Right from the first, I was never comfortable with having workers in the house. Oh, in the U.S. someone would come in for the day and clean. Often that happened while I was gone. But in Peru, we have two people who are with us all day and, at one time, lived in the same house with us.
When people are with you all the time, even if they are non-intrusive, they are there. It affects everything you do. In my case, if I take up a broom to sweep something, one of the maids will say, let me do that. It is their job and they are right to do so. But it means that what I was used to doing in the U.S. is no longer the same.
What are you complaining about? Now you don’t have to do this work.
That is true. But maybe I like to do that work.
Or maybe I want to cook something and now I feel that I am invading the territory of the lady who cooks. In the past, I have made an excellent soup with the carcass of our Thanksgiving turkey. I liked doing it. Then one year, when I went to do my soup, I found that the cook, to please me, had already done it. What could I say? What made it worse was that my soup was better. That seems like a minor thing. But it affects how I live in my own house.
I feel captured by the system.
I make my bed. No one else in the house does that and I am seen to be weird. In that small way, though, I am resisting the system.
Granted things in Peru are a lot more complicated when it comes to running the house. We don’t have some of the conveniences like a dishwasher and, for a while, a clothes dryer. Also cooking Peruvian style– which is what we do in our house– is labor-intensive with lots of preparation for those delicious dishes.
No can openers in this house
Our meals are prepared from fresh ingredients, usually organic. I was thinking the other day, that I haven’t seen anybody use a can opener in this house for a long time. I had to look to see if we still had one. We don’t usually buy any prepared frozen meals either.
I like to have my things organized so that I can find things without going crazy. Most of the time, I have control of my things, but sometimes the maid will come in and rearrange everything without saying anything to me. Or she will take something that has been washed and put it in a completely different place. Then the challenge is to find the new location.
Sorry. I have to leave.
I want to sneak in and do some work in the kitchen before the maids come.