Tuesday, December 19, 2006


One thing we have found to be true here...everyone has a maid. No while we were excited for this on more than one level, we have found it to be almost essential here! You laugh, but urban living is not easy! Sure there are many benefits to city living: the view from our place for one, the shopping, that's obvious, not to mention that there is always something going on in a city, the details of some things I will leave out, because who want to hear that election season here means protests, bombs and shootings of politicians right down the street? Not anyone reading this!
We are finding that things aren't that easy. Grocery shopping requires a trip to numerous stores to get everything you need since you hear "out of stock" everywhere you go. In addition, produce and breads don't last very long in the humidity here, so trips to the grocery are frequent if you plan on having fresh food. Laundry starts to pile up, and it needs to be taken to "lets talk dirty" (yes that is what it is called) or "jet wash." I can only imagine our schedule after the Holidays with Nate sleeping during the day, Holden's playgroups (3 a week), my photography and women's organization activities. Last week we scheduled a few interviews for Yaya's (nanny) and All-around Helpers from a list we got from the American Women's Club. We fell in love with one woman name Divina. Of course, being a diligent mother, I sent her previous employer an email asking about her. Below is what she wrote back:

When Divina came to work for us in 2003, she had not been employed by expats before, and she had not worked for some time as she had been raising a family. In almost no time, she became indispensable to us, an indication of how bright and observant she is. Divina consistently demonstrated initiative in identifying tasks that needed to be done, rather than having to be told to do something. In fact, she often gave me gentle reminders of things that I needed to do, such as paying the gardener or making sure that my son had money for lunch at school!

Divina was a responsible, loving caregiver for my 2 children (my son is now 8 and my daughter is 5). She engaged them in lively play, arts and crafts and quiet story reading (her English is excellent). Divina even helped my daughter with her homework when I was not available to do so. She followed my lead regarding
discipline, not allowing them to be disrespectful or to run amok. Both of my children adore her (my son cried over her leaving, as did I!). More importantly, I felt confident in leaving my children in Divina’s care, knowing that if something happened, she would exercise good judgment regarding my children’s wellbeing.
Divina’s other duties included cleaning, doing laundry, ironing, and basically anything else that needed to be done.

Divina possesses many admirable qualities. She is absolutely trustworthy and honest, and I felt completely comfortable entrusting her with large sums of cash for payments to others. She never gets sick. Divina is calm and unflappable, as I discovered when she followed us to Indonesia after we moved here (she had never flown before, but simply got on a plane and came). Divina is pleasant to have around, without intruding upon our personal space. She is dependable and I knew I could count on her to never let me down. Every day I feel blessed to have had Divina as part of our extended family. We miss her already. I do not hesitate to recommend her highly!

Needless to say, we have hired Divina, she will be moving in with us once we get around to moving into the condo. We are excited to have her and think she will bond well with Holden and be a great help to us! We know she is not like many of the yayas we see around, especially at gymboree, who let the children be disrespectful and misbehave. With Nate home during the days and sleeping, I feel good about having Divina there to help out with Holden when I run out to take pictures, etc.

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