I have a confession. I’ve actually debated on whether or not to write about it. I mean, it doesn’t exactly make me look good. But in the interest of authenticity and writing the truth in my slices, here goes nothing.

I have a live-in maid. You may be thinking…well, I’m sure she has a big family and has an elderly parent to care for and works three full-time jobs in order to justify a full-time maid. Nope. I’m a single thirty-something with no kids. Let the judging begin.

It’s not something I planned on doing when I moved to Indonesia. I mean, I wanted to hire a maid to come in twice a week to do the major cleaning and laundry, as I have had in the other countries I’ve lived. It’s a perk of the international educator lifestyle- one that I’ve embraced with open arms. But when I visited Jakarta a couple months before the big move, a colleague who was leaving highly recommended that I hire her pembantu (Bahasa Indonesia for maid). Based on the recommendation, I was keen to hire Rohana. It wasn’t until later that I found out she was only looking for a live-in position, not a part-time one. After much consideration, I decided to go for it, mainly because I had such a big house and was worried I wouldn’t find someone who was as good, could cook well (Rohana is an excellent cook), and spoke a little English.

At first it was awkward trying to figure one another out, learning to live with someone after living alone for the past 15 years, and communicating with someone whose first language isn’t English. However, we quickly fell into a routine and I came to appreciate having someone around to help clean, do the laundry, prepare my breakfast and lunch to take to work, and cook dinner or at least help prep for dinner so I can cook when I get home. It’s also nice to have someone to deal with any repairs that need to be done during the day or bring me my laptop when I forget it at home.

For the past year and a half, I’ve become accustomed to having Rohana around and rely on her quite a bit for the day-to-day life stuff. Simply put, she makes my life easier and there’s less stress when she’s around. But she’s been away for the past three weeks and as much as I hate to admit it, it’s been hard. Like, really hard. Harder than it should be, especially considering the fact that I was used to making my own breakfasts and lunches, washing up, doing laundry, etc. before moving here. It wasn’t a big deal. It was just a part of life. I’ve come to realize that this part of being an adult is no fun at all.

Since I’m confessing everything tonight, I may as well tell you the whole truth. I haven’t done it all by myself the past few weeks. For one, I’ve learned that I have just enough clothes to last roughly a month (including undies) without having to do laundry. If she doesn’t come back this Sunday, I’m going to have to figure out how the washer works. A huge fan of Go-Jek, I have tried out a new feature called Go-Clean a few times, where I can have someone come to my house to clean on an hourly basis. It’s insane to think about, but the hourly rate is 35,000 Rupiah (about $2.50 USD). This nice lady (luckily the same one each time) has washed dishes and cleaned the counters and floors. I’ve also cooked less often than I normally do, opting to order Go-Food delivery instead, to cut down on dishes. It’s all pretty pathetic when you think about it.

So there you have it. My confessions laid out for the world to see. Hope you don’t judge me too harshly. But I wouldn’t blame you if you did.



26 thoughts on “Confession

  1. Lisa Keeler

    I think you need to not condemn yourself here. There are way too many ways for you and any of us who read this to use our time and energy other than standing in judgement. To write about something honestly and feel vulnerable putting it out there- that is super brave. I love that you experienced that as a writer. And I hope she comes back soon (:

  2. Marie

    Does she need you too? Maybe you should celebrate the symbiotic relationship. The whole arrangement is probably better for everyone’s health. You are less stressed and she has a happy, pretty mellow job that suits her needs. I say cherish it and enjoy!

  3. Megan Watson

    No judgment here! Sounds like she has turned into a companion of sorts, too. I almost feel like those who judge need to look closer at themselves. We all have different needs and the fact that you are an international educator is so awesome and busy, I’m sure. Keep doing you and don’t ever be afraid to be open and honest with us on this platform. If I’ve learned anything this past week as a new slicer, it’s that this is a supportive, judgment free zone. I hope Rohana comes back soon!

  4. wordjourneysite

    It sounds like a great arrangement – so jealous. I lived in Trinidad for a year – a long time ago – and having a live-in maid was expected (I think it was seen as a way to support the economy). My mom railed against it, but had to give in. You do come to appreciate and depend on that person.

    1. aggiekesler Post author

      It’s not ‘expected’ per se, but so many people have one here. It’s the first place I’ve lived where that was the case. I definitely appreciate her, and more so since she’s been gone.

  5. learn_thru_it

    The things we get used to can be surprising. Your post reminds me of living in Abu Dhabi… We were warned not to get used to the “golden handcuffs” – becoming so used to a fabulous and expensive lifestyle that you wouldn’t save the money you had planned when you moved there in the first place. Not that that is what you are doing, it’s just interesting the habits or roles we fall into when we move to a new cultural context. Thank you for sharing!

  6. Terje

    Strange that you were worried to share this. This is your life and your choices and you don’t have to justify this to anyone. You did make me a bit envious though. But mostly I am happy that someone is taking care of you so you can dedicate your time for taking care of your students, and having a chance to travel.

  7. Lisa Corbett

    I used to be a live-in nanny, and I did all the things you describe for the family. My salary was quite a bit better though! I often find myself wondering if I would like to have a nanny now that I have 2 children of my own. I don’t really want someone to take care of them as much as I want someone to take care of me and my house so I can spend more time with them! Enjoy your housekeeper, and I do hope she comes back.

    1. aggiekesler Post author

      I was also a line-in nanny in Sydney ages ago! I don’t know if I’d get a nanny (if I ever had kids), but I sure like having a housekeeper.

  8. Diane Anderson (newtreemom)

    Nope, no judgement. I had a part time maid when I lived in Panama (Zoila) and a full time maid when I lived in Lima, Peru (Victoria). Both were kind and loving and so capable at their work. Victoria wanted to come home to the US with us when we left Peru. It was hard to explain how different everything is. I still miss her cooking.

  9. shellymkeller

    I was hooked by the title. It sounds like your built a great relationship. Everyone’s lifestyle is different. Nothing to be ashamed of! I wouldn’t mind a housekeeper! I’m sure it is hard after being used to having Rohana there to not having her at all. Hope she is back with you soon!


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