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Philippine Expectations

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The other day, my wife Emy said something that I found a bit disturbing.  Here we are, just days before returning home to Pasuquin, and her words shocked me like a tossed bucket of ice water.  The final Balikbayan box has already started its journey home.  Our bags have been packed and re-packed numerous times.  We’ve received confirmation of our flight status and our strategies for handling carry-on baggage are set.  All systems are “GO!” – and then, Sploosh!

Paraphrasing the Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition:

Tagalog Buddy

Expectation:  noun.  1. the act or state of expecting; anticipation.  2. something expected.

Why did I zero-in on the word expectation?  Well, it’s part of what Emy said.  We were discussing our upcoming adventure and all of the possibilities it held.  Then, out of the blue, came, “Don’t have too high expectations; you may be disappointed.”  Brrrr, I can still feel that icy sting.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have any expectations for this adventure.  They don’t seem too high to me, but maybe it’s time for a little reality check.  Just as every dark cloud has a silver lining, so too some silver linings have big dark clouds covering them.  Was I focusing too much on the shiny silver and ignoring the darkness it surrounded?  I hope not.

Here are ten expectations I have – do you think they are too lofty?

  1. Enjoying much warmer weather year-round than any other location where I’ve lived (save Guam).
  2. Living a slower pace of life where one can enjoy (or hate) every minute of a day, separately.
  3. Seeing the many friends and relatives who I’ve missed since we last met.
  4. Receiving smiles each morning from people to whom I raise my eyebrows, upwardly nod and greet.
  5. Preventing a swindle attempt early enough to spare anyone’s embarrassment.
  6. Playing with my Australian Shepherd Barto, who I admit I’ve missed over the past seven months.
  7. Partaking of Mountain Province coffee, “Manila” cigars using Isabella tobacco, and San Miguel beer, all of which I enjoy.
  8. “Enjoying” a good typhoon every now and then and helping with clean-up activities in the barangay.
  9. Spending the morning browsing and bartering at the tienda (palengke) [market]* on market day.
  10. Looking into a couple of entrepreneurial endeavors – possibly using up some of my “spare time.”

* Where possible, I like to use Ilocano words.  When I do, they’ll appear as Ilocano (Filipino) [English].  In this case, I use the word tienda (pronounced “chenda”) for market.

Now, in my humble opinion, if any of those expectations are too high, then I am definitely in for some sour experiences.  (Ooo – that sting of the icy water, again!)  I’m quite sure, however, that all are attainable and I’ll enjoy them all during our adventure.  Additional expectations will pop up while I’m there, too.  I try not to have expectations; I’d rather have pleasant or unpleasant experiences in real time and not happily or anxiously await something that may or may not happen.

How about you – Any lofty expectations about the Philippines?

PaulK

Paul is a CPA and a retired tax accountant, having served companies and corporations of all sizes, as well as individuals, in public accounting practices. Prior to what he refers to as his "real job," he served a 24-year career in the U.S. Navy, retiring as a Master Chief Petty Officer. It was during this career that he met and married his OFW spouse of 40+ years, Emy, while stationed in London, UK. (Though he pleaded for the assignment, Paul never received orders to the Philippines.) A "Phil-phile" from an early age, Paul remembers his first introduction to the Philippines in the primary grades of a parochial elementary school where, one week each year, children donated their pennies to purchase school supplies, food and other necessities for Filipino children in need. That love for Filipinos continues to this day. Calling Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte--in the far northwestern part of Luzon--home (just about as far away from Davao as one can be while still being on one of the major islands) Paul prefers a more relaxed provincial life style, and willingly shares a different view of the Philippines from "up north"!

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maria
maria
11 years ago

paul
how many times have you been to the philippines and how long did you stay each time?
moving your whole life is like marrying someone. you really never know till you live together.

maria

Jody
Jody
11 years ago

Paul

I will be in Vigan next January and I might just swing by. There are quite a few expats living in Vigan area; I have a friend from Belgium who lives up your way.

Best

Jody

John Miele
John Miele
11 years ago

Paul: Don’t confuse expectations with excitement… I agree with your wife that all may not be rosy. Kind of like when you were a kid, the excitement before Christmas day and the sort of let down that the excitement is over once the presents have been opened and the turkey has been eaten. It helps greatly that you have visited many times, but as has been pointed out, living there is different. I am betting that getting used to the slow pace of life up there will be your biggest challenge. I’m certain you guys will be happy… Pasuguin is… Read more »

Paul
Paul
11 years ago

Hi John – I’m ready for the slower pace of life, again, as I’ve always enjoyed it when there. Yeah, there’s excitement in the air but mostly focused on leaving the States. I’ve lived in many places during my military career, and the slower paced locales were always my favorite (especially after knocking-off from work 🙂 ). We’ll be over for a little fishing and general beachcombing once you’ve got the house up. Speaking of shifting sand dunes, I hope that the latest tropical storm/typhoon (Ising/Molave) didn’t cause any damage there. Extreme northern Luzon was to get a lot more… Read more »

dan2vero
dan2vero
11 years ago

Hello Paul,

Like one great writer on LiP said,”you don’t know till you try it”, and “your greatest disapointment might be not knowing if you don’t try it”. I say go for it, and if you don’t like it there after awhile, the USA will still be there waiting for you, or some other destination.
Good luck, in your move Paul.

Salamat kaayo,
Danny 🙂

Kenney & Milyn
Kenney & Milyn
11 years ago

Hi Paul,
I got about 2 months before I leave to retire in the PI. I got lots expectations, but I am also a person who doesn’t live in a fansty world. No mater where you live there will good and bad. Such is the world we live in. But no matter what, I do know one thing Godd or bad, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else, and so the Phillipines will by resting place good or bad.
Kenney

Paul
Paul
11 years ago

Hi Danny – Thanks for the encouragement. I find that the excitement wears off after 2-3 weeks, so I’m prepared for that. Baket ko (asawa ko – my wife) says that we’ll return and “visit” the USA during US summertime/Pasuquin rainy season, and like snowbirds, come back. I agreed to that because “some is better than none”! 😀

Paul
Paul
11 years ago

Hi Kenney – Those last 2 months will seem like 2 years until you start your packing, etc. 🙂

I plan on taking life one day at a time, hoping for each to be the best, slow-paced day I could have while being prepared for each to be the worst.

You’re right, though: good or bad, there’s no place I’d rather be.

imagine
imagine
11 years ago

Although we have a nice house here in Florida. Imagine is what we call home. I cannot see many disappointments ahead, but if there were. We would just sail home, Imagine, to another destination.

I would think you have spent enough time in the Phils to have very few surprises left. BEST WISHES in your arrival going smoothly along with the rest of your lives……i2f…..John

roy
roy
11 years ago

Hello Paul, as I read ur post, I wanted to ask you the question I always ask to non-Filipinos gung ho on moving to the Phil. I’m glad Maria already asked you that. It’s very crucial that you have actually travelled to the Phil. Now, you fairly have an idea what to expect. I think you’d be fine. Good luck Manong Paul!

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