Moving in (and out)

I'M MOVING to a new place again, somewhere much nearer, literally a stone's throw away from the hospital entrance. Moving out (and in) is stressful for me. My upper body strength is so weak, such that carrying two volumes of Harrison's inevitably brings about pain the next day. My friend Jef, who penned my college yearbook write up, referred to my arms as “wispy.”

In my ten years of living in Manila, I've moved countless times. In college, for example, where I stayed at the University dormitories, I had to evacuate my room during semestral or Christmas breaks. To make the transitions easier, I already had my own sets of carton boxes and plastic containers, gathering dust beneath my bed during school months, only to be resurrected come September and December. I didn't, and still don't, own a lot of things—except maybe the sheer volume of books I've accumulated all these years. Moving is one of those rare times that I regret having a lot of them because, boy, are they heavy. I've shipped a number of them back home (in Koronadal) and transferred a few in my brother's Quezon City apartment—but I still have quite a lot.

I've lived in many different places, and I've acquired the skill of adapting to a new room—and roommates—quite easily. I know of friends, though, who would have a hard time sleeping because they were “namamahay,” a strangely Filipino phenomenon of having difficulty settling to a new environment. They would complain of constipation, even obstipation, after having held off their bowel movements for days because they weren't used to the new feel of the toilet bowl. I don't have these problems. I can sleep on a new bed and still have realistic dreams.

Because I don't have family in Manila (except my brother, who refuses to move in with me because he thinks the city is filthy), moving requires that I find a means to transport my things from one place to the other. I go by taxi most times, and I do the moving alone. I don't know why, but I hate bothering my friends to help me out, even if I know they would leave the things they do in a heartbeat just to help me carry my boxes. Maybe because moving out and moving in is like a ritual for me, something I must do in solitude to make the most out the transition. It ushers change, and it reminds me that nothing is permanent in this world, and that things are easier with fewer baggage.

There is a sense of surprise in moving in (or out). The new place I'm settling in seems comfortable for now, but it is eerily quiet, like a Norwegian countryside. I had a new study table delivered (a cheap one, in faux wood design, I bought at Handyman) tonight. I will get a study lamp soon—and two bookends.

One thought on “Moving in (and out)”

  1. I hate moving. The few times I've had to, as much as I don't want bothering friends, there was no option with the sheer amount of stuff I need to transfer. Too much of a pack rat.

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