Perspective as an Expat in the Philippines
Forgetting to see the Beauty
I am writing this article reflecting on my perspective as an expat in the Philippines as a follow up to my previous article on what the country looked like as a tourist who was just visiting. Very quickly after I sat down in front of my computer to punch away at the keys, not too surprisingly I realized how differently the world looks like from this perspective, and how it affects my daily enjoyment of my life in the Philippines.
To give a little background, I have now been living here for over two years and I consider the Philippines my home. I do love it here, but just like when I was living in Canada, I really take all the beauty here for granted. I believe this is an absolutely normal human attitude, but it is also one I believe I have control over. Writing about it, I hope, gives me the insights to change, because understanding how my mind is thinking gives me that ability to change, which will ultimately have the effect of not only gaining more enjoyment from new life in the Philippines, but also life in general wherever I should choose to lay my hat.
My perspective as an expat in the Philippines sometimes sucks, to say the least. I go about my day with blinders on to all the raw natural beauty that first blew me away when I was simply a tourist. I do not spend hours frolicking in the surf or exploring coral reefs. I do not spend my evenings or first dawns being awed and humbled by the magnificent sunrises and sunsets and I do not hike or ride to the nearby mountain tops to gaze at magnificent panoramas of the seas and nearby islands. I have not recently searched out to explore the inland waterfalls, wading into secluded ponds nor have I got up early and set out to sea in a small boat with bait and tackle to snag some of the plentiful fish abundant in the nearby waters. Most days I have just taken for granted that these things are at my doorstep to the point that they might as well not even exist.
The Filipino people I meet now are not particularly interesting, but have somehow become full of irritating and frustrating character defects. Those defects are all I can “see” instead of the open, friendly and interesting people I first met as a tourist. Even the other foreigners I meet seem different now. As a tourist, I loved meeting people from all over the world, but now most days what I see is people with issues.
I could sit here and write page after page of all the things that are not right with this country, its people and life in general and am sure that there would be a lot of readers that could relate to all my complaints. Some would laugh while others would be happy to join in on my whinefest, but the really smart ones would simply say that it is not everything around me that sucks, but my attitude towards it all. Doing a quick reality check, those people would be right. Things here today are absolutely no different than what they were when I was a tourist. The only thing that is different is the perspective as an expat in the Philippines I choose to have. The only real issue is mine.
The ironic thing is that this is would be no different if I were still back in Canada. there the weather could be too cold, while the weather here is too hot. The government in Canada is too controlling, while officials here do not enforce the rules enough. There are too many immigrants in Canada trying to change our Canadian way of life while here in the Philippines the Filipinos are not allowing me as an immigrant to change their way of life to suit myself.
It seems to me what it boils down to is that it is normal for me as a human being to take for granted all the positive things that surround me and instead focus on the negatives. But to fall too far into that way of thinking only leads to unhappiness and discontent, regardless of the geographically location that I find myself in. The only true happiness that I will ever find will come from within, and when I start to achieve that I will once again be able to view the Philippines positively as the tourist I once was, rather than the negative perspective I often now have as an expat in the Philippines.
The Philippines IS a great place, I just need to open my eyes wide once again!
If you have forgotten to see the beauty of the Philippines, take a few minutes of your time check this site out and remember why you fell in love!