Some quirks of life here in the Philippines

As I have mentioned, we have two different household helpers who come, not on the same day.  One of them is because we need her.  Well, we really, really do better with her here, and also, now that I am working in the high school library four hours every day,and the Cherub and I walk there and back unless we catch a Trike,  it’s tremendously helpful to have her handle the laundry.  Somebody needs to be here to rush it all off the line in the not uncommon event of sudden rain showers, and a household help who can do a lot of the produce and meat buying at the panlingke instead of the grocery store can save a family the cost of her wages, so it evens out.  The second one is a young man from church who filled in for her briefly when she was off island for a church conference, and he really needs the work, so when she returned, we asked him to come once a week on a day she doesn’t come.  He isn’t as skilful with the grocery shopping and he can’t cook, so it doesn’t even out, but we still are grateful for the things he can do for us.

So here are some quirks, which could be just their personaities, but since they don’t know each other, it’s interesting that they do the same thing:

  1. They both will wash and iron my husband’s thin cotton pajamas and hang them up on a hanger.  But my skirts don’t get ironed, nor are they hung up on hangers. The get folded and left in the laundry basket.
  2. We have two twin beds, one was the Boy’s, one is the Cherub’s, and we have several sets of sheets for them, along with some extra twin sized top sheets we bought from a transferring missionary family.  We also have two sets of sheets that fit our bed.  One set is in a solid colour, a sort of light green, fitted sheet, regular sheet, and two pillowcases.  The other set is a blue and pink pattern that is impossible to describe, but elements remind me of 1960s watercolour and calligraphy giftbooks.  The patterns are weird to my eyes, and not duplicates, but they clearly *match*, a fitted sheet, a top sheet, and two pillowcases.  The sheets get laundered by one helper every week, and sometimes, if it’s been particularly hot, if the Cherub has  spilled something, etc, they get washed a second time.   Neither helper *ever*  puts the matching set back on my bed.  They take a twin flat sheet and use it for the bottom sheet, tucking it in tightly and well, with excellent hospital corners, and then any random top sheet or two.   Last week, I started remaking the bed before I left for work, but I only got as far as putting the fitted sheet on the mattress before the Cherub needed attention and I didn’t finish.  When I came home, the bed was made, but not with the matching sheet and pillowcases I had left on a nearby chair.  Two random twin sized top sheets were on it, and the clean matching topsheet and pillowcase were folded neatly and put away.  I don’t get it.  It wouldn’t puzzle me so much if I didn’t know they do sell matching sheets (because we bought some) in the grocery stores and department stores.
  3.  we have a dog again.  He has been passed around among missionary families who moved abruptly. We’re the third family to own him since I’ve been here, and we haven’t been here a year.  He’s a pretty good dog- an outside dog, a good watchdog, a friendly soul, he does not bark at nothing, and he doesn’t chew things, and he poops in the same place in the back of our concrete yard.  The one thing I don’t love is he marks his territory in two places- our front gate, and the entrance to our patio.  IT’s incredibly strong smelling and unpleasant, and I cannot stand to sit out on my patio any more because of it, and I’m embarrassed to have visitors as they have to walk through this haze of dog pee odor.  We spray the area down with a hose repeatedly but it didn’t help because he just goes back almost immediately to recreate the same nasty miasma.  So then my husband had the brilliant idea of putting his food and water bowl in one of those spots to discourage him from peeing there.  I don’t know how effective it would be, because three times a week one of the helpers clears them away to a totally different part of the concrete yard.  I explained to both of them that we put them there so that it might discourage the dog from peeing where people have to walk to enter our front patio, but they still keep clearing them away.
  4. When the Cherub and I leave to go to the school, each helper will stop whatever he or she is doing and walk us to the outside gate and give us a somewhat formal good-bye.

    Except for moving the dog bowls, none of these are complaints, just observations.  We’re kind of amused by the ironed pajamas, and bemused by the consistent making of the bed without using matching sheets.  It really stands out since only the Cherub has a blanket. we just have a top sheet.  So sometimes the bed is very piebald – a pink patterned bottom sheet, a green twin top sheet and a navy blue twin top sheet sort of overlapping each other for the top.   And I have learned to be very appreciative of being walked out to the road, since they can also make sure the dog stays in the yard and I don’t have to juggle the Cherub, my backpack and parasol, and close the large metal gate and drive the bolt home at the same time.  But it still feels like I’m play-acting lady of the manor, especially when neither will call me by my first name.  I”m Ma’am to one of them, and the one from our church has compromised and will call me Sister.

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  1. Fatcat
    Posted September 29, 2017 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    Here in the states you can get enzyme spray that will supposedly keep the dog from marking that area. I don’t know if they have it there. Thanks for the interesting view of life in another country. I find it very interesting and I will probably never get to go anyplace. 🙂

    • Headmistress
      Posted September 29, 2017 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

      I keep meaning to look at a pet store in the mall or a nearby vet’s office for said enzyme spray, but it reqiures an extra trip. I have looked in the pet section of the grocery store and they don’t have it.

      It was funny, I asked on my personal fb page if anybody had any suggestions, and all of the ideas from Americans were completely unworkable in our situation, although there are some Fiilpino families in the professional classes who could probably manage them.

  2. Fatcat
    Posted September 30, 2017 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    It’s on Amazon if you have that there.

    Good luck. I’m housetraining a puppy right now and it is no picnic!

    • Headmistress
      Posted October 1, 2017 at 3:55 am | Permalink

      Well, we have it here for some things. Shipping is basically seventy dollars or so.

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