It doesn’t seem like six months. The first month my mind and body protested against the multiple shocks I had inflicted on them by disrupting the fundamentals of sleep, appetite and expedient GI tract functioning. Being sick with bad Bronchitis for the next two months meant so few accumulated experiences that they didn’t leave much of an impact on me.
I’ve done a little traveling, a lot of seeing what day to day life can be like here and it’s time for some more traveling. More about that in a soon to be written post about a visit to Argao.
In many ways I’m in between. Neither vacationer nor resident. What does one call someone who is checking out a country as a place to live mixed in with a little traveling – Wandering with intent? And what if one hasn’t wandered much – Vegetating with intent? And what if I’m not trying to come up with a smart ass description – A Temporary Resident?
The foreign residents are friendly and polite but don’t cultivate relationships with the guys that are just passing through. The latter are keen to find mates (usually for drinking) for the few months they are here. I’ve made friends with guys who will be back next winter and have only made acquaintances among the resident foreign guys.
My Temporary Resident status has quite a different effect on the local girls, but there I’m also in between. Between dating and a relationship, between being clueless about the culture and knowing enough about it to be competent, between understanding what ‘I’m shy’ means and knowing how to deal with it, between wondering if this one is a keeper and her actually being a keeper, between having book learning knowledge of the various games, lies and manipulations perpetrated on foreigners by girls who see us as walking ATMs and being able to easily able to recognize them in the field.
I’m in between having surplus funds and deciding what to do with them. Before taking the early retirement plunge I made extensive use of two detailed withdrawal rate calculators to see how long my money would last at different spending rates. My spending rate has gone down as I’ve gotten comfortable with more non-western standard elements in my life style and have been getting substantial discounts for paying in advance for a month’s lodging. For the last two months I’ve been seeing if the standard of living I mapped out earlier would be comfortable. It has been. Now I have to decide what to do with the non trivial surplus – save it, spend it on travel to non third world countries in the area (Hong Kong is first on the list), increase my standard of living here, or what.
I’m between the winter tourist season and the rainy season. The third season is summer. Hot and usually dry, it is tolerable with enough Gatorade and enough AC. I would not intentionally plop myself down in some town that didn’t have enough public air conditioned places to give me a choice of places to hang out in the afternoon. One thing I’m not between is knowing about the climate and knowing if I could live in it without too much trouble. That’s a relief.
I’m between looking for a social hobby and finding one. I tried the local Hash House Harriers (hurt my knee), bowling (hurt my thumb), badminton (hurt my heel). It’s taken the better part of a decade but I’m finally getting clued in that my advancing age and slow healing means that physical sports should be dropped. The only people who want to play chess know their rating which means they have no interest in playing a beginner. Cebu has smoke free places to play pool, I’m going to give that a try next.
Between accomplishing my initial set of goals in this country and figuring out what to do next.
One thing I’m not between is having done this and wondering if it was such a good idea. It still feels like a good idea.