There’s no place like home

Also known as: Moving back to our new-old house

I made sure I was free from any activities last weekend, not only because I was already running short on funds (payday is still 10 days away, sigh),  but because we were finally, finally moving back to our old house.

My family and I have lived in a one-floor house all our lives, and we were pretty okay about it. My parents didn’t feel the need to have a second floor because we’re not a big family, anyway, and even if our village is flood-prone during typhoon season in the Philippines, our street was pretty much flood-free. That all changed when Typhoon Ondoy (International name Ketsana) visited in 2009.

Our house in waist-deep (or so) flood, the morning after Typhoon Ondoy hit
Our house in waist-deep (or so) flood, the morning after Typhoon Ondoy hit

I’ve written so many posts about Ondoy in the Refine Me Vault, and it’s really no surprise. Ondoy basically changed our lives. It was the first time it flooded where we lived, and for that first time, the flood reached inside our house, forcing us to evacuate to our neighbor’s house to spend the next two nights. The security we had in our home every time a typhoon hits the country is gone. I find myself watching for every typhoon, making sure all important things are elevated, and praying everyday that there wouldn’t be any more floods.

I knew the only way I could get rid of those fears is if we would have a second floor. I was scared to find out one day that I wouldn’t be able to go home because it was flooded again in the house. I can still remember all the days we spent cleaning, how my dad had to wash so many clothes, how my brother and I had to wash and clean plates and photos, how my mom stayed up way past the time she normally stays up just washing and cleaning all our flood-damaged things. It was hard, and even if I know we were luckier than the other people, I can’t help but feel bad about what happened.

Typhoon season in 2010 came, and our house remained the same. I can still remember how many times I checked weather sites and watched for every typhoon, everyday praying for us to be spared. I remember feeling the despair when my parents couldn’t find a contractor that would fit our budget. I remember the stress of everything, knowing that my brother’s wedding is coming up on top of us worrying if we will be able to have our house renovated.

But you know what? God is faithful. I remember one day when I felt a sense of peace as I prayed. I’d like to believe that it wasn’t just me, that God was really telling me He won’t let another Ondoy happen last year because my brother is getting married. It seems silly, I know, but I held onto that, and true enough, nothing happened.

But there was more: as my brother’s wedding drew near, my parents started meeting with contractors that fit the budget and made really good plans for our house. I wasn’t really involved with it so I wasn’t sure with how it progressed, until right after my brother’s wedding, my parents started packing our things. My mom’s friend let us rent their apartment at the end of our street, and pretty soon, we were moving all our things to the tiny apartment and construction started.

That was five months ago.