Over my time in the Philippines I’ve personally seen this 1,000 times, and sorry to say I’m probably being a bit light on the numbers. The act of “Reverse Culture Shock,” a formidable churning of one’s stomach as we think of returning back to the homeland, back to the reality that we once left for that “pie in sky” better life in a foreign land.
Even I have to admit that on my return trips home to America I would settle my mind, making myself happy that I was returning home for a bit. Once I stayed in the states five months, that was until I couldn’t take it anymore, I packed up my things and ran to the airport, literally.
Reverse culture shock happens to us all, even those that first come to the Philippines experience the forward version of culture shock.
Many times, ‘reverse culture shock’ comes from a horde of different events; the biggest one is lack of income. This is in fact the most difficult for many to live and stay in the Philippines. Sometimes it’s not actually the lack of income, it is in fact the lack to ‘bend’ and live in a manner within your own means. I’ve lived in the Philippines on both ends of the spectrum which has taught me a lot, but I can say that I’m a pretty flexible type of person.
I’ve often given thought to returning home, as I have a family house in the state of Florida. Oddly it’s not much different at home than it is here, degrees some, humidity maybe, lifestyle, well there’s another thing all together.
I’ve made a life here and I take the proverbial punches as they come. Those punches include many aspects, but I stay for multiple reasons that I’m not going to get into here.
‘Reverse Culture Shock’ for many is a downward spiral of events which often last weeks, months and for some, years. Our stubborn minds tell us that ‘we don’t want to be here’ and that alone is enough to mentally instill a negative and often fatal effect.
Those that take the final “reality check” to their inability to live in the Philippines have to face this reality. I’m often asked why I stay in the Philippines, again I have personal reasons to live and stay here – but to say if you are mentally ‘unhappy’ is not a true reason at all, unhappiness is lurking at home as it is often lurking here.
For some, the reality of returning home is the best thing that could possibly happen for them. If anything they can return home, restart a life, restart a career and maybe even find peace in comparison to the turmoil they may have lived in the Philippines.
I’ve seen people go home for years, only to return once again, better off financially, better trained mentally and often on a second or subsequent attempt, life is much easier seeing as you know the pitfalls, games and other noted issues with a country such as this.
Has my so called ‘path’ in the Philippines been simple, easy or a ‘walk in the park?’ Not even close my friend. Anyone who knows me and my story here would probably go home in anguish at what I told them. An even sorrier fact is that once they realised I told them the truth after hearing from others who know me, they must be at best be aghast at the reality I’ve lived here.
Have I complained? You bet! Have I listened and helped others? Absolutely. Would I do it all over again? I doubt it; would I recommend people to come live in the Philippines? Yes, after I hear your story and your wants, needs, hopes and dreams, yes. And if anything I tell people up front “be careful what you ask me, my responses are brutally honest.”
What keeps me here is not an issue, but what mentally keeps me here is this, I have always been a believer in the road ahead. It’s as simple as that. Every turn, every notion, every conversation, I listen, learn and take in what might or might not be. I’m not an opportunist by any means and after owning multiple businesses throughout my life in America I can say that ‘yes’ I am a business man but I’m not running around looking for it 24/7.
In the Philippines business is like many things, difficult, a bit mentally challenging and at best it’s one of the hardest things you’ll probably ever do.
I always say today that living here has brought me a certain kind of peace, a life that I could never have at home. Time here means nothing and that certain ‘nothing’ brings a life of not having certain demands or that Sunday night mental torture of not getting up for work the next day.
Sure, there are many things in the Philippines I will and cannot ever accept – that alone leads most of us to become complainers – but the reality is like me, I just simply refuse to give in, accept or at best, understand that it’s not right and not one damn person cares that it’s not right – here it simply doesn’t matter, much like the meaning of time, there’s always ‘tomorrow.’
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again “if this is my path, then let it come” – but until then I’ll live by the rules I make and find peace amongst the people that I often call my family. Surely nothing in life is perfect and without a doubt my own personal shortcomings are by far the smallest of my deeper issues here.
So today’s lesson in ‘living, loving and learning in the Philippines’ consists of one thing, the issue of boarding that damn plane, back to the homeland, back to the reality that once was – leaving behind mental anguish that once looked a bit like hope, loss, forgiveness and life itself.