Thursday, September 13, 2007

Not Just Retail Therapy

Many of us women go on shopping trips when we're upset, heartbroken, or sad. It's like an escape to us. We buy clothes, shoes, accessories, electronic gadgets, books, music, and/or movies. The idea of going to a shopping centre, entering a store, browsing through the sales rack or the new-arrivals rack, picking one item or two (heck, more than two), bringing the purchase to the cash register, and paying for it gives us a kind of thrill that men feel when they play or watch sports.

My sister is like that. When she's upset, she either goes for a long walk or goes to Home Sense or Pier 1 Imports. More often than not, she goes shopping for herself, her kids, or some other people. Although she's already paying two mortgages (owning two houses is never fun), she still makes a noticeable dent in her bank account that, in turn, makes her husband grumpy.

I think my sister (and I) inherited this shopaholic gene from our mother. Our dear mom didn't have lots of expensive escape back in Manila. Unfortunately, the first time she got really pissed off at us, she decided to escape to Morgan City, Louisiana, USA where my brother was. She was there for quite a few months. Whenever I talked to her, she complained about her favourite child. About a year after she came back she got dangerously upset at us, so she purchased a plane ticket to the Philippines. When we dropped her off at the Vancouver International Airport, my brother-in-law quipped that upsetting the women in my family is very expensive.

Well, I am my mother's daughter.

When I'm pissed off or depressed, I go to any of the local malls, usually to Chapters/Coles and HMV. Now that I've embraced online shopping, I buy my books/music/movies from or I downloaded iMesh and subscribed to Y! Music Unlimited so I could download songs faster and pay for them for less. (Yes, that's right: I pay for my music, unless I'm desperate for a particular song. When it becomes available, I buy it and then delete the bootleg version.)

But, now, I'm taking this expensive escape to a different level.

I'm actually thinking of purchasing my own place. A condo, to be specific.

I've always been someone who prefers owning things rather than borrowing them or renting them. If you can own it, why rent it?

Yes, I was born into a culture wherein an adult child can only leave the family home once he or she is married. (Even married adult children stay in the family home, but it's only because of exorbitant rent on sub par apartments.) But I am now living in North America where it's more than normal - expected - for a recent high school graduate to move out of the family home to go to college/university or to work.

Here's the deal: I have a difficult mother and sometimes difficult sister. Maybe it's in our genes - and after all, my mother's blood runs in our veins - but a cold war between any two of the three women is not uncommon. It's not easy to live with my mother. Which is why the idea of buying my own place crossed my mind in the first place.

Why a condo, and not a house or a townhouse? Well, first of all, it's only going to be me and perhaps a dog. I know my mother would want to live with me, but I don't, so it's just me. Also, I don't have a green thumb and I'm lazy so I wouldn't bother and I'll just pay for the maintenance of the condo complex front lawn. Lastly, I want to learn how to live on my own, because if I'm going to be eternally single, I'd need to get used to being alone.

I'm not in a hurry though. I'm still saving up money and trying to make up my mind about what I really want. Plus, I really need to learn how to cook and how to not dislike cleaning the bathroom. Most importantly, I'm waiting on the Big Guy Upstairs, sort-of like a divine sign that my condo-living dream coincides with His will for me.

It's funny because I listed a "Wanted: Condo" kind-of thing on Facebook Marketplace, and someone contacted me about it. We exchanged messages and she asked me what I'm looking for. I told her that I want at least a 2-bed/bath condo that's close to transit and located in either Burnaby or New Westminster, BC. She added me to her mailing list and now I get several e-mails with active listings everyday. (See? Facebook works!) Now, I have an unofficial real estate agent!

I know it's expensive, especially with the housing boom in the Greater Vancouver area these days. The 2010 Winter Olympics made it even more expensive as developers, Realtors, etc., all want to cash in before, during, and after the Olympics.

Besides, I want this new place of mine to be a permanent thing. It's not like retail therapy where one buys something to feel better, something impulsive and fleeting. This idea has crossed my mind for quite some time, but I'm only getting serious about it now.

If only God can grant me a generous dose of patience.

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