Note from MindanaoBob. For anybody interested, I was recently a guest on the Nomad Capitalist Podcast, hosted by my friend, Andrew Henderson. If you would like to listen in, go to the Nomad Capitalist podcast page and listen in! Now, on to today’s article…
Feyma, our kids and I are in our 16th year of living in the Philippines. Although it certainly took some adjustment (more adjustment for some of us than others), we have come to love our life in the Philippines. I really feel that this is the right place for us to live, and I enjoy my life here. Since coming here, I have not been back to the States, nor has Feyma.
Out of the entire family, only one of us has been to the States in these many years, that is Aaron. Aaron is our 2nd son, he is 18 years old. He is in the USA right now, I am sure most readers have been following along his adventures for the past couple of months here on the site. Of all of our children, Aaron is the first who has “left the nest” so to speak. He is scheduled to be in the States until around the end of October, a total of about 7 months away from home.
A while back, when Aaron had been in the States for about 2 to 3 weeks, he and I were texting each other on Viber. Feyma was not home at the time. Aaron texted and told me that he had decided that he might want to stay permanently in the States. He said he had not made a final decision, but that he was seriously considering it. When Feyma got home, I told her the bad news. She felt devastated, as did I. When we first moved to the Philippines, and over the years to some extent, it has caused some friction between my mother and I. Some pretty hurtful things have been said between us, all stemming from my Mother’s disapproval of us moving out of the United States. Because of having this experience, both Feyma and I felt that if Aaron wanted to stay in the USA, it would be hard on us, but we would support his decision no matter which direction he decided to go.
Within 15 minutes of both Feyma and I getting this news, we did the natural thing.. we both over-reacted! After little thought or discussion, we both agreed that we would move back to the USA. We both enjoy living here in the Philippines, but we are very family-oriented, and we both felt a need to be with our son. We talked to each of our other kids and they agreed that it would be OK to make the move. We started making plans, considering where we might live in the USA, etc. Everything seemed to make sense for us to make the move.
A few hours later, I came to a realization, though. I told Feyma that it might be a stupid thing for us to make such a move. “Why?” she wondered. Well, I explained my thoughts to her:
Because we are a family that has ties in two different countries, it is very likely that in the years to come, we will have parts of our family in at least two different countries. Maybe Aaron would decide to move back to the Philippines after a few years. Maybe after graduating from school, Jared would decide to return to the Philippines. Maybe Jean would go to Australia or New Zealand, because she has had some interest in pursuing a job in that part of the world. Truth is, we don’t know what the future holds, or where our family will be, and it is probably likely that our family will be in multiple countries in the future.
Well, after thinking it over, Feyma agreed that what I had come to realize was entirely possible, perhaps even likely.
We kicked around the idea of splitting our time – 3 months per year in the States, and 9 months in the Philippines. After a few days, though, the impracticalities of that plan became clear to us. Truth was, we enjoy our lives in the Philippines, so this was the right place for us.
It came down to one thing. We had to resolve to let go and just encourage our kids to follow the path that was right for them. That path may be different for each child, and we also have to follow the path that is best for us as well.
At this point, about 6 weeks after learning of Aaron’s desire to stay in the USA, I believe that his thinking is changing. I told him at the time that he was currently living in a dream world. Why a dream world?
- He is living for free in the USA, staying with his grandmother.
- He has no bills. His grandmother pays for everything – food, entertainment, everything he needs.
- The day will come when he will have to exit the dream and get a job, work, get his own place to live, etc.
When I explained this to Aaron, I believe that it gave him pause. And, since then I can see him slowly turning his thoughts to returning to the Philippines at the planned time. I do know that he misses all of us, and we certainly miss him. But, this trip is a good thing for him, it gives him a bit of freedom and the ability to spread his wings a bit. It is a great learning opportunity, and a chance for him to learn a bit of my side of the culture, meet and get to know family members that are from my side. It also opens his eyes to what else is available to him. He may end up living in the States at some point, and that is fine. We were just caught off guard, and felt it was too early for him to make such a big jump.
I guess that the entire point of this article is that for us, my family… and also for many readers of this site, we are parts of families that are diverse… different races, different cultures, etc. It means that we have to be prepared for anything in our families, where our kids will settle down, etc. It is only natural when our kids have influences from both sides of the world.
Aaron, son, I hope that you are enjoying your stay in the USA, and learning a lot from your experience. It is a valuable education!