As we hit the New Year 2015 I was reflecting back while enjoying a cold refreshing SMB as to how I’d gotten to the Philippines. I know a lot of LiP readers planned and planned some more about their decision but I really didn’t. A lot of my life I left up to Karma or fate, and just went along for the ride to see how it played out. 90% of it worked out for the best, but back in the 60’s there was that ex wife…
When I took vacations between ships I’d pick a place on the planet that I wanted to visit, (Or was on my Bucket List) and flew there and checked into a resort, rented a car and driver and spent a month or so relaxing until it was time to go back to work, for six more months.
When I bought new clothes I donated my old ones to charity or left them in the resort drawers to make sure all the rest would still fit in my suitcase. I had a storage unit in Florida with all my Navy Memorabilia and a totality rebuilt 1980 Jeep CJ-7 which I hadn’t driven in six years. (I gave it to an old friend the reason is below) My father used to tell his friends that his son Paul was a homeless man; albeit the best paid he’d ever seen. (Housing Challenged for the “PC” Crowd)
Once while flying to Kota Kinabalu the capital of the state of Sabah, on Borneo. (For the two people who didn’t know that) when I noticed how close it was to the Philippines. The ship wasn’t due in port for five more days so I stopped in Manila to visit an old shipmate in Olongapo City. While there I met his wife’s sister “Mayang” and my single days started coming to a close. No complaints from me.
Now that I knew that I was going to live in the Philippines some lifestyle changes had to be made. I was not a wild and crazy single guy anymore. Ah but those were the days my friend…But life will surprise you and inject change where you didn’t plan for it. Please don’t think I’m grousing about it, for it was a change for the best.
The subject of Christmas presents for Paul comes up every year my wife and the girls go crazy trying to figure out what to get me. Because anything I want I’ve already got. The fact that I spent so much of my life on ships and the truth of the matter is I never wanted that many processions, as when I moved to another ship I had no place to put it.
So my wife and daughters end up buying me shirts for Christmas, I like their taste so what they don’t know is; that really pleases me. Then because of old habits in January I donate a lot of my old clothes I guess I’m a minimalist.
So my mind was made up, I’m getting married and mentally decided this was my new home. I went to the Philippine Customs Office and asked what the duty would be to import my completely refurbished 1980 Jeep CJ-7 here. The shipping was a thousand dollars. The customs agents informed me that the duty would be decided when the Jeep arrived in country. Talk about a pig in a poke, that would mean on the pier in Manila a decision would be made and I have to pay whatever outrageous amount they decide on. With them hoping I’ll abandon it and walk away. I would have pushed it into Manila Bay before that would happen. So I bought an Owner Jeep, I just had to have one, but never the second one. And that friend I mentioned gave my old CJ-7 a good home.
The point I’m trying to make is, as with this New Year and the others, life will surprise you, in both good and not so good ways. I guess the trick to it is to roll with it when it arrives. Like me the perpetual single guy, who ended up with a wife, two daughters, and two grandchildren all here in the Philippines and all by a chance trip to Olongapo City low those long years ago. Who would have thunk it? As I reflect back I thank fate or karma for all that has happened to me over my years here, I didn’t know it would work out this way. But I’m happy it did.
I sit and wait to see what 2015 has in store for me, but as long as I retain my ability to see the funny side of things I know it will all workout for the best. I wish the same for all you readers, and the best to you and your families in the coming year. As we used to say in the Navy, dog down all the hatches, we could be in for some heavy rolls. Let’s hope for smooth sailing and following seas and Happy New Year to all our LiP readers and their families.