Most people on the surface are glad they left they’re home countries at the same time many have found reasons that drove them out in the first place. Some are divorced and felt a serious sting in the wallet especially when getting on in years financially impossible to fully recover at the same time have enough means to get by, some have tired of the old life and the problems with politics and that the country they called home almost feels alien to them these days. At the same time though although most people will feel a bit irritated by things that brought them to live in the Philippines in the first place the important factor is that they can also see how much things may function more in the West such as the vast range of foods in the supermarkets in Western countries compared to the Philippines. The ability to get what you want almost 24/7 due to most things being online or even a lot of supermarkets are 24/7. Here in the Philippines many things are a major step back in time and its bare able and almost quant when visiting the Philippines but if living in the Philippines full time you start to feel it. The itching for your favourite food dishes which are impossible to find even the fast food here although branded with McDonalds, KFC etc. the quality and size is nowhere near the same.
It may seem funny at first living in the Philippines and dealing with homesickness as an expat if someone told you about it happening to them but in reality it can develop into depression and alcoholism. In all honesty it often does, but we aren’t here to concentrate on the negatives what you can you do about it to get out of the negativity?
First thing is realising we are spoilt in the West especially in the food and alcohol department especially if living in Europe. Buying food in the supermarket in the UK for example is a lot higher quality and lower price than you would buy in the Philippines. At the same time we often waste money in the UK with things like microwave meals and other none healthy options of quick fix meals. Part of the Problem in the Philippines is that you have to go back to basics for most foods and if you can do that same as baking your own bread your halfway there. If you go through my wife’s blog at MyHotTropics.com you will see a lot of fresh homemade food all done here in Cebu Philippines.
The biggest issues are often about raw ingredients to start with but they are available but not all in the same place in typical shopping style here. Its more about learning to cook and learning how to build things up from scratch.
On top of this isolation often becomes an issue for many expats and its why people should engage more in things even if they don’t feel like it, you can become lazy here without noticing it because of the heat. Find a hobby, get into something to keep you occupied and also keep in touch with other expats around you. Might not always able to meet up but nice to chat online regular even if its to complain about the neighbours dog barking as its a vent and social engagement with someone who knows what your talking about. Others may think your a grumpy foreigner but in reality your just used to living in a different environment to here. They often don’t understand the issue in the same way we don’t understand why some things are done a certain way regardless if you show a better way or not.
Keeping in touch with family is also a good thing and advise learning a bit about using the webcam, camcorder and camera before moving here so that you can send things abroad about what your up to, as well as make sure the people back home before you leave know how to use equipment as well. Skype is a great tool I use on a regular basis as you can get a local phone number for where you used to live so your friends can still give you a call.
Main thing to keep everything going though and not feel so homesick is good communication not only abroad but also here in the Philippines and also the fact food is often more expensive for what you would and could have had daily before, so if it doesn’t fit into your budget on a daily basis at least set it as something for every few days or once a week something you can look forward to.