I can’t believe that after more than 6 years living overseas, we are finally back in Manila! I was really excited to speak the language, be back to everything familiar and feel at home. I was in for a surprise!
I never thought I would say this, but after only 3 years without coming back for a visit, Manila seems so different!
I was shocked by how much the prices have gone up. How did it get so high in 3 years? This is bittersweet. Yes it is stressful to look for additional means of income to cover the higher cost of living. (So please do support my little blog by clicking on links But it is also sweet, because it means that Manila is progressing. The prices of rent and property are going up because there are many more expats in Manila. The economy is progressing, prices are going up and hopefully the income of people are going up too!
The traffic is way worse. I always thought Jakarta traffic was worse, but I think Manila has caught up. I can complain about it, or think positive and hope that this amount of traffic becomes a tipping point, so that the movers and shakers finally see the need for more efficient forms of public transport, better city planning – wider roads, zoning and limiting of number of vehicles that can be owned – so that we don’t have too many people and cars for the capacity of roads.
Vibrant, crazy Metro Manila has grown in so many ways. The skyline itself has changed. I didn’t expect I would have any anxiety about driving in Manila, after all this is where I am from. But with so many new developments, I feel lost in certain areas where entire communities have popped up.
It was different during our four years in Jakarta, because we kept coming home every few months, but during our 2+ years in Berlin, we decided it was better to explore Europe while we were there.
As we come back home, we are much changed after living in two very different countries and cultures. But like us, Manila has also changed and grown.
I remember reading an article about expat life, when we began this crazy adventure more than half a decade ago. I’m paraphrasing here, but it said that when you’ve lived abroad, you not only feel like an outsider abroad, but when you go home, you also feel like a bit of an outsider too, because you have missed so much of what’s happened at home.
Now I realize how true this is. And that this is okay. I will just have to get to know Manila again. Expat life has taught me resilience, finding beauty and joy wherever I am, and that home is wherever my husband and our little family is.
Have you ever lived abroad? How many years were you away and what was it like for you coming back home? What changes did you notice the most? Were there things that were the same, but that you weren’t used to any more? How did you cope with these things? Post it in the comments below and let’s discuss!