A house is not a home. Fill a house with love and it becomes a home. But fill a house with sacks of cement and it becomes a bodega.
That, we learned upon arrival.
It was a hot and humid day. Stepping out from a sardine of a van, we were greeted by glorious news that the small box of a structure that used to shelter us was transformed to literally a bodega.
(For a fee of 69 thousand pesos, No, the school will not arrange for the basic need of shelter. Go forth to the jungle and survive.)
It took us a good 10 minutes of standing in the middle of a dirt road with all our luggages, electric fans, caserolas and dish dispenser to let the news of being homeless sink in.
The scorching heat was a good boost to get out of the sun. The residents were concerned for us (God bless their beautiful souls).
So they spread the word, provincial style. Like Belle from beauty and the beast going house to house asking "who has spare space?"
1 hour in, we were already able to scout for properties. Sounds fancy, but the real estate were huts with/without complete walls/ceilings.
One hut was enough to cater the 8 of us. (If we can sleep standing up.)
One hut didn't even qualify the dictionary definition of a hut.
One house offered a dungeon.
One house seemed fine but it was situated in the middle of a jungle where our nearest neighbors would be fairies and forest unicorns.
One house would require us to poop in the bushes like Adam and Eve.
And lastly, one house offered an empty second floor.
I wanted the house with the unicorns in the middle of nowhere. But we ended up with the house that offered safety and decent walls.
We moved in to the second floor of the house of a small family. In the Tagalog, we akyat the bahay that is not ours. We turned from medical students to akyat bahay gang.
The first few nights were not comfortable. We were protected from bad elements but not including insects and other animals.
All sorts of bugs, crawling and flying, seem to enjoy our light bulbs. A burglar feline sneaks in every night to steal food. A gecko lizard name Lizzy Mcquire poops at the same spot in our house every single day. We also have a rooster named JetLag who taunts us by cockadoodling every 11pm to halt us from falling asleep.
It was a mad house.
But eventually we got used to it.
It was more well ventilated than our old bodega home. (Count your blessings).
We made it our home. It slowly became livable, not lovely but acceptable.
A house is not a home. But fill a second floor with love and it becomes a home.
Princess Shelmerry Dawn M. Que
ADZU-SOM Level 2