Friday, October 18, 2013
I found this picture of our housekeeper and the kiddos that I had never put on the blog. It has to be from winter based on the space heater on the floor!
Rita spells her name with an R but it is pronounced with a deep, guttural, Heeeee=ta. Hita comes every Monday. For 30 euro (roughly 40 US dollars), and she spends 8-5 helping me. She cleans the whole house, does laundry, dishes etc.
The kids love Hita. She speaks very little English but enough for us to communicate -- with some charades sprinkled in. They don't seem to know this though. They talk to her as if she understands everything they are saying, and she does a good job just going through the motions. While I am pretty sure she can't read -- even in Portuguese -- she goes through the motions -- turning pages and pretending she does. She lets them tell her long stories that she obviously cannot understand. And when they jump out from various locations around the house to "surprise" her, she jumps and says, "I so scared."
I also love that, no matter how many times I correct her, she calls a broom a spoon.
Reminds me of Hatice in Turkey. The refrigerator was always a refrigerary. And "it doesn't matter" what always pronounced "It don't marry."
It's so strange to me that something that is so popular in Europe -- housekeepers -- is so rare in the USA. While I would love to continue the practice when we return to the USA, I know it will not be as easy to find someone or to pay someone!
I make a real point to explain to the kids that Hita is here to help Mommy. That we are going to help her with her job. In the mornings, she cleans the upstairs, and we take time to clean up all our toys and put away all our clothes, so that we can help Hita. In the afternoons, she comes downstairs, and we go upstairs for naps. Again, we make sure that the downstairs is cleaned up. We try to look at this as something we are all working on together. Every day when Hita is done, we make it a point to thank her for helping our family. We give her hugs and say good bye and tell her what a great job she did helping us lead better lives.
There are so many things that my kids just assume are normal. They assume that playing with children who do not understand you is normal. They assume that knowing multiple ways to say thank you is normal. People don't look like them. There are different kinds of money. Showing your ID when you enter and exit the Base? Completely normal.
Next summer, we will return to America, and we will return to our "normal lives." I hope that my children, especially my boys, can glean something from the four years they spent living overseas during their childhood.