Moved house at last
FROM MY HEART - Barbara Gonzalez-Ventura (The Philippine Star) - August 19, 2018 - 12:00am

Moving house is very hard. I just almost finished moving and I still cannot find the energy to say I have successfully done it. When I moved into my last home it was a beautiful experience. I had found a much bigger place with a wonderful view. I loved sitting on the terrace and watching the sun set over Manila Bay. Every day it was different. My unit had two big bedrooms and one small room I used as my workroom.  It had a maid’s room that I used as a library, a maid’s bathroom that I used as storage for all my cleaning things. It had a large kitchen that was much bigger than what I needed. It was a lovely place but honestly it was too big for me alone.

 I lived there all alone. I did not like having live-in maids. I had a cleaning lady who came once a week and we hardly talked. It was not a lonely life because I was used to being alone but it was an empty life I now realize. Now I am married. I have a husband to talk, laugh and sleep with. Also to disagree with at times. But the point is now I have company. For me, that is totally delightful.

 I hear my husband gasp with surprise as he passes my chair in front of the TV set where sit my knitting things.

“I always think that’s a santol,” he says pointing at my thread. That quip makes me giggle. The sweater I have been trying to knit lately is the color of santol, one of our favorite fruits. It sits in a knitting bowl, my daughter Panjee’s delightful birthday gift to me that she bought in her most recent trip. It’s about the size of an average soup bowl but there’s a place where the thread comes out. Lately Loy and I had been enjoying a santol drink, like a santolade, which was delicious. I never would have tasted that if I still lived alone. And he never would have jumped out of his skin at the sight of my ball of thread. There is happy change for both of us.

 I once wrote that my moving house was like pouring the ocean into three little holes. The place I moved from was the ocean.  At first we were living sometimes in his condo, other times at mine. But that was getting a little difficult especially for his maid and his driver who also had to commute carrying our things. I decided maybe it would be better if we all lived in one building. His condo is smaller than mine but they have a rent-to-own system in his building. Also they have two towers — north and south. I decided to take a small one-bedroom unit in the South Tower. That became my second little hole. The first little hole was Loy’s guest room, which I converted into my work room. That’s in his unit in the North Tower, where we now live.

 I had the hardest time moving into my second hole, my unit.  I realized it was so small. I had to give away so many of my things. So many clothes. So many pieces of furniture. I had to compress my life into that little space. I did not have the energy to do it. I would even hardly go to visit it once I had more or less fixed it. But now I’m beginning to feel a willingness to go and work in my unit at last. 

Tomorrow I am planning to go there and bake a cake using the Turkish yoghurt I brought home from Dumaguete to bring to lunch on Saturday at my friend’s house where my first writing students and I will meet for the first time since I got married.  I will proudly introduce my husband to my dear friends.

 Yesterday we went to the third little hole, a unit my husband received as legal fees.  I still have to fix that and strangely, I feel no resentment. I will do it starting next week. I will finally tidy it up and then my life will be totally organized.

 Moving house is traumatic for everyone. This latest move was the worst concealed trauma for me. I just did not feel like doing it. I begged for help from our drivers and our maids and paid them more for the horrible (in my mind) task of packing and carrying things. I just did not want to do it myself. But I was not aware of how much I did not care to do it.

 Now it’s done. Now I’m starting life again as a married woman. Now slowly I care about tidying up again. You know what? Something tells me this won’t be my last move either. But it will take a while before the next move happens. I pray I will be better next time.

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