China travel

Published on April 18th, 2011 | by Paz


Our Nanny while living abroad

After our first nanny dumped us…we took a couple days off to dust ourselves off and recoup.  A few days later we felt that we should start looking again. The picture above is of Abe with our new nanny Onn.

So my employer called the agent that had gotten us our first nanny to let her know that we wanted to start interviewing again. We wanted someone that spoke Mandarin and we were not interested in getting someone from the Philippines.  Honestly…just too much work and money.

The agent actually offered to be our nanny? huh?I thought she was an agent? How can she do both? We weren’t going to push the issue one way or another. We decided to see if anyone else was interested in the position or not and just go with it. We were able to move our schedule around and spend another few days completely with the kids. I took a day off of work and Zeek worked at night.

Then our first nanny started texting us about how she missed us and that we were good employers.  So…did she want to come back? Was this a cultural thing? We checked, no not cultural so obviously she was interested in coming back.

How to decide….ask the old nanny to come back or see if we get a good new one???? We could not decide so we did the only logical thing we could think of.

We asked our 3.5 yr old. If you ever have a serious question that you can’t seem to answer ask your kids.

She said that she wanted a new nanny because the old one didn’t know how to work the elevator and she thought the new nanny would be more fun. HAHAHAHA! A three year olds logic is beautiful. The old nanny kept pushing the wrong button for the elevator. She came from the country and probably never really used an elevator much. That drove Lupita nuts as she is our personal elevator expert now. Every time she would push the wrong button Lupita would sigh and roll her eyes. 1. Because that was Lupita’s job and why had she not figured that out yet? 2. Because it would take twice as long to get the correct elevator. So we went with Lupita’s gut instinct and decided not to have the old nanny back, but to go with whatever knew one we got. Decision made!

Three days later I got a call that the agent wanted to meet us to talk about her starting to work for us. Okay…still no word about what she was doing with her agency (she helped people find house keepers). So as I sat down with a translator from work and the agency woman (I still don’t know her name) we discussed what we are looking for and what we need in someone to watch our kids, and house work.

Here is Abe and Onn at ibaby playing. (I teach English at ibaby)

So I finally ask…what about your agency? I guess she was having problems getting her proper permit and had to close her business. She was looking for steady income. I asked her a few times to make sure she really was going to be closing her business and wasn’t planning on doing both. After I could tell that yes, she wasn’t pursuing her business full-time I felt very sorry for her. If anyone has ever tried to start a business and had it not work out then you know how she must have felt. I don’t know how Chinese business works…but I felt sad that whatever she had planned had not worked out as she had planned. She started in two days.

Her first day I had to work an event and was not at home at all. I called and checked in every couple of hours to make sure she hadn’t quit. hahaha Things had gone okay her first day and the kids seemed to like her.

I asked Zeek if he knew her name? He said NO…he thought I knew. So anyways we had a nanny who ever she is.

We did find out her her name the next day; it is Onn.

Here is Lupita, Abe and Onn at ibaby. We are able to bring the kids down to play anytime we want. Onn watches them while I work.

We are now in our second week with our new nanny and things are going great. Both of the kids really like her and she is very good at cooking and makes sure that the house is clean. We have taken her out a few times with us and she does a good job with the kids. She is very good at maneuvering the stroller and yes she knows how the elevator works.

Her schedule is the same as our previous nanny. She comes at 8 am and leaves at 8 pm. She watches Abe all day, prepares breakfast, lunch and dinner. She cleans the house and does the laundry. Zeek and I take and get Lupita from school, but Onn watches Lupita from 5:00 till 6 pm when I get home from work.  The food has been great. We actually started giving her our budgeted food money each week and she writes down what she spends every day at the market. This helps us make sure we are staying on budget and she goes to the market on a daily basis. We now only go when we are in the mood. Considering I don’t really care for cooking, I don’t mind missing a few market runs. It gives us more time with the kids.

We have even been able to have a few date nights. She stays and watches a movie or lays on the couch until we get home.

Here is Abe having fun with blocks and colors where I teach. He looks like such a little man! hahaha

How about communicating? Well, she speaks Mandarin and we speak English…and a few Mandarin phrases now. So we obviously use a lot of body language and our trusty dictionary. I would say that we communicate pretty well. Hopefully our Mandarin continues to improve so that we can have better conversations.

We are so happy that we followed our daughters advice and I have to admit we are getting very use to having a full-time nanny. The time that we are able to spend doing our things versus laundry is priceless. To have her come 12 hours a day, 5 days a week costs us 2,200 RMB which roughly equals $333.00 USD a month. This type of service we never would be able to afford in the states. My favorite part is having all of our meals prepared and cleaned up. When the clock strikes 12 pm we all come to the table to a healthy inexpensive meal and then have wonderful family conversation. She feeds Abe and we are able to have wonderful table conversation. When we are finished with dinner Zeek and I spend time with the kids as she cleans up the table and does the dishes. We still make Lupita take her bowl to the kitchen. We don’t need the kids getting too spoiled. We are very grateful to have this time with the kids.

I know you might be thinking that 2,200 RMB a month is such a low salary for someone. How can it be so low??? Actually 2,200 RMB is a pretty good salary in Guangzhou. Chinese local school teachers who have college degrees get paid 2,300 RMB a month. So for someone with no formal education it is a good salary. She sends most of the money home to her family in the country. She has four children that her parents look after (also very very normal, even for weathly families)  and she and her husband provide for them all.

I have to admit I don’t mind entering the kitchen once a week…hahaha to make myself some coffee. It is too good to be true!!


About the Author

Paz is an avid adventurer in life and food. Traveling across the globe with her family they enjoy cultural immersion and checking out the local eateries.

8 Responses to Our Nanny while living abroad

  1. Sara says:

    I just had to comment because of three things. First nice to hear you got a nice new Ayi! Second I’ve been to iBaby because I worked there for one day as promonational worker the first day it opened. And third 2200RMB a month is a really good salary for someone without much education. My boyfriend is a migrant worker and through he and his friends I’ve learned that a basic salary for non-educated person can be between 900-1500RMB per month.

  2. Paz says:

    Sara- so great that you commented. I love meeting other people that are living in China and especially Guangzhou! Yes, our new Ayi has been wonderful. Even though the world is such a large place it is so funny how you can meet people that you have so much in common with in all kinds of places. What do you do? Are you an English teacher? I also heard that 1500 RMB was a good salary for a migrant worker…so I hope she stays and enjoys it. Good to hear from you.
    Take Care,

    • Sara says:

      There isn’t many blogs from Guangzhou, so we have to keep it up! I’m Chinese language exchange student right now, but will start Chinese language bachelor degree next Autumn.

      • Paz says:

        I agree there are not that many blogs considering how many foreigners live in Guangzhou. It is also a very cool city. How great that you are learning Chinese. We have started some Chinese classes so that we can communicate better. Are you learning characters as well? That is the most difficult for us. We haven’t even begun learning them. We are still on pingyin. hahaha

        • Sara says:

          Yes, I’m learning the characters too. It’s have been a lot of work and will be a lot of work for the following years. Probably the learning never ends. Everyone should decide according to their needs if spoken Chinese is just enough, or if one also wants to read and write. But as a beginner it’s always most important to first learn some simple phrases that you can use everyday.

          • Paz says:

            Sara- That is great to hear that you are learning characters too. I agree that I believe it is a language that everyone is always learning, even if you are native. We are just focusing on phrases and numbers at the moment. We have learned phrases for the nanny and ordering food mostly. hahahaha the most important things in our lives at the moment. Our kids are picking it up very quickly. Hopefully they can help us out once they get it figured out. hahaha

  3. Angela White says:

    So glad you found a nanny who is good with the kids and a fabulous cook. Very jealous…what I would give to have that for me every day! Abe is such a little cutie – I love his light hair and long eye lashs. Hope the nanny continues to go well.

    Sending hugs,

  4. Paz says:

    You have no idea how awesome it is to have someone cook for you!!! It is the best thing ever!!! When we go home I honestly don’t know how we will survive. I can’t believe Caleb is going to be one soon. Send pictures.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge
Back to Top ↑
  • About Us

    We are a family of four: dad, mom, sister, brother, who decided to leave our job, home, and community to live life in China. After a year abroad we decided to become permanent nomads. We road school our children and try to enjoy every minute.

  • Learning With Lupita

  • Contact Us

    We would love to hear from you. Have a question about China, or living and working abroad? We are here to help.

    Skype: paz.chentnik
    Connect on Facebook