Journaling Life Abroad
I think I’m hitting a dry spell, creatively-speaking. Inspiration is silent but all the other distractions in my head speak at ever higher volumes. I take care of little, inconsequential things, because they are the things I can accomplish. Meanwhile, the things that require my full concentration and energies stare down at me like wildings atop the white Wall.
If you’ve ever heard the metaphor, I’m filling my jar with sand, leaving no room for the pebbles of greater import.
But, things are good. We’re catching a few days of routine before the next three sets of visitors arrive. Since neither of us are able to be in town for our birthdays, we invited some friends to join us for a picnic on the lake. It was one of those days where everyone was too tired to be overly talkative. A lazy day on the lake made a perfect setting for a quiet get-together.
The only one who wouldn’t sit quietly was Dot…I think she was afraid we would throw her in the lake. Not sure why she would think a thing like that…
I’m almost ashamed to admit this, but I finally broke down and got a maid. I’m not opposed to doing my own cleaning and kind of feel like there’s an intrusion of privacy to have a maid, but with being gone so much and having so many guests, it’s becoming impossible to keep up with this house. It’s not just the dust either. If one isn’t diligent, the ticks and mold and spiders quickly advance. I got so dang tired of cleaning up after mold. After we got back from Europe, I literally spent a week cleaning the house and it still wasn’t done. Mind you, part of the problem is it takes so dang long to dry any laundry during rainy season.
Anyway, I just wanted help once a week to do the deep cleaning in the bathrooms and kitchen and other odds and ends I don’t have time or energy for. I still do most of the cleaning during the week (dishes, floors, laundry, etc. – I always feel uncomfortable having someone else wash me undies, even family). But then the problem was finding a maid. This kind of thing is done almost entirely word-of-mouth and we have almost no neighbors – at least no one friendly enough to ask for a recommendation. Finally, out of desperation, I left my contact info with our security guard. Ha! Within three days, I had a maid!
AND…. Our house is clean! It only cost about $10 too, which kind of makes us feel like schmucks. We would totally pay more (and were prepared to) but that’s all she asked for, and the truth is that’s already well over the minimum wage here for a full day’s work, and most of the time, I think she’ll only be working about 5 hours or so. Plus, I buy her lunch – which I still can’t figure out if I should invite her to eat with me at the dining table or let her eat in the kitchen…hierarchy here is so strong, I think most workers prefer to maintain distance. Breaches in status could be a huge cultural faux pas and have repercussions for how she then views and treats me, especially behind my back. But then to my American mind, maintaining that distance feels elitist and wrong.
GAH! Who knew there was a whole etiquette to having house help? I didn’t grow up in Downton Abbey; I’m woefully unsophisticated.
So this turned out to be a rambling post. And I’m SURE you’re super interested in my domestic affairs.
In other news, I really need to get down to work.
Tell me, are you in procrastinator mode today or productive mode? Let’s grab a cup of coffee and you can tell me all about it!
Happy Tuesday, folks!
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