Trust me, if I could come up with a better title than that, I would. But it seems that I’m a little out of sorts today – probably due to lack of sleep – so I’ll stick with that for now. 😛
Last Friday, April 3rd, marked my tenth year of living in the big metro. I have never imagined staying here this long when I started. When I decided to leave the cool mountain city that is Baguio ten years ago, I was a naive, idealistic girl who just wanted to experience the freedom of being independent. My goal was to only work here for five years to save up for a car and if lucky, some extra to probably invest in something. So with a duffle bag, my backpack and a box of small kitchen utensils and supplies to start me off, I explored the world of the unknown. Well, for me, that is.
Fast forward to ten years later and here I am, still car-less and about to be thrown out of my apartment building (exaggeration intended). But I was able to buy a small property in Baguio, fully paid and transferred to my name in three years’ time. Now, I need funds to get a plan for the house and more funds for the actual construction to be done. That will be for another time though.
Do I still plan to go back to the mountain city? Well, I go home every weekend now so it is still home but the big metro has been home for the past ten years as well. Living here has taught me quite a few things and believe me, I am still learning. (Ten years of living here and I still don’t know how to commute on my own going to Divisoria!)
Just a few things I learned over the past ten years:
1) Convenience is everywhere but you have to spend extra. When I started out, I handwash my own clothes, cook my food, walk a few blocks to ride the bus to get to work (even if it was hot). As you get more comfortable with how much you earn, you tend to spend a little for convenience because you justify that you deserve it. Until it evolves to paying more for convenience – sending laundry to laundromats, eating out, taking a cab instead of walking. I am still learning the lesson here: too much convenience makes one lazy and poor. 😁
2) Malls are everywhere and serve as landmarks. Tell me to go somewhere outside the route of EDSA and I am lost. But if you tell me a mall is nearby where I am supposed to go to, I am pretty sure I can find it. 😁 And I learned that malls are great hangout places because you get free airconditioning. Why spend so much on electricity when you can go to the mall to cool off? LOL!
3) As long as you’re along EDSA, you will never get lost. 😁 Well, I didn’t lose my way all those times when I was still looking for a job in the big metro. As my Dad instructed me, just follow EDSA. And that’s what I did. 😁
4) Suitable living spaces at affordable prices are very hard to find. Take it from someone who has had 5 different addresses for the last ten years. You want comfortable, spacious, quiet, safe areas? Well, prepare to pay premium to get all that.
5) Asking directions from building guards barely help you since half the time, they wouldn’t know where you are going. Sometimes, it is better to ask the sidewalk vendors (if there are) but you have take risks by doing that. But more often than not, they will be able to give you the directions you badly need.
6) You have to pay exact taxi fare or ask for your change after you pay else, say goodbye to it. Growing up in Baguio where taxi drivers give you exact change (they give you change even if it is only fifty centavos), I really find it irritating that taxi drivers here suddenly forget their math when it is time to pay the fare. And when you ask for it, majority of them are even grumpy. Geez!
On a more serious note, the biggest struggle that I am learning now is all about finances. It is so easy to spend impulsively in the big metro because of all the variety of stuff the place offers not realizing that, at the end of the day, you have already spent more than what you should have. Well, now that I have a son to think of, I think I am already starting to curb my impulsive spending. (I hope!)
Did I mention any of my neighbors? No? For the five places I’ve lived in, I have never learned the names of my neighbors. Not single one of them. Apart from the fact that I rarely see them, I myself am wondering why. Hmmm…
Anyway, last Friday, I didn’t celebrate my 10 years of big metro living. Rather, I was at home in the mountain city, sleeping half the day away. Lol! How do you celebrate that anyway?!
Do I plan to stay here for another ten years? I really don’t know, to be honest. But I can see myself living here for a long time. I guess this is something that I have to think long and hard about especially since I have a kid to consider now. We’ll see how that pans out. For now, a new place to live in is the priority. I’ll be checking two places this week. Hopefully, one of them will be my new residence for another year or so. Crossing my fingers and cheers to me for surviving ten years of big metro living. 😁