Perhaps you've been wondering how that's all working out for us, thinking about hiring a housekeeper. Spoiler alert: she's here, and she's awesome. But boy howdy, was it a job getting her here. I hardly know where to begin.
When I last left you, we had a woman in mind to hire. It was the best possible situation - she had been the nanny of a friend of ours, so we were mildly acquainted with her. In fact, when I first met her months and months ago, I thought, "If we were the kind of people who hired a housekeeper, I would want her to be like this lady." Her employer (our friend) moved away from the UAE a while ago and their nanny was back in the Philippines, without a job and very much wanting one. It was a perfect match, in other words.
If anyone really wants to know the specific details of how we got Carol (that's her name) into the country, you can ask. Briefly (hahahahaha, because the process was anything but), it involved a few trips to the Philippine consulate in Dubai, a ton (a TON) of paperwork and forms and passport-sized photos, some fees, and a one-way ticket from Manila to here. Once she arrived, Carol and I spent a few hours a day for almost a week at our local center of bureaucracy, where I alternately took a number, waited my turn, filled out forms, handed over documents, and threw specific amounts of money at specific cashiers at the appropriate times. It was kind of like a scavenger hunt. A scavenger hunt where I had to pay someone every time I checked something off my list. I now have a stack of papers in my possession (and a whole sheath of fee receipts) that are almost complete - I just have to hand them off to immigration for the final residence visa issuance. And pay another fee.
(Just for a time check: we decided to go forward with hiring a housekeeper in mid-June. She arrived in the UAE at the end of August. The paperwork isn't finished yet. Hiring someone directly and legally definitely takes longer than any other route.)
In the meantime, Carol is settling in to our house, and we are settling into her presence in our house. It's been a bit of an adjustment, but basically, it's like having my very own wife, except we pay her. Please don't read into my use of the word "wife" any complicated assessment of the value placed on housework by society, or my deeply held opinions on the roles of women in the home, or how much laundry SUCKS. All I mean is that I have my very own woman to help me make dinner and clean up the juice that Magdalena spilled and hand wash the school uniforms and help get things sorted out when we come home from the beach and we're all at once sandy and tired and wet and sunscreen-y and hungry, RIGHT NOW. Like I've been doing all by myself for years and years. And now I have someone to help - someone who happens to be a mother of three grown children, by the way, so lady knows what she's doing.
Wow, so much more I could say. Stay tuned.