Im now well into another month away from home and sitting here decided to write a quick article before I head off to work. The first thing I would say if your going to do this type of scenario where you are away from your home in the Philippines and your loved ones that you need to think deeply about it. One thing that came out of this trip is realising that we are going to put some of our goals on hold. As you have to be realistic and practical what good is plenty of money if it leaves your relationship in shatters? When I first met April we started off slowly I was very successful and earning a high salary we built a house, bought land etc. and time progressed. Then our piggery and slowly more and more things developed but the problem is am I getting back to the life I didnt want? so much business and not enough family time? I think at the moment we are in balance everything is growing slowly and April is more the reigns on our relationship and im always pushing ahead partly why we are a good match. The house we wanted will be scrapped for this year unless I can find a way to finance it as more pressing concerns have come about and the fact I lost over 2 months in the UK waiting. But what I can say is that we are stable on our income we wont be rich tomorrow but it allows us to do our hobbies as a business or our businesses as a hobby? Either way we are pretty much setting up for the long-term. So getting back to advice for those of you who are or will be working away :-
Good line of communication
Having a phone line and an internet connection is very important. A skype mobile phone is also a great tool for keeping in touch and one I strongly advise. It allows you to contact your partners computer even if your at the office. E.g. you can text or chat for “FREE” advantage of that is obvious no high phone bills and your constantly contactable. Also emergency contacts for both of you its something we dont like to think about but there is nothing worse than not knowing what is going on. So a sister/brother/parent of your partner aswell as your partner having an emergency contact for you is more important than you realise.
Sending money home
The big problem these days is finding a reliable source. A lot of people use Western Union or Xoom I find both expensive and now Western Union charge for collections wont use either. Direct money transfers or Remittance companies do it cheaper although be careful as some of the smaller ones have gone bankrupt in the current recession.
The joys of the day
Funny enough I carry a camera with me most of the time if I find something interesting I try to take photos as it adds a bit of interest to things going on here while away. Also chatting about things even if routine keeps you in touch with each other. Not everyday is exciting but the main thing is keeping in touch. Me and April talk a lot about food.. sound a bit odd or boring to most I bet but the thing is we both love cooking! so always interested aswell as the fact im trying to lose weight and April is trying to gain.. lol
Taking time out
One thing is creating a time you are both awake to spend time together. Mainly the weekends for me and April although we talk a lot via Skype aswell.
Set a deadline
Setting the date you go home is important as you can create a calender to say your going home on X but also gives your partner the same thing to look forward to. If someone says you have 6 months until you go home sounds pretty bad. But 5 months and 28 days? sounds a little better! I know its all state of mind stuff but the main thing is the counter is going down..
Send boxes home
While your in your home country this is an ideal time to get your boxes sent out! takes around 2 months (from the UK) but means you can send a lot of things you miss when your in the Philippines. E.g. Tetley Tea bags, Jaffa cakes, Curry sauces, Sudocrem and at least another 1000 items. So getting them sent out in batches is fairly cheap and also doesnt put you out of pocket all in one go. Also introduce your partner to Tesco, Argos, Sainsburys etc. online so she can help you shop (or maybe you wont depending how much your partner likes to shop). Nettrex is a good company for sending Balikbayan boxes with. Not only from London but they have agents in various parts of the UK.
Being away from home isnt easy and its normally easier for people who are used to it like contract workers or ex-military as its all part of everyday life. But even then it still puts a strain on the relationship. The important thing is being realistic if you dont think you can do it you probably cant or will be very unhappy the whole time your away. For us I am used to it and we still struggle but realistically I cant justify all the Visa costs etc. to bring April to the UK in the middle of a recession to an overpriced country. It costs around 10% of our living costs to live in the Philippines compared to the UK which in real terms means moving to the UK will end up with one of us working just to cover the bills and the other working to save for our move to the Philippines so why not just have one person do the running around and it happens faster and you save more? Either way it takes a lot of thinking before deciding to do this type of thing..