I was reflecting today on how wonderful our house here in Tagaytay is, even though today we have no running water in the house. More on that later. I was sitting outside, on a beautiful cool, breezy day, in one of the three swinging benches in our backyard, next to our pool, smoking a cigar, as the sun shone through the clouds. After the cigar I took a swim in the pool.
Yes, today we have no running water. Most days we have running water, but less than ideal water flow, and very limited hot water. The plumber is already scheduled to come tomorrow to install the water pump sitting in the driveway, which hopefully will improve our water flow, but not so much that it draws water pressure from the neighbors and causes ill will on our block.
Aside from the problems, which are slowly being fixed, the house is truly wonderful. The front and back is beautifully landscaped. From the balcony off the master bedroom I look out, across the street, to a beautiful expanse of trees and plants, almost jungle-like. To the left of our property a very large house stands almost completed; soon another expat from the USA will move in there. To the right, facing the front of our house, is a one-story house where a German expat and his Filipina wife live, and next to them is a 3-story orange house, where I think another German expat lives.
The balcony in the back of our second floor is much larger, and looks out over the pool. The lot is 600 square meters, and includes a gazebo encircled by a small moat where a koi fish swims.
The inside of the house is truly beautiful, a mix of stone and old wood, with beautiful mostly wood furnishings, including a bar, a piano, and the desk where I am writing this, which sits at the top of a beautiful staircase. The upper floor has 3 bedrooms, including the master bedroom and bathroom, another bathroom, an open office area above the stairs, a very large wrap-around balcony, and another balcony off the master bedroom. The first floor has a good-sized living room, small bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, and dining area, which has a large table with 8 chairs. Also on the first floor, connected to the house but with separate entrances, is the caretaker’s quarters and bath. The dining area opens out to the covered picnic table and swinging bench, beyond which is the pool.
In the front of the house there is a steep one-car driveway, with a gate in front, a smaller gate to the side for people, and on the side another gate that leads to a drive where 2-3 more vehicles could be parked. Behind the drive is an outdoor grill and sink, and beyond that is the gazebo, next to the pool. On the other side of the pool is a bathroom, and toward the back of the pool is an outdoor shower and a small structure that encloses the pool equipment and some storage. There is more storage space on the upper balcony. Storage space within the house is very limited.
Tagaytay really is a paradise, to me. Unlike most of the Philippines, it is rarely unbearably hot here. It is perhaps rainy and windy a bit too much for my taste, but I’ll take that any day over unbearable heat. When it’s too cold or rainy you can be comfortable inside. When it’s too hot you really can’t be comfortable, unless you have excellent air conditioning wherever you go, which gets very expensive.
Most days the weather is very pleasant here, near-perfect.
My new life here is just getting started, and so far it’s been full of activity, mostly moving, adjusting to the various moves and changes, and dealing with day-to-day issues like eating, transportation, computers, Internet and phone service, plumbing, the dog, the family, the car, etc.
But I’ve had some time to relax as well. I love the new pace of my life. It seems like the last 50 years have been way too hectic, with way too many demands upon me, too much pressure and stress. Yes, I made good money, and I loved my work, but I am so very, very glad to be done with it.
I have now something I’ve wanted for a long time – the chance to make a truly fresh new start, to explore and discover what I want to do with my life.
I’ve always wanted to be a writer, and for almost my entire working life so far I was paid to write. However, I’d like to write with a bit more choice of my subject matter, and I suspect that software documentation may not be my top choice.
Although I may end up doing more software documentation to help fund my new life on an interim basis.
I’m still very excited about starting a technical writing outsourcing company, and working with a university to help them develop a technical writing curriculum. But I’m becoming intrigued with the possibility of writing books, books that I choose to write, and putting my time and energy into self-publishing and marketing those books. I don’t expect they will sell themselves, but I may be able to make a modest living by writing 1-2 books a year and marketing and selling them.
The wonderful thing is I need so much less income now.
Perhaps my next blog post will focus on the differences in cost of living between here and the USA, and other kinds of differences.
P.S. A couple hours later, we had running water again. As I suspected it was one of the levers outside. I don’t yet understand all the valves and levers. It was also related to preparations for the plumber’s visit tomorrow.