Two times a week my apartment gets serviced. Never having grown up with a housekeeper or maid (except my mother, of course), this concept is strange and awkward for me. It is going to take some getting used to. The month at the other apartment was an easing into the servicing. Because it was a smaller apartment they took a relatively short amount of time and it was usually at the same time (morning, about 9am). Here, at Canton, I can’t run away every time the sweet little ladies knock on the door and announces “housekeeping”, not announce so much as say it with a little inflection almost asking if they can come in to clean my apartment. The past few weeks I made myself scarce, going out to the shops, walking, gym-ing, eating, anything to stay out of the way and out of the apartment. I have sat on the balcony reading, but it’s also been very hot so I usually just sweat myself silly until they finish. And they aren’t as consistent on the timing. I think they clean all apartments on this floor the same days so they may just choose at random (between the 4) which to start on. Monday, mine seems to be last, usually starting after 1pm and finishing up after 3. Thursday (second week in a row) it is first on the schedule with a knock at 930am. Today I cannot leave, I need to use my apartment. Luckily my coffee was just done brewing…so this is my first day staying in my apartment the entire time it is being serviced.
While the wonderful cleaner is doing her job today, I plopped myself in the little study to give a detailed account of this bi-weekly event. My study has a lovely balcony and the weather today is perfect. a breezy 26° with a light cloud cover. And this is my view…
But, let me start from the beginning of these servicing days. As I have learned from others that have had cleaners, you clean before it gets cleaned. I do this too. I put all the used towels in a pile ( I should strip the bed, but I have to make it every morning so I won’t do both). I make sure all the dishes are put away. The tables are cleared of all our crap (probably won’t be possible when all our crap is here from the shipment). All the clothes are put away and laundry sorted. This is how I prepare the apartment twice a week. Overkill?
So these wonderful little workers (one usually) come bustling in and turn on every light. They check every light bulb to make sure it is working. And there are a lot. 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a study, the kitchen, the balconies and the living area. Then the beds (we only use one so it’s quick) are stripped and remade. Towels are changed over. The bathroom is scrubbed (I think. I haven’t seen it done but she has been in there a while with gloves on). She then moves on to the next bathroom (rarely used but it’s closer to the living area so it can be used occasionally). The kitchen is cleaned followed by everything else dusted and wiped down. Finally the floors are vacuumed or swept and then mopped. And I can’t stress this enough, this is a large apartment. The whole thing has shiny dark timber-it takes a long time to do ALL the floors. I have complained about the quality of work but really, it gets done and I am not doing it. I do love my cleaning time and enjoying tidying, but mopping is my worst enemy so if someone else will take care of it, I will sacrifice my need to clean.
And because my time is not spent cleaning this place, I have time to do things like go shopping with new friends (grocery shopping but still it’s getting out). My newest friend is a fellow American, an Oregonian in fact, and from Beaverton. Her husband works for Nike. Small world it is, but since manufacturing is massive here it actually makes sense. She has a driver and offered to take me to Metro for some shopping. It was a huge relief since it was going to be a massive outing for me with taxis and grocery bags and all that rigmarole. Having a driver meant buying a nice little coffee maker. And getting to know my new friend better.
My social outing today is spent celebrating another new friend’s 50th birthday. A lovely ladies lunch at cafe in the 4 Seasons Hotel. It’s a pretty flash spot so it means dressing up and all that stuff. No ball gowns this time fortunately. But no flip-flops either.
This weekend we have two outings planned. The first is visiting a dog shelter My Paws and Me. We are hoping to find a sweet pup to foster for a few months and help it find a permanent home, also know as its “furever home”. I am prepared for a tough visit but also know these dogs were saved and have a better life at this shelter than any other place they’ve been. Sunday we have a day outing with friends to Kaiping. It was planned for us so I have no idea what is there or the reason for going. Joel, of course, has done his research, but I like to be surprised.
And finally, my biggest accomplishment this week is stocking our fridge, freezer and fruit bowl and vegetable drawer. There is not really a “one-stop-shop” like home (Australia or US) so I shop around..and around and around. I made a few online/We Chat orders for fruit and veg, another for some dairy and dried goods and more fruit, a trip to the super market for meat and another outing to the wet market for more veg. It is an all day event when attempting to organise food and meals here. I’m pretty sure my sweet husband thinks I just sit around sipping coffee and snacking on almonds (which he would approve of) and although some days are like that, days like yesterday, were a lot of planning, organsing and shopping. It really does make you appreciate those simple things back at home…but I feel so much more accomplished after making a simple meal here.