Latest Posts

O.K., I want to stay put now, actually

I may have tempted fate with the title of my last post — damn you, 5ive!

I think it’s rather absurd that this has been the highest frequency of updates as of late, and that both posts have to do with moving house. You probably know about my ~situation from Instagram posts in the last month. I don’t mean to be intentionally weird and vague about it, but it kind of felt like I was slapped in the face and then instead of crying “foul!” I felt embarrassed that I had been slapped in the face at all.

It’s not really a sordid tale; it was just extra upsetting considering that a) I have accumulated so much stuff that I had to move — the selection of which was determined by what was or wasn’t available at the new house, which we shall call Fremont, because that’s the name of the street — and b) we’re in the middle of a global pandemic.

Essentially, I was displaced by a man, D, who happened to co-edit a now-defunct journal on migration*, which I found kind of really funny once I found a new place to move to.

Part of the reason why I didn’t/couldn’t really argue my way out of this situation was because I had taken on a rolling contract, which was really more of a verbal agreement, with the understanding that I had planned to stay in the flat long-term (I said, “at least until the end of the year), and his SpareRoom ad had indicated a minimum of a four-month let. I know that’s pretty fucking dumb, but credit checks and housing here is a bit complicated if you’re not employed full-time (which I’m technically not) or if you cannot find a guarantor. Guarantors kind of vouch for you and shoulder the burden in case you can’t pay the rent. As stipulated in many contracts and leases, the guarantors must be a U.K. homeowner based in the U.K. and earn x amount your monthly rent. The last time I had to go through a referencing, I couldn’t get ahold of a guarantor in time for the lease renewal/transfer, and so I had to pay six months worth of rent, on top of a deposit, upfront.

Anyway, so that’s why I thought a rolling contract was better. You go into these things with faith in the people you speak with, really. That they will adhere to the agreements and keep their end of the bargain, like you. After all, he was old enough, gainfully employed, and wasn’t visibly shady. And also, the room was a stunner. The flat was split between two levels, and the shared spaces were on the first level, so the second level — including the terrace — would just be my own space.

I ended up moving a lot of the furniture from my old house, a double mattress, a dresser, a wardrobe, a desk and bookshelf, a chair, an outdoor bench, and a couple of drawers, to the second floor bedroom with the help of Laura (who I miss) and Mark, who did most of the work, even though we’d hired some people. Like I said, I had a lot of stuff. I moved in on the 14th of February, and on the 2nd of March, I was asked to leave by the end of the month.

D’s story is that his partner, who I had met when I moved in because she was visiting from Germany, is moving to London because of a sudden job offer and would be needing the room. This was a possibility that was never mentioned to me. I told him that he was basically kicking me out, and he said “That’s not a very nice way of putting it, but yes,” which made me laugh, but not in a funny-ha-ha way. He also called me a lodger, even though he had claimed to not be the landlord. Based on him kicking me out so a partner could use the rest of the house, him doing pretty shoddy repair jobs all over the house, and also the terminology, I think it’s safe to assume that he is the fucking landlord, which, gross.

I told Mark I was moving again, and the next day, I went to three viewings, and found a place a couple of minutes away that was available on the 14th. My friend, Ryc, from when I was 10!, also helped me out immensely, just as she has been doing ever since I moved here in 2017. I packed up my crap, which I had just finished unpacking, and he found better movers who showed up on time on the day, and now I live in a nice, big and bright room with two girls, S. and S. It’s been rather nice.

I chalked up my discomfort at living in Fremont to not having fully settled in just yet, but I’ve been in this house in way less time, and I feel much more at home. I’ve been cooking a lot again, which I couldn’t do in the last one because I didn’t want to run into him, and his dishes were always in the sink. Everything here is so clean, and both of them are warm, considerate, and funny. There is a Lidl right across the street, and a Vietnamese market three minutes away. So, you know, it worked out.

Apparently moving is one of the three events that cause people the most stress, though that statistic probably changed since the pandemic. Moving during one is not that great, but I am lucky that I still had people to help me, both in person and virtually. I never really wanted to buy a house, but now I can see the appeal of it. Not that I can do that anytime soon, or ever, but you know. A place where I can relax and cook in peace is enough.

Plus, look at these amazing floors.

———
* rhymes with “schmigrant”

Keep on moving on anyway

(I played with the titles for this post, and jokingly thought of that 5ive song, but it’s stuck in my head now and I can’t think of anything else, so here we are.)

So, since the last post, I’ve moved houses. My flatmate, Laura, is moving back to Zürich, and we’d been meaning to look to move to a better area (but then, COVID) anyway. We’re both moving, just not to the same place. I live quite close to Mare Street Market now, which is an amazing area, but also there’s very little going on now (because, COVID), so you know. I anticipate it will be a bit nicer in the summer, too. I hope, I hope, I hope.

(I now live with a 33-year-old Spanish architect who teaches from home during the weekends. He is nice enough, but I think we’re both quiet people. The flat is split such that my room is the whole second floor, with the terrace, and his tiny room and home office is downstairs with the kitchen and bathroom, so we don’t run into each other that often either.)

Funnily enough, my new house is equidistant (in terms of walking time) to my studio as my old flat was. I can walk to Hackney Wick in 33 minutes, according to CityMapper, though I think I take quite a bit longer, since my strides are too small. I’d like to think I’m a quick walker, but that doesn’t mean I cover a lot of ground, lol.

It’s been hard to think about things other than the move, leading up to it, but now that the dust has settled quite a bit, I have room again to ponder on how absolutely shit I feel about my life and career. That’s an exaggeration, but there is still some truth to it. I don’t mean for it to be a pity party, at all, though I do have to wonder sometimes where I’m going wrong. Because it feels like I’m doing something wrong. Or that I’m not doing enough. Or that I’m doing too many things all at once. Who knows? I just know that I feel a little bit like shit when I think about my work too much, and when you’re constantly looking for work, there’s not much else to think about.

I think I am always half-expecting a rejection, which isn’t healthy, but setting yourself up to feel like you’ll get something and then failing to somehow feels a lot worse. Maybe I should start manifesting things. Maybe I should be a little bit more patient.

I’ve been teaching myself new things, though. I’m learning Python because why not? I’m still finding new techniques for knitting. I am going to try and sew up some of the fabrics I dyed recently into art or clothes or something like Jordan’s altar mats. I don’t know. Everything just feels like it’s up in the air. I feel like a fraud and a failure, and what’s worse is that I do try so hard. It’s a pretty disgusting feeling. It’s pretty shit to keep thinking about it, too.

I’ve been lucky in many ways, so it’s a bit gross to keep thinking about how things aren’t working out for me, when I’ve been so supported by so many people I love, respect, and admire. It’s just hard to not fall into that trap, but I’m trying to be positive.

Something that has been encouraging for me, though, is an interview I did with PJ Policarpio for Out of Print. I’ve known PJ for over 10 years. We met on Tumblr, of all places, and just sort of kept in touch. He’s a hero to me, and our chat really was personally uplifting to me in many ways, even though he perhaps didn’t realise it at the time.

I’m also working on The Yard, which is a shop I’ve been working on with my sister, Isabel (who just won the Uniqlo UT Grand Prix, which was held in collaboration with the Museum of Modern Fucking Art, thanks very much). I’m a little bit scared about it, because I’ve put it off for so long (much to her irritation, hehe), but you know…. consequences of my own actions, etc. etc. Anyway, it’s still exciting. It’s still something to look forward to. It’s something to work on while I try not to be consumed by being told “no,” anyway.

That’s what’s been up. Another depressing-ass life update from the corners of a rather nice life, tbh. In my defense, I do have depression, lol. But then, I guess, not everything I write has to be about that, either. Here’s to me trying. Again and again and again.

On the up and up:

I am very tempted to make a joke about the title being about the London tier system for COVID–19 lockdown (we are now in Tier 5, out of 3, lol), but I won’t. Though I suppose I’ve already done so, albeit it being a not so funny one.

There isn’t really anything very new going on (that I want to talk about anyway!), so I’m not sure why I am writing a post. In any case, here it is, here I am.

After a brief bout of all-consuming despair leading up to the holidays — an affair that I’ve always found rather stressful anyway — I am feeling quite okay, actually. Despite the new strain. Despite the weird, incessant feeling that maybe I have COVID–19 and am unwittingly passing it along to someone who will die from it in the supermarket. Despite the fact that my flatmate is moving away in the next six weeks or so.

Maybe it’s all the reality T.V.¹ I’ve been watching.

The new year was quiet, too, which it usually is, for me. Last year, I spent it at home (as in my house here, not Manila), learning how to knit. The year before that, I actually went to party, dozens of bodies pressed against each other, trying to catch a view of the paltry amount of fireworks London allows, all of us looking out a stretch of windows, drinks in our hands and hearts full of hope or something close to it.

3 out of 4 jumpers I finished knitting last year.

The first new year I spent here, I found a spot by the river with other Filipinos and after midnight, ate the amazing food someone’s visiting family prepared for the rest of us who were temporarily displaced. Parties and bodies touching and late night trains — what a concept!

Isn’t it funny how you probably also sort of flinched when you watched really old holiday movies over Christmas? Where they have parties and share drinks and hug and kiss each other?

It’s not been that long, and yet it has.

I’m actually usually pretty good with warding off homesickness. A couple of weeks towards the end of last year, it wasn’t so easy. Funny how that works. I did an interview with CNN Philippines Life on spending time away from home, along with other Filipinos outside the country, and at the time I think I’d recovered from that wound of sadness and loneliness that had emerged next to my heart. Or, maybe “recover” isn’t the right word. I’d felt it less, I guess. Still, some people said I looked sad. My mom has since reassured me that she likes me, lol.

It’s the fifth day of January, and I’m looking for places to move to. There have been a lot of hiccups, to be honest, but not quite the horror show I was expecting when I’d first tried to look for a place to live after my contract at student halls — a horrific experience for a 29-year-old living with babies — was up. It’s still a bit shit, to be honest. I don’t know. Everything is so up in the air.

I guess I just wanted to say hi. Nothing Spaces dot com is turning 12 in May. That’s insane. I think I’ve outgrown sharing everything all at once but there’s an attachment to this exercise, still. Maybe I’ll get back into it, shamelessly writing about things I think (though hopefully not) and crap I do. Maybe that’s something I’ll say again right before I leave. Who fucking knows anymore? I sure don’t.

————
¹ I breezed through so much Survivor and now I’ve set my sights on whatever seasons of Below Deck I can find online. It’s not great, but I’m having fun.

SAMO, SAMO

Do you ever just find new ways to procrastinate? I am, by nature, quite a restless person, so I always find things to do instead of the stuff I need to do. I used to think it might be a case of self-sabotage, but I think that it’s really more of a simple matter of being dumb with time and brain matter.

It’s the middle of August, almost exactly, and it’s strange to think how much of the things I didn’t have that I lost to this, frankly, fucking stupid time. I know that there are worse things, and that I’m lucky enough to a) have some form of income going (even though most of it has been peso-based and hard to live on in the U.K.), b) be helped out by my family, who I obviously love and miss and adore and, it seems, won’t see for a while. It’s just endlessly frustrating to somehow be even further back from where you started, even though you have been working double time. NUTS.

But still, small mercies.

The only thing left to do for me is to keep doing what I’m doing. It seems wildly unfair, and I keep wishing for a do-over. To tell you the truth, I don’t think I’m done here yet, even though my self-imposed deadline of moving back is loooooooming. I’m technically allowed to stay here for a while on my visa, but the question is if I can afford to be here. It feels like this year has stolen so much from me, and it sucks when I’m left to my own devices and am sort of forced to think about this shitty time. And yet, I know that some people have it way, way worse. And I completely commiserate. And it makes me feel worse for feeling bad in the first place.

A few months ago, I whined (lol) to my dad about feeling like all my plans have been scrapped, my life upended — just a complete directionless journey on a boat without a rudder. Because he is a much better person than I am, he just said, “Lahat naman.” I knew that, but I needed to be reminded over and over again how much other people, how much all of us have lost to this untameable thing.

Anyway.

I hope you are all keeping safe. I am trying my best, in all the ways I can, even though sometimes it doesn’t seem like it’s enough.

I think I’d like to start writing again. Maybe it’ll help me process these feelings more. I keep thinking about things I am missing out on, but I remember that the world is in the same boat, and it feels like we are all sinking.

Knitting things: Alone Together Sweater

Before this month comes to a close and it goes by without another blog post, let me talk about the second sweater I’ve ever made, after Danish designer Lærke Bagger’s free pattern, the Alone Together Sweater. This was released in chunks over Instagram Stories, and is the kind of freeform pattern that really leaves so much room for lots of creative wiggle room. (I am thinking of knitting a bigger, fluffier one, and have casted on the back piece.)

I found the pattern in the comments section of a knitting group on Facebook that I joined, and it might be the best thing that happened to my knitting life, basically. Yes, all six months of it.

It didn’t take me very long to knit this up, though I am very bad at measuring things accurately, and also very bad at being patient. It ended up way more cropped than I generally like my sweaters to be. Lærke’s pattern is basically easy, breezy, and I think it echoes the attitude that you should sort of adopt while working on it. Originally conceived (or shared) as a way to use up your scrap yarn, the resulting pattern is a charming, knotty thing, full of misplaced and inspired colour combinations, and lots and lots of texture. It is so satisfying to knit up.

I’m making another one but it’s going to be fuzzy and quite plain. The best thing about the pattern is that it’s so simple structurally, and generally gives you free reign to mess up or make things up as you go along, with such a tiny margin for error. You’re basically in charge of how you want your jumper to look, and it’s up to you how long to make it, how big or small you want the cuffs and hem, what the neckline should be. Sleeves or no sleeves? That’s for you to decide!

Mine, for example, is extremely cropped, with a longer than usual hem, and! Something like a funnel neck. It’s really absurd-looking, but so much fun to wear.

It might be stupid of me to even be writing this; or just silly that I am only realising all of this now when it’s so obvious, but I think there’s always that one thing you work on — whatever the field or craft or industry — that becomes sort of your “Eureka!” moment and it was this sweater for me. It’s made me think of how to approach simple patterns I maybe would like to make.

Maybe.

But yes, such a great knitting adventure. One that I’d like to go on again. So many possibilities. My favourite time-waster for a while was going on Instagram and just looking at all the brilliant configurations everyone has come up with using the same pattern. #alonetogethersweater, if you’re curious.

Anyway, here’s something I did for Metro Manila Pride. It’s a short, possibly not super informative video (lol), but hopefully an explanation of what I love about knitting:

I’m meant to answer a couple of knitting questions on my Instagram. I’ll post something here, when those videos go up. Hopefully in the next couple of days. I really don’t know where my brain is at most of the time. I’m just this big ball of FEELING, and the FEELING is indiscernible, but always fucking there. It’s not ideal, but it’s not the worst, so I’ll 🤐

Hope everyone is okay, or as near-okay as they can be. It basically fucking sucks lately, but I hope you have small pockets of joy every once in a while.