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Everyone ’s been reading MindanaoBob’s posts about his leaving the Philippines. It’s made me think about the idea of Home and where it is. Since most of us know Bob as the voice and brains of expats who have come to the Philippines, or those who are thinking about it, his life decision has certainly caused some thought for many of us. Is the Philippines right for me? Do I want to leave too and go back to the US? I have been here for 7 years, though three of them my wife and I were in Japan and Austria, back and forth to the condo we bought in Cebu City. I am now retired from teaching so I can live anywhere…but then there’s my Filipina wife. When I was retiring the first time in the US, I chose The Philippines and Cebu after having traveled there. I thought about Subic and also Thailand. My kids were both mad at me; my now 32-year-old son and my now 25-year-old daughter. They have both been here and I have been back for visits; they have adapted. My wife has no US Visa status so we can’t go back and forth. She tried to get a tourist visa but they denied her and made her cry.
Bob has chosen “Home” this time sort of randomly. He thought about Portland and New Mexico and Las Vegas. The key factor has turned out to be his wife’s employment and employer medical insurance, both of which are very important in the US. They have chosen small town Indiana or it chose them by its opportunity.
Bob is an affable guy, an adaptable guy and seems to be able to create Home wherever he is. They will be fine in Indiana and Bob will get busy with his new businesses.
But how about you? And what about me?
I was born in a suburb of Philadelphia and lived there until I was 8 when my dad was transferred to California and what became the Silicon Valley. When it came time for college, 10 years later, I left California and moved to Washington State where my parents had both been from. I lived in Bellingham, Seattle, and Ellensburg for the next 10 years and then started teaching in Portland, Oregon. I had two kids. I had two divorces. I couldn’t leave my teaching career or Portland because of my kids and so I stayed for 28 years, long enough to retire from teaching and to get the pension I live on now.
My parents stayed in California, in the same house in which I grew up, but my Dad died in 1988 and 5 years later my mom sold the family house and moved to a retirement community until she died in 2001.
While I taught in Portland, because of the breakup of my marriages, I lived in 5 or 6 different houses. They were all in the Portland area, but except for my kids, the personnel kept changing. In 2011, when my daughter was finally out of school and ready to begin her “adult” life, I moved to Cebu.
I got married, again. 3 years in Cebu. Two years in Japan. 1 year in Vienna, Austria. Back to Cebu, but my wife felt lonesome there; her family was in Samar and Angeles City. None of them speak English. They speak Waray Waray. The only one who speaks English is my wife and now we are in Angeles.
My wife Rachel just came into the room. She’s been playing tong it with her sister and brother in law and drinking San Miguel Lemon-flavored light beer in the Angeles City house we’ve lived in for 10 days.
I had her read what I wrote and told her, “I’d like you to finish this story. So where is home?”
She looked at me and said…
“Your Home is wherever I am, and my Home is wherever you are. Wherever we decide to live because you are my Destiny.”
And I knew right away that I had the ending to my story. That maybe she was right. That Home isn’t a place, really. Maybe Home is a series of destinations, a series of circumstances, even a series of loves.
A Home in the Heart.