Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Day I Hired a Maid

It's finally come down to this...I can't keep up with the dust in my apartment. In America, a good sweep and an occasional vacuum cleaning can keep the dust balls at bay. Not in Kuwait. I sweep several times a week, but I hate to mop and dusting the wood just makes me sneeze. So, as part of my stay-cation (vacation where you stay at home), I decided to invest in having someone clean my apartment. You have to understand that this is not my norm. I've resisted the whole "I have someone do everything for me just because I can" mentality for almost two years. But now, it's time. And so, yesterday I went down to the guard in my lobby and asked him if he could find me a maid who speaks some English to come early Friday morning. Rani showed up at 8:30, and as I sit here typing, she is cleaning and pulling dust balls out from the darkest corners of my "I thought it was relatively clean" apartment.

Having someone clean your apartment (especially when it's a relatively small apartment and you're invariably 20 feet away from the person cleaning at all times), is slightly awkward. Do you help? Do you just pretend they're not there? Do you chat with them...not quite possible since Rani's English and my Hindi are not up to par! She has managed to find enough English to scold me twice: once as she swept out a giant dust pile from under my bed and once when she said "one year no cleaning, not good! clean one time one week." Point well taken, Rani.

I did find out that she is Indian, has a husband and two sons back in India, and has been in Kuwait for 7 years. She's been cleaning houses for 5 of those years, and has only been back to see her family twice since first arriving in Kuwait. One of her sons is in 10th grade, and the other just finished college. She was married at 14, had her first son at 15, and her second son at 17. What a different life. She did tell me that I need to get married..."husband, good!" I assume that she is here in Kuwait working so that she can send her sons to school. I find myself so torn...feeling guilty that I need to hire someone to clean my house, but also knowing that the money I pay her is precisely why she's in a very difficult country so far from her family.

Total cost = $25 (I paid her twice the normal fee...but what can I say, after seeing all the dust, I figured what the heck!).

When she left, she made it clear that I should be hiring her twice a week to clean. She also offered to cook! And she said that we are sisters. Thank you Rani!


uncle yale said...

What an experience. Sounds like you not only found a cleaning person, but a friend (at least the start of a friendship). Enjoy your clean home. Love ya, Dad

Anonymous said...

I love this post! At first it made me laugh out loud, "once a week vs once a year" but then her story gripped me, so sad! I am glad that you have made a new friend and sister and hope you can continue to get to know her, her time with you connecting and showing kindness contrasted with someone possibly not so nice is pretty incredible. hope you enjoy your clean apt, it is always a good feeling! love, mom

Ashley said...

Love it Amy. Whenever we move it's the same awkwardness: Do I just sit, or help out, or make chit-chat??? I'm glad you both were able to help each other out!