An Ayi (pronounced, ah-yee, or I-E if you have a terrible accent like me) is basically a mother’s helper (or a *domestic* helper). In theory, she cleans and helps with the little trolls, but from what I gather, doesn’t do much in the realm of cooking (though I can’t be sure if those who I’ve spoken to have asked their ayi’s to only cook western foods – in which case, I understand the failed attempts). At any rate, every expat I’ve met, has one. Generally either Chinese or Filipino. The English speaking aye’s command a higher wage, roughly $4/hour (which we don’t actually prefer – part of it, for us, is someone who will speak to the kids in Mandarin).
Pretty much every in-depth-small-talk-conversation I’ve had since we’ve been here has included either the question, “Do you have an ayi yet?” or “Have you found a cleaning lady?” Can we settle down folks, I can barely keep my fridge stocked and butt clean (toilet paper in bathroom), let’s just take it one step at a time.
BUT THERE IS MORE TO IT THAN THAT, AS IT TURNS OUT.
I have a really difficult time letting go, imagine that. The complicated part is that I LOVE THE IDEA OF AN AYI. LOVE. Someone to help clean and hang with my filthy beasts while I go to THE GYM or, get this one, PUT ENERGY INTO PURSUING MY VERY OWN CAREER – a novel idea indeed. It sounds mouth wateringly divine. Can I put those thoughts into action though – that’s the issue. Can I let go of my children enough to trust them to the care of a stranger? I’ve always had a tough time opening up to the idea of a babysitter – just ask my husband – and rather than just making myself a bit uncomfortable (albeit for a very short amount of time), I just haven’t given myself the option. After all, it’s easier to stay where you’re comfortable, right? Well, that would be hunky doory (what the hell kind of slang term is that, anyway?), if I didn’t both inwardly AND outwardly (less so) bitch about being trapped by my children.
My husband’s answer: HIRE A DAMN AYI. SHIT OR GET OFF THE POT.
Well, we nearly hired one last week. We basically did (I shat) and then, shortly after, I got off the pot. Decisions in my life are never black and white and nearly always come with hours of thought and research. (YES, I would LOVE to turn that switch off, any ideas?) Pro’s and con’s, this’s and that’s… for hours, sometimes days. Psycho-Lauren-Analysis much?
Bottom line is that I’m used to cleaning and cooking and soothing and comforting and reprimanding and resolving, by myself, for many hours of the day. Though, yes husband, it’s been AMAZING having you around more and YES, you are incredibly helpful and engaged, no complaining here. And we get on just fine this way. Do we really need someone else in the picture to help out?
And there you have it, the million dollar question, TO AYI OR NOT TO AYI?
Shall we save it for another day? Wink, wink.