mercoledì, novembre 06, 2013

When I was younger, so much younger than today, I didn't have so many people working for me

Maybe I caught some sort of virus in India but it looks as though I've become dependent on having people working for me in the house.

No more cleaning lady, though the one we had in L_____ was a fascinating sociological experience. She was doing cashwork for us and people like us, and eventually let it be known she was also collecting the reasonably generous benefits the Australian government provides for unemployed single mothers, but DAMN could she ever rip into aboriginal people for wroughting the benefits system. She'd really get going about aboriginal people sometimes. Told me the same story five or six times about how some aboriginal lady asked her to watch a $20 note for her and then started screaming at her later in the evening, claiming it had been a $50 note. I guess she evened things out in the karmic scheme of things by not showing up for our final houseclean with ten minutes notice (luckily the agency our agents suggested had a free afternoon), keeping an extension cord she'd "borrowed" from us and $20 I'd overpaid previously. Much good may they do that poor dropkick. All the wroughting she could manage, and yet was barely keeping her head above water, financially and emotionally . . .

So hard to get good help these days. 

Incidentally, and I don't know if I've written about this before, many white Australians can really rip into aboriginal people here for things that, well, characterize white Australians quite a bit of time. I don't have time today to really get into the use of aborigines as paranoid objects by white Australians despite the home help I'll describe in a moment. But to be brief, the image of aborigines a broad cross-section of white Australians of varying sociological classes has presented to me, once it got comfortable enough with me to imagine I wouldn't be too judgy, (hah!) is of lazy, unreliable, sloppy drunks who rip off the government and anybody else they can manage. Well . . . yeah. Ebony and ivory, baby, you're all a bunch of fucking keys, apparently. I only met a few aboriginal people up in L_____. They all seemed fine. Maybe slightly more friendly than the white people, which is saying very little indeed, bunch of fucked-up, home-is-my-castle, atomized, mumbling mangiacakes. Quite a few aboriginal families in our old neighborhood and they never really stood out, besides the blackness. Slightly more nasal accent. Seems unlikely I'll meet many more. I haven't seen a single person I would have guessed is aboriginal in Melbourne. 

Anyways. Back to help in the home. We hired a gardener in L_____ to look after the property. Big part of why we moved, actually. I wouldn't have been able to excuse hiring a gardener for a property we were living in - only an income property - but even before the baby was born we weren't keeping on top of that massive beast. Buying a 1,200 m2 property in the subtropics was a pretty stupid way of discovering I don't actually like gardening.

And now that the F-word is working fullish time we've needed to address the childcare issue and we've done that by hiring an Italian girl to come and play with Godzilla during the afternoons, while I work. Lots of fun for him and good for me too, since I was really not ready to put him in even a nice family daycare. We're paying her enough to motivate her to like the job but since it's just afternoons it's still cheaper than family daycare. And it does the trick for me, what with the Chinese workday not starting until noon here - gives Godzilla and me time to have a little fun together in the mornings.

Linguistically we're hoping for the best too. The F-word is only talking to Godzilla in Italian still and with S_____, who only got to Melbourne ten days ago and doesn't seem to speak a word of English, having a good time with him, maybe he'll be handy enough to play with his cousins and pick up Romance languages fairly easily in the future.

I hope we're doing right by him. Planning our next trip to Europe for next September, when we'll do the family interviews at the German waldkindergartens - he won't even be three yet when he starts, if things go to plan. My gut instinct was to do with German what we're doing with Italian now, to make things easier for him when we arrive. But given my German is practically non-existent and the F-word's limited to aphorisms and swearwords, that's not really possible. And if Godzilla can get his foot in the door with Romance languages it probably opens more future avenues up.

Decisions, decisions. At least German kindergarten lasts a long time and there won't really be academic expectations of any kind for him until he's seven or so . . . gives him a good four years to get used to the new language through play.