At that time, I had filed for Elena’s Fiancée Visa and we were waiting for its approval. Well one day, the developer I was working for laid off 97% of their employees and then declared bankruptcy. I was unable to find a decent paying job so Elena told me to come to the Philippines. We thought with my savings, annuity, and help from her family we would be able to survive decently here.
Therefore, to the disappointment of my family I packed up and moved here to Davao. Since I was not receiving any pension or Social Security, it was not as easy for us as for other expats. I worked for a short time here but for Filipino wages which just covered food expenses for 2 weeks.
As I have written about life here, there are many things I did not like here, but I had to accept them. That is what you need to do and keep your sanity. I thought there was no way ever to be able to return to the U.S. and bring Elena to be with me. With the unemployment at such high levels and limited work in the architecture field for me to go back to my profession, here is where I would live and die.
Recently a friend of mine decided to move back and then file for his wife’s spousal visa. He is much younger than I am and has a father who will allow them to live in their house until he has enough money to get their own place. He currently has seasonal employment for income and will get his wife a job there too. He hopes both of them will be able to locate full time jobs in the future.
This made me start to think, so I contacted my brother and my mother about the possibility of me moving back and then bringing Elena. One turned it into an argument about how it was not feasible and would not help with basic needs if I came. The other was political and said there was a plan to change from a two-bedroom apartment to a one-bedroom unit. This was the nice way to say there would be no room for us.
Well, they made me give up the thought until a few weeks ago. One of the readers emailed me and commented that it sounded like Elena and I could use a vacation and offered us a room in their house in Las Vegas, Nevada. I replied that is was very difficult to get Elena a Tourist Visa but thanked her for the kind offer. She emailed me again and mentioned her husband gave up his business because of the economy problems and they bought a house in Las Vegas. Her husband is a little older than I am and is working driving a taxi. With all the tourism in Vegas, a taxi driver can make enough to live comfortable. This reader offered us a room; rent-free in their home as long as we need to get on our feet and her husband will assist me in getting a job driving a taxi too.
Elena and I discussed this and we decided this is an offer of a lifetime. This lady and her husband are so kind with this offer and it will give us both a chance to work. In addition, after Elena has immigrant status and living in the States for six months, she will be able to receive survivor benefits when I pass away. Once Elena works for ten years, she will earn enough Social Security credits to collect her own benefits.
We have discussed, once we retire, in all probability will not be able to afford to live in the States, we will probably move back to the Philippines. Because of this, our nephew who married recently will live in our house and take care of it for us. He will take care of his sisters who live here. His brother’s support will continue to assist them with the expense of this house.
So, with all said, I will be flying out of Davao on May 4 and from Manila on the fifth. The flight will be interesting; the first leg from Manila is on Korean Airlines, which I never have flown before. I will also land in Inchon Intl, Seoul, Korea. At first, I thought I had only a three ½-hour layover in Korea, which is not bad. Then I noticed I land 5:20am and do not leave until 8:50pm. I guess I will know the airport well in that time and have to make sure I have enough books to read while there. So what I thought would be 18 hours total travel time, it is now close to 30 hours.
As soon as I am settled in Las Vegas, I will file for Elena’s spousal visa to join me there. At first, I will need to live as cheaply as possible since I do not want to overstay my welcome and these kind peoples home. I will need to save for a vehicle, furniture, and deposits once we are able to move out on our own.
I hope to be able to keep this site alive with articles of how my life will change and interesting stories of Elena’s live living in America. I hope to find Expats and Filipinos to assist me with this site by writing articles of news and cultural items about Davao and the Philippines.
For those of my readers who have relied on me and this site for information about an Expats life in the Philippines, I hope with others help this site will continue. For those who stop visiting, I understand and thank you for your two plus years of my readership.
If my friends in Las Vegas read this, again Elena and I thank you and feel you both are gifts from God.
I will keep all informed of the process and any other newsworthy items and I always do until I leave.