Today I was looking through some beautiful photographs that Lydia had taken in 2004 of our apartment in Alta Loma, Calfornia. I had never seen these pictures before and they were so vivid and evocative, it's as though I were back there again. We have some fond memories of that place and as I sorted through the photos, I felt a twinge of nostalgia.
Yet every day I am thankful that we were able to retire and relocate to the Philippines. For despite the low-key but comfortable life style that we enjoyed in California, it was just not worth the freight of putting up with a job that I hated and yet at the same time feared losing. After three and a half years of living here, it still feels wonderful to wake up every morning and know that my life is my own.
What's more, when we left the U.S. in 2005, I knew that between the real estate bubble that would eventually burst, the insane policies of the Bush Administration including the Iraq War and even his incompetent response to the damage from Hurricane Katrina, it was just a matter of time before the American economy would pay the price. So our departure from the U.S. was well timed.
Our life in Metro-Manila is so different in so many ways from that in Alta Loma that it's difficult to compare them. Each is a separate reality because of the respective cultures and societies. so the terms "better" and "worse" don't apply.
If we had the means to live the life-style that we had in California without having to work, would we repatriate? Perhaps. On the the other hand, if we had that kind of money, we might be better off staying here, as we would then be affluent by local standards. But until the day comes that we have the luxury of making such a choice (and I doubt that it ever will), the Philippines is our home, warts and all, and we intend to continue enjoying it as comfortably as our limited means will allow.