I Don’t Want To Live In America Anymore

Tom Kuegler
Photo by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash

“Thomas, I mean it — I don’t think we’re going to live here much longer.”

That’s what my parents told me yesterday.

They have lived in America all their lives, but now they want to leave? Really? I’m going to keep their reasons a secret because quite frankly they don’t matter.

What matters is I have the same exact feelings, but for different reasons.

It has nothing to do with the social unrest, the rioting, the looting, or the (what looks like) unraveling of America. I don’t care about that because I think it’s over-blown by the media anyway.

No, I don’t want to live in America because after living abroad for the last two years, I don’t feel very American.

I feel like something else.

The Karens Are Too Much For Me

I was watching a Casey Neistat vlog today and at around the 3:30 mark a woman scolded him for riding a bike around a neighborhood.

What the f*ck?

“How you doing?” Casey asks her.

“Yeah, it’d be great if you didn’t do it!” she replies back to him.

Honestly, I’ve lived in the Philippines for the last two years, and I have never once had an experience like that. Not one time. I haven’t even come close to somebody saying anything like that to me here.

Sure, I’m American and a foreigner and Filipinos are known for their amazing hospitality, but I’ve observed how my girlfriend talks to her kin and they’re never condescending like that to her. Ever.

My parents had similar experiences when they moved into the neighborhood we now live in.

Our neighbor was a condescending jerk to us because she thought we came from a lower class. When she sold her house and drove her car away my friends and I literally danced in the driveway.

“The Karens suck!” seems like a non-essential argument to make here. It seems picky. Well, maybe it is. There’s a lot of Karens these days, though. That’s not my biggest reason for abandoning America, though.

I Don’t Want To Build My Life There

My girlfriend is a teacher here on the verge of scoring a work visa for the States. She wants to teach there for a few years, save some money, and open a business back in the Philippines.

At first I liked that idea. She’d get to meet my parents. We’d likely live in California (since that’s where most jobs are for her program). It would be a two year break. I’d get to eat Mexican food again and watch some baseball games.

But I must admit that over the years my desire for this future has waned. The only thing that’s calling me back is my family.

I daydream now of buying land and building a house near the beach in Zambales. You can get Beach front property here for a steal. You can build a house for a fraction of the cost in the states.

This country is a paradise from a natural beauty standpoint. It’s got amazing beaches, amazing mountains, and it’s extremely bio-diverse. I like Lara’s family. I’ve made friends here.

The way I think has diverted radically from the way my childhood friends think, too. I have nothing in common with them anymore. I’m definitely not a Filipino, but I don’t feel quite American either.

I guess I’ve found my heart here in the Philippines. I’ve even grown apart from my siblings, which is okay. We all deserve to bravely forge ahead towards the life we desire.

They’ve done that, and I’m happy for them.

I guess that sometimes life takes us away from our families, even. I always hear that family is so important.

“A man who doesn’t spend time with his family can never be a real man.”
―From ‘The Godfather’

To me, someone who doesn’t follow their heart can never be a real man or woman, though.

There’s Just No Ties There For Me Anymore

America is beautiful. It’s diverse. It has great people, even though the population of Karens seems to quadruple every few months.

It has great food.

But, I don’t know, I just notice a difference between the people there and the people here.

The Philippines has its problems like any country, but I like how people treat each other here. I like how the Philippines remains a relatively unknown paradise. Everybody always opts for Thailand instead.

I like how I see a tangible way to impact the locals and the country as a whole. I think I can start some interesting projects and promote the country to the world so more people will come and appreciate the rich culture.

Maybe I’ve found my home. It’s nothing against America, which I still believe is a wonderful country. It’s more to do with what long-term travel can really do to you.

It changes you. It resets your beliefs. It forces you to think differently. If you don’t change deeply while living abroad, you’re doing it wrong.

And that’s why I don’t want to live in America anymore.

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