My life

A lot of people have asked me about my life lately, and I don't have time to write the same thing over and over again, so I'm copying the letter I just wrote to John, my boss from my seasonal job back in Canada.  The pictures I mention are available on this post on my facebook page.

Hi John;

Sorry I didn't get back to you for a few days, but I'm very busy because I'm desperate to get my latest book finished and published at least a few days before the end of the month.

I do miss working with you, and I'm getting a bit fat without it, but I won't be coming back to Canada this summer. I'm committed to my life here with Marel, and I wouldn't come back unless I could afford her passport, her visa, and both our plane tickets. As it is I don't even have any money for my own plane ticket.

Things here are really good, our life together is wonderful, except financially because of things I never expected.

The low Canadian dollar and the high Philippine peso cost me a fifth of my savings. I was expecting a tax refund last year, but for various frustrating reasons I haven't got it yet, but now I'm told I'll get it in a week or two. I switched my default sales from my own website to a site called because it has many, many advantages for my readers, unfortunately it only pays every three months with a month's delay, so I'll get paid for Jan. Feb. Mar. sales at the end of April, then Apr. May June sales at the end of July. That's why I have to get my latest book out before the end of march and make some sales, so I can get some money from it at the end of April and not at the end of July. And finally, all the American book sites including Smashwords are withholding 30% for the US IRS taxes. Theoretically I can get them to stop doing that, because Canada has a tax treaty with the US, but it's a paperwork nightmare that the IRS says would take two months if I was in Canada, and it's almost impossible from here in the Philippines.

I've been working like crazy on the writing and publishing, and if it wasn't for those unexpected factors I'd be doing okay. As it is, things are really tense. I couldn't renew my visa here at the beginning of March and I'm behind on my rent. At least my landlady is really nice and she loaned us some money for groceries. If my tax refund comes in when I've been told it will, then we'll be okay. If not we might have to move in with a friend for a while. If I can't make a go of it with the writing and publishing I'll have to take a job teaching English to Japanese people over the internet, and do some musician work on the side.

Life here is very different. I live in a beautiful place with a huge beautiful yard and a private beach that only costs about $300.oo per month including utilities and bills, (see attached pictures.) but the reasons it costs so little are loud barking dogs, loud crowing roosters, loud yowling cats, no sound insulation, windows that don't really close, no hot water, surrounded by resorts that cater to Phillipinos who love their 10,000 watt karaoke systems at all hours even though they can't sing well, constant war with the ants and termites and mosquitos, occasional rats in the ceiling until the cats fight them and chase them out (which is loud), huge trees over the house that drop huge nuts on the roof that sound like gunshots when they land, and being too far from the center of the city to be able to get a landline phone or cable TV or fast internet. We get by with slow internet from an arial and sattelite TV.

Still, I have a wonderful love and tropical weather and the ocean just outside my door, and even with all the problems, my life here is still better than it was in Canada. I included a couple of pics with Marel's wonderful family from Christmas day.

How are things with you and Christina and the girls? I sure hope you're all doing okay.

Take care;

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