Living in a condo for an entire month (and five days) was a learning experience for me. The place was sparsely decorated, only having the basics such as a couch, a table and a TV set in the living room, while in the kitchen a small electric stove sits in it’s own corner of the counter top. There were four cups, enough for the three inhabitants (me, my brother and my uncle) plus the near-constant presence of my uncle’s girlfriend who is practically family.
Suffice to say, it was quite a challenge finding a sort of comforting balance during my stay.
I’m going to be frank and say that, for the past four years or so, I’ve lived a spoiled life. Here in the Philippines, it’s pretty normal to have maids in the house called yayas, though I respectfully call them ate, a polite term to call a girl who is older than you. So as a result, having maids around the house to do the work such as preparing food, washing the dishes and doing the laundry somehow softened me a little bit.
To be frank, I had not lifted a finger to help around the house and being thrust into a situation such as that of my stay in Manila was pretty much of an eye-opener. Of course, I hadn’t always been a lazy, good-for-nothing waste of space.
Back when my mom, my brother and I used to live in England, I helped as much as I could. It’s quite humbling to realize that eleven year old me was much more considerate and selfless than sixteen year old me — I guess being a teen does that to you, or is it just me? Anyway, I washed the dishes, tended to my own school uniform and helped keep a tight reign on my six year old brother.
I learned to work the rice cooker so that my mom would’ve have to wake up in the middle of her sleep to feed us. I remember cooking scrambled eggs and fish fingers and ASDA pizza for my brother and I.
I learned how to use the iron safely so that I can iron some of my clothes.
I learned how to work the washing machine and wash the dishes.
I learned how to run to the shop to recharge this stick thing so that we can have electricity for the next week or so.
I also learned to sweep all the dirt under sofas and flip the cushions over so that mother wouldn’t know the difference. ^_^
It was all a learning experience was quite fun for young me to do. I didn’t mind doing all those things, as long as I could alleviate a little bit of my mom’s workload. After moving back here to the Philippines, the help that various of my ates made was very much appreciated. I focused on my schoolwork and just became the ignorant teen from there.
Which leads me to my dilemma back in Manila. Like I said, it was a learning experience. I found out that no one was willing to do the work for me (especially since I’m talking about the boys I was living with — honestly! *heaves a suffering sigh*). Anyway, if I wanted to live in a place that was clearly housing a bachelor, I should be pulling my weight.
So I washed the dishes. I did my own laundry. I cleaned my bedroom and sometimes the living room as well. I answered the door and accepted the food from the delivery guy, something I never would have sparked up the courage to do before. (Talking to strangers really isn’t my thing).
All those things might not sound important to anyone who is used to maintaining a home — because I’m sure my experiences would just be scraping the tip of the iceberg — but it’s important me. Like I stated before, it was a learning experience. It was an eye-opener. I certainly wouldn’t be taking my ate for granted now. ^_^