[Before Paradise] Simply Bittersweet

I didn’t think I would have time to write these last few days as we have been on the move from our temporary rental, then to a local Tupelo hotel, and now we are at a hotel in Memphis where we are completely staged to leave this morning for the airport. It has been a long and arduous process and this last week especially has been filled with a torrent of emotions as we made our final preparations to travel and said our goodbyes to our businesses, cars, home, friends and two of our beloved pets that have been part of our lives for the last 16+ years. The hardest thing I have ever had to do is put a beloved pet down and x 2 and made it that much harder. It was a serious decision that wasn’t taken lightly. Any pet owner who will ever decide to locate and live overseas will be faced with making the decision to bring their furry family members and it becomes an even more crucial decision if the pets are aged or have health problems.  In our case it was both. Our two eldest cats at 16+ years of age were showing signs of deteriorating health, and to spare them from the stresses of travel and a difficult adaptation to a new home may have been more than they could handle. So, after several consultations with our vet, ‘Wednesday’ and ‘Boodung’ were issued first-class passage to kitty heaven.



Meanwhile, our last few days in Tupelo, MS was not spent without more downsizing. When we moved into the temporary house, we brought with us things that we needed to “camp” for a few weeks. All that stuff also had to be disposed of before we could leave and it was a like a made for TV repeat mini-series of moving from our main home with possessions in tow. This time, what possessions we had left followed us to our hotel in Tupelo. We appointed Michelle, a long time Filipina friend, as the official Filipino Ombudsman for our area as we donated a table and chairs, TV, microwave oven, and everything else we could not move or take. While she readily accepted the challenge of Ombudsman, her garage didn’t fare so well. We literally sold our Bunn coffee maker, a kitchen toaster, and the rice cooker and half a 20lb bag of rice from the hotel room. All there was left besides luggage and pets was a manicure tray full of miscellaneous items like a 110v hairdryer, lint roller, night lights, laundry detergent, scotch tape, postal stamps, two pillows, and a can of Fritos Jalapeno Cheddar cheese dip. There were also three bottles of beer that I just couldn’t leave behind for a hotel maid I hardly knew. Then it was off last night to the hotel in Memphis where we are now making our final stand before boarding our flight this morning. Although now, the leftover stuff is totally manageable and will simply be left behind (except for the beer, which I have since dutifully consumed) for the hotel maid service to determine its fate.

With all material things in tow, everything is jam-packed into 4 pieces of luggage that will be checked in. In addition, each one of us were allowed one personal item and one hand-carry item on the plane. In this case, each of our hand-carry items is a cat!

In retrospect only!
In retrospect only!

That was easy!

See ya on the other side!

16 thoughts on “[Before Paradise] Simply Bittersweet

  1. You are pretty close to me now from Memphis. I am in south central Missouri. I feel your pain for the kitties you could not take with you. you know they are safe where they are now. You should not have any worries or regrets. I have 10 dogs and only a few of them can make the trip with us when we leave for the Phils. Hopefully I can find good homes for the rest of them and they will still be able to finish out their lives happily ever after. It is not something I am looking forward to. I have thought many times about that transition time after we sell our home. my son and I will be homeless until we can settle again in the Phils. It is bound to be a scary time. You are in my thoughts and please keep us informed

  2. Randy,
    Sorry to hear about the cats. I know that is one of the hardest decisions to make.

    I was hoping to read an article from you today about your feelings leaving this great country for the Philippines. I kn ow you are headed to a place for lot’s of relaxation, biking, boating and family. But, what does it really feel like? Are there any 2nd thoughts, sadness or fear? Maybe u can type it up on your “flight to paraadise”

    Have a safe trip and post some pics!!!!!

  3. Randy … you probably already have heard about the meningococcal disease that the Cabayog tourism web site posted. So far out of 4 people from Calbayog 3 have died, the 4th was taken to Tacloban hospital and is a friend of ours. Our family is very concerned as well as others we know in Calbayog. I would suggest if you do go out in Calbayog to shop be around the public you get some ciprofloxacin at the Mercury or Rose drug store… no prescription required. Other than that maybe just use the hand sanitizer, cover your mouth with a filter mask you can get at the Mercury. Eat healthy and take Vitamin C and other whatever else you need to stay in good health. I will be on my way to Cebu the 10th of July and should be in Calbayog after the 17th of July…. God Bless…. calbayogtom

  4. Randy,
    Sorry to hear about your 2 cats. I think that was a good decision to put them to sleep. We’re so happy you get to leave early. We have to get some final things done like make a trip to Chicago and buy a few more things and we’ll be ready to roll. Do you know how Samar fared from the typhoon? Take care and stay safe.

  5. randy
    i hope you and your wife have a safe journey. sorry about your beloved pets. i also have a pet, pit bull, that my husband and i will be having to put down soon due to old age.
    i will be reading your blog on your new life in the philippines. i especially hope you write about the adjustments your wife will be facing/handling comming back to live there since she has lived in the states a loooong time.

  6. Putting down pets (we had a ~13-yo cat) is territory I will never be familiar with. I felt guilty feeling more grief (when we decided to put down our cat) contrasted to when a family friend passed last year. So, I understand the excruciating components of that decision. The silver lining is that your little ones are looking down on your new adventure and smiling on you all! Good luck with the move to Samar. – Jon

  7. Kevin, thanks for visiting again. There are always second thoughts from time to time and requires a simple correction back to your original perspective. You must always remind yourself why you moved here to begin with. Creating a simple list of pros and cons will usually remove all doubts. All I have to do is walk 100 meters to the ocean where the view of distant islands and a sunset reminds me!

  8. Tom, no we have not. But I am going into Calbayog tomorrow and will stop at Mecury to get some. Thanks. We did stop in San Policarpo the other day and met your significant other. She said you weren’t arriving for another few days or so.

  9. Hey Papaduck, as it turns out, it was a good decision. The two other cats who are much younger were in shock the entire trip and never made a noise. After over a week here, they are still kinda shell-shocked so to speak….I think it is just all the people, roosters, ducks, dogs, cats, and motorcycle noises that are freaking them out….not to mention some really bad karaoke! 😉 They are just not used to all the normal commotions of day-to-day life here.

  10. Hi Maria, thanks for your well wishes. Putting the pets down was a very difficult situation that we will probably never recover from. I know one thing for certain…I will never do it again, or at least if I do, it will be only as a last resort. I hope to be back and writing regularly soon as we are rushing to finish our new home and get settled. My wife does have a lot of adjusting to do as she is currently grieving for the loss of her Walmart! 😀

  11. Thanks Jon, I’m hoping cat heaven is full of butterflies and an unlimited supply of canned tuna! The two others that were much younger struggled with the move (like they went into shock) and after nearly 10 days here, they are still not acting normally. Once we move into our house and we get our shipment, the sight of familiar things may help them come around. We can only hope.

  12. Hi Donna, sorry for my delayed reply as it has been hectic traveling, recovering, and working on the house, and now getting back my internet fix. Once you begin the trip you should never loose focus on why you made the decision to come here in the first place. And don’t worry about being homeless as homelessness is really a state of mind. Settling is not really scary, just filled with a few inconveniences until we get into our new routing. Question: have you ever been to the Philippines before? Just curious.

  13. yes, i would too. we even get our haircuts at the salon in walmart, LOL.

  14. Hi Randy,
    I enjoy reading you and your wife’s journey to the Philippines.
    Just like buying a new book and reading it chapter by chapter. The information you provided is so very helpful to ease my mind with the new beginning.
    Soon my husband and I will be leaving Oregon and start a new life in Cebu. I hope the adjustments would be not so hard especially with my two four-legged boys. Teddy is 5 years old and Ahe is 7 months old right now.
    Looking forward to see Mr. Sun Shinning!

  15. The dogs (I assume they are dogs) should do fine. Cats have a little more difficulty with the travel. All I can say is plan accordingly and be carful with your expectations. You can live a good life here if you are not materialistic and can manage money well. Most of the adjustment is done with a positive mental attitude. Cebu is a good island to be on. The city not so much, in my opinion of course. Smooth sailing guys!

  16. I am surprised that you did not leave a box of stuff that is hard to replace at a friend or relatives house. Things like winter clothes, US cellphone, bed clothes, documents, and the like can make going back for a visit a whole lot cheaper. Why go back? This list is long but it is mostly family issues (weddings, births and funerals) and health stuff. I take several medications and Medicare makes them vastly less expensive in the USA than they ever were in the Philippines. I also had Immigration issues where my balikbayan expired each year and I could only renew with my wife (something I did not have). Going “home” for 3 weeks gave me time to go to a US doctor, visit with my family, stock up on those items I could not get in the Philippines. having a stash made those visits just a whole lot cheaper and more efficient.

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