An AYI is a woman who comes to your house and do household chores for you. That is, clean up, laundry, wash dishes, or even cook for you. It is possible to ask her to take care of your kids but prior arrangements is necessary.
The best thing about AYI's is that they come really cheap. Our Ayi charges 15 RMB (around $2) per hour and she does her job perfectly well. I heard that there are some who can get better bargains at 10 RMB per hour.
If you live in an upper-class subdivision like us then it is quite easy to find an ayi. Here are some tips:
- First, go to the security guard and ask him if he knows any Ayi who service other tenants on that subdivision. Chances are he is familiar with everyone who enters the premises regularly. It is best to ask people in the morning and late afternoon. Those on night shifts are probably not familiar with ayi who works during daytime.
- Tell the security guard your address and leave him your phone number so he will contact you if he found anyone available. The Ayi might also contact you personally.
- Ask the Ayi to come to your room so she can check out the place and for her to assess what she will need. Keep in mind that you need to buy all cleaning utensils and detergents, so if you don't have these things ask the Ayi to buy anything she might need and then give her some cash for them. Afterwards, you may ask for the receipt although they would probably ask less than 30 RMB ($4) for everything.
- Set an appointment and make sure she understand when she is coming. With this, you must be able to memorize the days of the week and keywords like "today, tomorrow, day after tomorrow, next week" in Mandarin. Here is a list:
- Monday to Sunday: 星期一 (Xingqi yi)，Then add (Xingqi) on all: 二 (er)，三 (san)，四 (si)，五 (wu)，六 (liu)，天 (tian)
- Today: 今天 (Jintian)，Tomorrow: 明天 (Mingtian)，Day after tomorrow: 后天 (Houtian), Next week 下个星期 (Xiage Xingqi)
- Make sure that you also know how to say what time. Examples: 7:30 七点半 (Qi dian ban), or how long you want her to clean : 2 hours 两个小时 (Liang ge xiaoxi).
Keep this in mind on you will have an easy time dealing with your ayi and take advantage of this great luxury that is hard to find anywhere else.