A solid year in The Philippines!

It was exactly one year ago today that I came back to The Philippines. Since I had a seasonal job in Canada and had saved up enough during the summer to live here through the winter, (or so I thought) coming back here wasn't the hard decision, as I had done it the winter before. The hard decision was choosing to give up my seasonal job in the spring and try to stay here all year round. It was very risky; I'd have to make enough to support myself and my girlfriend from what I made as an author and internet publisher, which I hadn't been able to do previously. Sometimes it's been very tense and we've been on the edge of financial disaster.
I'd always thought I'd get rich someday and move to a tropical island paradise. I never did get rich, or even middle class, though I came close a couple of times. But I did get very good at being poor to working class.
Right now I'm in a loving mated relationship for the first time in my life, and I do live in a nice place in a tropical paradise with a private beach, including internet, big screen, and sattelite TV. My personal costs for everything including cell phone, groceries, and a bit of spending money are $230USD/$300CDN/10,000PHP per month, (and that's less than I've ever heard of for anyone with a comparable lifestyle) or $460USD/$600CDN/20,000PHP including my girlfriend's costs. She does all the cooking, cleaning, and handwashes all our laundry, (I'd do half of that if she was working or going to school) and she takes good care of me.
In most ways this is the best my life has ever been, so I'm living the dream. Over the next year I need to double my income so I can afford to go back to Canada for a visit once a year, buy us some health insurance, and get a few other little extras. That's all I really need.
I need to thank everyone who has helped us or supported my careers in any way. I couldn't have done it without you.

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