Building our home
by Laguna Lupie
I almost gave up on the dream of building our own house. It just didn’t seem possible especially after the lupus came into my life. But here we are now, in a big yellow house on a farm and I have never been happiest or more content. And this place, my new happy place, is one of the best things we have done in our life so far.
When we first got married we were given our own unit at one of my family’s apartments. We had that space renovated and decorated and that was where our firstborn grew up. When my father died, we eventually ended up moving back to my parent’s house because after several crises in the family, it seemed best to stay close to my mother. My baby Viktor Ludovik (or Bambam as we call him) was born in my mother’s house and we have been living in mom’s house for six years already, when we decided to build our home.
We didn’t actually decide to build a house. It wasn’t a proper plan, it started with wanting to fence in a part of the farm I inherited from my father and then the fence became a plan for a pavilion with a room– someplace to stay at the farm– if we happen to be there on weekends. And then the drawings slowly became something else, the bamboo pavilion became a concrete structure and the concrete structure became a house with a living room and bedrooms– and we suddenly realized this was no simple pavilion, I was drawing a home. And it turned into an obsession of sorts because really, do we have the resources to build a new home? We weren’t exactly sure but we went ahead and just did it. Thank god for sudden crazy decisions. Haha!
I drew the plans for our house. I am no architect, I was a literature major in college. 🙂 But we built the house the way everybody else in the provinces build their houses, with a trusted foreman and a construction crew you know from your home town. Drawings and plans are made by the home owner and execution and suggestions are made by the foreman. I was the project manager and in charge of design and canvassing for supplies, purchasing and planning each and every detail of this new home. My husband was in charge of executing the design and made it all happen by getting a superb construction crew from his hometown. He checked progress everyday and kept the crew happy and got along great with them. On days when the crew was too busy or doing something critical, he himself would cook their meals for lunch or dinner. He solved most of the crises that came up during construction and I got to do all the happy stuff like choosing and buying tiles and lighting and moldings, designing our window grilles, choosing paint colors, etc. For both of us, this was a labor of love, a passion project. But it seemed to me he was the one more determined to build a real home for our family. He always said that my mother was one of the nicest people around, but it will never ever be comfortable living in your mother in law’s house.
I remember going for my regular check up with my rheumatologist and telling him I was a bit stressed out because we decided to build a house and he looked at me, truly perplexed, and asked: why didn’t you just hire and architect and a contractor? Because we couldn’t afford it Doc, I laughingly told him. He was a bit stern throughout the whole thing, telling me my symptoms were brought about by stress from the project but I really didn’t care. I was ruthless about the whole thing — this home will be built no matter what. And it was. And now here it is. And we are in debt and struggling again but I can’t find it in my heart to regret anything because I am content and happy here.
This place has given me a sense of peace that I haven’t felt in a long time. And I am happy. Just totally, plainly, happy. We now have a place of our own where our children can grow up knowing this is home.
Here are some of the details of the house. The pavilion is very airy and tropical and as some friends say, has a beach house vibe to it. The kitchen is located here and we have our big dining table that I inherited from my father’s Quezon house, a big bamboo daybed where everybody lounges or sleeps. And lastly (everyone’s favorite) the rattan hammock in the middle of the pavilion. I have a lot more improvements on my mind and the whole house is still a work in progress.
We have only been here for half a year but the house has already been a venue for many family parties and get together with friends. Weekends are always a feast it seems, but I figured this is only because people in our lives are still excited over the new place and that’s probably why we have been having a constant stream of guests these past months. And also, my mother says it’s good luck for a new house to always have guests and festivities. And I don’t mind a bit of luck anytime.
The open field and a small play ground beside our home has given the boys more space to play and lots of room to grow. We have been living for so long near the highway, in a commercial area where it’s obviously cramped and one is always scared the kids might get side swiped by a passing vehicle that this sudden freedom has done wonders for my youngest child. Now he runs freely in the open field all day. 🙂
We now also have a growing family of dogs. Before it was hard to keep dogs in our old house because we lacked space, but now we have a couple of new dogs and new puppies as well. Life is good.
Sometimes I think this is too much happiness and then I become scared that things will turn out bad all of a sudden because I am so happy. But I guess that is the price of happiness, the fear of loss.
Never mind then. When all this is over, I will look back and think I had this– this moment of pure bliss. And no one can ever take that away. Thank you for everything. For giving me this. I am content.