Ideally, I would have an oven in my apartment.

What I had the most difficulty adjusting to, when I started living alone, was not having a full gas range to experiment with. I was used to preparing my own meals and I was used to having the proper equipment. Yes, I know this is a complaint that reeks of privilege, but it’s a become a more pressing burden given the limited options for vegetarians in Manila (boohoo). So try to imagine the options (or lack thereof) that come with living in a studio with about a square foot of counter space for cooking. I’m hardly home though, and rather than preoccupy myself with wanting space for an oven and the things I could do with that space, I think about my cats.

When you live alone, it stops being about the meals you will make for other people, and it becomes about feeding yourself, because no one else will. Then there are the other things to worry about, like feeding the cats as well, or scheduling laundry deliveries. Your personal life gets overrun with the logistics of living. Not even of making a living – that’s what happens in between. What you are doing is continuing to live. What you are doing is keeping it together.

(Shifting back to first person) While the oven has come to embody some kind of ideal scenario – where I can not only have pizza for dinner, but the exact kind of pizza I want because I will make it myself and not have to put on pants!–it has long been relegated to a list of things I will have to forego because of what reality permits. Reality is a 40 sqm apartment. Reality is still 10 sqm more than what it used to be.

Then there are other ideal scenarios: things that feel too farfetched to place your bets on, but it is precisely because they’re so far out there that you really have nothing to lose by doing so…So…

It crossed my mind that I want to go to Belgium, so when an open call was posted for a summer school at the Middelheim Museum, I figured why the fuck not, closed my eyes, held my breath, and hit “send”. A month later (i.e. last week), the notification letter came in. I’ve always entertained a steady stream of open calls, indulging the “what-ifs” with application after application, hoping to regale the jury with “this is me and this is what I do”. It rarely ends well, but I’m glad that for this, it did…End well, that is; which means I’m spending the last week of my twenties in a castle in Antwerp.

This is one of those times when my life deserves all the Yay!s.

Eat all the pizza.

Go to all the places.

See all the things.

Buy that oven in the not-so-distant future and feed your friends meals made with lots of love and butter.


(Image © Thomas Hirschhorn)

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