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Moving Spaces

September 22, 2018

 Someone's having too much fun with the moving boxes.


In my lifetime, I have moved houses 5 times. But only two of those times were considered big moves that required us to change cities. It doesn’t sound like a lot, I know. But my anxiety and depression had flared up again recently because of our current transition to a new home. What’s different this time is that I have a kid now, and I am eager to grow roots for the family. Before you tell me “Home is where the heart is,” and “Home is wherever your family is,” let me affirm you already that I know. I know. What is overwhelming right now is the realization that as the parent, it is my job now to make a house feel like a home for my family. I look at the physical structure that is our soon-to-be new home, and it is a little underwhelming. A cramped townhouse in a cramped little street in a less savory part of an old town of Manila…. There are better places, but those are places we cannot afford at this moment. Pangs of regret that the house I grew up in is in the suburbs North of Manila and currently infamous for it 5 hour travel time due to the construction of the Metro Rail Transit 7. I can almost feel the wind on my face as I remember standing in our front yard, and hear the sound the breeze makes through the branches of several trees. This house has no breeze. No trees. The sound I hear is of neighbors launching into Sinatra’s My Way on their decked out videoke (which is against the law these days, btw). No, it doesn’t feel like home yet, and it’s my job to make it so, and soon.


I am, unfortunately, one of those creatures who have a love affair with space. I do not see a house as just a place to sleep, eat, and defecate in. Wherever I am, I need it to feel like a haven --- everything built to address not only the conveniences but also designed to allow us to rest, play and dream. I need space to create --- my illustrations, my future novel, and my blogposts. My son needs space to play, learn and grow. My husband needs space to heal and build himself back up again. My sister needs a space to call home whenever she is in the country. Space is important. Space is sacred --- and that’s why I am under pressure to create all of that in the house we were dealt with.


When one is moving houses, I learned that you are not only moving your furniture, appliances, clothes and ephemera. You are also moving your sacred spaces to another realm. Once lost, you cannot recreate the same space in exactly the same way. But the good thing, is that you cannot recreate the same space in exactly the same way.


That’s not a typo, don’t worry. I simply meant that the loss of your comfortable space in one place is understandably sad. But there is beauty in knowing that once that space has gone, you are now given the opportunity to create a new one. Your space changes with you and through it you can measure how much you’ve grown. So whether you are living in Forbes Park, in Tondo, in Katipunan or Santa Ana, you have to create those spaces for your family to thrive.


I am built never to settle for just a house. I am built to create and dwell in a home ----- whether it be mansion, palace, hovel or a cramp little townhouse in a cramped little street in Manila.


‘Kay now, back to my obsessive planning then.


Smell ya later,





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