is a driving factor when it comes to helping the country with it’s largest export – people. Hence, we are seeing once closely-bonded families being pulled apart… and Teri’s family is a good example. From Samar to Manila and from Bataan to Bohol – they have gone in different directions, and they will continue their migration in search of bettering their lives. Like everywhere else in the world, intimacy is lost and it’s technology that keeps them close. Most of our nieces and nephews are growing up and are attending to their upper level education. Some have already graduated college and will be moving on. Most of them will eventually leave home for enhanced job opportunites. It’s become a deja vu of sorts that before long, Teri and I will be almost alone again. Sure there will always be some element of family spread around the local area, but the family closeness is depreciating.
We have truely enjoyed the time we got to spend with the Samar family and in creating new memories and sharing old ones. At least Teri was able to spend 3 final years with her mother before she passed.We have also made many friends here and will miss the good times we shared together. We have made our decision to leave Samar 6 years after settling here, mostly for all the above reasons of Family and Lifestyle. But you will have to stay tuned for Part 2 of this post to find out what we will do and where we are headed. I promise, it will be yet another challenge… and one we will be looking forward to.
Home For Sale – If anyone is interested in our home for sale here in the Calbayog City area, feel free to contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org via this site’s contact page located in the header. You can also see more of this home by clicking on the link “Samar Home For Sale” on the main Menu Bar. Don’t forget to watch my “Expanding Paradise” series and other videos on my YouTube channel.
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