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German Efficiency

January 30, 2011

27.01.11 German Efficiency
So yesterday started off as one of those see-saw days you seem to get so often when you first arrive somewhere. It started well, with the whole family up and dressed and breakfasted in time to go with Daddy to work and get his driver to take me and Alfie on to the big supermarket, thus saving not only taxi fare but the nightmare of a) finding a taxi, b) finding a taxi that knows the place you want to go, c) finding a taxi with at least a door intact, into which you can place your precious child without fear of imminent death, d) negotiating a fare that isn’t the usual tourist mark up, about 100% on local prices because Hello? I am not a tourist which I agree can be difficult to gauge but why would I want to go to a supermarket and then, with loads of shopping, go home again? Doh! and e) getting yourself and a toddler in without breaking into a sweat. You get the picture.
So just before we arrived at City Mart, temple of the expat population, the driver informs me that he thinks it might be closed. That it might in fact not open for another hour. And he is in fact right about that, as we can see when we pull up outside. Brilliant. Thanks. If you could have mentioned that when we were back at the house? Oh well, doesn’t matter, we’re not paying and now you have to drive us home again, so whatever. Back home and back to the drawing board where I have a genius idea that MuMu our housekeeper can keep an eye on Alfie while I go shopping . Which she can, though I tell her that she doesn’t have to worry about the cleaning which she takes absolutely to heart , which is no problem because we have people coming over for dinner tonight and I would rather feed them than show them a clean house, but still. In any case poor MuMu has to do endless washing and ironing as she does the laundry for the organisation’s entire international staff and that can keep her going all day.
So off I trot with certain smugness, knowing that I can now track down the elusive baking powder and vanilla essence I need for my cake, without screaming toddler in tow. This lasts about 5 minutes, after which I have met 2 taxis who have no idea where I want to go. I realise I have left behind all my guide books with the address in and I have forgotten to ask MuMu to write it down in Myanmar which can be endlessly helpful sometimes. I am a good 10 minute walk from home and wonder whether to turn back, knowing I am already eating into the hour of MuMu’s time, not to mention the heat of the day and oh bugger! I feel ready to cry already. Why does everything have to be so hard? I ask myself, self-pityingly.
Then, joy of joys. Not only do I make it to the supermarket with the 3rd taxi but once there I spy a very blonde lady with an equally blonde boy about Alfie’s age sitting in her trolley. Were it not for the fact that her boy is quiet and has slightly less teeth, they could be us, as it were. I decide I can’t let this opportunity pass and accost her in the rice isle. I tell her I am starting a playgroup (true) and wonder if she would like to come. She has just started one of her own! Though they are but 3 mums and toddlers and get very embarrassed at the singing bit. Hurrah! I LOVE the singing bit I tell her, a bit overenthusiastically, I even have a songsheet! She backs off. Then we have a lovely conversation and it turns out she is German and her group has just got going on a Friday morning and we are more than welcome and her son is almost a year old. Not only but also, I mention that I am searching for a nanny and lo and behold, she knows the very person. This person is highly recommended because her sister is nanny to the Australian Ambassador and very highly thought of apparently. Ergo, good nannying runs in the family, so to speak. And she is definitely looking for work and Kristina (for that is the name of my new best friend) will pass on my number.
And so it is that by 5pm that very day I have met and interviewed the sister of the amazing nanny and she does indeed seem totally lovely (and almost my age which for some reason I find extraordinarily comforting) AND she speaks good English which is practically gold dust in a nanny round here AND she brought her mother who spoke excellent English and was totally charming. I employed her on the spot. The nanny that is, not her mother. Her English name is Amber (she has a beautiful Myanmar name too but mother insisted she was always known as Amber so we’ll stick to that. Her sister is called Betty, just by the way).
And that’s what I call German efficiency! K and I have spoken on the phone about three times already and tomorrow we’re off to the playgroup, where I can’t wait to show off my Singalonga Rhyme Time skills, woo hoo!

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