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Once upon a time I married a pilot and jumped from the nightlife and shopping orgies and complaints about the temperature of the mochitos in Hong Kong Peninsula Hotel directly to the world of babies and regularly cooked meals and shirts to be ironed and food shopping. The last one is my allergy. For those who know me – the ultimate nightmare. Food shopping at the Naschmarkt is for me an equivalent of spending a weekend in prison.  I simply do not have  the love for the details and the passion that some have when they look at a cheese. Which by the way does not mean, that i do not like to eat it. So to find a way and to have everything running smoothly, you should hire a housekeeper. And this was in 1984, since this moment my life is not the same anymore.

Allyn, Sarah, Amia, Heidi, Yoni and whatever we called them. I wanted help and I had more work than I had before.. No, I searched for help and I got troubles. The problem is the language and maybe the culture and the expectations. And I have to differentiate. Help is not help in the new and the old world. The old world is more expensive but more reliable. Helpers are recommended from one society lady to the other and the pressure on the helper is immense, as if one is not satisfied the entire network is breaking apart, so this somehow works then more or less.

 The new world is the pure adventure. Some of the items I am using such as dishwasher or key are very exotic items that are used for other things, and a key is something that is not that important so you can leave it outside while going to the next city for half a day. Our driving license looks like a business card, right. That is the problem because on my question where my driving license is that I had in my pocket of the coat last night, the help is smiling and pointing to the garbage container, that just in this moment is emptied after 2 weeks by the garbage guys. This game we had 5x. At least the people at the Verkehrsamt in Vienna know me by name and on the question why I do temporarily have no driving license it is “Alcohol?” me:”No, Housekeeper”.

The first question I have been asked over and over by my protagonists was “Does your house have WIFI?”, well I would maybe be more interested in how much is the salary instead, but the WIFI is for the fact that the entire community of invisible helpers is moving and cleaning and holding the Laptop in the other hand while trying to get the entire household under control just by one single hand. Once it happened to me that I passed by the laptop of my helper in   m y    kitchen and a friendly face smiled at me from the screen, saying “Good evening Mam, I hope you had a good trip and you are safely back from London”. Now it was clear I was a fully accepted member of a Philippine family clan, they will know where I go and they share all my worries and they discuss my life in great details, coming back and commenting it, most probably while I cook my coffee innocently and the nicely smiling lady from the screen is saying “Did she cut her hair recently, it looks bad”. This story can only be topped from the one, when my newly hired Nanny was left alone for the first time and after I returned home the antique commode was cut into hundreds of small pieces and just after I recovered from the shock not knowing what will await us inside she said – there was no wood in the house and it started to freeze outside – Her profile was “Nice girl from countryside, experienced in household and practique. 

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