Hong Kong from a Domestic Helper’s POV: Nelly

Nelly started working for the Waller family in 1999 and are still with them until now.

1999

“Ahm, Nelly? Can you please clean the fridge and take out all the expired and bad stuffs in there? You know we haven’t had a helper and we are so busy so we couldn’t organize it.” said Mrs. Waller

“Don’t worry Ma’am, I’ll organize it.”

“Thank you! I’m off to work now. See you later!”

Ok let’s start cleaning!

As Nelly started to clean the fridge she noticed spoiled foods, moldy leftovers and vegetables.

Urgh! How can they stand the smell of this fridge! And why keep years-old food and drinks here!

“Nelly! We’re back!”

“Good evening Ma’am Sir. Your food is ready, do you want me to prepare the table now?”

“Give us 30minutes to rest then we’ll eat.” said Mr. Waller

“Sure”

“Nelly! This dish is superb! We love it!” Hollered Mrs. Waller from the dinning table.

“I’m glad you liked it Ma’am, Sir.” Nelly replied shyly.

“Oh you’ll make us fat in no time.” Joked Mr. Waller

Next night

“Nelly? I’m pretty sure we have some blue cheese in here and where did you place the wines when you cleaned up the fridge? You know it should be kept cold because it will turn bad.” asked Mrs. Waller while still looking for the cheese and wine in the fridge.

Blue cheese?

“I haven’t seen a blue cheese Ma’am but I threw a few pieces of cheese that was rotten and so smelly. it got molds on it too. Ewww…” said Nelly while contorting her face.

“OH MY GOD NELLY! Did you also throw the wines?” Mrs. Waller asked hysterically.

“Of course Ma’am! It’s too old, who would even drink a 50-60 year old wine? It would have tasted sour already.” She proudly replied.

Mrs. Waller’s face turned white and looked like she was about to faint. Nelly got confused if she did something wrong because she clearly did what her employer asked her to do.

Winter 1999

“Nelly! Can you please hand wash this in cold water? It’s wool so it should be cold. It’s Mr. Waller’s new coat. Thank you!”

It’s very cold and she’s asking me to hand wash this in cold water?! Maybe she better wash it herself.

Nelly placed the wool shirt in the washing machine and left.

After a few hours of cleaning, she remembered to check the laundry.

Voila! The shirt for Mr. Waller which is extra large now looked like an infant’s shirt!

“Putang ina! Anong nangyari dito??? Shet Shet Shet! (Expletive! What happened to it???? Shit Shit Shit)”

Nelly didn’t know what to do so she rushed to their neighbor’s helper and asked for her help.

“Didi! Didi! Can you help me?! I’m dead!” Nelly was shouting at the door not worried that Didi’s employer would be there because both their employers are office workers.

“What? What happened? Were you robbed? What happened? Do you want me to call the police?!” Didi looked nervous.

“No, no. You’ve got to help me fix this!” Nelly showed the shrunk shirt.

“Oh my God! You washed wool in hot water?!” Didi was surprised.

“Yes! Mrs. Waller told me to hand wash it in cold water but it’s so cold so I put in in the washing machine. Help me!” Nelly explained while pulling the shirt.

Nelly and Didi pulled the shirt as hard as possible hoping that it will go back to its normal size; it took them almost an hour before they finally gave up.

“Nelly sorry but I think there’s nothing else that we can do about it. You just have to come clean to your employer and tell her the truth.” Didi felt sorry for Nelly because she knows how much a wool cost and she might get terminated because of it.

After dinner

Mr. and Mrs. Waller were out in the living room watching tv when Nelly came out and started to nervously speak.

“Ma’am, Sir, I have something to tell you.”

“What is it?” The couple looked at her.

Instead of saying something she just showed them the shrunken shirt.

They were speechless for a minute out of shock. Mr. Waller recovered first and just brushed his hands on his face and looked at his wife who was still in shock.

“I’m so sorry Ma’am, Sir. I didn’t listen to what you said. I thought you were just being too sensitive with your clothes.” Explained Nelly who just looked down and can’t even look at her employers’ faces.

Mr. Waller sighed and told Nelly to go back to the kitchen and finish cleaning up.

Nelly was so nervous and she was sure that she will get terminated. With that thought she started to tear up.

Oh God please help me! It’s only been a few months since I first set foot in this country, I have sacrificed being with my family thinking that I can give my children better future. I’m their only hope Lord. Please give me another chance and I will do better.

“Nelly, we have to talk.” Nelly heard Mr. Waller speak. She just nodded and more tears flowed from her eyes, pretty sure about her fate.

2009

“That was such a wonderful dinner! Did you cook all that Emily?” Her friend asked while drinking wine.

“No, no, no. I can’t cook that good. It’s my helper who prepared all of it. She’s very good and very efficient.” Emily beamed with pride for her helper’s job well done.

“I hope that we can find an angel like her Emily! Your house is well maintained and you never worry about your children because you know that they’re in good hands. Where can I find someone like her? Does she have a sister? Cousin maybe?” She pleaded to Emily

“Well Why don’t you ask Nelly herself? And ahm if you happen to find one, make sure to teach her about wines, wools, and cheeses. You don’t want it to go to trash right?” Emily Waller told her friend.

At the kitchen, Nelly was grinning from ear to ear not only because she was hearing a lot of good things about her cooking and efficiency but because she remembered all those years working for the Waller family and the progress she made and promised to herself and God.

 

 

 

 

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