The past few weeks

It’s been weeks since I came home from Taipei (or has it been a month already?)! And what have I been up to since I came back?

Not much, really. Most of the time, I’m stuck at home trying to get used to everything again. For the most part, I’m doing okay. I mean, I lived here for most of my life right? But still,  I never thought there would be some things that would take a bit of time to re-adjust to!

Moving back in

Living in a small-ish apartment all by myself meant that I only had very few stuff in my house, so just imagine my horror when I moved back in and realized how much stuff I have in my bedroom here in the Philippines!

When you’re used to living… *ehem* minimally, having too much of everything is quite overwhelming. For example, back in Taiwan, I only had a capsule wardrobe with a few pieces of clothing that fit me perfectly. But here, I have soooo many clothes. Like, I literally have 3 closets and all of them are full of clothes! How?!

And it doesn’t help that my bedroom is so much smaller than the one I have in Taipei, so I’ve been having a hard time reorganizing because it’s hard to find space for everything. Some parts, like the closet and vanity area, are fixed, so it also wasn’t easy to move everything around. I took the liberty of moving my bed to another spot to make the room look more spacious, and I might share some photos of the new bedroom setup once everything is settled! This might take some time though…

Getting around

I miss being able to go out whenever and wherever. I’m not really able to do that here in Metro Manila because I need a car if I want to get around. Cars are increasingly becoming necessities here, and I don’t feel comfortable taking public transportation here too. This is part of the reason why I’m almost always home.

I’m not very fond of driving in Metro Manila so I really miss public transportation in Taiwan. I miss living less than 5 minutes away from a bus stop. I miss having bike lanes and riding the MRT or High Speed Rail. I also miss the riverside park near my home, where I can go for a run or go cycling if I want to exercise outdoors.

A night view of the riverside park. It takes around 15-20 minutes to bike from the university to my house via the riverside park route.
Taipei Main Station, the hub for all inter-city buses, trains, and the High Speed Rail (HSR). I used to dislike coming here because I’m always prone to getting lost in this station (it’s too big!) Once you figure it out though, it’s so easy to find the platforms and get to your destination.

Home/Social life

I lived alone in my own apartment so it took a while to channel my inner extrovert and get used to living with family again. I don’t remember family life being so stressful, with people always calling on me and having to do things for them. I also feel like I’m in a constant state of performance anxiety, where I feel like everything I do is being judged and everything is micromanaged to make sure that I’m doing things according to my parents’ preferences. I feel like a kid again, really… and it’s stressing me out.

On the bright side, when I came back to the Philippines, word got around pretty quickly and I was able to meet up with a lot of my close friends. I even met up with my former colleagues in my previous job, and it feels so good to see that nothing has changed since the last time we saw each other. I never felt awkward or anything even though we haven’t seen each other in a long time. Instead, everything just felt like we were picking up right where we left off <3

DLSU Chorale trainees, batch 2010. OMG it’s been 8 years since I first entered college?!
I even met up with some of my college friends and did a random photo shoot out of the fly XD


Oh, how I missed speaking in Tagalog!

I have no problem speaking in English and I also don’t mind talking to people in [broken] Chinese in Taiwan, but… oh, it feels so good to finally be able to talk to people in the language I’m most comfortable with! It feels great to stroll around a place and hear people speak your language. It used to be a rarity for me in Taiwan to hear my language being spoken in the streets, so whenever I hear Tagalog around me, I feel like I’m truly home.

But then, I also miss hearing and speaking Chinese in my everyday life! Actually, it’s funny how I’ve been speaking more Chinese to myself ever since I came back home! XD I think it’s just my way of making sure that I don’t forget everything I’ve learned; but still, I bet my family finds it weird that I’m muttering Chinese to myself or thinking out loud in Chinese! I haven’t gotten around to continuing my Chinese lessons though, I think I’ll get it sorted after I finish settling down. Right now, I’m still taking care of higher-priority things so I couldn’t really devote much time to it.

Popular culture

It’s really surprising how my country’s popular culture evolves so much in such a short span of time. I’ve only been gone for a few years, but I don’t understand the local slang terms anymore! I no longer understand the new Filipino memes and why people find them funny. I’m super outdated regarding the Filipino popular music scene, which I heard is very much alive and kicking right now.

I’m trying to catch up with the local music scene through Spotify1. I usually prefer owning my music but people say Spotify is a good way to discover new artists, so I signed up for it. I’m also trying to be more active in social media to understand the memes and slangs. I feel like I need to be more social media-savvy to be able to relate to conversations with my friends XD

I was also very happy to hear that a lot of interesting Filipino movies are being shown and produced right now, and there were a couple of really nice ones that were shown when I was away. There’s lots of new actors I don’t know of too. To catch up, I went out and watched one of the most talked about movies in my social circle: Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral (Goyo: The Boy General). It’s a historical movie based on the life of Gen. Gregorio del Pilar, one of the youngest generals of the Philippine Revolutionary Army during the Philippine-American War. This movie is part of a historical movie trilogy revolving around the heroes of the Philippine-American War (1899-1902). Having seen the first movie in the trilogy (Heneral Luna) before I left, I had high expectations for this one. It didn’t disappoint! It’s very different from the first film since this one is more introspective, and I’m so happy that we finally have movies that explore the country’s history and make us think about what it means to be Filipino.

(Now I want to write a review of Goyo!)

Other endeavors

I still haven’t worked out a routine since I came home, since I’m busy with different things every day. Even my workout sessions have been sporadic, and I feel bad about it. One thing’s for sure though, it’s one of the things I’m going to prioritize once everything’s settled!

I’ve been trying to look for a job and have applied for several openings. But besides job hunting, I’m also doing my best to devote more time to my hobbies and personal development. One of my biggest goals for the coming months is to overcome my video and camera shyness, so if you find yourself reading blog posts with more photos and videos, that’s because I’m making a conscious effort to take more photos and videos of myself to get used to the way I look and speak!

I still have lots of things to do before I can truly say that I’ve settled back in; but for now, I’m just taking my sweet time and resting up, because I will be on another trip this coming week and I’ll have to look for a job soon after. I’ll take this opportunity to unwind and plan for what I’m going to do next!

  1. I like to own my music and I have a separate iOS device just for my music collection, but my family opted for a Spotify Family plan a few months so… okay, why not?


  1. It’s difficult to adjust back from one situation to another. I cannot imagine doing what you did but lately, I enjoy my own home and while it’s difficult to maintain sometimes I cannot imagine going back home to my parents. I’m glad that you’re home and you’re comfortable speaking the language you’re used to but strangely we can adapt to almost anything in our lives.

    1. Living with parents may be more convenient in terms of the financial aspect and all that, but having your own place feels so fulfilling! You’re right, it’s challenging at times but it’s definitely worth it <3

  2. I feel you wit feeling you have too much stuff. I suffer from that as well. XD Its hard to find places for things!

    I’m sure its hard to settle back into things, but just give it time. You’ll find what works for you! Also good luck on finding a job!”

  3. I loved reading this! I found it interesting because just a few months ago, my life was the other way round – I was moving OUT and almost had the reverse things happen haha if that makes any sense!

    I’ve just gone back home for the weekend and found that I do have a lot more stuff in Sheffield than my own apartment in Leeds. I can say that I am much more of a minimalist in Leeds than Sheffield haha. Isn’t that crazy? We just don’t think about the build-up of items over the years until we have to move out then move in again! It’s so strange to me!

    When I remember the time I went to Manila, I felt the same about transport. I didn’t feel safe on transport unlike how I do in the UK, so my family didn’t leave much. We are planning to get a car next time we go because it would make the trip so much easier!!

    I love how you’ve been able to just pick up where you left off with your friends <3 They seem like the realest! Love your little photoshoot! So cute!!

    Don't feel bad about not getting into a routine when you're trying to settle back in! It's life, take all the time you need!! I personally felt like that when I came back from 2 weeks of work travel haha. But I learned not to beat myself up over it eventually 🙂

    OMG GAL let's beat that shyness! We can totally do a mini vlog or something when we meet – or even just on IG story! haha. I'll show you how I've beat it 😉 See you soon!!! CANT WAIT!!

    1. Haha, I’ve been all over the place recently… and now I just got back from another trip so it will take a while to get used to things again! XD

      Yes, definitely rent a car the next time you go to Manila! Taking public transport is so difficult even for locals. But if you’re driving, prepare yourself because you may find yourself in the middle of a traffic jam! XD

  4. Glad that you are getting comfortable and adjusting back in your hometown! It’s always good to be back home and with the familiar people. I have never studied overseas before but I can imagine the feeling of adjusting back, especially when you are away for more than a year…

    1. Yeah, being with familiar people makes all of it easier! I’m trying to spend time with them as much as I can, because once I won’t have the chance to do this once things become busy again. 🙂

  5. Oooohhh welcome back! I’m so proud of you, Claudine and yey congratulations! Haha, i could still remember your blog post two years ago about moving into Taiwan. I think you still have a hangover from your Taiwan stay, I mean it’s normal cause you ‘ve been used to it since two years are already enough to learn a language–Mandarin is hard ha!–and bumping in to a guy and speaking in Chinese–hahah! That’s totally okay…you’re still adjusting though 🙂

  6. Moving is always so hard, whether it is moving out for the first time or moving back in or moving to a new place even if it’s within the same city. I find it so hard to downsize when it comes to space, a few years ago after my husband and I first got married we moved out of the 2 bedroom apartment we shared and in with my parents into a room. Luckily my parents were able to store most of our stuff for when we moved back out to the apartment we live in now, also a 2 bedroom so that wasn’t too bad.

    I can understand the transportation issue. Our transportation in our city is pretty bad it takes hours to get anywhere. I bought a car a long time ago but then after getting a job downtown where parking is 3x a bus pass I started taking the bus again, a 15 minute drive to work turned into an hour and a half on the bus and coming home late at night makes me nervous. Hopefully you will be able to get it figured out.

    1. I agree, moving is such a hassle no matter when or where you do it! It’s nice that you were able to get some help from your parents though, that really takes a lot of burden off your shoulders <3

  7. I so agree that the transportation system sucks here in the Philippines. I live and Cebu, but its traffic is slightly turning like in Manila! When I visited Taiwan, I really commend their transportation, it was really something I miss about when my trip ended. I miss how convenient it was, even the their buses. Hope everything works well and smooth with you in your adjustments 🙂

    Bia S. |

    1. I’ve been to Cebu for a quick vacation too, and I agree that the traffic is slowly turning into Manila-like traffic levels! I don’t use public transportation here in Manila because it takes forever to get around, lol.

  8. So many changes to have to get re-adjusted too! Yikes. It is amazing to me that you speak several languages. I really wish I had parents that motivated me to learn other languages, but my father hated his Hispanic heritage and would never speak it around me. Plus I was never around him enough anyway.

    The part about living with people again is my biggest fear. I have been living alone for a good amount of time now. I’m not sure if I will ever be able to live with another person again but with financial issues I wish I did have a roommate or partner at times.

    Good luck with everything and being back!

    1. Living with people again after living alone for quite a while can be a little frustrating. At least, that’s how I felt when I first moved back in. I just became so used to doing things and handling situations my own way, plus I loved coming home to a quiet room at the end of the day to recharge myself. I can’t really do that here. XD

  9. You have three closets of clothes?! That’s impressive. I wouldn’t know how to choose what to wear. For me, I try to clean out my closet in January and donate anything I haven’t worn in the last year. Basically, I won’t let myself buy new clothes if I’ve run out of hangers to put them on.

    It’s so hard to move back in with your family. I know that when I go home for a visit, we are all getting on each other’s nerves after about a week haha.

    1. Lol, it sounds impressive but it’s mostly just old clothes that no longer fit but didn’t have time to donate or sort out. XD

      “We are all getting on each other’s nerves after about a week” Aha, I can relate so much! XD

  10. It would be difficult when your living arrangements change and you have to adjust so much. It’s great that you have the space to have so many clothes, even if the room is a bit smaller. Hopefully moving the bed did make a big difference!

    It would be a struggle having to drive and public transport being more difficult. Maybe it just gets easier as time goes on. But I am not one to talk, I am still learning to drive and traffic terrifies me. 😨

    That would be hard living with family again after you have had that independence and became used to doing things your own way. Hopefully, they will be able to understand that and be a little more accommodating. I am glad that you were able to catch up with friends.

    I hope that things will settle and you will be a lot more comfortable. It would be hard when things have changed so much at first, but I am sure it will work out. 😀

    1. I really think that I need to take driving lessons again. I am not confident in my driving ability, and I don’t think I would get very far with all the anxiety I feel whenever I’m behind the wheel!

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