Friday, May 27, 2011

Look what the maid made

Hooray for homonyms (and alliterations)!!

I gave in a couple months ago and got a maid.  I'd fought it.  I was going to be the bule hold out.  I wanted to be one of the few, the proud, the maidless. Everyone in Indonesia has a maid, and a nanny and a driver and. . .  My place is small.  It's a 33 square meter studio.  There's not much open floor space after accounting for the bed, sofa, wall unit and table.  I didn't see the need for a maid.  I can clean it up.  I don't mind cleaning for the most part.  I tend to be pretty organized.  I thought it was silly to get a maid.
Courtesy of  This isn't my apartment, but about the same size.
Then I got a maid.  Nani is a friend of my friend's maid. Did you get that?  My friend Carla has a maid, Yanti.  My maid, Nani is Yanti's friend.  They arrive and leave together.  They go shopping for food together.  It's convenient and she was looking for work.

I have tried to convince myself I'm providing work and a relatively good salary for someone who might not have it otherwise.  I'm very nice and respectful.  I tidied up this morning knowing she'd be coming.  I left dishes and laundry, but both in their correct places.  I picked up all the stuff that was flung about from my exhaustion in arriving home the last two days.

Nani is great.  She does all the laundry, changes sheets or makes the bed, washes dishes, wipes down the shower/sinks. She goes to the local grocery to pick up food for whatever she's cooking that week.  She cuts up enough fresh fruit to feed a family of four (though I went through it all in about 5 days this week).  It's less than a whole day's work.   I'm not sure how early she comes but she's finished between four and five pm.
This is how my fridge feels on Friday afternoon.
I love that I come home to a clean house with food prepped.  I do still occasionally feel guilty but I'm trying to take advantage since I have never before, and I'm guess I won't after, had a maid. This is how to make Indonesia work.  Splurge on the maid, the weekly massages, the whenever possible trips to Bali to help mitigate the mind numbing frustration, exhaustion and ridiculousness of Jakarta.


  1. I only have my maid for 2 or 3 days a week and just the basics. maybe I should get the food thing too. It might help me be a bit healthier here.

    My maid also works for my friend Randy who lives at Tham Res too. She just does very basic cleaning but her husband is also helpful and pays my bills etc. The most important thing is I trust them. I got ripped off a few times in Vietnam by stealing maids. So I am a bit cynical now.

    I love your blog by the way. I really am not enjoying Jakarta at all and thinking about starting my own blog to help me deal with it. I had one in Vietnam but it was all glowing... I am worried this one would be all moaning and complaining.


  2. I said, enjoy it while you have it. Keep thinking the way you are, you are providing work for someone who needs it, and she seems to be doing a good job.

    I grew up with 2 maids in my house when we lived in Vzla. After we moved cities we got other 2 that worked with us for 15 yrs, from M-F, and all of them were always like part of our family.

    I had one in the US who used to go to my place only on Mondays every 2 weeks, in the US having a maid isn't as cheap as it can be in Asia, S. America, or even Spain.

    Now I'm the maid in my own house :P What I'm going to have one day it's an ironing lady!!!