I just learned that our church in Manila, BreadCom, is moving to a new place. When I joined the church in 2000, it has its sanctuary at the fifth floor of the Shangrila Plaza in Mandaluyong City. From there, it has moved four times – Starmall, Shang parking area, Shaw Boulevard and now the present site. The movements provided opportunities for the church to work as one and it enabled the members to contribute to the whole activity. It has also lost members in the process but gained members in the new places where it relocated.  

Movement in my case is my work. Although I have been in the development industry since I started working in 1985, the average period I stayed with an institution is five years. Parallel with changes in my workplace is also my residence. I remembered when I started, all my things can be packed in a backpack. When I married, it required a small pick-up, and when I finally transferred to my present house in Marikina, I needed a truck. But everything was lost in 2009 when Typhoon Ondoy flooded our house and ruined everything. I have to start again.

I have never intended to work outside the Philippines. In 2010 an opportunity to work with a French consulting firm in Cambodia and Vietnam exposed me to the regional level, and so my work outside the Philippines started. Now, I am waiting for the start of a new project in Myanmar, a new place to discover.

I know not all of us are comfortable with moving. For some it is a life-changing event. But we should remember that change in inevitable and it is the only permanent thing in the world. Whether we like it or not, we have to be prepared for it.

How do we cope with moving? I suggest five ways based on my experience:

  • Make sure that everything is settled in the previous place. It means all bills are paid, borrowed things are returned, neighbors are informed, and other things to make sure that nothing bad is left behind.
  • Familiarize with the new place. Get to know people especially those who are adjacent to your place. Locate the basic and most essential establishments like convenience or grocery stores, market, clinics or hospitals, police station, etc. In my case I always look for bookstores, recreation site (cinema), gym or exercise area and pharmacy.
  • Look for new things that you can do in the new place. It may be a hobby, or joining a group activity like exercise or aerobics, or even a church. In Cambodia, one of the first things I did was get a tutor to teach me and my wife the Khmer language. Things like this make you busy and help you integrate faster.
  • Identify what you can give to the new place. Doing good makes you feel good. Contributing your money or time in the community or any charitable initiative will not only make you feel good, but will also make the recipients of your benevolence grateful to you.  My wife and I became close friends with moto and tuktuk drivers we are patronizing in Phnom Penh.
  • Finally, share your experiences to the world. In the age of internet and social networking, it is easy to connect with your family, friends and the world. A picture or a short message will really mean a lot to the people who love you. Just send and you will be surprised with what will come back.

Moving to a new place? It is an exciting adventure, not a problem.