What Do You Miss The Most, as an Expatriate?

Today, just for a change of pace, I thought I’d write a blog about being an expatriate and some of the “little” problems that might entail from time to time.When I first moved to Manila, in the beautiful Islands of The Philippines, I left behind my old life and embarked on an exciting, new adventure, at the ripe old age of fifty-one.Was it a midlife crisis?Hardly, at fifty-one I’d like to think the whole mid-life thing was well behind me. My reasons for making the momentous jump were many and varied, but needless to say it was something I absolutely felt I had to do…and I haven’t regretted it since. https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/4/46/Big_Manila_cropped.jpgAs with any move to a foreign country, we give up some precious and treasured things, some “comforts”, but we do so in the belief that the rewards we discover will outweigh the losses we feel at the things we left behind.I can still well remember the shock and lack of understanding on the face of an Immigration Official when he interviewed me regarding my application for “permanent residency” here in The Philippines. My wife and I had been sweating a little bit about this interview, especially as I had no job here and no visible means of support. We needn’t have worried at all. After perusing my application paper for some time, he finally looked up at me and asked, “You’re from New Zealand, right?” When I nodded effusively, he shook his head ruefully and added, “But New Zealand is such a beautiful place. Why would you want to leave there and come to live in The Philippines?”I looked at my new wife and smiled, before answering, “Yes, New Zealand is indeed a beautiful place, but so is this country.”  http://tse2.mm.bing.net/th?id=OIP.M78df5c0695a89657861498b962c0429bo0&pid=15.1Giving my wife’s hand a squeeze, I added, “and anyway, home is where the heart is and my heart is definitely here.” There were no more questions, he smiled indulgently at the two “young” lovers in front of him, stamped my passport and lo and behold I was a permanent resident of The Philippines.I can honestly say it hasn’t always been a bed of roses in the past six years, but if I was back in New Zealand today, faced with the exact same decision and knowing what I know today about this brave, new, world I’d embarked on, I wouldn’t hesitate for a heartbeat, before getting on that plane and heading to my new home. Sadly, due to lack of finances, I haven’t managed to go back to New Zealand for a holiday in those six years. For me, it is fine, but I would love to show my darling wife, the country I grew up in and my family. She has already missed out on meeting my Dad, who sadly, passed away a year ago, and my Mum, who died just a year before I made my sojourn here. Still, it is in our long-term plans to head back for a visit sometime. But, for me, The Philippines, in general, and Manila, in particular, is my home, sweet, home.It is true; I do miss some things from my old life. Some are big and important, like family and friends, but most are minor and inconsequential, yet there are times when I pine for certain things from “back home”.1/ Cold Weather: Now, don’t get me wrong here, I knew from the get-go I was moving to a tropical country and that definitely was one of the appeals. I lived in the deep south of New Zealand, Dunedin, Invercargill and Gore, so I knew what cold weather was all about. Here, the temperature generally varies between 25 and 35 degrees. The heat is pretty draining, even for the locals, and on more than one occasion I’ve found myself wistfully longing for one of those infamous, cold southerlies, from the depths of Antarctica, that would sweep up the South Island of New Zealand from time to time and chill us all to the bone. I have to remind myself of something I would often say to my son in the depths of a Southern Winter: “What idiot, in his right mind, would actually choose to live in a frozen, hell-hole like this?” That usually brings me back to an even keel and I can remind myself just how lucky I am to be living i

Source: What Do You Miss The Most, as an Expatriate?


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