Condo living is practical living. Posters selling condos depict a happy life of comfort, convenience and security. Many condo units have amenities like swimming pool and gym. Condos are located beside or near schools, shopping malls, and entertainment hubs so one saves time and money just to reach these usual places of interest. It is for these reasons that many middle class families have opted condo living.
But with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, do condo tenants still enjoy these benefits? What are their misgivings in choosing to live in a condo?
Single but not ready to mingle
Many professionals who are still single prefer to live in a condo near their place of work. With the daily rigors of work, they do not have time to deal with household chores like cleaning the yard or maintaining a garden. Condos also have experienced maintenance people just in case there are minor house repairs that need to be done. Since cooking for one is a hassle, food outlets are havens for condo tenants who lead a life of single blessedness.
But when restaurants and malls closed and movement limited due to quarantine protocols, living alone during the pandemic turned out to be struggle for single tenants.
Jen A. is a media relations practitioner, and lives in a condo in Pasay. Her work challenge is the thin line that separates work from home and living at work. Six months into the lockdown, she is still adjusting to virtual meetings. Personally, she terribly misses her family and her partner. For somebody who loves to touch people to show her affection, it is a battle not to be able to hug and kiss her loved ones.
To cope with the mental stress of living alone during the pandemic, Jen has turned her energies to working-out, cooking, cleaning the house and other household chores. But she eventually got weary of doing all these things as part of her routine.
Until Jen decided to adopt a cat which has turned out to be her lifesaver. Bullet is beautiful cat that has made her life happier in this pandemic.
Jen’s condo-living is similar to Nancy I., a mid-level executive who lives in a condo in Ortigas. Her unit is beside her brother’s so she has family interaction.
But they all struggle with limited areas for movement. Common areas for condo tenants have been prohibited since the quarantine was imposed. Her source of Vitamin D or sunshine is only her once a week trip to the grocery.
Given the proximity of condo units, community transmission of COVID-19 is high. Nancy takes extra precautions like when doing the laundry in common utility areas. Most of the time, she relies on the washing machine spinner to dry clothes to lessen exposure to other tenants.
In this time of crisis, every peso is important. The cost of condo parking in Nancy’s place is steep that it could be a monthly rental for a small studio. But Nancy said that condo security and maintenance upkeep are some of the advantages of living in a condo especially for someone like her who travels a lot for work.
Family is not truly happy
Every family is worried for the safety of their loved ones. This has never been more reinforced than in this pandemic where the enemy is invisible. Ricky R. shares this worry for his wife and only daughter. They live in a condo in Quezon City.
Ricky comes from a big family in Porac, Pampanga who loves to hold regular gatherings over good food. Kapampangans, after all, are known for their delicious recipes. But all of these were put on hold like the observance of his mother’s 1st year death anniversary last May 30. They were also supposed to have a family reunion last month but again, this was postponed.
But there is always a silver lining. With only the three of them in the condo, Ricky has rediscovered quality time with his family. They learned to appreciate small things in life which inspired them to be generous to others. With some resources, they shared food to security guards, health workers, janitors and neighbors. They also sold rice and delivered it at the doorsteps of their co-tenants in the condo to lessen their exposure outside.
This health crisis has shown that we face different struggles wherever we live and whatever our status in life is. Coping with the mental and physical stress is all up to each one of us.