I started the day as House-Dad, helping Greek-mom with her pronunciation and our resident cardiologist fix a flat tire. Both have had a lot of success in the past week: Laura passed her PhD defense and is officially a Doctor-Doctor-Fellow in Bournemouth, while the whole Greek clan has found new jobs in Poole. There were a few bumps in that, though.
In order to work in a pub, they had to pass a health and safety test with perfect scores. The on-line course was dense and technical, how to handle money and underage drinkers, which fire extinguishers and cleaning solvents to use for various jobs, how to move boxes and wash dishes properly. It seems unreasonable to expect someone just learning English to understand and absorb that amount off material in one go, and I ended up helping with an evening’s tutorial. In the end, everyone understood and passed.
Then Greek-mom, very sweet, came to me to ask for help pronouncing harassment, racism, prejudice. I sighed: what happened? Co-workers making remarks about Greek immigrants; others brushing her inappropriately during work. She argued that she needed the money; I argued that she needed to establish boundaries. In the end, the manager helped.
By midday, I was ready for some moments of Zen and took a long loop around the coast through Milford-on-Sea to watch the sailboats entering the Solant against the Isle of Wight, and up into the New Forest to go for a walk past Hatchet Pond into the moors near Brockenhurst.
It was a lovely day, sunny and warm, and helped to quiet all of the weeks’ (and the houses’) worries.
‘Better to be the day’s House-Dad, resourceful and reliable, than the proverbial Expat at the End of the Bar, the one nobody remembers when or how they arrived.