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What a great week!  Last week was our first week with our new “ayi.”  (“Ayi” is literally translated as “aunt,” but refers to just about any female hired help–nanny, maid, housekeeper, etc.)  We interviewed a few ayis last month, decided on one, but had to wait until her current finished before she could start.  Wang Ayi (Wang is her surname) is a full-time (semi-live-in) ayi who help with general housekeeping, cooking meals, and occasional childcare.  She’s here Monday morning through Saturday morning, goes home most nights, and stays the night on occasion.  She doesn’t speak English, and my Chinese is limited, so I had Todd give her some general instructions before he left for work that first day.  Basically, clean up after meals, hang the laundry to dry, sweep the floors daily (the dust in this apartment has me longing for New Mexico), and the last instruction–if you see something dirty, you can clean it. :)  The three of us–Wang Ayi, Todd, and I–all chuckled a bit at that last instruction.  For those who have lived with me (which is oddly more than a few), you know there is ALWAYS something to clean in my house. :)

So, last Tuesday we had been in our apartment for about 2 weeks.  We had mostly arranged the living areas, but were (are) still living out of boxes a bit, particularly in the bedrooms.  Wang Ayi asked about all the boxes, and wondered if we wanted to sell them.  We told her that she could do whatever she likes with them.  Her normally smiling face lit up a bit more when she knew she could have them.  (The excitement of trash and cardboard will require its own post.)

When I heard Wang Ayi in Michael’s room (which had so many boxes that you couldn’t walk around the bed) a little while later, I assumed she was emptying the boxes so she could take them.  Imagine my surprise an hour later when I walked by Michael’s room and found that she had unpacked and organized his entire room!  WOW!  I knew at that moment I could never let her leave! :)  And for Todd, the never-let-her-leave moment came when he realized at the end of the first week that he hadn’t seen laundry at the end of our bed in days.  He didn’t make the connection at first and thought I was responsible for getting ALL the laundry put away EVERY  day.  HA HA HA!   I had to ask, “When has that ever happened in the last 12 years?”  (Why is it that I can sort and wash the laundry, dry and fold the laundry…but can’t get it put away??  That last step has always eluded me.)

How did I ever live without an ayi?!  And the bigger question…do I ever want to live without one again? :)


- Jill

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