On a home run

I’m on a homerun! Finally on my 8th month. Still friggin’ summer-like in here. The only things that make me feel like Christmas is near are the Christmas decorations my husband hanged in our office and living room, the Christmas lights we light up at night and the old-fashioned foil parols – very reminiscent of those my tita used to hang back in Cavite. Mr. H probably caught me tearjerking while tapping a blog entry. A little bit sobbing coz I’m homesick and I haven’t been getting enough sleep for the past few weeks.

I must’ve possibly ranted so much about the things I hated here. How crowing roosters mess up my sleep, neighbors’ squealing voices, the gross habit of construction workers spitting everywhere, how I developed and still have dust allergy and the rust/bits of soil our improvised filter has gathered in the bathroom (meaning the apartment pipes aren’t safe healthwise)… I must’ve been lucky to have married someone who hasn’t told me (YET) that I’m such a nagger. But thinking about it, right now, we really don’t have a choice. Moving to another apartment is so unlikely since I’m about to give birth in a few months time. We wouldn’t have been able to save something for my delivery if we hadn’t stayed here. Having people to split the rent really helps minimize our expenses.

Looking back, I couldn’t imagine how I’ve gotten through 7 months of seemingly endless complaints (about not feeling good, dying from heat and wanting to find another place to live). But maybe, most probably its because…

My husband loves me. That’s the first thing in my mind and my heart when I think about everything I’ve been complaining about. Another guy would’ve fought or debated with me, dared me to go home, worse – left me for an unopinionated woman. When I think about the jobs we get that require him to work on graveyard shift for several consecutive days and he doesn’t complain, I know he’s doing it for us. He LISTENS, and he knows we both yearn to live more comfortably than we do right now, especially when our baby arrives. I’m also lucky that I get to visit my doctor with him as company when most women line up at the clinic by themselves or with their girlfriends.

I’ve got supportive in-laws. Again, a second stroke of luck! My in-laws are ecstatic to have another baby in the family. We’re often sent fresh catches of fish, crabs, even beef – which are considerably more expensive when bought here in the city. I’m really thankful of their generosity!

We got a helping hand. Since we started running the business, I could barely juggle freelance design, office work and doing the house chores. Have to wake up early and cook, take calls, process paper works, do freelance design and cook again in between. Being pregnant made it worse. Its like working 3-jobs while you’re sick. We finally had someone to help us around with through our in-house worker/technical staff. He was my mother-in-law’s scholar back in the province and he lived at Mama’s house as a runner for errands. It was a great relief for Mr. H and I. At least we’re able to rest on weekends again.

I work at home. I might’ve decided to resign if I were employed in another company. It’s really terrible when morning sickness strikes, the heat when commuting and my UTI attacks. At least I’ve got the bedroom upstairs when sleepiness attacks. I could run to the bathroom when I need to pee. I could wake up whenever I want, especially when I couldn’t sleep straight in the wee hours of the morning. Best of all, I could take a bath twice or even thrice a day!

I’m such a spendthrift. When I’m about to reach my limit, when that string of patience is about to break and even when my tears are brimming and I want to rush back home to Cavite – I always do the math. Traveling there and the cost of hospitalization (in case something bad happens while on the plane or land travel) aren’t priority expenses. If I stay in Cavite, I’d be obliged to contribute to food and utility expenses, which are more expensive. I’d be very much tempted to splurge on food, clothing and land travel there. Multiplied by the number of months I have to rest before the baby isn’t as delicate enough to travel. That and I grab the tissue.

I got social media and a blog. Thank God for Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, Pinterest. At least I have a spot on the wall to pour out my feelings whether vaguely or literally. I might’ve been insane right now if it ain’t for them. The people who really care for you would understand and somehow you have people to talk to – even if its not a straight conversation. It kills homesickness a little.

Avril, Pink, James Morrison, Paramore, Katy Perry. When the noise and annoyance becomes intolerable, I cram my ears with my noise-proof earphones and blast some music on. That or I blast on the speakers to get back at the neighbors who have their fair amount of noise pollution.

Air-conditioning is a life-saver! I might have died without an AC! I was hesitant at first because of the increase in electric bill we would surely incur. But you wouldn’t mind the additional PhP500.00 if you could sleep soundly, be a little bit more comfortable than your usual sweaty self, and feel like you’re not located in an equatorial region in this world.

Less than 50 days now and we’d be holding our first family member. Time really flies by so fast. And maybe before we know it, we’d be moving somewhere where God has planned. Maybe He gave me the 8 things I mentioned above to really bear with the challenges, so we could save while we can, think and plan more wisely. Knowing our plans by next year, it still seems overwhelming. And I know we might not accomplish everything that easily. But I know His plans ALWAYS turn out way better than we could ever imagine it to be.

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Missing some Christmas spirit

Another sleep-disturbed morning.

I wish to split into 2 persons and let the other one roam around town and find the best bargain apartment we could easily move into. I miss having a satisfying sleep… If it ain’t noise, it’s the weather that’s keeping me awake. (Actually, its the construction workers having coffee next door that woke me up again). It’s the middle of November and we’re still dead warm in here. I could’ve been stoned asleep at Dasma if I were there now.

Homesickness strikes again.

It actually struck me yesterday as we were planning how to put on the Christmas lights we just bought.

I remember my mom & dad’s bedroom back at Summerwind where I loved to lounge at come November nights, or as early as when my mom would put up those Christmas lights. Often, I’d nag her when she buys something new. But when it’s up there brightening the tiny window on a cool night, it feels most like home…

Outside, neighbors have pitched in money to decorate the entire street with lanterns and Christmas lights. It was magical for us kids. It was inviting for anyone lost in the village.

And then back when we were small, when we used to live with my Lolo and Lola in the old two-storey house, I recall how Christmas was so looked forward to. My tita would be climbing up the roof to make a simple star pattern out of Christmas lights in front of the capiz windows. It’s the first thing you’d see when you enter our compound. Then come those parol vendors. We used to buy some foil-made lanterns and hang it out the silong.

And even when I was grown up, I looked forward to Christmas like any kid wanting presents. Except that, this time around, I had the capacity to give as well. I know I’m a spendthrift, but no matter how simple or cheap it is, I made sure I bought presents for people who mattered. Christmas shopping was fun even if it’s not for myself.

Finally, how could anyone forget Christmas in Dasmariñas when the City is literally lit up as early as November. From little barangay streets, to the highways and the town plaza – everything looks sparkling. I hate to admit it, but it somehow looks like a studio set for a Christmas movie. And I miss it.

Right now, I’m just sad that I’m not feeling that Christmas spirit.

The neighborhood here doesn’t make an effort to decorate. I’ve only seen one out of a 100 houses with series lights outside and that giant Christmas tree at Fuente Osmeña circle assembled every year. Malls feel more with spirit, probably because they’re selling Christmas decors and the air-conditioning feels great. I’ve only seen a few Christmas lantern vendors on the market. I can’t believe an entire stretch of street could be so bare this time of the year.

I don’t even have Christmas shopping on my agenda next month. I guess because there are no friends to give presents to. And families here go home at Christmas or are affiliated to a different religion.

It’s an advantage for a financially challenged couple like us. We’ll most likely be spending on baby stuff and furniture in the coming months. We have a long list of things to buy. And looking for a place to move to is always our priority. But it stings to be reminded that this year is a bit different. And I’m wanting so bad to put an effort to somehow make it different. But being pregnant makes it all the more difficult.

This year, I can’t imagine how Christmas morning would be like. But I hope somehow, it would be brighter, colder and merry as it should be…

Dealing with Getting Stuck in an Inhospitable Environment

I’m up at 5:30 AM as I’m beginning to write this.

Blame it on the neighbors, neighbors’ pets, and the pesky construction workers who buy their coffee from the apartment next door. My pregnancy must be at the most sleep-deprived phase as of several weeks now. Tough getting sleep as my stomach gets bigger. Tougher keeping oneself asleep when you hear even just a little noise.

I could rant the whole 9 months of my pregnancy and even after giving birth perhaps. And yes I’m at the threshold of my patience. But given our financially constricted situation, we have no choice as of the moment but to stay here…

We’re supposed to have found an apartment in a more ideal environment. I’ve even convinced myself that its worth spending our little savings if I could afford a little peace for ourselves. But upon almost final negotiations, we realized we’d be spending more than we thought about. Not good considering I’m about to give birth in 2 months (62 days from now to be exact). That’s 50k slashed off our pockets and we haven’t bought any baby stuff yet. Heck, 7 months on and I haven’t even bought myself that maxi dress! Paeta!

So to console ourselves… I decided today should be a bit more rewarding. We’ll have lunch out, buy some Christmas décor, get a haircut and shop a little. Anyway, I was able to withdraw some dollar savings with a higher forex rate last night. I promised we’d allot some of that for our personal shopping needs. We haven’t bought anything for ourselves in almost a year now.

*Sigh! So this is how it feels to live (almost) independently. I didn’t realize how much it could cost to eat well, rent a comfortable nest, and keep the simple lifestyle we have. We’ve been so frugal in shopping, traveling and nights out. And we’re still grateful that Cebu offers an urban life at a cheaper cost. I’m sad to admit that my mom was right when she said it was a pain to write down daily expenses and review each tiny expenditure if its worth it or not. Sometimes, especially when a pregnant woman craves for it, you just have to spend. It feels wrong to compute every peso you spend just to eat a decent and filling meal – not when you’re having a baby and is living with 2 adult males.

If I do the math, what we’re probably earning right now is just enough for our basic needs. And it could be lesser than what my parents were earning when my dad was on active police duty. I could almost hear my mom behind me sarcastically saying ‘I told you so…’ =_=

So after accepting the (SAD) fact that we’re bound to stay here a little bit longer, the only helpful things I could make of our situation is to:

1)   Be more productive (as tough as it is to concentrate on working). I’m glad I was able to attend the oDesk Contractors Appreciation Day. I think everyone who participated were able to get increased client job invitations. I plan to increase my weekly quota in earnings. Slacking is not an option if we want to beat life’s bitch. I’m also thinking of collaborating projects with some people in our network. All that while still performing as co-manager of our humble business. AND DESPITE finding it hard to focus. (Construction workers spend their break times on the next door apartment selling snacks. THEY ARE LOUD & always on a yosi break!).

2)   Save more. Increase quota. Increase earnings. Increase savings. We’ll be saving for three people by next year already!

3)   Acquire household stuff one at a time. I didn’t realize we barely have any furniture, household equipment and fixture when we move out. Top on the list would be water boiler, drinking glasses, pitchers, pails, laundry basins, curtains, rugs, kitchen towels and bed sheets. Washing machine and LED TV is also a priority for clean laundry and space-saving home entertainment.

4)   Keep constantly on the look out for rental properties. Apartments for rent don’t run out in the city. Somebody always moves out and moves in. But there are only a few that offer comfort and peace. They’re like needles in a haystack though and may be more expensive. But as my cousin (who’s been renting ever since her college days) says – you’re also paying for the environment. Never live in a place where you’d be unhappy.

5)   Financially, mentally and emotionally prepare. Rent plus utility expenses could almost cost one of our salaries. Being pregnant, I can’t stay sane without an air-conditioning unit. I sweat all the time. Right now, we’re also splitting our rent with my sister-in-law, mother-in-law and a lodger. If we’re moving out, we’ll be paying for the rent by ourselves. And when the baby comes out, we can’t settle with eating noodles and street sold food as meals. It would be quality over expense. Health shouldn’t be sacrificed.

So there… I am now about to count our savings. Not going back to sleep because everyone in the nearby compounds, that brat who always scream for his mama, construction laborers and the roosters next door are thrice more awake by now. Throwing bombs and going on a killing spree is not a kind option. I’m trying to stay positive hoping that somewhere before I get to deliver the baby, we’ll be able to find a better nest.

Yesterday’s ramblings

NOVEMBER 8. This is DAY 2 of me jotting down random thoughts I would’ve posted on FB or Twitter, had I got intentions of annoying everyone. Anyhow, for a difference and to see whether I rant more than I could appreciate, I’ll be color-coding negative statuses. Let’s see if would need a shrink anytime soon…

  1. Day started with enduring 8 hours of black out, terrible terrible heat, only some hours of sleep, waking up around 2:30 with diarrhea boiling in my stomach, and waking up at 6:30 when electrical power finally resumed.
  2. Rain… why didn’t you just pour in the 8 hours that we had to fan ourselves to sleep?
  3. Happy to be going out in a rainy day for the oDesk Contractors Meet Up!
  4. It’s the second time I get to attend a free seminar/meeting in a hotel with free lunch within the city. So fortunate that traffic isn’t a dissuading factor here! Everything seems so near!
  5. Loved strolling outdoors even for a short period of time. Thank God its overcast!
  6. Bought assorted bread at Casilda’s. 🙂
  7. How can I collect all 5 different Anmum feeding bibs when they’re packing the boxes with the same pattern for 5 months now?? =_=
  8. Saddening scenery. Seems like the next-door neighbor acquired a cockfighting rooster. No wonder the crowing seemed louder overnight! At the end of the alley, hangs an multi-level array of the other neighbors’ machine-washed clothes waiting to dry and the group of construction workers having their afternoon snack, smoke break and usual chattering…
  9. Meeting people who work in the same setup as you feels more encouraging. I hope to get encouraged more.
  10. Really appreciate the traffic management system in the city. Hate that there are a lot of asshole drivers though, and fellow commuters who love to spit phlegm and saliva in a whim. >_>
  11. Love to murder the neighbor’s rooster!

IN JUST ONE DAY: Statuses that could’ve flooded my Facebook and Twitter wall…

To spare flooding social media walls… These are my random thoughts… If only it won’t seem weird talking to walls…

  1. Cebu weather is terrible this last quarter. I miss the dampness of Cavite.
  2. Would like to go to oDesk Contractor Meetup Day tomorrow… Hope there’s free lunch!
  3. I want to buy Christmas lights and decorate. But I don’t think the Christmas season fits the weather in here… 😦
  4. Feels like I ate something raw and huge. And its struggling in my digestive tract. #7monthspregnant
  5. I wonder if having no social life is to my advantage or not. Guess I’m avoiding unnecessary expenses. But not having the liberty to BUY on a whim makes me sad too…
  6. Miss having lots of creative people in arms length to talk to…
  7. I feel like today’s US elections would drastically affect tomorrow’s Forex! Hoping for higher $ value!!!
  8. Ironic how cold it was this overcast morning. Then there’s hot wind blowing from behind me now… 😦
  9. The problem with having a limited social circle is spending most of your time on social media and getting satisfied with a few comments on your posts… =_=
  10. Nearly the end of the year. Missing giveaways from the office, suppliers, friends and family… Really those calendars and planners!
  11. WHAT TO EAT!!!??? #lunchtime
  12. I may need another workstation soon.
  13. Will attend oDesk Contractors Meet-Up tomorrow! J Kinda excited to go out!
  14. So many lists to make: grocery list, needed office supplies list, questions to ask doc list, oDesk open forum question list.
  15. At the end of the day… this could’ve been my 15th status update. HOW ANNOYING!
  16. And I even forgot to mention that Obama got re-elected! Looking forward to higher USD exchange tomorrow. 🙂

 …Nao do you think I need to find a dog at least to converse with?