Hola Blog Readers – Hope you had a wonderful, relaxing Memorial Day Weekend (for those who celebrate it). We were initially going to go away this weekend for our first official getaway but weren’t feeling settled enough to actually go through with it. Instead we had an administrative weekend, which included tasks like:
- Completing 5 more Empleada (Household Helper) interviews
- Hiring a gardener for our backyard
- Dealing with our Internet and TV situation (Finally resolved today on our 4th visit!)
I knew that coming from Manila (aka the service capital of the world) was going to be hard to match in terms of household help. I just didn’t expect it to be quite so frustrating. Quite a few of our initial candidates had this air of entitlement, like we should be happy that they decided to interview with us (note: There is a large pool of household help, the key is finding highly recommended ones as well as individuals who’ve worked for an Embassy family before). I was very turned off, especially when we’d tell them our priorities and they’d comment that they didn’t really like that but would do it if they had to. Several also insisted on washing our dishes to give us a sense of their competency. That amused me.
After 10 different interviews, we finally came across a few candidates that seemed to genuinely want the job and have a warm demeanor. The crazy part is that to get a “Norma” here, we have to pay 125% more for the same hours. Granted, it’s still only around $600 a month for six 10 hour days, but I guess I didn’t realize just how great we had it in the Philippines.
We ended up hiring Lupe (pronounced Lou-Pay) for Monday through Friday 8-6 and Miriam for Saturday 8-6 so we can enjoy a weekly date in the afternoon on Saturday (we’ve decided it’s necessary to carve out time each week to specifically nurture our marriage). We offered Lupe the job Sunday night and she started on Monday morning. So far, so good. She’s wonderful with Nia, very skilled around the house and an amazing cook. The bonus is that she also speaks a bit of English so between my beginners Spanish and her beginners English we can usually communicate quite well!
Our gardener also started on Monday and will stop by once every 2 weeks to take care of the yard. It’s a must since we don’t have a single tool here to do it ourselves (unless you count the Butcher knife my husband used to hack off tree branches last week… let’s just say I didn’t want that to become a normal thing).
Nick and I celebrated our successful weekend by going out for our first meal sans baby in Peru. Nick was itching for ceviche (a Peruvian delicacy), so we did some research and selected one of the top cevicherias in the area, Pescados Capitales.
I took the opportunity to enjoy my first Pisco Sour, while Nick downed a local beer. This was our first time at a high-end restaurant here and although we’d heard the food was amazing, I don’t think either of us expected it to be THATGOOD. Nick chose the Nelson Mandela Ceviche, composed of Black Tuna, Caribbean salsa, sweet potato and corn. For those who aren’t familiar with ceviche, it’s essentially raw fish that is marinated in lime juice. The reaction between the two causes the fish to go from raw to cooked without applying any heat. The dish is served cold and is commonly known as a lunch food (Peruvians’ largest meal of the day is lunch).
I wasn’t feel quite as adventurous and opted instead for the common local fish, sole. I had this magnificent piece of sole covered in shrimp, mushrooms and a tarragon butter sauce.
SERIOUSLY INCREDIBLE. Both of our plates were under $20 and given that taxes are included in the price of the dish and tips are only 10%, we ended up getting out of there for a little over $50. Not bad at all for a classy meal. Our current plan is to try a different restaurant every week on our Saturday date. If they’re all like this, our tummies are going to be very, very happy…