Since we decided never to reopen our small resort in the Philippines, we’d been planning on moving back to the US to spend more time with my parents as they get older. The pandemic really made us think about the importance of family as we were all kept apart, worried about each other’s health. We moved to the Philippines from Brooklyn to spend more time with Mr. Bee’s parents six years ago, so we wanted to move to Los Angeles to spend more time with mine.

We’ve been visiting the US for two months now, and I realized early on that I didn’t want to move back. Undoubtedly the pandemic changed us, having been so isolated for over a year and a half, and then coming to the US where life is pretty much back to normal. But imagining what our lives would be like if we moved back, isn’t the life that I want to live, and I didn’t fully realize that until I was here. These are five reasons I don’t want to move back to the US.


1) The cost of living – Everything is so expensive. We’ve stayed home most of our visit here, but even what we spend on groceries and gas is astronomical. If we do go out, museum admission is often $100+ for a family of four, not including parking or lunch. With inflation and supply chain issues, the cost of basics is even higher. Thinking about moving back and finding a house, needing two cars, and all the stuff we’d need to live here is overwhelming. And I can’t help but think that the money we’d spend on living an average life in the US could go so much farther abroad, not just in our quality of life, but in the passion projects we’d be able to support.


2) Our passion projects – We are extremely involved in our local community in the Philippines from animal rescue to a children’s library to providing news for our island. I’m sure if we lived in the US I’d still be involved in animal rescue, but it wouldn’t be the same since there are already so many resources and rescuers in America. Our passion projects are such a huge part of who we are now, it’s hard to fathom leaving them behind.


3) The simple life – I’m stressed out just visiting the US and I’m supposed to be on vacation! From obligations to family and friends, to traffic, to the logistics of everything, I feel like every day life in the US is stressful and complicated.


4) US Society – I see moms buying bulletproof backpacks, and I can’t imagine living in a country where school shootings are commonplace. Many parents are more scared of school shootings than they are of covid. Speaking of covid, the richest most powerful country in the world that developed the best vaccines in the world has the most covid deaths in the world. So many of my beliefs don’t align with those of many Americans and I question if I want to live in that America.


5) My mental health –  I went off antidepressants during the pandemic since I had less stress, but I’ve had so much insomnia, anxiety, depression since we’ve been back in the US. I’ve looked up online therapists and am trying to get anti-anxiety medicine just to make it through my remaining month here. I’d definitely have to go back on antidepressants if we were to return here.


It’s hard to make such huge, long term decisions in the middle of a worldwide pandemic. We have to wrap up so many things about our lives in the Philippines. We need to start new careers. Cost of living is a huge factor. But we have to think about Charlie and Olive’s education and we want to spend much more time with family. We don’t have any answers yet, but for now I am not ready to return to America.

One of the best things about America is its vast free public parks systems. These pictures were taken at a nearby park called Carbon Canyon which has the only redwood grove in Southern California.