One of the hardest parts of being so far away from home is that family are on the other side of the world. I grant you, this isn’t always a downside but there are times when having the support of your family is just needed.
Like when you need to fix the cistern and your knowledge has peaked because you took an English Literature degree and therefore have no actual life skills. You get your dad.
Or, if you feel like you need parenting advice because your child has been crying for a solid three hours but you know if you go to the hospital they’ll most likely send you home again because it’s just gas. You get your mum.
It’s hard when to ‘get’ someone over to help involves a minimum of 12 hours flying and six-hundred quid.
Fortunately for us our maid fulfils the role of emergency go-to person when we are stuck and have no idea what to do. Like when we suddenly needed to transport a huge gas barbecue that afternoon. Or when we get letters from the Thai government that look really scary but turn out to be advice on how to reduce your water bill, she translates and calms us. Or when we needed someone to vet the childcare for the boy whilst we were at work.
Unfortunately, she has taken the role of surrogate mother to the fullest and now orders me around like she actually is my mum.
This involves berating me for putting on weight over the summer, telling me off for not opening a window when cooking or telling me how to wash the boy’s clothes.
The Marxist view of social class should put me somewhere in the middle and my maid below that. To the casual observer, it would seem that she fulfils all of the requirements of the subjugated working class. Certainly, she wais deeply when saying hello and goodbye, apologises for everything and asks our permission to leave at the end of her shift.
What Marx would think of the other stuff, I don’t know.
The funny thing is, we’ve accepted her bossy, maternal ways. It might be because she is a genuinely wonderful lady. It could be that she helps us navigate our way through Thailand’s generally incomprehensible ways.
Or maybe it could be because when you’re half-way around the world you’ll take all the family you can get.