Hey, It’s Not Always the Chickens –It Could be a Flood

Posted on 06/12/2012

As I’ve mentioned previously, when it comes to living as an expat, there are three different standard choices. If you’ve relocated due to a career or contract assignment, you may find yourself in the enviable position of having your living arrangements looked after by a company that will take care of all the details. However, you’re pretty much depending on the competency of the company’s Human Resources department, so things can go either way. I want to point out, though, that this is not a situation that requires much investigation. When you (and your spouse) are on your own, it’s a completely different story. Some of the things that I would like to point out will also hold true in circumstances where “helpful” family members are pointing you towards what they consider to be a “great deal”. You see, it’s always a good idea to try to understand people’s motivations when it comes to their advice. In my case, I was quick to notice that my Filipino in-laws would think nothing of having me and my wife living next door to a highly aromatic chicken ranch (especially during the extra hot months) – as long as everyone was in close proximity of each other. So, I figured that the best way to go would be to approach matters in much the same way that I would if we were still in the U.S.

The first thing that I considered was living in a gated community. There are a number of advantages when it comes to this type of living arrangement. First of all, there is question of security. Gated communities are enclosed and the entrance consists of a gate that is usually watched over by security guards. You won’t have to be concerned about being awakened at night by the armies of chickens that inhabit the neighborhood and then try to visit your yard in case your alarm clock is malfunctioning. You also have better access to things like garbage pickup and other services that you may have taken for granted, in the past. In addition, if you haven’t lived in a country like the Philippines during Christmas time, be prepared for an endless stream of carollers. During the regular months, you’ll have solicitors, charity cases, etc. showing up on your doorstep if you don’t live in a gated community.

Living out in town, in my opinion, is more of a question of expanding ones experiences in life. Now I have absolutely no criticisms regarding wanting to live a quiet, peaceful life in an atmosphere that mimics life in one’s home country as much as possible. But for me, I want to experience what’s “out there”. That means I want to get to know the people and the culture. I believe that when you learn to understand the mindsets of more than one culture, many things in life can come into sharper focus. But, of course, it’s all up to the individual.

But whether it’s life in a gated community or out amongst the locals, some things remain constant. These include the proximity of emergency services and, of course, being prone to flooding conditions. I found this out the hard way. So, what is the best way to go about getting a good deal on a place to live, either way? That’s coming up next…