Last week, I was riding the jeepney, on my way to go for a swimming session. I used to swim nearly every day for years, but got out of the habit when my swimming partner moved back to the States. I’ve been wanting to get back into the habit, because it is great exercise for me, and I enjoy it a lot.
Like many times, when riding the jeepney, my mind wandered into deep thought. You never know what I may think about, it could be any subject. During this kind of time, I often come up with some pretty good ideas for articles here on the Live in the Philippines Web Magazine. On this particular day, I came up with an idea for a series of articles.
I thought about how my life in the Philippines could be broken up into “seasons.” Certain years were good, other years presented me with challenges. Overall, my life in the Philippines has been good, it’s been enjoyable, and I’ve loved it. I believe that I will continue to enjoy my home in the Philippines. That, however, does not mean that life is perfect here in the Philippines. That is why I often tell people that the Philippines is not paradise, and never will be. No, there are definitely problems here and there are good things as well.
So, over the coming weeks, I will be writing a series of articles which will come under the heading “Seasons in the sun.” I call it this because I find that I can split up my years here into very defined “seasons” living here in the Philippine sun.
Seasons come and go. Seasons even repeat. We don’t have clearly defined seasons here where I live, although up north they have a fairly clearly defined wet season and dry season. Here in Davao, we have fairly constant weather throughout the year, although it may be a few degrees warmer during the summer months. But, the seasons in my life are not defined by how the weather is. No, the seasons I have in mind would be defined by difficult years of adjustment, productive business years, challenging periods and settling in and enjoying life.
What season am I living now? It’s hard to say for certain, I am still evaluating that. In many ways, I am feeling like life is good, challenges are few, and I’m just enjoying myself in the Philippines. As I write these future articles on the topic, I know that I will form more gelled opinions on what seasons I’ve experienced in the Philippines, and what season I am currently enjoying.
One thing that also kind of ties in with this line of thought is that I hear the same thing from so many people who visit here and hope to move here in the future. They are experiencing perpetual winter, and hoping to move here and enjoy a little bit of summer! Their winter is not only cold weather, although that is certainly a big reason why many of them want to move here. But it is “cold” in more ways than just the temperature. They hate their jobs, face challenges coming to grips with the society that has changed so much over the years, etc.
One thing a lot of these folks notice when they come to the Philippines is that society is much more similar to the society in their childhood memories, and they long to move here to be back in an era where they feel more comfortable. Well, there is truth in that, but there is also an aspect of false expectations. False expectations because many people feel that Philippine living is “just like the USA was 50 years ago.” Well, in some ways that is true, but in many ways it is as far from the truth as you can get. Things are different here. Very different. But, if you just come and visit for 2 weeks or a month, you may not recognize those differences. If you come here and live permanently, those differences will become your nemesis day in and day out… until you learn to accept the differences, and become comfortable with life in the Philippines.
So, look out for my upcoming series of articles, Seasons in the Sun, and let me tell you what seasons I have experienced in my years of living in the Philippines. Maybe you will learn a thing or two about life here. Then again, maybe you will share a thing or two with me, and teach me something. I’m open to that.