I wanted to take a moment to introduce our newest family member to you......our precious "Yaya"!
When C and I came on an exploritory visit last November to see how and where we might move our family of 8 to this country, we heard repeatedly that household help was the "norm" of almost every expat family living here. Even most Thai families have help for that matter. All the apartments we visited had a tiny maids bedroom off the kitchen.
C liked the prospect of help.
I.......rolled my eyes.
I pride myself on being a "do it yourself", independent kind of girl.
If I can do snow and ice for 6 months out of the year with 4 small children in a tiny apartment in dark, depressing Ukraine, then I could certainly handle my brood with abundant sunshine in big city Bangkok.
(well....figuratively that is.)
It seemed so "elitist" to me to think of someone else washing my dishes or tidying up after my kids. And we had never left our children with anyone other than family....how would I ever feel comfortable with someone spending that much time with my kids?
Ive got this!!
God had to knock me down off my prideful pedestal a few notches to open my heart to the idea....
I remember our 3rd night in Bangkok. We were still in the throes of unpacking suitcases, shopping for furniture and learning our way around. It was 7:30 and we hadnt fed the kids anything for dinner, so decided to walk down the road to a neighborhood restaurant half-a-mile from our apartment.
Trying to walk 5 kids and push a stroller down a non-existant "sidewalk" was ridiculously stressful. The narrow "path" given to pedestrians was constantly being blazed through by an impatient biker wanting to skirt past the double lanes of traffic on either side.
I felt like we were playing "frogger" trying to get our brood across the road.
I seriously thought someone was going to get hit!
Potholes posed a serious threat to twisting ankles. Construction walls lined our left and traffic whizzed by on our right. Crazy messes of electrical wires hung from telephone poles in bundles right at eye-level. The uneven pavement was completely non conducive to our brood parading down the street. And the 4 way stop that we have to cross....no one actually stops!
I came home that night stressed, exhausted..........and consented.
"Ok, we need to look for help!"
The reality was daunting that this was the same road I would need to walk for groceries.
How would I get there? Much less get home with anything since my hands would be full with little people and stroller handles?
We began to ask around and were introduced to Benjie - a precious Filipino who was looking for work and came with raving reviews from previous employers. She walked into our door a few weeks after we moved here....and into our hearts shortly thereafter!
What a gift to be helped and be able to help in return.
She has some unbelievable stories of treatment that some maids here receive from the families they live with, so we are blessed to be able to offer her a stable and appreciative environment. She is a sweetheart - the sole supporter of her family back home and we are so grateful for all she does for us! We are privileged to have her as an extra set of hands which has totally made life more feasible here. And....for the first time in 12 years of marriage, we get a regular date night - BONUS!
Gigi is quite taken with her.
The word for "Nanny" in Tagalog is "Yaya" which the kids affectionately call her.
Last month, Gigi was hospitalized for pneumonia (now there is another whole blog post in itself)
As they were admitting her, they needed to get an IV line in her for fluids. Quite a traumatic experience especially since she does not have good veins and had to be poked 7 times. As I was holding her down (on the verge of tears myself), she was crying at me and pleading "Mama, mama, no mama".
Absolutely heartbreaking. After 15 minutes of screaming "Mama", she finally gave up and changed her tune......"Yaya, yaya, YAYA!!!".
(If you're not gonna help me mommy, where is my Yaya?!!!!)
Benjie washed, dried and folded all of Izzy, Evie and Gigi's baby-dolls clothes yesterday.
I was floored!
I dont think their momma has ever done that for the baby doll wardrobe!