It was easier to move from the Philippines to Germany than it was to move from Caloocan to BGC. I think it’s the Filipino-Chinese. Perhaps, it’s just my family. Either way, it was frowned-upon and kind of unacceptable to live on my own. When you already live in Manila, the only reason to move out of your parents’ house is to get married and live with your husband.
I wanted to be an adult. At 29 years old, the only “life skill” I had was earning money. In Manila, we have maids. They clean up after me, do my laundry, cook my meals… If they didn’t, my mom would. Before moving to Germany, I hadn’t done any of these. There was no reason to learn. There was a feeling that because I did not, meant I couldn’t. Perhaps. So I wanted to leave and prove that I could.
So long as I lived under her roof, I always felt like my mom owned my life. That therefore, she could control it. Do you know what the best moments were during my first few months in Germany? It was being out and about beyond 10pm and not apprehending the “wru” text from my mom.
Besides, I abhor the maid system in the Philippines. It is modern slavery. We have human beings on our beck and call 24/7 and compensate them $100 a month for it. In 20 to 30 years, we would be ashamed for even considering it acceptable. Living in our big Caloocan house with 2 floors, 6 bedrooms, and decades of junk, it was difficult not to have maids. Living in Germany, I could opt out. Prove it’s possible to do so.
I wanted to spend my time and life on activities beyond family stuff. Almost one every three weekends, there would be a family gathering required for me to attend. I was becoming that person with “twenty years of experience,” but really only one year repeated twenty times, family style. Maybe I will have a change of heart when I get older, but for now, I am tired of attending the same family gatherings, eating the same food, and talking about the same things month after month, year after year.
Finally, I wanted to stop the cycle of living for the past. Many members of my extended family were against me moving. Who would take care of my mom? I don’t know yet, but for now, I want to see, do, and experience as much of the world as I can. Was I born for the sole purpose of taking care of my parents? Should I bear children so they could take care of me? Should they, in turn, resent it so much that they also bear children to take care of them? Surely, there is more to life than that?