Our team of ayis at ELG play a vital role in the work that we do to help children thrive day in and day out. This post is inspired by everything we’ve learned from our wonderful ayis, who spend their days helping teachers in the program room, supporting staff, and cooking delicious meals and cleaning around all of us.

From having an ayi, you will learn…

1. A Lot About Yourself

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Had you previously considered the way you fold towels or put away groceries? Chances are you never considered that you had your way of doing them until your ayi did them a different way, and suddenly you found yourself reshuffling the vegetable drawer.

2. How to Be a Better Manager

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By having an ayi, you can essentially promote yourself to manager, director or CEO – in which case your main job is to delegate! Ask yourself why certain things are important that you do yourself and what things you are willing to let someone else do.

3. Some Neat Housekeeping Tricks

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You thought you had a handle on chore organization until your ayi magically organized all of the chargers, storing them neatly in a drawer.  From how to fold a fancy napkin or which Asian fruits and vegetables to refrigerate, to the best place to buy sticking plasters, ayis are a wealth of new and different information.

4. Some Great New Foods

If your ayi does the cooking for your family, you will be pleasantly surprised with how well she prepares delicious vegetables that your children – having not been familiar with – now cheerfully munch on.  From fresh dumplings to handmade spring rolls, make sure to take some time to learn from her –chances are she’ll gladly teach you the art of Chinese cuisine.

5. A Random Array of Chinese Culture

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Do you know which foods are healthier during wintertime? Or how to treat a nasty rash using a traditional Chinese cure? You will after getting an ayi – they know it all. Ask her about Feng Shui too and you’ll have the qi flowing in no time.

6. How to Negotiate

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You’ll most likely never know how to negotiate well in a language you don’t speak, until your ayi starts shaking her head at the laundry basket and you’ve got no time on your hands to do it yourself. From her salary to the details of childcare, you’ll soon realize that having an ayi involves a lot of give-and-take, but you’ll figure out how to reach a mutually-satisfying middle ground in the end.

7. All the Chinese Housekeeping Vocab You Will Ever Need to Know

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Even if you arrived in Shanghai with no ability to speak Mandarin, you’ll soon be practically fluent in housekeeping vocabulary. Once you’ve realized how to say the basics such as “separate the whites” and “please stop rearranging the pillows”, life at home will be just great. And you’ll actually learn some Chinese!

8. Effective Communication Skills

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Not only will you master the art of communicating with someone speaking a different language, you’ll be able to do it over the phone and through WeChat voice messages. After a few months with your ayi, your China communication skills will be superb.

9. How to Teach Your Ayi to Take Care of Your Kids

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Communication is especially essential when it comes to your kids. Having an Ayi will not only help you truly understand what your children need on a day-to-day basis in order to communicate this, but also the best ways in dealing with them for both the Ayi and yourself. You’ll realize you actually did have a handle on things this whole time – something that parenthood can make you doubt sometimes.

10. China Can be Wonderful

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While this country can be a real challenge sometimes, having someone come to your house and give you the hours of your day back that you would have spent cooking and cleaning is, you have to admit, something rather valuable.

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