Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Awkward and Uncomfortable

I came home yesterday to find the young woman who cleans for us cowering in fear. Truly scared. And I am always sooooo nice, friendly, generous. I didn't have any help until I went back to work this fall, so I know it's hard work--and I'm so appreciative. (Cleaning here isn't like cleaning in your average US town--the pollution is so bad that you need to scrub floors at least three times per week and the windows need thorough cleanings every few weeks to fully let in the sun. Laundry also takes twice as long and everything needs to be ironed. We also have no dishwasher.) I had given her some nice clothes that don't fit me any more earlier in the morning. Didn't matter. The glass caraffe for our coffee maker had broken as she washed it and she was terrified.

I immediately smiled at her, reassured her that it was ok, that it had already happened to me twice before... But it took a while for her to really believe me and not look scared.

It makes you really wonder what other people she has worked for before.

And then I went to take the trash out, two big bags of trash from various rooms in the house all mixed together. Stuff from the bathroom and den mixed in with some food that had gone bad, etc. There were about four grown men and women who eagerly pounced on my trash as soon as I put it in the dumpster. One said almost immediately, "The glass broke, huh?" as he pondered salvaging our coffee maker. (It was actually already broken and barely working before the caraffe broke; this was the final excuse I had needed to just get a new one).

I don't think I'll ever get over people going through my garbage. I try to always separate anything that could remotely be reused again so that they can claim those items without having them covered in gook. But my personal garbage...I feel horrible that they go through it and get dirty, embarrassed to be exposed that way, frustrated that their lives are so hard that they're reduced to this.

I know it sounds odd to some of you that I even have a cleaning lady... and that we now have a driver for Natalia... Life here is just so different. It takes so long to get basic things done that I just *can't* do it all without being utterly exhausted and/or having it take away from time with the kids. (Last year I used to clean some times at 10 p.m. once the kids were in bed, when I should have been heading to bed myself...)

Today I had the day "off"--but I spent almost five hours simply getting the car washed
(that took 1 1/2 hours... there are always long lines at car washes since cars get COATED in pollution) and buying winter tires--and trying to find someone to put them on. I finally gave up and they're in our trunk. (Incidentally, I shouldn't even be driving the car since it's STILL not registered--6 weeks now of bureaucracy--but it's going to snow any day now and today was the only day I could spend all that time dealing with tires.)

I needed the driver for Natalia because traffic is so bad that were I driving her, I wouldn't be able to plan on doing anything between noon and seven every day. I'd have a few hours to kill by her school, but I wouldn't be able to work then... Or do Brownies with Katya.

1 comment:

Nataliya said...

Oh, poor thing... I'm so glad you reassured her... I agree with you - it's so hard to see the people trying to find something in the garbage, I still remember it, and it's very sad.