Tiny Living in the City

When Gutch and I got engaged, we had 5 months to plan the wedding. I had carte blanche, he was perfectly happy to sign the checks and leave me to it. He was more stressed about finding a place to live in.

Since finding great deals is my superpower, I scoured the online marketplaces for rentals in the middle of the Makati CBD. Gutch is a commercial voice over artist (among other things) so we wanted to find someplace that was walking distance to all the recording studios. We checked out some condos and townhouses in the outskirts of the city, but when we saw this 1-bedroom going for dirt cheap right in the heart of the area we wanted, we knew we had to put down the reservation fee then and there. 

The rent was low because the unit was badly maintained and it "looked like something from post-apocalyptic timeline," according to Gutch. Any renovations would have been our responsibility. We did the math and decided it was worth it. 

We put down a deposit that same day, and one month of renovations later, I moved in.  In two more months, we'd be married and Gutch would join me. Like most Filipino young adults, he still lived at home with his family. I, on the other had, had been living mostly alone university, so I was more or less used to running my own place. ("LESS!!! She's a slob!" -  my previous roommates) 

Seven years and two babies later, we’ve carved out a pretty good life in Makati. We maximized every square inch of our 43 sqm, getting ideas from #tinyhome videos, articles and blogs, trying to live the #minimalist life to the full. We developed routines and joined programs in the area that allowed us to thrive.
Mamadraws the tinyHome in Makati

We were starting to get the hang of life with two kids, balancing family, work and ministry. Then the coronavirus came and we headed for the hills. (Living in 43square meters is fine if you can go out and distribute the bodies most of the day, but if you have to be locked in with two rambunctious toddlers with no help, no exits and no end in sight, it gets claustrophobic WAY fast.)

This month, we sign our lease for one last year in that condo. 
Ever since our original landlady passed away two years ago, her daughter has been steadily raising our rent. With our energetic kids, we’ve also outgrown the space and we're starting to feel the squeeze. But we had a really good run. We squeezed out as much as we could from our launch-pad, and we were able to save money for long-term investments. 

Before we bid goodbye to our first home, I’d like to write about that life and the lessons we learned, especially related to raising a family. Much of the #tinyhome resources out there are from a western perspective, with lots of big windows and green spaces. A lot of the homes they feature don’t really apply to Asian cities, unless you have family money or an expat budget. 

So for the benefit of the rest of us working class citizens eking out a life in the city, I wanted to write about the experience of trying to raise a family in the Makati, Manila. 

I also want to write about learning how to love motherhood (it does not come to me naturally), becoming a thriving artist, and my experiments in media missions.

The coronavirus has disrupted all of our lives, causing the loss of loved ones, jobs, incomes and adding stress, anxiety and exponential complications to everyone, everywhere. It's not the best time in the 21st century.

It's also been called "The Great Reset" because it's also forced a lot of us to pause and reflect on what really matters in our lives. 

May we make the most of this time -- not necessarily to come out the other side with "Covid-19 Resolutions" all accomplished, but to enjoy our families and to grow in empathy, maturity and gratitude. 

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