Three days ago, I woke up to the smell of danggit which we had for breakfast along with fried rice, noodles and eggs. It was a rainy morning and as we sipped our coffees, we watched the grey clouds and the raindrops from our window. We took our time to drink our coffees and had another round afterwards.
We sipped more coffee, talked, turned the radio on and listened to that familiar 80s and 90s music that the station had on its playlist.
I came home for a short vacation and after more than 12 hours of being in between the plane and the airport, and after some 2 hours or more on the road, I was finally home.
This small box of a house is now our home. It looked exactly the same as it was in the photos sent to me by my husband while they were building it, only a bit smaller. I had mixed feelings upon entering it. I felt happy because finally we have our very own house, nervous because I’m starting a life with my husband in this unfamiliar place, a place I never thought I’d be living in.
I looked back at how we were before having this house. We were like ping pong balls, bouncing back and forth from my parents’ house to his parents’ house where we don’t have any freedom to say or do anything as we please.
Similarly when we were still in Dubai, we kept moving from one house to another, renting a room if not partition, living with strangers turned friends or friends turned strangers, where we don’t have freedom after the line that dictates the territory we were renting. I remember how we can’t use the bathroom any time we want especially in the morning where the landlady sets the tenants’ schedule of bathroom use. I remember how we can’t cook our meals on time, when we had to wait for everybody else to finish cooking their meals or opt to fast food for dinner if our tummies can’t wait anymore. I remember how we had to label our eggs, hotdogs, rice and juice so they won’t go missing from the fridge. I remember how when we lived in partitions separated only by plywood, we can hear our neighbor’s footsteps, late night chats or morning preparation where we don’t only wake up to their noise but also to the smell of their strong perfume. I remember how we had to stay late when our housemates have their drinking and karaoke session till after midnight yet I can’t play loud music nor laugh my lungs out.
Our house is nothing spectacular compared to houses of people who’ve worked abroad for a long time. The size is fit for just me and my husband, the architecture, as per my husband’s imagination. But these really don’t matter to me. What matters is we won’t be like pingpong balls anymore. We don’t have to wait forever to use the bathroom or the kitchen. We can sleep and wake up anytime we want. We can play the radio and we can laugh out loud anytime we want.
We are happy and comfortable and that’s what is important. And even though I won’t be staying here for good yet, I know that I will always have a home waiting for me to always come back to its warm embrace.
As of writing this at 11:47pm, my husband and I are sipping coffee, listening to that familiar 80s and 90s music that the radio station has on its playlist.