Friday, December 19, 2014

Story: Departing from Milan. Part 5.

by Monica Graz

I was pushing my huge cleaning cart emptying the waste baskets and getting ready to visit the three toilet complexes that I was responsible for. It was about 11.30 am, peak time for Malpensa airport and people were wheezing around me without paying any attention to the cleaner. 

I stopped briefly and looked at the passport queue. The EU citizens were moving very fast, their passports barely checked. The non EU citizens’ queue was at a standstill, passports thoroughly checked, visas required.

A faint smile appeared at the edge of my lips as I remembered myself arriving in Milan some months ago as Julia a UK citizen looking at the exhausted migrant cleaner pushing her cart.

Now I was this exhausted migrant cleaner. I looked at the plasticized card that I had to wear around my neck. ‘Molegunda Apuya – airport cleaner’ it said and the photo attached was my Filipino passport photo the one in which I was dressed in a maid’s uniform. Today I had to start my shift at 6.00 am and I was going to finish at 1.00pm, seven continuous hours of hard manual labor except for a fifteen minutes break at 10.00 am for a coffee and sandwich courtesy of the airport catering services.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Story: Departing from Milan. Part 4.

by Monica Graz

“Molly, go and change this instant, Miss Connolly will be here in about half an hour and you still have to set the table,” Conchita said to me as I was helping her with the preparations of the meal basically cleaning after her. She was the cook and I was her skivvy for sometime now.

It was past midday and I already felt tired and dirty. I was as usually up at 6.30am and I was solidly working except for a break at 9.30 to share a quick cup of coffee and a small snack with Conchita in the kitchen.

“Make sure to wear a clean uniform dress without stains and use the nice white half apron with the frill all around it. Also have a white band around your hair. Miss Connolly has to see what a nice Filipina maid you became.”   

“Yes Ma’am,” I answered to her realizing as I said it that by this stage I fully meant it. Conchita became somehow my immediate boss, the one to whom I was referring all the time, the one who was telling me what to do in the house on a daily basis. Signora and signorina Bonifacio were above that, they wouldn’t tell the ‘help’ what to do; they had the senior maid for that.