Back in Manila, independence is commuting and taking a cab home at night. Breakfast is served by a helper the next morning. It’s earning and spending your own money, yet living under your parent’s roof. The car you are driving? It was most probably not paid by you.
The collectivist culture that characterizes most Asian countries breeds a brand of independence that’s rooted from our parents and helpers and grows with interdependence.
But if independence, especially during the post-college decade, means the freedom to do whatever we want, whenever we want, doesn’t that also include doing laundry? No one likes dirty laundry. But someone has to do it. For upper-middle class Filipinos with household help, it never had to be us. We were never asked to. And it hardly occurs to ask.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m spoiled and might make a terrible house-wife one day.
As the youngest in the family not only am I used to being taken cared of at home but getting away with it too. Case and point: My room, which I tend to pass off as ‘organized chaos.’
Since I’m used to commuting and getting around on my own, in Singapore I’ve likened independence to being domestic instead. It’s a new world for me. I was never street smart at home, but I hope to eventually be.
Settling down in one country makes me more aware of my personal space. Unlike when I travel, the space is not just about the country I’m visiting. I’m not a backpacker, traveler, or tourist anymore. I’m a migrant and I want my home to feel like a home.
My conscience sounds like my mother, nagging and hen-picking me from thousands of miles away, which I hate to admit is a good thing! (Hi Mom!)
Disorganized spaces might be acceptable in the short run, but maybe not for a year. There’s no one else to fix up but me (or my sister, but that’s beside the point haha!) While I’m on Facebook and Twitter– the first instinct after a long day at work — dishes don’t wash themselves.
After two weeks, I’ve added some tidbits to my domestic knowledge:
1) Duvet cover — a soft flat bag filled with feathers, silk, etc, or a synthetic alternative, and protected with a removable cover, analogous to a pillow and pillow case (via Wikipedia) Yes, there are names for such things!
2) Fitted sheets — a sheet (usually with elastic edges) tailored to fit a particular mattress (via thefreedictionary)
3) Note for future shopping: Buy clothes that don’t need ironing!
4) Bread is your best friend
5) Having a proper trashcan (and not just a plastic bag) for your bathroom is a luxury we take for granted
6)… So is having small containers to hold trinkets like jewelry, keys, etc
7) Use a toothbrush to scrub the corners of your shower floor
I’m one step closer to becoming a house wife, eh? Kudos to them. Even independence, despite its whimsical and wander lusting appeal, has its own dirty laundry. In Singapore, I have no choice but to finally air it out.
Below are more pictures of my new home :)