Iya, age four, already had five yayas. It was difficult whenever they leave because all of them already became part of our family. Each one has their own amazing story to tell but the latest yaya who started earlier this year surprised me because of her talents. She has her share of quirks and shortcomings so I need to adjust. For example, she has the loudest mouth ever! She fills the room with her super loud voice requiring me to learn the art of tuning out. Then there are times when I need to clean up after her. I have a small house that whenever there is a mess I immediately zoom to it. Also, she forgets to organize Iya’s things so I have to double check. Lately she’s improving, still not perfect, but improving.
So on to the good stuff. Aside from taking care of Iya and teaching her to clean up, here are some of the extras that I learned.
She’s a writer. I know! I cannot believe it but it’s true. She writes those tagalog romance novels like precious hearts romances but she focuses on the action/ love story/ adventure genre because she grew up with a military brother. I asked her how many she submitted and she said she submits at least one every year but she said that recently she has been having troubles with her latest writing. I still did not believe her until Iya was confined and saw her writing during the day. I sort of peeked when she left to get water (ssh!) and there really was something there! Writing for a publishing house is sort of her sideline. She said she receives about Php 6,500 per novel consisting of 96 letter size pages, double spaced.
She loves to read. Maricel, my previous yaya also loves to read. So I let her borrow my books. I think she read the twilight series because she loves the actor who plays Edward in the movie. I was not that surprised when Aibe wanted to borrow my books too. What surprised me was when she wanted to borrow Gregory Maguire’s “Mirror, Mirror”. It was based on the story of Snow White in a periodic setting dated 1502. I haven’t even started that one yet and I expect the language to be highfaluting! So anyways since that book is still part of my line up, I said she should read “Like Water for Chocolate” by Laura Esquivel. I read that when I was still in high school and loved it. It’s about a forbidden love story because the girl was required by tradition to not marry and take care of her mother. Each chapter starts with ingredients and the recipe was discussed along with the story. The girl, Tita, spends most of her life in the kitchen and her emotions are translated to what she cooks. I recommended it because I also know she can relate to the story. She kept on saying maganda and describing what she read even though I forgot most of it already! She then borrowed “The Girl with the Pearl Earring” by Tracy Chevalier which is a fictional novel behind the famous painting of the Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer. And she was reading that when we were waiting for Iya to finish ballet. It was an extraordinary moment because most people never even read that book and there she was almost finished! Now she’s reading “The Solitaire Mystery” by Jostein Gaarder and so far she loves it. What’s not to love? I am excited to know what she will read next.
She speaks English. I called her to ask how Iya was and when Iya interrupted her she says “Iya please wait for a moment I’m speaking to your Nanay”. After that I was dumbstruck and I got this subconscious desire to give her instructions and answer her in English. I mean her English is not forced and her subject and verb agreement is correct. She said her previous employer was Korean and she had the chance to tutor their child in English. Given that she only finished high school, she must be listening well because of her correct grammar. Sometimes when I go home I see them working on Iya’s books. They were answering pages that were left unanswered after the school year. Last time I saw her teaching Iya how to read three letter words.
She speaks Spanish... and she did not get it from Dora. She said her sister has a Spanish speaking boyfriend so she learned how to speak through her sister. This irritates Iya though, she says “Yaya speak in English! I can’t understand you!”
She knows how to handle her money. She had previous experiences with handling a computer shop and a piggery in the province until her partner cheated on her. Now she has roosters for cockfighting, regular savings, and is a member of a cooperative bank in the province. She also plans to construct a house next year.
All these I found out because of her endless chatter. I hope she stays longer because given what she could do I have plans for her in the future.