Who are you?
I’m Chris Rice. A non-combat US veteran.
Where, when and why did you move abroad?
I moved to the Philippines to meet Emafe Rice for the first time.Her maiden name was Emafe Abello. The two of us got married on my 25th birthday (March 5, 2010). It was my first time traveling outside of US territory and has been a one way trip so far.
What challenges did you face during the move?
Because of my wife’s family and the support of US Veteran Affairs, my challenges have been few and far between. The only real inconvenience is the traffic here.
How did you find somewhere to live?
It was my wife’s family that introduced me to subdivisions in Davao City. Emafe chose Davao City for its safety. That was in 2009 and we still live here.
Are there many other expats in your area?
What is your relationship like with the locals?
I have a good relationship with the locals. A good number of them speak English and most of the people that I talk to are smiling during our conversations.
What do you like about life where you are?
I like the affordability of the Philippines. A long taxi ride costs $3 to $4 USD and property is cheaper to rent and purchase here (compared to the Bay Area in California).
What do you dislike about your expat life?
Aside from not being able to help every poor child wandering the streets, traffic is the only downside.
What is the biggest cultural difference you have experienced between your new country and life back home?
Men are more comfortable with their sexuality here. I remember a guy sitting on another guy’s knee one time and I thought he was gay but my wife told me he just wanted a place to sit. Beauty pageants are also common, especially in the province and they have one called ‘Search for Macho Gay’ where straight men do their best to dress like women and act the part. The LGBT community is engraved in this country’s culture and film industry. I am not interested in this or disinterested in it. It’s a non-issue for me but is different than the US culture of 2009.
What do you think of the food and drink in your new country?
I love the taste of the food but some of it is a little unhealthy. Coca Cola (Coke) is extremely common, sometimes almost for every meal in some families and pigs are roasted year around and served in the way that whole chickens are in the US.
What are your particular likes or dislikes?
I like the affordability, the shopping malls, real estate and people but I dislike the traffic and narrow roads.
What advice would you give to anyone following in your footsteps?
Be kind to everyone you meet and understand that the people you surround yourself with will be one of the biggest factors in determining your experience.
What are your plans for the future?
I have two plans. Plan A is to win the US lottery and bring my wife’s entire family to the United States and Plan B is to live a simple life like I am now. Documenting our daily life on YouTube and creating websites that branch away from that.
Would you like to share your experience of life abroad with other readers? Answer the questions here to be featured in an interview!