Monday, 29 July 2013

A Conversation with a Cleaning Lady


 After perusing a variety of potential homes-to-be, John and I decided on #3 The Fixer Upper with a View.  Someone on FB had jokingly said, "Maybe a Lowe's or Home Depot is nearby…"  Ha ha ha ha…uh hem.  THAT would be amazing, but sadly no.

Yesterday a lady who had been hired by our landlord came to the new apartment to do some cleaning after the a/c guys had completed their installation of the unit in our bedroom.  They had left a good pile of concrete, wire and papers lying around so as to ensure job security for the cleaners who come behind.  How very thoughtful.  (They must sign a world-wide agreement of behavior.)

Anyway, she asked us to let her in.  I thought this would be a good opportunity to talk with her about things I would need for the house.  She would be the woman "in the know."  I am the woman "so far removed from the know that I can't even…)  Well, this story will tell the point.

I began speaking to her in Arabic to practice and because she has no English.  John was in another room investigating the electricity when he heard something that went like this…

I asked, "Could you tell me where I can buy cleaning supplies?"

"Yes, yes, I will clean for you today."

"Thank you very much.  I am happy for your help.  Would you tell me where you buy things to clean the apartment?"

"Oh, I do not have many supplies.  All I have is this bucket, soap and steel wool." She said as she pointed at the items.

It is at this point that I pulled out my phone and showed her a picture of cleaning supplies.  I don't recall all the words needed for a description so John suggested I show her a picture.  (Sometimes he's so brilliant!  I usually break into a round of charades at this point, but he saved the day!)

I said, "I would be happy to buy some more for you.  Do you get them in the souk (open air market) or the subermarket (supermarket)?"

"I will clean EVERYthing!"

"If I give you the money, would you go buy the cleaning supplies?"

"You should talk to Maab* (our landlady)."

"So she buys the cleaning supplies?"

"Yes, yes, I will clean EVERY THING!"

"Thank you very much for all your help."  Sigh.

I smiled and went to report what happened to John.  I told him it looked like we would be making a trip to the store for supplies.  Where?  I don't know.

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UPDATE:  Currently,  our city of residence is very calm.  We are making trips out in the afternoon to try to get a few things accomplished, but are staying inside in the evenings when groups begin to gather.  Our new Egyptian friends have been very thoughtful toward us.  Thank you again for your kind notes of encouragement and prayers.

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Today's BOGO Blog:  Stationary Stationery

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