The short story:
Our stuff arrived. Some of it was broken. Nothing was missing. I'm still unpacking. I fired the maid. I am battling the agency who placed the maid with me. I am picking up my adoptive brothers from school and taking them to all sorts of practice this and next week. We haven't cooked ourselves dinner once this week, but are living on Mickey D's, which is a very questionable solution to hunger pangs.
The long story:
As the movers finally arrived on Monday they did so three and a half hours late, and as usual, in a rather unapologetic mood. The much talked about 'gear' to be used to haul two double beds, four bookshelves, three desks and other assorted heavy items upstairs over the balcony railing turned out to be two pieces of rope. Pause here and ponder this. I sure did. As expected even ten guys in their (more or less) prime cannot lift a desk made out of solid wood over a railing at least 4 meters off the ground, even if they try to stand on their tippytoes.
As for the damages. Well, I will not go into it, since the issue just makes me sad and want to go on a rant about respect for other people's possessions that equal their homes when they are living the nomadic life. I'll save that for another dry season. On the plus side, I uncovered quite a few items of clothing and pairs of shoes I do not remember owning. The customs only take stuff, they don't put any new stuff in, right? I like the Vagabond pumps. A lot!
As the movers had rid all of the bigger items of their several layers of cardboard and and such, after I'd had a good swear at whoever was close to me, and after the solid wood desk was finally upstairs (I don't want to know how), the boss of the crew approached me and suggested that "perhaps madam would want to unpack all of the smaller items herself." I looked at my watch, and funny enough, it was nearly four o'clock. Hmmm. 'Full unpacking service' my behind! I would not want anyone else but me handling my underwear either, but as every single stupid fork is packed in at least two pieces of paper it takes quite a while to unpack everything. I'm still at it, and no longer can discern the light at the end of the tunnel. It is all walls to me.
Onto a different topic: The maid chronicles. This is part gazillion and five, at least according to my highly complex filing system (five follows four, etc). I fired the maid who wore the turban. In the end it became painfully obvious that her English was practically nonexistent, and by "yes, I understand," she meant "I have no idea what you are saying lady, but I'll potter off and try to look like I'm doing something, and then I think I'll go and ruin some of your good towels by pouring bleach on them and cleaning the shower with them. And I'll do all this after eating two loaves of bread and two tins of mackerels." I had to let her go, which was a 15 minute discussion, because she did not understand what I was saying.
I had found this maid through an agency called A1 Domestics. The person in need of a domestic pays a one off placement fee and the agency sends someone, who supposedly has references and meets your requirements (my only requirement was that the person spoke English) to work for you. There is a 30 day guarantee, during which time they will send someone else, if you are not satisfied. Sounds like a good deal, eh? I thought so too.
Well, the truth is an uglier being. I have now called and e-mailed the agency several times and none of the "this and this person will call you back," have come true yet. I' don't even want a replacement anymore, I just want my placement fee back, but am starting to suspect foul play. Points deducted from South Africa, and more stories for the file labeled gullible expats on the loose.
The happiest times I have had this week have been spent hanging out with my South African adoptive brothers. While their mother is having surgery and their dad is working his heart out, I have been roped into making sure they do their homework (my math limit is third grade, Shame!), they show up at practice (with or without the correct gear. Note to self: for water polo take a towel), and every once in a while eat something. If I knew my kids would turn out like these boys, I would maybe even have some, at some point, like sometime in the future, distant future. They even like my driving, even though I almost hit the high curb while trying to open the window. These boys are truly cool.
Now I'm off to my never ending unpacking task, before I go and pick up the boys and attempt to woo them to my cooking with pancakes. Did someone say 'Fire hazard'?