Well, half of it anyway - the upstairs. We have finally succumbed to what seems to be a major foreign service rite of passage - the employment of domestic assistance. Around here, everyone seems to have nannies, gardeners, cooks, housecleaners, and in some posts even drivers. I'm not employed, so it seemed to both of us that at least until the baby comes I can certainly handle the household chores.
Turns out we were overly optimistic. First, this house is more than twice as big as our house in Philly. It is much more open to the outside and there is constant dust in Malta (presumably related to the lack of nice greenery to anchor the dirt to the ground). Second, we also have the pool and the landscaped yard to care for. Third, because of poor preservation methods and frequent energy outages the grocery shopping must be done at least weekly, which involves 2 separate trips - 1 for groceries and 1 for produce. Sometimes additional trips are needed. I have a feeling we are about to add the trip to the butcher after our first tasty purchase there. And fourth, I can't be a drudge-drone all the time. (fourth-and-a-half is that the bending over involved in mopping is becoming much more uncomfortable as I get closer to my 8th month)
Our cleaner came for the first time today. She also works for my landlord/neighbor, who raved about her. From my previous efforts to clean this house I estimated how long it should take her to clean the parts of the house I had asked her to clean. She was almost exactly on target, so I congratulated myself on my predictive abilities ... until I noticed that she cleaned several areas I had mentioned she didn't need to worry about. Basically, she is just plain amazing. Given that some of the areas she covered hadn't been touched in the 3 months we have been here, all future cleaning should be easier for her. I can't wait for her to come again (in 2 weeks) and make the downstairs all nice and pretty.