Back from Korea with her loot.
1. Hello kitty car
2. Mickey mouse key chain from random shop, just because she spotted it from a distance and got all excited
3. Pororo car from the airport dfs
This is the first time I visited Korea without doing any shopping at all (except to buy gifts) and without buying a single piece of clothing. 😂
The reality of a holiday.
This is the third and forth batch of laundry.
I got the easier task of folding laundry while the hubs did the heavy lifting of washing and hanging them to dry.
We started the laundry on Sunday thinking we could simply throw them into the dryer, only to discover that the dryer door was broken.
I was quite angry because I knew the helper used it just before we went on the trip. She would have known it was broken but did not inform us about it.
Anyway we moved on since there was no choice but to hang the clothes.
Only to discover that the socks hanger was all broken.
The hubs had to walk all the way to the mall to get new ones.
Too bad if we come across as spoilt, but we woke up at 430am (330am sgt) that day and took 12 hours to finally get home.
The helper was still at the boarding house (story coming soon) and the last thing we needed was to find out that the things we needed to use were all broken.
We actually really trusted the helper with the household stuff.
I don't think it's an unfair expectation to inform us when things run out or need to be replaced.
But in the recent few months, we had been informed about things like rice and Clarissa's milk powder running out ON THE DAY itself.. Or Clarissa having to wear her classmate's spare diapers even though her teachers informed her 2 days ago that her diapers stash in school was running out.
And then, this.
For the past two years, we've always had the same expectation. It's not like we have ever blamed her for things that are damaged or running out.
We just need to be informed in advance so we have time to buy or replace the stuff.
So this reinforced the decision we made just the day before we went to Korea: To send the helper home way before the new one arrives.
We'd spoken to her multiple times about helping us out properly for the rest of April. It's not even out of good will because her contract with us in fact ends on 8th May.
Her insurance and work permit have been renewed because of the earlier drama, so really everything is perfectly legal here.
Her attitude wasn't good and her performance was lack lustre. She was still extremely addicted the phone, such that she'd stay up late to use it and wake up before 5am to use it again.
And spend the day in the toilet for long hours, either sleeping or still using the phone.
But we really needed some form of help at least on the chores.
Because the hubs worked late almost every day and while I could get home on time on most days, I had to pay full attention on Clarissa, whether it was feeding or bathing or playing with her.
My #babysitters relieved me from time to time by playing with her so I could take a shower or get some work done.. But I really don't think I could handle cooking or household chores on top of these.
So, some help was better than no help.
At least the house is clean, laundry is done. Quality and attitude not as good, but I am able to close one eye.
Clarissa is in safe hands because my fil and sister is around to pick her up from school, and she's almost never alone at home with the helper.
The helper was probably already feeding nonsense to Clarissa because the little one was already rejecting her on most days.
We'd told her not to say anything to Clarissa but she did anyway.
Sometimes she'd do it right in front of us.
When Clarissa rejects her, she'd say in a sarcastic singsong manner, "oh I'm going home anyway!"
She only stopped doing it when I couldn't take it anymore one day and told her to stop doing this.
For goodness sake, she's 33 and Clarissa's 2. That's not how you deal with a 2-year-old's remarks.
The original plan was to send her to the boarding house the day before we left for Korea, and let her continue working until end April.
We used to simply let her rest at home when we went on holidays but we really couldn't trust her anymore.
I don't want to go into the excruciating details but let's just say she turned really nasty after we sent her to the boarding house, which we had to pay for.
She basically sent me a series of crazy messages with nasty sounding remarks like "very nice to complain to MOM and Philippines embassy" or "you send me to jail".
She even twisted facts and said I forced her to continue working even though she told me she was sick.
I told her to go ahead to complain because she had no case against me at all.
She was reacting this way because the boarding house only allowed phone usage after 9pm. How can!! It's a violation of human rights and her happiness.
Back at home she could blatantly chat on the phone during the day time and use it into the wee hours of the night. So how can they restrict her like this?
Since it was too late for us to send her back that day we decided to let her rough it out in the boarding house and send her home once we got back from Korea.
Because enough is enough.
No help is better than toxic.
At the point of receiving all her nasty messages, I believed, in disbelief, that perhaps that was the real her.
In spite of all that had happened previously, I hung on to the belief that she was fundamentally a good person, but weak willed and addicted to the phone.
She was a spendthrift and had all of $300 left since her last pay day in early April, after working for almost 2 years here. I thought it'd be good for her to earn another month of salary so at least she goes home with $900, enough to last her family for 2-3 months before she finds another job.
But her first reaction to a situation she hated was to inflict hurt on us, to resort to lies and threats.
It's like how drunk people speak the truth.
That was probably the real her speaking.
I cannot have such a person in our house, taking care of our daughter, whether she's monitored or not.
I know full well it's going to be really tough but it's a necessary decision and the right thing to do.
We might not have been the best employers but I think we have tried our best.
So yesterday we picked her up from the boarding house, bought her lunch and came back home.
Clarissa was in school.
I sat her down and went through with her the history of events, with specific dates and direct quotes of our various conversations.
I'd spent some time writing them out, all the times she said she wanted to her contract and all the times she wanted out.
Through the documenting I realised that each time she backed out, I'd said ok I understand your decision. And it was always her who came back to me the next day, reversing her earlier decision.
I wanted to point all these out to her, not only to remind her of the mess she had created but also to set the facts straight for one last time.
I'm not afraid of you or your threats, I said to her. You can go ahead to complain. My conscience is clear.
"If anything, these messages you sent are a painful reminder of how we have tried our best to treat you like family, but your first reaction is always to hurt us," I continued.
At this point she was simply listening with her head bowed.
Until I said, "So I'll grant you your wish. You will go home tonight."
She totally broke down and kept sobbing.
We paid her the balance salary for the days she was at the boarding house.
In between sobs she asked about Clarissa.
I told her we contemplated not letting her see Clarissa but decided in the end to let Clarissa say a proper goodbye.
With that the conversation ended and she started packing.
I didn't feel bad, or anything at all, about her crying. The more I spoke to her, the calmer I felt.
I needed to do this, for me, for us, even for her. To set the record straight and move on.
We ended up helping her to pack.
She was struggling and trying to squeeze every bulky item into the luggage.
We sat down on the floor, literally helping her fold her clothes and pack her stuff properly before trying to close the suitcases.
We let her bring everything we bought for her back, except.. our photos. Our family picture with her, the collage of Clarissa and her which I did for her, and a picture of Clarissa.
These memories of us trying to treat her like family.. I can't let her keep.
Maybe I'm being petty, maybe I'm scarred.
We picked Clarissa up from school and headed to the airport.
A bit more drama to go because her luggage exceeded the 20kg weight limit by 5kg (because she bought lots of bar soaps, jumbo size shampoo and shower foam, lots of jeans to bring home).
Which cost an extra $100.
We got her to repack and throw out some stuff.. And reduced the load by 2kg. I paid for the $60 excess.
It wasn't about the money.
We could have asked her to pay for the excess out of her own pocket.
After all we are not obliged to pay for excess baggage.
Yet we couldn't bring ourselves to ask her to pay for it on her own. Because she was going home with less than $500 in her purse.
To spend $100 on excess baggage would be such a waste. The stuff she was bringing back weren't even worth that much.
So I wanted her to make the effort to repack, to make some choices. And to realise that the many things she took granted for, wasn't what she was necessarily entitled to, and didn't come easy.
We brought her to the money exchange before sending her to the immigration.
She took the chance to carry Clarissa, who let her hold for all of five seconds before reaching for Mummy. She gave Clarissa a kiss on her cheek anyway and Clarissa smiled shyly.
She actually thought we would walk to the boarding gate with her but of course we couldn't. And wouldn't even if we could.
So instead we tried to find and read the signboard from outside the immigration and told her where to turn to.
We said goodbye and watched her go in.
Clarissa was happily waving goodbye until she was out of sight.
We waited some time for her to get through immigration and made sure she turned in the right direction before we left.
I sent her a text message to thank her for taking care of Clarissa and to wish her all the best.
She sent me a series of messages, saying sorry, thank you, wish she can still work for us, but I didn't give her chance to change, sorry she was addicted to the phone, that she'd miss Clarissa, she'd miss us.. etc etc.
Finally I asked her to take care and said goodbye.
We came home to a tonne of laundry, the dryer was still spoilt, but I think this is a good enough closure for me and for us.
We obviously have a lot to learn as employers and I can only hope the next one would be a good fit for our family.
Right now we are going to ask for all the help we need. My sis and FIL for the pickup. My mom to cook for Clarissa. My boss for flexible working hours.
The biggest lesson of all is perhaps that we can try our best to treat someone like family, but ultimately only our dearest family and friends would treat us like family.