The life I’m currently leading.

As I lay in the sun by the 15 metre crystal clear, not a spec of dirt in site pool. I know that behind me in the huge Italian villa, that I now reside in the grounds of, my spaghetti alla pomodoro is being cooked to perfection.
I’m living in some dream world, getting paid while the family who employ me to speak english to their children are away, on a spur of the moment holiday.
They waved goodbye and I was given strict instructions to do what I want, relax and enjoy my break. Only being here a week, and coming from an Australian winter, I had full intentions of doing very little, and working on my tan, but then the guilt got me.
As I was bid farewell, the housekeeper was firmly instructed to have everything perfect on their return, and reassured her work would be inspected on their arrival.
When I say I’m living in some dream world, it is in two senses. This extravagant lifestyle that I’m not paying a cent for, and a world where white privilege is still in full force, where I am seen as a friend and the Filipino housekeeper a slave. Where she must put up with her boss screaming profanities at her, in order to keep an income. An income so she can continue to support her brother through college.
Support her brother, just as she has done for the previous eight years, as three brothers graduated.
I have two brothers, we keep count of every last cent we owe each other, and will make sure we reclaim it when payday comes. I can’t even fathom moving to a different country, learning a new language, to work everyday, just to send money home.
I’m not sure if our boss knows that I would walk away if she spoke to me with the anger she does her, or if she simply does see me as part of the family, rather than someone who is there to do everything she asks, no matter how ridiculous it sounds.
I watch this lady who, tells me coming to Italy was a dream, and then her dream became a reality but is now a nightmare as she dreads her work everyday, but the money is just too good for her to leave. I to had dreamt of living in Italy, but in an entire different sense, I came here to avoid working, she came here to support her entire family back in the Philippines.
I’m now into my fourth consecutive European summer, I’ve visited over 30 European countries, the housekeeper, is yet to leave Italy at all, not once, in eight years. She worked for seven years at one place, seven days a week. Every day, for seven years. I’d be lucky to have worked properly for seven months out of the past four years. It’s just so surreal to me, that I am treated so differently to the lady who does so much for them, whereas I am simply paid to speak.
The way my new friend, the housekeeper is treated here disgusts me, I admire her, and could never imagine being in such a situation. One where you have to withstand the abuse, because your family, who you rarely see, relies on your next pay cheque. She is unbelievably positive and I know, no matter what, when I raise from my lounge chair, head inside and insist I cook my own lunch, she will be standing there smiling, even though she knows in three days time, the storm that is her boss will return.


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