Change of Life

Well, at this point in my storyline, my wife and I are married… twice. Once in a courthouse, and once in a church.

We’ve also started our paperwork to change her visa to a permanent resident visa. It’s a long process, and pretty drawn out. We filled out the required paperwork, and sent in the necessary money requirements. We received a letter after a while that said we had to go to Detroit for our meeting with the USCIS God to determine that our marriage was legitimate. We drove there, as most people in this country drive. Plus, there is no way I am going to try to catch 10 different buses to take to downtown Detroit and make an appointment. Parking is easy, as this is a new building with ample outdoor parking, and a parking structure.

We make our way through security, and wait our turn. Our interviewer seems to be more of an IRS type guy. Very pressed suit, and not at all scary. Nothing I pictured. Of course, being in law enforcement, I figured on someone trying to trick us into saying something that might make them think we were married under fraudulent circumstances. The interview lasted about 15 minutes, and we were cleared and on our way. Done. That simple. Almost too good to be true. And, you know what they say about that!

Article continues below images, click on the image to see a large view.


So, it’s been 2 years and guess what time it is? Time to remove her conditional status on her resident visa. This is like taking off restrictions on a license that says you can/can’t drive at this time of day. Ok.. you’ve been living in the U.S. for two years now, and you haven’t killed anyone, so I guess you’re an upstanding person, and we’d like to have you stick around! LOL!! It just seemed more like a way for the government to get more money from us. We filed our paperwork and paid our fees, and a little extra because they fingerprint you and that definitely should cost another $90USD! It took them less than five minutes to process her fingerprints, and we were, once again, on our way. We flee Detroit as fast as legally possible, and stop only when necessary. Stop signs aren’t safe to stop at during the night. Thankfully, our appointments are during the day. :)

So, now we sit, waiting for her FINAL Permanent Resident visa card to arrive. And then, after that is done, guess what time it is? U.S. Citizenship!!! YAY!! I know, I sound disgruntled, but I have my reasons. This is where we all come current to where we are now, and why things have changed on our life.

Last year in July I fell down the stairs in our home. Stupid, really. But, I got hurt pretty bad, nonetheless. I went to the doctor within a few hours, and went for numerous tests. Bruising. Bruising? Yes, bruising, but bruising all the way through to my kidneys. That is a hard fall!

So, after about 2 months of complaining to my doctor about the pain, and the pain moving up my back, and losing feeling in my leg, and both hands… more tests were ordered. An MRI of my lower back. It showed some minor damage, but in the hazy gray area in the middle where there wasn’t supposed to be a clear image, the orthopaedic specialist made out something that didn’t look good to him. So, an MRI of my throaic spine (middle spine) was ordered. I’m a big strong guy, that happens to be VERY claustrophobic  so it took a while to find a MRI machine that could take me, and would also be able to administer drugs to make me go nappy nap. The MRI lasted two hours. I was awake the entire time, and not OUT like I thought I would be. My right hand went so numb, it was as if it was not there. I could NOT move it. PERIOD. The staff were great and took my arm and massaged life back into it for me, and sent me on my way.

My prognosis came a week or so later. It wasn’t good. There was a fix, but it would require MAJOR surgery, and dangerous to boot. In order to fix my back, they would have to open my chest cavity and get to the discs from the front. The doctor refuses to do it. Too risky. I agree.

So, where does that leave a 40 year old man with a young new wife? Retired! The cold is more painful than anything I have ever endured, and I’ve been through a lot. So, we discussed moving. But, where? Florida? West to Arizona? California? Las Vegas Nevada? I chose the Philippines!!! It was something that my wife didn’t really feel comfortable doing, but agreed for my health reasons.

We agreed to move, and if it didn’t work out, we could always come back to the U.S. But, I think it’s going to be fine and dandy!! I loved the Philippines when I was there. I loved the people. I loved the food. Well, most of the food. :) And I think that the Philippines is going to love me back and make me feel healthier, and happier. I think it is going to bring me the joys I could not get in the cold climate of Michigan. And, I’ll be able to live a lot better life In this economy.

As promised, I am also including additional photos of our marriages. Both of them. Some from the courthouse, and also the church ceremony. I hope you enjoy them as much as we enjoyed being there for them!!!

Until next time, paalam, ingat, and God bless!

Post Author: Scott Fortune (65 Posts)

At the time of this writing, I am 42 years old. I’ve been married to my Filipina wife since December 2009. She is from the Province of Pangasinan, Philippines. I was born and raised in the Metro Detroit area in Michigan. I’ve worked in many fields throughout my short career, mostly in Architecture, computers, and law enforcement. I’m medically retired from the U.S. Government due to a back injury and look forward to our move to the Philippines. My interests here were yard work, guns, and hanging out with friends. But because of my back injury, I’ve had to shorten what I can do to just hanging out with friends. Not a bad thing when you’re retired, right!? Also, I’m sure I’ll find some new interests when I get to the RP. We don’t yet know where we will be moving to exactly, but I expect it to be on the main island of Luzon. I look forward to moving there, getting healthier, and experiencing island life.

Live in the Philippines Consulting


  1. donna west says

    what beautiful pics and such a beautiful wife. you just show the love…beaming through. i know you are going to love living in the philippines. many people have not survived from falling down stairs so you still have life and a lovely loving wife. you are a very lucky man scott and thanks for sharing part of your life with us. enjoy your articles and hope someday i will get to meet both of you.

    • Scott Fortune says

      Thank you Donna. I know, she is a wonderful and beautiful person inside and out. I am lucky to have her in my life. She is a very caring and sensitive woman. :)

  2. Chris S says

    Wow good luck man, and congrat 2x on your marriage and your beautiful wife. Also, I think the Philippines is the best choice for you as well. Not only will you be able to afford the general medical procedures you may require but also, you can just take a short little hop skip and jump over to Malaysia/Singapore and get some of the most outstanding special medical procedures by some of the best doctors still at a fraction of the cost as US.nce again, good luck and congrat to both of you

    • Scott Fortune says

      First of all, thank you. :) Second, I am hoping that my out of pockt costs are going to be small enough to make not using my insurance card worth while. I’d be fully insured here, but there… nothing. Of course, it will be while I am not a permanent resident, but I think it would be a HUGE hassle to get paid for anythign done while there.

  3. says

    Another fantastic article! Thanks for sharing. If I may ask, why was your wife not comfortable with moving back to the Philippines? Mine personally can not wait to move back even though she loves it here to, as she misses her family, friends, the weather and of course the people.

    Take care and god bless!

    • says

      I had the same situation as Scott. Feyma had no desire to move back to the Philippines. It took me a couple of years to convince her that we should make the move.

    • Scott Fortune says

      I think that part of it is that she would have liked to have seen more of the U.S. She’s only been here for not quite three years, so, we haven’t had a chance to go and see or do much here. We have plans to take a long drive around the country before we come back to the Philippines so that we can BOTH see it. I was never much to travel in the past. I’ve driven from Michigan to Florida numerous times, because I have family there, but only went West once on business.

      And I think that some people think that going back from a place that is often thought of as the best place to live, would be crazy. And she has already gotten some responses from people there as to why she would want to leave the U.S. So, it is an issue, in my eyes, of the grass being greener on the other side. A lot of Filipinos/Filipinas view the U.S. as a place where streets are paved with gold. When, as we know, this is not the case. :)

      • says

        When my wife first moved here to the UK, her eyes were wide with excitement and awe thinking the exact same thing. However when the illusion of the gold paved streets vanished due to reality kicking in, her and I started to talk about where we want to live. She of course being the loving wife she is, said where ever you are I will be happy. I then asked what she thought of here . . . . . well after her living here for two years I was quite shocked at her reply yet in complete agreement, heck this is what I knew from the get go and now she too had the same opinions as I on the subject. The article on our website reflects both of our feeling on the matter (To read please click my name for the URL) Sure my wife has a few of her friends telling her to stay here because of the life, she just simply replies and says, it is not better here just different and not all in a good way.

        So we talked and talked about where we wanted to go and we both agreed that we want to live in the Philippines. So she can also be near to her family and friends, but more over she misses the simple less stress lifestyle that she does not have here.

        Anyway best of luck in your move! When are you planning on heading there?

        God bless.

  4. DanielY says


    OUCH !!! That back disc problem forces retirement on you. The most important questions involve money (naturally) and I think your choice of the Philippines makes a lot of sense. Since you are still young at 40, there is always the option to move back to the Good Ole’ USA, if things do not work out in the Phil. Will you be able to collect Social Security Disability?

    Good to see that you and your wife are happy together. This is a very important stage in your lives and may it work out for the better…. sometimes, bad incidents turn out for the better.

  5. Gary says

    You are seeing the wrong type of doctor Scott. The surgery you need can been done by very few doctors but it can be done. I had it done in Grand Rapids Michigan but I am sure the man is retired by now. I have a MagicJack phone and would be happy to call you tell who you need to see. Just send me message with your phone number. Do not come to the Philippines without getting the operation first. No one here can do the surgery you need. Good luck…

    Gary in Tagum City

  6. says

    So sorry to hear of the injury, but yes.. Philippines sounds like a great plan for many reasons I’m sure you’re already aware of.
    I don’t normally notice wedding dresses.. but the train on the one your wife chose is amazing. You both look so happy together, I wish you many, many decades of joy together! (tossing some belated rice in the air) :)

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