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An End of Year Update

I know many of you have given up on me. I have heard from Elena there are many of the expats from Davao reading my site, even though they never let me know by comments or telling me.

In addition, many would like to hear I have failed. Well life is not easy but I am surviving. It has been hard but rewarding too. I work many hours and when I can, I work six or seven days a week. It is also difficult only being able to see Elena over the internet. Even with the reduced visitors, I will not engage in the dishonest practice of “long hauling”, driving on the traffic clogged Strip or even short changing.

In addition, the Sunday after Thanksgiving, my apartment was robbed. I know it was an inside job, but cannot prove it. My TV’s, cameras, and two laptops were stolen and about $1500 in cash. The worst part was, even though they did not take my desktop computer, they stole my external hard drive, which had all the photographs from my last 3 years. All my photos of my live in the Philippines are gone except what I could get back from my web site. The cash included the moneys donated by friends here and readers of this site.

Now for some good news

Tuesday December 21, I received in the mail a notice from USCIS, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. The notice was to let me know our petition for Elena’s Spousal Visa was approved. This was so exciting I called my mother and brother and sent text messages to hurry Elena online to tell her. We are now on the last legs of a long journey.

On Thursday, December 23, Elena held the party for the kids at Agdao. As I heard and saw from the photos, it was a huge success. Each child had a Jollibee lunch, a gift bag with a shirt, a doll for the girls and a toy car for the boys and some candy. For most of these children, they have never experienced being inside or having a meal at Jollibee. They also received the ingredients to make spaghetti to bring home for their family to have a real “Noche Buena” (Christmas Eve). On Friday morning, Elena will return to Agdao to give out a roast chicken to each child to bring home. A huge part of this is from a reader who had taken our cause to heart and donated $350.00 to the kid’s party and $100 for Elena to give to the family of Angelica, the little girl I wrote about a while back.

All I will say is I will keep this generous mans identify secret unless he wants to let his name be known.

About a week ago, another driver told me, the new hotel Cosmopolitan was offering a free night with $150 credit for food and drinks in any of the restaurants and buffet for two to  taxi drivers who call a special number. Well I got through made my reservation. I only wish Elena was here to experience this night. Cosmopolitan is a hotel, condominium, casino at the City Center here in Las Vegas. I went Wednesday night December 22. It was wonderful except I was alone and Elena was not here to share it.

The room was on the 17th floor overlooking the lake and fountains at the Bellagio. The room was a Studio configuration with a larger bathroom including a separate toilet room and a large walk in shower. Then the main room was divided into a living room and a bedroom. There was two large LCD TVs and with the remote you can turn on, off or dim every light in the room individually or all per room. There was a terrace with a small couch and ottoman.

I invited a driver friend to join me for dinner and he came with his girlfriend. We went to the STK steak house. I had a 24 oz porterhouse steak for $65. It was so good; I even bit off the remaining meet off the bone.

While walking around I took many photos, but want to share this: a ceiling painted like an eye over some tables.

The next morning I went to the breakfast buffet, which was wonderful. I had a bagel loaded with lox an omelet, bacon and a fruit crepe on my first plate and some pancakes and French toast on my second plate. I made myself stop there so not to get sick.

I worked Christmas day and as the rest of the past week, it was dead. I have not had a good week since before Thanksgiving except for the week the National Finals Rodeo was in town.

It has gotten cold in Las Vegas. The mornings are as low as 31 degrees F in the early morning and up to only high 50’s during the day. We have had some rainy days too and luckily, I have two drivers who will give me a ride. With the Scooter, I create my own 40 mph wind chill so I bundle up well and still get cold riding to work in the early morning hours.

To all my readers who have stayed with me, I hope you all had a wonderful and Merry Christmas and wish you all a Safe, Happy and Prosperous New Year.

I have put all photos of both events on Picasa, so  you can click the links below to see them. There are a few videos of the room at Cosmo and the fountains at the Bellagio.

Click to  see all the Kids Party Photos

Click to see the photos at the Cosmopolitan

21 Responses to “An End of Year Update”

  1. jimmyd says:

    Congratulations on getting the visa–I hope Elena comes soon and that you guys build a great life together in the States. Bummer about the robbery. I check in once and a while to see how you’re getting on. I bet others will check in soon, and I believe most will be rooting for you to succeed.

    • Bruce says:

      Jimmyd,

      Thank you for visiting and letting me know someone is reading my site. We did not get the VISA yet, the petition was approved by USCIS. Now it goes to the National Visa center in New Hampshire and then to Manila. I expect, if all goes well, Elena will be here in 2-3 months.

  2. Joe says:

    Congrats Bruce, I check on this site weekly. Glad to see this post by you and that your wifey will be with you soon! God bless you and keep on keepin on. Joe

  3. Marcel says:

    Congratulations on Elena finally getting her visa! I bet 2011 will be a great year for you.
    That robbery sucks big time, material things and cash will get replaced eventually but personal data is a major loss.
    You might like to consider some online backup option, your experience got me thinking how would I protect my data.

    • Bruce says:

      Marcel,
      Thanks. Yes, losing all the photos and files on the drive is a big loss but I will just have to build a new collection of photos of Elena’s and my life together.

  4. Randy says:

    Congrats on Elena getting her visa. Hopefully you will soon be together and can look forward to a prosperous future.
    My wife and I are on our way to Davao city on January 11th for a 1 month stay.
    It’s been over 2 years since my wife Grace immigrated here to Canada and she is looking forward to seeing her family again.
    I am looking forward to spending some time in the warmth of the Philippines as it is getting cold up here.
    Take care Bruce.
    All the best.
    Randy

  5. Dave LaBarr says:

    Dear Bruce,

    It is good to see that your petition for Elena’s visa was approved.

    We are now in Davao for 5 months so the children can finish up their second semester of school. We return home June 1st. Sorry about your bad luck; that sucks.

    Remember what I told you about jobs in NE Pennsylvania. The natural gas companies are desperate. Drivers with a CDL license are getting over $20/hr. with benefits and all the hours that they can drive. Workers are coming from all around including Nevada. If interested, check on the internet. I’m talking the Towanda, Troy, Wysox, area of PA. This is Marcellas Shale natural gas.

    Dave L.

  6. Jeff says:

    Glad to hear things are progressing. I check in now and then to see if you put anything up. Hate to see you let this site flounder. I would like you to keep things going and post what Elena thinks about America. Her take as a Filipino coming here, could be useful to others bringing a wife back to the states. Why do you think people want you to fail?
    Best os luck Bruce.

    • Bruce says:

      Jeff,
      It is hard to write and keep a full time job with long hours. Not like in Davao where I had all day many days to work on the site. I will see what I can do to keep the information going.
      I think there are people who know me and want to see me return with my tail between my legs just to make themselves right. It is not from my readership, but people I know there.

  7. Jakeb says:

    Hi Bruce,
    You hang in there, a lot has happen and these things are enough to test and try you. I still check in once a month so keep us updated. It nice to hear some good news about the visa.

    Take Care and Happy New Year!
    Jake B

  8. Lonnie Carreau says:

    Congrats on being able to bring your wife to the states. Perhaps you could call the blog pinayinvegas and discuss the adjustments your wife will make to western living. I suggested to my wife that she do something like that, but she has little interest.

    -Lonnie

  9. Ken says:

    Bruce,

    Congrats on the visa approval. I previously lived in Las Vegas, it was no joke back then. My best guess is that it is much worst now with the way the economy in Vegas is. I could not imagine keeping 1,500 dollars in an apartment! Just not a chance I am willing to take as whatever reward for doing so never outweights the risks. Keep your money in the bank.

    Also, if your apartment complex allows it, get a dog from the pound as an extra security measure as thieves 90% of the time will not take the risk. There are penty that are already house broken. Furthermore, I always leave the television in the living room on, and a small alarm clock radio on which runs on re-chargable batteries in the bedroom, plus a light when I leave the house.

    And most importantly, no matter what the complex manager/owner tells you…….CHANGE THE DOOR LOCKS IMMEDIATELY, this of course must be done every time you move. Then get a dead bolt installed, all this can be done for about $150.00

    • Bruce says:

      Ken,
      The old saying, “Lock the barn doors after the horse is stolen” is about me. I have changed the locks and have installed my own alarm system. I will not let any workers in without me present.

  10. Evelyn says:

    glad to hear that elena will be here soon..
    good luck ,bruce, and God bless

  11. Jessica Esfandiary says:

    Hello Sweetie Bruce! This is Jessica, Austin’ wife! How are you, my dear! I am trying to find Elena, last time I heard of her was when I was in the Philippines. I was so busy there that I was not able to write down the number she gave me. I want to call her! Good I know you have a website and here I found you! I hope everything is well with Elena! I am sure she is adjusting as life here is so different but having you around would be easier I am sure!

    Regards and kisses to both of you!!!! MMmmwaahhhhh!

  12. James says:

    I was looking for an article about the economic classes in the Philippines and I was brought to this site.

    While I was going through the article, I picked up some very interesting lines about the author’s experiences in the Philippines and his heartbreaking and wonderful saga of leaving the country and his wife and finally getting visa approval for her.

    I can see why that even though you are in Las Vegas (the sin city), you still managed to be faithful to your wife. I don’t know for sure if you are getting services on the side, if you know what I mean, but I feel that your love for your wife has kept you happy all this long.

    But… where’s the rest of the story?

  13. Mary says:

    I am sorry to hear that your apartment was robbed. It’s good that you have changed the locks. I know that you love to talk to people, but I think that it is this instance that you have to watch who you talk to. Do not tell too much information to just anybody.

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