In all the years that I have been living here, I can truly say that the one thing that I see us Latin-Americans struggle the most is the lack of house help once we migrate to the United States. For us Latinos, having someone helping your family at home cooking, cleaning, and having a nanny for your baby is a matter of culture not of social class.
Basically, if you grew up in Latin America most likely you have had the same treatment as royalty, minus the castle. Nowadays, I look back at my upbringing and consider myself to have been “Princess Noelle”, I grew up in a faraway kingdom called Caracas, with many helpers that made my bed, cook my meals, cleaned my house, fed my pets and drove my cars. Como en los cuentos de hadas!
Well, Princess Noelle came to this country far away from her Kingdom and helpers, married her prince y la dura realidad la sentó de trasero! The truth was, she had no idea how to cook and made her own bed (amongst other things) and could no longer afford to have sleep in help. She was so missing being a princess…now she was a wife, a cook, a cleaning lady, a student, and her husband’s own mother!! When did that happened???
Many years later after I had my kids and became a nanny as well, I was talking to one of my Venezuelan friends on the phone (who still lives in her kingdom BTW). It had been one of those days when your kids misbehave, your house looks like a mess, the dog needed to go out, and I was still thinking if after work I should cook (hate cocking… to much work) or order pizza (much rather order but less healthy) and I was having this conversation with her, about how crazy my life was and how little help I get, and my friend goes…I know it’s terrible, today I was arguing with Rosario (her dear and beloved cleaning lady) about which contornos she should serve for lunch, can you believe that? (she asked) Always the same two, rice and vegetables….ARE YOU KIDDING ME FRIEND????
Well friends, she was not kidding, it is a real struggle for Latin Americans and, kidding aside, having so many extra people living in your house day in and day out, comes with an extra set of burdens and responsibilities that a princess, living in a faraway kingdom called Boca Ratón FL. might not want to take on nowadays.
What is a Contorno ?
PS: I can now tell how much I appreciate my nana every time I go back to Caracas, she raised me my and my siblings since we were young. She is part of our family and for that I not only thank her but I love her.