Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Diary of a lazy moi

Well, the fact I have a cleaner seemed to cause quite a flutter. So here's a whole post dedicated to justifying my laziness.

Why do I have a cleaner in Kyiv when I live in a flat the size of my bedroom in Sydney, and I'm cozily unoccupied in the employment department?

It's because I'm a lazy twat. Oh, that's not it! It's because blogging has become a full time job. Nope, that's not it either. Even though, it practically has (reading blogs, not writing).

To be honest, I have a cleaner because it's so darn cheap. Hands up (Robin excluded) who wouldn't get a cleaner when she only costs $20? And not only that, but I have the satisfaction of knowing that I'm contributing to the scourge of the underpaid working class helping someone earn money in a country where a lot of people live below the poverty line.

And everyday life here is plain exhausting. Every three or four days, I do the following:

- Go to a money changer to... get some money changed
- Hike between three different and widely dispersed shops and an open-air market, just to get all the groceries I need
- Carry it all home in a backpack and numerous shopping bags that bang against my legs
- Walk up four flights of stairs because the lift is making really scary noises again
- Head out again to pay some bill or another (I miss internet banking)
- Visit the babushka in the kiosk up the street because I've inevitably forgotten something.

That, my friends, pretty much takes up the whole day. By the end of this little routine, there's been that much physical exertion and contact with grumpy service people, the last thing I want to think about is cleaning the bathroom. My cleaner is my sanity preservation.

And while I've wasted a whole post on justifying why I have a cleaner, I still haven't convinced myself that I'm not a lazy twat...

(At least I don't have a nanny, a driver, a housekeeper and a cook. People here do. All up, salaries for those staff combined would cost the humble expat about $20,000 a year).

26 comments:

carpetblogger said...

No need to defend yourself here! Moving to Kyiv where I couldn't have a twice a week cleaning/cooking/sleeping on the couch lady AND a five days a week Russian dogwalker was serious culture shock. Now in Istanbul, I have NO HELP at all, except all the guys who will deliver any little (or big thing, like bags of kibble or jugs of water) to my front door, no tip expected. Being an expat can be SO HARD!

Beccy said...

If they only cost $20 I'd jump at the chance to have a cleaner. More time for blogging...yippee!

No said...

$20? You're freakin' kidding me....

I still do think you're royalty, tho...come on, fess up...

pumpernickel said...

Don't forget LMM that the best part of living somewhere else is the experience. And you share that experience with your readers all the time. I don't know about others, but your time is worth more than $4/hour and I am glad to read about things other than you scrubbibg toilets.

Sabrina said...

Go for the cleaner!! You don't get those hours you spent cleaning back at the end of your life or anything. . .and you ARE helping people out. . .seriously.

Claudia said...

$20? Sign me up!

So, I have an idea...I would love to see a visual journey of your day...the elevator, babushka, etc?? If you feel like it...

elena jane said...

omg, if it only cost $20, i'd have a cleaner. keeping any place tidy is hard enough, but with all that trekking around town to get all your necessities, why not!! good for you :)

Vicki said...

I am in love with the fact that you called it a lift instead of an elevator.

ChrisB said...

I like claudia's idea you must give that some serious consideration

Little Miss Moi said...

Dear carpetblogger. Let me get this straight. The only thing people really help you with is dog kibble... which the dogs don't eat? AND you got your cleaner to cook? Lucky you. But now.. unlucky you.

Dear beccy. Hahah yes, well, all I tend to do while she's here is blog.


Dear no. Oh I wish. Unfortunately I lack the elegance gene and I don't wear hats.


Dear pumpernickel. I read the first sentence of your comment and I thought, "He's going to tell me that part of that experience is cleaning the loo." I'm glad you didn't, and am very chuffed you think I'm worth more than $4 an hour.


Dear sabrina. Thanks. You just erased the last inkling of guilt!


Dear claudia. OK I shall see what I come up with over the next few days...


Dear elena jane. Yeah it sounds like a cop-out, but the trekking thing really does kill me at times! Just takes ages.


Dear vicki. Heheh that's we call them in Oz! And my lift is really so crap, it doesn't warrant speaking the number of syllables in the word, 'elevator'.


Dear Chrisb. I'll see what I can do.

JoeinVegas said...

A cook. Why not a cook, to supply marvelous goodies? Or do they only know how to do local not so marvelous stuff?

melissa said...

Oh, I love claudia's idea.

I don't think you need to defend yourself either. I'm sure there are dozens of people who could disagree with any of my financial choices. Plus, for 20 bucks? I'd TOTALLY hire a cleaner! ;)

olechko said...

xaxa, glad you got over this. sorry for the carpetblogger who seems to be missing it.

Anonymous said...

Hey LMM - I know why you don't take the lift - you had a THING about lifts ever since Baronet's 16th floor!!!!

Karmyn R said...

WOW - for $20 I'd hire TWO Cleaners - AND a third one JUST to wash my windows....and laziness has nothing to do with it.

When my dad lived in the UAE - they had a little guy come and clean. Ashraf (a Pakistani) would dust and vacuum and that was about it. I think he was pretty cheap too

If my scanner was working I'd post a picture of me and him together.

theotherbear said...

I was about to write "For that price I'd get two" but Karmyn beat me to it!

Molly said...

I'm curious about how you communicate with the babushka on the corner and other locals? I don't imagine many of them speak English. I just remember speaking "in tongues"[a little Flemish, a little French, a little German, liberally sprinkled with English when a word wouldn't come to me in any of the others] at the market in Brussels every Sat. and how my husband was hugely amused watching me squirm and totally embarrass myself. But would he try? Not on your life! Why bother when he had me along? Of course, in your shoes he'd be blabbing Ukrainian a mile a minute....

mind the gap said...

Cleaners rock! I just wish that I could get out of the irritating habit of cleaning the flat before the cleaner comes. And think about it as dual purpose value for money - you can practice your Ukrainian - I have learnt ironing, chair, table, mop so far.

enidd said...

enidd thinks you haven't mentioned all the time you spend preparing to get pizzed, getting pizzed, and recovering from getting pizzed. takes most of her time, anyway.

The Mann's... said...

yeah you don't even need to justify yourself - no sane person would clean if somebody else could do it for 20 bucks. I want to see photos of the markets etc too! Sounds amazing - my life is so boring! How long have you been in Kyiv?

Amy said...

BELIEVE ME ... if I could afford a cleaning service, I would SO get one! Cleaning sucks. I don't need an excuse, either. Oh, there was a time when I thought it was somehow "wrong" to hire someone to clean your own house for you, but I have since come to my senses. I still believe there will be a day when I can have a cleaning woman of my own. Just not while I have children. Grrrr.

Sam said...

Oh I'd love a cleaner! Good for you :o)

Pamela said...

I write my name in the dust and admire my penmanship

Little Miss Moi said...

Dear joeinvegas. Perhaps my cleaner might cook for me... but I do love cooking so. And yes, I think they could only cook local stuff which is nice but laden with mayonaise and smetana (sour cream)...


Dear melissa. Thank you! You make me feel better.


Dear olechko. Yes poor carpetblogger. Now... do you have a cleaner? Or do you toil away yourself like I did til a month ago?


Dear mum. Yes, well, that's partly why I'm so darn skeptical when my lift makes dreadful clunking noises.


Dear karmyn. I have a friend here who used to live in Abu Dhabi and she said the cleaner would spend HOURS dusting because there was always just sand EVERYWHERE! So I really feel sorry for Ashraf.


Dear the other bear. Well, since two people have suggested it... but my place isn't big enough.


Dear molly. Well, I take two russian lessons a week, which are one on one. I can ask things like 'where's the pub' and 'do you have beer' and 'I'd like some grease and two neurofen' etc. But there are many people here who are still so unaccustomed to hearing Russian spoken with a foreign accent, that they don't try to understand. So that's a bit frustrating... And everytime I'm in a spot, I almost speak Japanese, which is the first other language I learnt.


Dear sarahemily. Ukrainian or Russian? I hardly talk to my cleaner. I'm embarrassed that I hire her for such a small apartment. Oh dear, I still have the guilt!


Dear enidd. Well, perhaps next time we pizz it up together, we each need to do a pizzed post to see pizzing from the three different pizzpectives (four if we include olechko).


Dear themanns. This is now my 7th month in Kyiv. Have spent five weeks out - three weeks in UK and Oz in March, and two weeks in Kazakhstan in December. Will get some photos of the markets - I'm too chicken to photograph people though! so might have to take some photo friends along for moral support :o) PS Trust me. Life is just a boring as normal most of the time, but it's fun now that I'm making friends who I can get pizzed with...


Dear amy. Do what my mum did and enlist your kids as your personal cleaning team. I was five when I started! With five kids, we had a roster for clearing, setting table, washing up and wiping up. Also bathroom, vacuuming etc. Free labour - and one of love at that! he he he.


Dear sam. Yep, milking it now cause I'll never be able to afford one when I move back to Oz!


Dear pamela. You really make me cackle.

Wes said...

You're not alone. I know heaps of people who have made the go and live O/S trip, and inevitably they end up with nannies or cleaners. It's interesting to get an insight into your day!

zandria said...

I don't think there's anything wrong with you having some cleaning help, either. Like you said, it's a way for them to earn money and it's not like you're exploiting them. You're just providing employment. :)