Where to begin?! It’s been so many months that catching up it is not possible! Let me start with this month and go backwards if I have to. Well, I will have to, because the past few months were total hell, and before that was the long, hard winter, and now, I am basking in the glow of all that’s right in the world.
Ok, let’s start with hell and my ascendance to heaven. In April, my “Ayi” (nanny) went crazy. I mean CRAZZZY –completely out of the blue. I have no explanation for what happened. My friend Jane asked if she could take the girls to the park to fly kites with her family. She and her husband and son live nearby. Her son is two and LOVES Rumi and Raine and calls them his big sisters. So, of course I said “yes, please take them.” It was a Saturday and I had to work. I told the nanny she would be coming to get the girls. She knows Jane very well, and I left with no problem. An hour later, Jane calls, “Karen (our nanny) won’t let me have the girls.”
I didn’t understand. “What do you mean?”
“She’s saying something about them being sick, and it’s not good for them to go out, and she will take them to the park later or something..” Now, Jane is Chinese. She speaks amazing English, and even she doesn’t understand what Karen is doing even though their whole conversation is in Chinese.
“ They aren’t sick! What in the world is she talking about? Can you put her on the phone?” I asked.
“She won’t take it. She doesn’t want to talk to you.” Jane said.
What?! What do you do in a situation like this? I have no idea. This is crazy. I asked Jane to stay with them. I didn’t have a class for an hour and a half, so I left and ran quickly home. The longer it took the more heated I got. I was shaking. First, ask for the house keys back. Then tell her to go home. Then worry about the rest later. This is insane.
So I get there, they are all standing outside the building. I demanded the keys back and told her to go home. She said she wanted to get her stuff (her slippers, apron and whatever). Fine. I asked Kevin, Jane’s husband to come with us. Then she started asking for odds and ends of things, whatever, just go. Then she demanded her monthly pay. Well, uh no. First off, it’s the middle of the month. Secondly, she practically kidnapped and definitely endangered my children, so um, be lucky I don’t call the police.
Then she decided to call the police because I wouldn’t pay her. Fine. Go ahead, crazy woman. And I really started to wonder. I mean, she had been our nanny for like seven months or so. She never appeared to be a crazy person. But, I am learning quickly, that crazy people rarely do. They look normal for as long as they can hold it, and the all the crazy comes out. I saw that with three other people who were clearly psychopaths. Maybe she was, but I think it might just be pure crazy.
“The nanny agency closed. Did you know that?” Jane asked me.
“No. No one notified me.”
“Well, she might think that since the agency is closed, she no longer has a contract, and so you can just let her go or something.” Jane explained.
“Ok,” I’m confused. “And so she just decided to go crazy?”
“That’s how some people do it.”
The police showed up and said I had to pay her to go away. I’m not kidding. This is the absolute truth. I told them I had no money, and they said since we knew each other there was nothing they could do. To be honest, there are gobs and gobs of police everywhere, but really they never want to get their hands dirty. They always say there is nothing they can do, and unlike Thailand, the foreigner is not always right. And unlike the rest of the world, the only one who has rights is the employee.
“She says she wants 5000 RMB or your mixer.” Jane told me. Ok, now I know she’s crazy. First of all, I pay her 4000 a month, so why is she asking for more? I don’t even want to pay for the two weeks she worked this month, because really, she should be in jail.
“In America,” I say. “She would be locked up and all over the news, and she thinks I’m going to give her my Vitamix? Are you kidding me? What would make her think I would part with that or that she even had a right to ask?” Then I remembered telling her that it was the most expensive thing I owned, because I didn’t want her not taking care of it well.
Anyway, I didn’t pay her, Jane and Kevin took the girls, and I went to work. About fifteen minutes later, she shows up at my work and sits right behind me. I try to ignore her and assume someone will call the police again. She started following me to the copy machine, the bathroom, and then to a class before the police finally showed up. They had to pick her up by her elbows and carry her out kicking and screaming.
I have no nanny or an agency to call, and I am definitely better off without this psycho, but I have no idea what to do about work. I don’t remember how it happened or how it worked out, but I talked to my friend Jodie at some point who said she would watch the girls until I found someone, so everything worked out quickly.
Then, on payday, we came back from the grocery store with our back packs full of monthly stuff, cheese, TP, and other stuff. We make the hike up the four flights of treacherous stairs that we all hated. I get the door open, and this crazy psycho ex-nanny jumps out from the upper floor and tries to push her way inside. Still demanding 5000 RMB or the Vitamix. I’m screaming for help. I don’t know what to do. She won’t move or let me close the door. “Get your shoes back on girls and go back down stairs.” I left her there with the door wide open. I really have nothing worth stealing except the Vitamix, but all I was worried about was keeping the girls safe. I called Jane, and she called the police and came too. Once again, they said I had to pay her to go away. “So let me get this straight. She gets rewarded for bad behavior, which goes against everything I have taught my girls?”
“That’s how things are here.” Jane told me.
“But what about our safety? I can’t close my door.” (She was still standing in it). What about endangering children?” I asked.
“She can do anything she wants, unless she hurts you bad enough that you have to go to the hospital. She knows what she’s doing.” Jane explained. It doesn’t matter that kids are involved. There are no laws about child endangering. She told me further.
“So if I pay her like 1000 RMB, does she go away forever?” I asked.
“Well, if she accepts that amount, then she will sign a paper, and if she goes near you again, they can arrest her, because it’s like you don’t know each other anymore.”Jane told me.
When Karen heard 1000, she said she would take it even though it was just a hypothetical. I had just done a big government editing project on the side and I had just gotten 1000RMB for it. Ok, fine, I pay 1000 RMB, the stalker wins, and I never see her again, so I guess, I will do whatever it takes.
We had to go to the police station and take care of the whole transaction in a room with a camera to prove she can’t stalk me anymore. I also got a receipt. Then, would you believe, she said, “But, I still love you.” I hadn’t looked her in the eyes since I took the keys. I still refused to look her in the eyes. Maybe she was a psychopath too.