Wati's plane should be taking off as I write. She's heading back to Semarang, her hometown in Indonesia.
For the last 3 years, she worked as a domestic helper at my parent's home. I have seen many of them come and go over the last 20 years but I like Wati the most because we were living under the same roof until I moved out over a year ago.
Hers is a morning flight, hence she stayed over at my apartment last night as I live near the airport.
It was the first time she visited my place, so I brought her for a stroll around the neighbourhood. We met Cora, the Filipina who works for my neighbour.
"Is she your new helper?" Cora asked.
"Nope, she works for my parents but she staying over so I could send her to the airport tomorrow morning."
"Oh, you're so nice!", Cora gushed.
I don't think I've done anything out of the ordinary for Wati. The fact that she left her hometown to venture into an unknown territory is already quite remarkable. When she first arrived, she was only about 20 years old, a gentle girl with a ready smile. I used to tell mum that she's just a little older than YK, but their lives are so different.
Mum sometimes fail to understand why Wati has earphones stuck in her ear all day long. She's from Gen Y afterall. She listens to music while she dusts the house. Sometimes, she even asks my kids to download new songs into her handphone. She listens to Lady Gaga and Black Eyed Peas.
In three years, Wati has allowed her cropped hair to grow into long curly locks. Her figure is svelte and she's eager to return to Indonesia to marry her sweetheart.
When I picked her up from my parent's place last night, the parting was very emotional. Wati, Tummi (the new helper) and Lorrie (my brother's helper) were all in tears.
"No need to cry. You can continue to stay in touch via handphone.", I said.
We got up bright and early this morning. At the check-in counter, she quickly made friends with another girl who is leaving after working here for 5 years. Since they hail from the same hometown, I arranged for them to be seated together on the same flight.
After pointing out which gate they should head to, I felt relieved that they have each other now. At least they can share happy memories of their stint here onboard the plane. Their flight home will be a happier one.