Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Daily Report: Opportunities, Missed and Taken

I got notification that the house on Camiguin, "Jungle On The Rocks", was available if Epril and I wanted to move in... and at the price I had hoped for. That figures... and sucks.

Actually, we could afford the move... or, more accurately, I could afford to move Epril into that house if I wanted to. But I won't: Epril doesn't know anybody in Camiguin, and relies on me to get out into the various social circles where she can get to know people (in person... see Facebook discussion below). She would be terribly bored and lonely if I moved her there now.

My pay isn't going down with the move back to America. If anything, being in Florida will increase my income because I won't have as many things to do with my spare time, so I will work more.

Additionally, Epril and I figure that we will have at least 15,000 more pisos per month of spare cash because of this move: I won't be buying expensive imported grocery goods here. Air conditioning use will go down, cutting the electric bills. Epril won't be going to the expensive restaurants which I like eating at. Driver Chris won't be called upon every time we go into town. Epril's preferred meal of dried fish will replace the more expensive roasted chickens and pork dishes that are eaten when I am here.

I don't think my party this Friday will be well-attended. Warren is leaving for Australia on Saturday and wanted to get together before he left, so I originally figured we would hang out together on Friday afternoon. Then as an afterthought I decided to invite everyone else; but Friday afternoon seems to be a terrible time for people to get out for a few hours of sun and swimming. I've been getting nothing but regrets of being unable to attend. Oh well. If you can make it, I'd be happy to see you there.

Epril and I are going to try to open an eBay store. It's not something that would work in many places other than The Philippines, but here it can work well. It is possible to resell items in this country at a fair profit. Something that you buy in the big markets of Cebu or Manila can be resold to people who live on other islands and cannot easily get to those markets. Payments for online purchases, interestingly, are easier here than in most other countries: Not only are there lots of competitors to the Western Union form of business, but Filipinos can even send money to each other via their mobile phones.

An important marketing tool for this type of retail seems to be (and here is where Epril has a distinct advantage) Facebook. The online retailer puts up a photo album of the items being sold on Facebook, and then proceeds to "tag friends" (Epril has almost 2000 friends) to the photo. Then the friends come and look at this "photo catalog" and make purchases. Another marketing tool I plan to use for the eBay store is two of my friends' SEO (search engine optimization) companies.

Finally, we'll be looking at importing goods from China. Through my Eagles fraternity, I have a fellow Eagle brother in customs, and he'll help us bring in shipments of low-cost goods to sell online.

I'm really not sure how long it will take me to get back to The Philippines. I know now what income I consider to be my own personal bare minimum to survive (because that is what I had been earning for a while), and Epril and I together need to be earning exactly that — but preferably more — before I can return. I think realistically my return will be after Christmas. But if our first plan fails or does not meet expectations... and the second plan... and the third plan... Who knows how long I'll be gone?

Yes, it is possible that I might just choose to stay in America and bring Epril to live there. I'd get some 9-to-5 briefcase-and-tie gig, and rat-race my way to retirement in 20 years, while Epril would learn some profession of her own and we would lose ourselves in the modern dual-income humdrum of domestic bliss. But right now my mind isn't open to that option. Maybe I'll become more receptive eventually, or maybe a stateside opportunity will draw me in, or maybe I'll have no other choice. I don't know.

All I do know is that this place, Northern Mindanao, the state of Misamis Oriental, is what I consider home now, and that isn't going to change. I'll move around and maybe even spend years or decades before I get back here... but this is the place I will eventually return to, retire to with my wife and live happily to the end of days. All else is unknown now.


Anonymous said...

I would like to suggest something to you. Bring Epril with you as soon as you can do so legally. Have her apply for her green card and begin her citizenship path. In three years she will be a US citizen. Why you may ask. Be cause she will probably outlive you in the Philippines. But without US citizenship she will not get your social security check, after you die, living OUTSIDE the USA. Mike

Jungle Jil said...

That's a good point, Mike. The only problem is that we need to set aside 3 years where Epril and I won't have to (won't want to) travel outside of the United States. But you are right... that does make it something worth doing.

Heheh: Does Epril need to pass the "Citizenship Test" of naming the bill of rights and the dates of the civil war and stuff like that?

Anonymous said...

She won't have to become a U.S. citizen. She just needs to be a permanent resident and get a SSN card in order to get your SS benefits. Contrary to popular expat beliefs, there is more value to a US citizenship than people give credit.

Anonymous said...

1. A widow is not entitled to receive "Your" SS check. It dies with you. She CAN apply for SS after she reaches a certain age. I THINK it's 55 but I'm not sure..

2. Warren was at Kingston Lodge and will TRY to be at Twin Hearts.
I am planning on it, and Dave A. will get back to me on Thursday to confirm if he will go with me.

Eva will be in school, and I'm not looking forward to making the trip alone.

Mike Farrell
Cagayan de Oro

Anonymous said...

Who can get survivors benefits based on your work?
•Your widow or widower may be able to receive full benefits at full retirement age. The full retirement age for survivors is age 66 for people born in 1945-1956 and will gradually increase to age 67 for people born in 1962 or later. Reduced widow or widower benefits can be received as early as age 60. If your surviving spouse is disabled, benefits can begin as early as age 50. For more information on widows, widowers and other survivors, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/ww&os2.htm.

•Your widow or widower can receive benefits at any age if she or he takes care of your child who is receiving Social Security benefits and younger than age 16 or disabled.

•Your unmarried children who are younger than age 18 (or up to age 19 if they are attending elementary or secondary school full time) also can receive benefits. Your children can get benefits at any age if they were disabled before age 22 and remain disabled. Under certain circumstances, benefits also can be paid to your stepchildren, grandchildren, stepgrandchildren or adopted children.

•Your dependent parents can receive benefits if they are age 62 or older. (For your parents to qualify as dependents, you would have had to ­provide at least one-half of their support.)

Bottom line, none of this happens unless Epril is a "permanent resident" or a US citizen. There is no locality test.

Anonymous said...

Dependent children get Social Security Survivors benefits until their 18th B-day.Wives do not get S.S.I.survivors benefits.

Anonymous said...

Well Im sure whatever youu decide to do will work out in the long run. You sound like a very switched on person so Im sure you will be okay in whatever you decide to do job wise.

Anonymous said...

Good luck Jill with the move! However, your disposable income may very well go down as you move to the states. Though Florida has no state income tax, the average Florida sales tax is 8.5% and then your Federal tax, SS Tax. Add in typical monthly utilities and automobile insurance and you may be wishing you were back in low cost CDO.

Anonymous said...

I am a filipina who's in the US right now with my american-citizen husband and our two kids. I recently applied for citizenship and passed. It's not hard, I know Epril will pass it with flying colors.

During the biometrics appointment, they will give her a paper with 100 sample questions and its corresponding answers to study for the ORAL citizenship test. All she really needs to do is memorize it or understand it so she could answer the oral test. They would only ask 10 questions from the samples they gave, so it's not that hard.

I am a stay-at-home mom, and even if we have two kids, we still manage to survive with just one paycheck. If we could do it, I know you and Epril will survive no problem with just your paycheck (atleast she'll be at home waiting for you when you come home from work).

Hope everything works out!

Jungle Jil said...

@ Anon 1:59,

Thanks for the Good Luck wishes. My disposable income will be going up because I'll be staying with my mother and riding in her car if I go anywhere, et cetera. I plan on paying for my own food and anything else that I buy such as clothes or work supplies, and I plan on helping out with the electricity bill. But other than that, I don't think I will have many expenses.

Anonymous said...

Yes, you can live on $1,500/month easily in Florida or anywhere else in US. You will have a wife waiting for you at home if she decides to do just that, but that would be pretty silly; she needs to go to school and learn a skill that will pay her a good wage. There are so many opportunities in US if you go to school and try to learn something. It's easy, free, so many programs, vocational and academical; just do it. Everything else will fall in place. Take it from one who made it that way. Yes, my wife took her citizenship after 3 years and it's easy. Get Epril in US ASAP and your life will get a turn for the better.
Pete, California

Don BB said...

jesus man what a turn of events. trust me i can relate having just been downsized. oh well new doors always open. get epril back to the states ASAP. it'll work out.

you got in some good years. and found epril. the rest is still to come. what part of florida? be cool to come down and visit.

Anonymous said...

wow,2 bad mate,end of an era?
Florida is a home for the newly wed and the nearly dead,too bad,u don't seem like either.
alot of misinformation above,surprising as ex-pats usually know these things.The States aren't cheep,if you haven't been for a while,prepare for a shock,food especially.Also,ur company sounds like they ready to lower the boom boom boom!If you saved any cash,why not give the fils. a shot?A biz cud work.lots of un-employment in the states,hope your not next.Safe trip eh matey!
ay revoir!
Give my regards to Fort Myers/Naples,

Robert said...

I have been reading your blog almost since you started there in Jasaan. I even went and read your blogs from Thailand. I may have even met you, not really sure. I think I saw you in spooks one night in 2008. I was saddened to read that you will have to come back here to the states. You know, I think a great many of us that read your blog, live our dream thru your site here. What I think I am trying to say is, you have been an inspiration to many. Hurry back to your Jungle perch and all your lovely friends. I will be semi-retiring in CDO in the next 2 to 4 yrs. Best wishes.

Also, GO GIANTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Anonymous said...

jungle on the rocks has been rented by an ex-pat w/rottweillers for at least a year and a half.He says he is building a house but do not belive that,I am too!!in USSR.he isn't leaving any time soon and whoever told you he is is pulling your leg.U r not the only person who has tried to rent the place,however it isnt as nice as u might think,nor is it as cheap as you have been led to believe.Camiguin is just as expensive as CDO rent-wise and everything else is more expensive.one hospital,no movie theatres or decent restaurants make living there a bit boring,difficult and questionable long-term.if you are married it might suit you well,if not,forget it!the best part about the place is the beach-front rentals,unlike CDO,which is a hell-hole dump in comparison.Thought you would like to know....