Welcome home Karen

15 May

This is how Kuya Danny greeted me when I arrived to move my small amount of stuff into my new apartment yesterday… and it didn’t take long for me to feel at home.

When I first arrived in Gubat, my host organisation had arranged for me to stay in the town home of a retired teacher, Tita Moni, who know lives in the country. I was greeted by her at her house after a long trip from Manila after a big week of training and was ready to unpack my things. As I was led around a typical Filipino home with a combination of religious icons and statues, many many pieces of furniture, more formal crockery than one family could ever use, MILLIONS of family photos and stuff literally jammed into every nook and cranny, I knew I couldn’t make this my home. This was reiterated when she told me, with the very very best of intentions, that she was now my Tita (aunty) and would it be ok if she stayed with me every weekend? And I had permission to put 1 photo up on the wall now I was part of the family! Oh and my “cousins” would come and stay with me for a few weeks during the fiesta…. This was a home with so much love and family history that I couldn’t begin my new life there because so much life had already been lived and it wasn’t my own.

OK, well there was also the little issue of being right next to my work, which meant that everytime I cam into my office, people would tell me they saw me going here, wearing this, carrying that looking sweaty of course. And being right next door to the basketball stadium during tournament season was another cross… and I guess the daily lawnmower engine sounding trikes going past from 5am – 11pm everyday was just the icing on the cake.

But all that stuff just confirmed what I already knew… that I wouldn’t feel at home unless I had the very few of my own things that I had brought around me and I wouldn’t be able to take control of my diet and yoga and meditation and all that other stuff unless I did feel at home. So off I went to find another place and find one I did. A gorgeous teeny tiny little studio well away from my work but still on the main street with a lovely owner Ate Yoly who works in the sary-sary (like a milk bar) downstairs with a little eatery attached who has lived overseas before so understands what I am going through. I knew I had to live there when I saw the beautiful brick roof overlooking my amazing little town where I can eat my breakfast, do my yoga practice or just lay on my P100 picnic rug and look at the stars at night!

I have nothing useful in my house yet and have realised how non-domestic I am (sorry Mum) but I am ready and willing to become domesticated and more than ready to settle in for the next stage of my adventure!

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