A little bit of help at home

I have never seen myself as the type of person who would have a staff, especially a domestic staff. To a large degree, it is because I am one of those type A types in many respects. I have a certain way of doing things, and need them to be done to my standards or I just do them myself. I am a treat to live with, I assure you. Really, I do like to do things around the house, am terrible at delegating, and like to treat everyone as my equal. I am uncomfortable with asking someone to clean my laundry, wash my toilets, or make my dinner. Unless that someone is Willy.

The planning for our move was quite condensed, so Willy and I never really discussed whether or not we would have any help around the house until we got here on our planning trip. It quickly became clear that it was expected. Every home we toured had a servant’s room and everyone we talked to, including friends, colleagues, and the relocation experts, told us that it was essential to the local economy. We would be doing a disservice if we didn’t hire. I had a hard time with this reasoning and we decided we would see what the story was when we arrived.

We were told that we would not have to look for staff, that domestic employees would just start showing up at our door. They did, essentially from the moment we moved in. The landlord had not even finished handing over our keys when a maid who had worked in this house in the past was knocking to let us know that her services were available. I went to a meeting tea held by a local ex-pats group, and there was a registry, consisting of many binders filled with details on local women and men who were looking for work as drivers, nannies, cooks, and maids. People didn’t ask if we wanted to hire a maid, they asked who we had hired or where they came from. It seemed that there were people who were truly looking for work, a way to support themselves and their families.

We now have three people working for us. Our driver, who I feel is a necessity. There is no way that I would be able to bring myself to drive here. I could get used to the right-side drive, to driving a stick shift, but I am afraid of driving in this traffic, and trying to find my way around this city where no streets are marked. We also hired the maid who came to our home on our first day. She is a very sweet person, who, in two days, has our house much cleaner than any home I have ever cleaned. Lastly we have a cook, who starts on Thursday. As much as I love to cook, I can’t wait to watch and learn from her. I’d be lying if I said that I won’t enjoy having a clean house and deliscious meal prepared for me.

So we have a “staff”. While I still feel that we don’t NEED to have a maid and a cook in our employ, we are going to do our best to treat all of them with respect, try to make sure that they are happy, and enjoy the free time that they will give us to experience their city and country. I am still not certain that we are doing them a service by hiring them, but I’ve got time to sort out how I feel about that.

Category: India | 9 comments

  • I know EXACTLY how you feel.

    But… you WILL learn to loooooove it. It’s awkward at first, believe me, but that wears out. I was just thinking last night now much easier life was in Bogota in a lot of ways. I’m happy to be back, but boy… HAVING A MAID WAS GREAT!

    • Lilbunnyrabbitz says:

      I do LOVE much of it, and feel pretty awkward at the same time. I can see how it will spoil me – my house is SO clean after a couple of days!!

  • Neeroc says:

    OMG. I can’t wait to watch your transformation when you get home *g*

  • smothermother says:

    yes, it does get very easy! but just think of all the awesome cooking you will get, with all the things that you don’t recognise in the markets. it’ll be awesome.

    i can’t wait to find out when you realise you are doing the indian head waggle. i only noticed after about 2 months, but am sure i was doing it before i realised it

    enjoy the extra found time to explore on this awesome adventure.

    • Willy says:

      It’s 2 weeks and I’ve already noticed I’m starting to think about when it would be right to do!

    • Lilbunnyrabbitz says:

      There are some pretty neat things in the markets – I have even been brave and bought some things without knowing what they are!! :)

      The thing that I think is neat about the head waggle – which I am certain I am starting to do – is how many Indians don’t realize that they do it!

  • Brie says:

    I could see that being ackward at first. But I think you will be a good employer. Think of it as running a business. But the business is the house!

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