God has plans and we have dreams. Dreams that span seas, oceans and decades. Dreams that can be achieved through sacrifices, sleepless nights and a can do mentality.
For me, owning a home was never a dream until I hit what everyone calls the midlife crisis.L). I guess most of us are. I can’t believe that I am writing about me being a home owner. That never crosses my mind in my young and youthful innocent days. I never thought I could.
Thanks to living like a nomad for years and having 5 kids and a granddaughter, I finally realized it’s time to settle in and try this thing called the American Dream. The idea or dream you can call it started about a decade ago while I was a Junior at the Oregon State University.
It was a day that I won’t forget, coming to my apartment and found a note on my door telling me to pack my stuff and get the hell out. There was a switch of Management and the new one won’t allow my family of six to stay in their apartments. The new Management company did this not only to my family but several others too. So we all packed up and leave.
I had to find a house in the middle of my studies because of it and in the process taking on about $17 thousand in student loan to keep my family afloat. Thanks to the Yap State Scholarship and the Birds Scholarship along with Food Stamp and Housing Assistance, I didn’t break the $20 thousand mark. That would tie my neck up for a lot longer than the $17k did. I had to file for emergency exit from my studies because of the emotional and financial stresses this stupid move had on me. After all these, I can say my family survived.
After graduating in 2005, I promised myself that one day I will own my own house so no one will tell me to move out again. And this is where my Micro-American dream all began. Little did I know, it’s going to be a bumpy ride all the way through.
The first hurdle I must go through was within my household. My second half, for the love of her Uman thought that buying a house means she will never see dear Uman ever again. :). This, I think was the toughest hurdle I must tackle if I want to buy a home for my family. If she continues to say no, then there’s probably no way in hell I will attain this beautiful dream of mine. I must win this fight!
Throughout the years, I slowly showed and convinced her that the idea of going back home is slowly fading. We have three girls and two boys that are slowly out growing us in many ways and will anchor us to these USA for who knows how long. The saddest thing I ever told my wife was the fact that the people close to us that have the same thought of going back to our islands are going back home, not as passengers but as cargos.
And looking closely at the situation, our families are not moving back home but moving away from home. Lately, we have seen an increase number of our people’s bodies being buried, against cultural ideals and norms, on Guam or the states. The tide is going against belief. The time is changing rapidly.
Luckily for me, my wife’s views and understanding of this, I will call it evolution, is changing. Earlier this year in one of our family gatherings, one of her many brothers declared that he will not obligate his family sending his body home if he dies, instead he will allow his family to decide whether he buries here or not. His speech was really a vindication of what I had preaching my wife since I got out of college. I cannot say for certain but I know that speech changed my wife’s view on this issue. I owe her brother many thanks for that speech because it paved the way for me to finally realize my dream. But it’s still far from it as there are more things to get in line…
It was good knowing that my wife is now behind me, but our financial stability is far from where it should be. We need to sacrifice a lot of things if we have to accomplish this goal. It’s not a dream anymore. It’s closer to reality than a mere dream. A lot of sacrifices must be made and that involves everyone in my household. Now I become the Financial Comptroller! The person everyone hates the most because he is the Stingiest person you can find. Hahahaha… Even security guards have a name for Comptroller! It’s ok, I won’t tell you about my secret story about a Comptroller I know. It stays with me. lol. My wife called me the Money Man and to be honest, I assumed the name to give me the courage and become the stalwart of Financial stability.
This means the icebox is going to be empty because bills come before food now. Sorry kids. Hahahaha. Lunch Money is $10 less. No more L&L! Yes to more Spam, Canned Tuna and boxes of noodles. And of course lots and lots of googles.
Day after day, I would google for hours and hours until I fell flat on my beer belly snoring to the sound OF THE Island Chant, as brother Xavier would say it. These are a few things I am either googling or binging. HOW DO BUY A HOUSE? HOW MUCH DOWN PAYMENT DO I NEED? DO I HAVE TO BE A US CITIZEN TO BUY A HOUSE? ARE THERE DOWN PAYMENT ASSITANCE IN SEATTLE/WASHINGTON/KING COUNTY? HOW TO INCREASE MY CREDIT SCORE? WHAT IS DTI? WHAT? WHY? HOW? WHEN? WHERE?
One of the tricks I employed was taking my wife to look at new developments with their new designs and awesome new home smell. I am sure with a few visits my wife must be dreaming the views and smell of those new houses. It has to be. In the morning on a cup of coffee I would remind her of how beautiful the hall way setting was, the spacious family room and never leave out the spacious kitchen cabinets and the pantry. Oh boy, the pictures were piling up on my Note it has to be ready to be deployed to ensure the graphics put some sense of urgency into my wife. Hahaha. Now I can really laugh and have fun about it but these were serious business. We took trips out to Gig Harbor, up to Mukilteo, way into Maple Valley and into the middle of Seattle with the hope that something got to click for her to say yes.
And yes she said which got me going knowing that I got the backup I need. And with the two of us, we got to work putting all the pieces together.
Because of all that googling and binging, I decided to find me a Loan Officer whom impressed me the first time I walked into her door. And with her recommendation, I found a realtor that knows the business like the pro he is. With these two experts and my wife behind me, all that’s left was finding the house of my dreams.
Because of all that driving to look at areas and properties, it didn’t take long to find my dream home. It’s located on a hill in the middle of our town, not too far from our places of work, and the neighborhood is pretty awesome. In a few hours after inspecting the home, we sat down with our realtor and signed the offer and within days our offer was accepted. We moved through the inspection, appraisal and settlement with a few hurdles nothing that we can’t handle.
After everything is done, we are $25,000 cash broke and 30 years tied to the financing obligations on a house we are now calling home. It was the journey of our lifetime, but one that I love taking the most. The many days and nights of dream, the highs and lows, and all that other distractions are in the abstract. I love owning my own house.
God, thank you for everything. I dare dream because you have a plan for me.