Happy Holidays

Most of you know that I’m not the kind of person to do things on a “regular” basis, but this idea of a holiday letter has intrigued me as I’ve watched a few others do them over the years.

Of course, upfront, mine has a special holiday purpose, so please read on.

As most of you know, 8 years ago I came to visit the Philippines before setting off to start a second residence in Kuala Lumpur — I really liked that place and it’s well located, because like some of you, I realized the world’s center is tilting to Asia — and I wanted a front row seat for at least part of that groundswell.

What you may not know, is that in 1972, I was a US Marine finishing up “legal school” in Camp Pendleton, CA. Having the choice of duty station, everyone I talked to said SUBIC, which meant Subic Bay, Philippines, a rearward logistics base for what was then, the Vietnam War; the place to choose.

Days after that choice, and before I got my orders to ship, the All-Marine Football Team Recruiting Circus came to Pendleton, and before you know it, no SUBIC.  It was the QUANTICO MARINES for me, playing football again, after Hiram Scott College in fall of 1970, and in January of 1971, a transfer to the University of Wyoming; I never looked back until I decided to start visiting Asia in 2004.

So, 40 years later before setting up my tent in KL, I jumped on a flight to Manila with eyes wide open, and after a day or two, I realized that I had found the backdoor to Heaven. The weather, once you get used to the humidity, is great.  Even as I write this, we are experiencing “#32” (Typhoon KAI-TAK) and what will be most likely a final Tropical Storm for the year — most typhoons went north this year, but we are in the middle of one now, it’s la nina, pre-Christmas, and I just heard we have another forming that Santa will ride in, no less. smiley  Taking care of a beat-up body is a LOT easier in the Philippines, assuming I don’t get some rare disease that requires special care, or euthanasia. smiley

Now, the Philippines is a STARK contrast — possibly as wide a gap between normal and “a.b.normal” as you could get, which makes things interesting for a person like me. I discovered in midlife that novelty and independence were strong motivators for me and they keeps things real interesting to feed my curiosity, I suspect. So, for me, here was this developmental laboratory of which I could only imagine… and it would be the next phase of my personal development — it has been… hard!