When All Is Not What It Seems

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I was a virgin.
I was not looking for this.
South America was not on my radar.
When I thought Chile, I thought only of – The Andes, and yes for the record, I feel embarrassed to say that out loud.
After a little online research, I discovered…..
Chile is a spanish speaking country.
Children still get kidnapped and sent over the borders.
The climate is brilliant for 7 months of the year.
There is the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’ amongst the people – very sad!
Chilean people are easy going.
It is not fog it is SMOG.
It is a South American culture, to have ‘people’  working around your home.
Armed with this information we balanced out the pro’s and con’s and decided to push the family boundaries and expose our children (and ourselves) to something bigger than life in the ‘burbs’
I can not believe it, in three weeks we will have clocked over twelve months living in Santiago, so I think it is time for an update.
So, “how’z it goin’ ?”
The condensed version – not bad!
Sound like a spoilt little ‘Veruca Salt’ don’t I !
Believe me, I am not ungrateful for the experience, let’s get serious though, for the most part I am a stay at home mum who makes the lunches, attends parent teacher conferences on my own and keeps the fridge and cupboards well stocked – something I could do back home surrounded by family and friends that have known me since birth, just with a different backdrop.
In order to shake up the whole Chilean cultural experience, we. got. people.
A gardener.
A pool man. (in spanish “piscina hombre”….hubba hubba!)
Sounds very posh, doesn’t it.
It is actually more work than it’s worth.
Housing over here is all gated and electric fences.
Security is a real problem.
Thieves are ready to pounce if you or your house is looking vulnerable.
So there is no Jim’s mowing coming around into your backyard without you knowing. 
I am here to buzz them in and I am here to buzz them out.
So we decided to hire a nanna – (maid/housekeeper) to lighten the load, and life as we knew would never be the same again.
Gina arrived very eager and willing to start straight away, and my four girls warmed to her almost instantly.  
With a glowing reference from another expat family, I had struck gold.
Good nanna’s are hard to come by.  
These people are generally left in your home for hours on end by themselves surrounded by a shameless wealth they will most likely never own or possibly never see again.  The temptation for them to remain honest and trustworthy is tested daily.
So when you find a good one you hang onto them.
I felt so confident and comfortable with my nanna I found another family to help cover her other days.
Now she has all days of the week covered and almost all continents –  Canadians, us Aussies and a South African family – Gina is busy working hard to send her salary back home to Peru for her husband and five children.
My house was clean, my hubby’s shirts were ironed, my groceries were put away and my kids were happy.
After working for the South African family for two short weeks I received an email late one night, informing me that a LARGE. quantity of her family jewellery was missing and she thinks it might be Gina.
I was in total disbief.  
I refused to hear what my friend was saying.  
She insisted that I check my jewellery.
Slowly I lift the lid, gasping for air, hoping and praying, praying and hoping that this was an isolated incident and perhaps my friend had misplaced her very. expensive. jewellery.
Phew!  everything is there.  All is good, it’s not our nanna, tomorrow we will find her jewellery.
Tomorrow arrived and now my friend is missing a tooth brush, REALLY, this is crazy!
In the school grounds while waiting for our kids, I had heard stories about nanna’s taking toilet rolls and washing powder – You have to remember these people truly do come from rock bottom, often fleeing poverty in Peru for a not so much better life in Chile.  So really what’s a few toilet rolls, open your bag I will put them in there for you.
Eventually it got the better of me and I started walking around my house wondering maybe if I am missing something….anything!  
Nope! still all good.
Starring me right in my face, right in plain sight was the electronic ‘over the door’ pouch thingy.
Girls digital cameras, shuffles, ds games, cd’s and probably stuff I haven’t even noticed.
Ring the first expat family and tell her our news, and she had been cleaned out as well.
We had kissed this lady, shared in her family stories, listened to her want better for her kids.
We smiled at each other everyday and here we are sitting in front of her at the local police station listening to her admit she sold our ‘stuff’ down town for some quick cash.
Today she is free to walk the streets of Santiago possibly even find another innocent family to ‘do over’  all while waiting for the police to investigate our claims.
Funny isn’t it – I buzz the gardener and pool guy in and out through our electric fence/gate every week, yet the one who robs me blind is watching over my kids and laughing with us INSIDE my home.
How dumb do I feel.
No more nanna’s for me.
I am back to making the lunches, ironing the shirts and keeping house.
I did it before, I will do it again.
For I am woman hear me roar!
Don’t mess with me sister!

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