Construction Life

We know that renovations entail a lot of hair pulling and teeth grinding and holding your breath moments than constructing a house from scratch, more so when you are renovating an old house.  My family will move from our small apartment to my husband’s ancestral house just a few steps away.  Moving is really not a problem because we can do it anytime of the day even in pajamas.  But, we are so used to our small, minimalist surroundings that it will take time to adjust to living in a bigger space (physically, financially, and mentally).  The impetus to this whole renovation was the availability of my trusted friend and worker to start on the project.  So when he called, it just took a week and the renovation commenced even if I was not totally prepared and do not have a plan whatsoever.  How ironic, considering I am an architect.  

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Managing Expectations

I have high expectations.

I blame it on the books and articles that I have read, the posts that are on my social media newsfeed, and my firstborn whom I gauge developmental milestones.

When I had Jansen, I constantly compare him to his ate. His first tooth eruption, his ability to hold his head, the time when he first turned, and when he first spoke… or the lack of it. Julia spoke as early as 10 months and was speaking full sentences before she turned two years old.

I kept on asking my mom and dad friends when did their children utter their first word.  Of course they are within the normal schedule but they assured me that he’s just delayed. My mind is silently shouting out my frustration.  So what should a paranoid mom do? Jansen’s pediatrician recommended to have him assessed by a developmental pediatrician.

We had him assessed at age 18 months because he can’t even say mama or papa or any deliberate word.  As expected, he was delayed in speech and comprehension. The following months became busy as he undergoes tests, speech and OT assessments, and then eventually trying to find him therapists with dentist appointments at the side (his teeth deteriorated due to chocolates and sugared drinks).

My Japanese boy in his UN costume. Photo by tita Pau

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Christmas Dance Recital

It has been a while since Julia’s last recital.  I have been internally deliberating since November if she should join this year. It’s not really easy to say yes because apart from it being expensive (I have to pay more than her ballet tuition for one semester), we have to commit to attending practices.  It was too late when I realized that this was also the time of periodical exams and Christmas parties.  But since I already promised her that she could join this year, I have to bear being her chauffeur, eat fast-food lunches and dinners, and go through the horrendous Christmas traffic.


Even if I have to endure all these, it was very fulfilling to see her dance on stage.  The recital was held in the Meralco Theater on a Sunday evening.  She has improved a lot since her baby ballet days. I just hope that she continues to love ballet and I will be here to support her as long as she wants.  The only downside of this was not being able to bring Jansen because he’s still too young (boo hoo!).

When I asked her if she wants to be in the recital…

Iya: Mahal ba nanay?

Me: Oo eh, mahal sya.

Iya: *Pauses for a bit* Bakit kailangan natin magbayad? Di ba kami sumasayaw? Dapat kami binabayaran!

Me: Oo nga no!

Honesty is Beautiful

When I was in the first year of graduate school, we were asked to write a paper about “Beauty in Architecture” (part 1 and part 2). Beautiful is difficult to define since it is very subjective and highly dependent on culture.  It took me days of mulling over the word to create my outline. It started with the definition and collection of building images that I find beautiful over the years.  I discovered in the end that these images have one thing in common, it is the embodiment of truth. Truth in terms of providing the simplest and most realistic solution translating to the space and needs, the capacity of materials, and the efficiency of construction.

Ok, I may be getting a little geeky on architecture.


While I was driving on my way to work today, I was apprehensive.  I had this meeting that I have been dreading.  I asked myself why am I making such a big deal out of a meeting?  It was then that I realized that I had been unable to verbalize my opinions.. I was not given the opportunity to be honest.  It was also then that I had this light bulb moment that honesty can be defined in multitudes of ways, even as a guide on making decisions.   That honesty is such a straightforward simple way of asking the right questions, finding the solution, and lessening the stress in my life.

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Site Inspections

My little architect in the making.

Wait… do I really want to influence her to become an architect?

Being in the profession has taught me a lot.  I do not know where I would be if not architecture.  Although I may not be the best designer or the best project manager, I love how varied my experiences have been.  We go out for site inspections, meetings, and stay in for drawings and documentations.  I am not holed up in the office typing away monotonously.  Architecture is never boring! I love how we are encouraged to present dynamic ideas but at the same time there is a level of constraint in order to be realistic.

Julia at this time is still at the creative stage and for me to restrict her ideas into buildability may limit her grandoise plans. She’s so into model making for her little bunnies that I feel that Youtube has a great influence rather than my work.

Paper Models

Yet if I let her come to inspections, I would not deny her the information of why things work that way — ergo to stand. So I guess exposure to how things work is always a good thing.  And her interest in making models really reinforce the concept of building.

Site inspections during summer

When I asked her what her favorite part of being an architect is, she replied “Yung pagkain pagkatapos ng site inspection.”

Me too Julia, me too!