It was the morning after my last class with Enderun for 2015 that we got the news: We had to move out of our flat of five years. The reason? Finances. The sensible thing to do was to stop paying rent, save our resources and put them towards something that could further our plans as a family.
The last time we moved houses, I had just resigned from my teaching job in a preschool in our village, and had just left the church community in which I had invested a huge chunk of my life. We looked for a place to move into for practical reasons: the home we were renting wasn’t suitable for a baby (Vito was just starting to crawl). At the same time, it was also a spiritual reason: Being in that home was no longer ideal for Ton and myself, who wanted a fresh start from the very “churched” and close-knit community lifestyle. A new chapter, a new home: It was simple.
We moved to a modest neighborhood of mostly townhouses in Quezon City, an area we called Mariposa after the street where we lived. We stayed in that walk-up for a good five years. It was a cozy home, albeit its teeny-tiny bathrooms and the constant buzz from the traffic on our street, which was an artery to one of the city’s busiest main roads.
But we were its first tenants, and we made it comfortable. We made memories there. It was where Vito learned to crawl, where he took his first steps, where he plastered the walls with his scrawls and drawings. For those of you who follow me on Instagram, you’d be familiar with my posts #MiBHome, which were of this home.
It was difficult to leave it, but I have to say, it was liberating. Moving meant also starting a new chapter again. Only this time around, the factors were different: We’d be living on a single income for the first time; we’d be priming the engines for a new business, something we’d been putting off for months; we’d be moving to a smaller space.
A new chapter again, a new home again: Simple.
We moved into a small house at the back of my parents’ compound. It used to be my brother Kiddo’s family who lived here, but when they uprooted and decided to permanently live by the beach up north in La Union’s surf town, the house wasn’t being used. Plus, my mom had been suggesting that we move in there, so it was the sensible, simple thing to do. I did struggle for a time at the thought that we’d be moving back with one of our parents. I think out of us siblings, I’ve been the most adamant about “leaving and cleaving,” and being totally independent as a married couple.
I have to say, after a little over a month of living here, I don’t feel like we’ve lost our privacy. We’re saving some good bucks (whew!), but we don’t feel like we’re living in the same house as my folks. My parents are great, I think: They don’t meddle or pry with our affairs, even if the house is in their compound. I’m quite happy about that. (Thanks, Mom and Pops.)
It’s small compared to our old place. Growing up, this tiny house was our homeschool classroom: The bottom floor had long desks and shelves filled with books, a cabinet filled with answer keys and materials; upstairs, more work tables and a computer. Through the years, it became a storage space, a temporary bachelor’s pad, and a starter home for my younger brother’s family.
Today, it’s home. Our home.
The living area. Probably the only thing that’s been fixed up in this house.
The kitchen. Still messy! It’s got half the storage space we had in our old home, which means I’ve been doing some discarding here and there, some donating, some selling even. I’m not yet done!
My office slash homeschool space of Vito. Still super messy!!! I haven’t figured out where to put things, so a lot of the stuff is on the floor below the desk. I gave away the slim console that I was using as a desk, and since Ton no longer needs a desk, I inherited the one from his home office.
Vito’s things, at least what’s been unboxed. There are still several things to be organized, put away, given away. We donated a load of toys before Christmas, to make room for new ones. The new rule is that he won’t be allowed to buy or receive new toys unless he gives some old ones away. Same goes for his books.
My desk, which I’ve not yet occupied. Too much stuff, gotta purge and KonMari my ass off before I call this a workspace again. But then, look at all that lovely natural light, right? When I was a teen, this was my homeschool spot right by the window. My desk was here next to the computer, and I’d do my lessons here every morning. And yet, I don’t have that deju vu-ish feeling. Everything feels weirdly new.
I honestly still don’t feel like this house is “home.” Sure, it’s our home now, but I still need to feel like we’ve lived here. Right now it seems like some strange extended home stay, like we’ve never fully unpacked our things. Well, that’s true because we still have a number of boxes left for us to sort through and decide on what to keep and what to discard. I told myself I’d KonMari the entire house before January ends, so let’s see!
Meanwhile, we’re determined to settle in this 2016. There’s a lot that’s already happened, from milestone-y things like Vito losing a tooth (eep, dental bills!) and Krista taking her first step on Christmas Eve (waaaaaah, she’ll be 1 year old at the end of January!), to brass tacks-y things like Ton starting a new coffee business as his full-time job and me being the bread-and-butter person for the time being. Losing teeth, taking steps, letting go and moving on: Everything’s in transition.
I can only pray for serenity —,
“to accept what cannot be changed,
The courage to change what can be changed,
and the wisdom to know the difference.”
Have you ever had to deal with new beginnings and transitions happening all at once? Seems like a good thing to talk about at this point in my life, and I’d sure love your insights.