A few weeks ago, while having my morning coffee and quiche at my local Pacific Coffee, I noticed a Caucasian expat seated on one of those comfy chairs while her child ran amok, licking the windows, riffling through the magazines and walking in front of customers holding cups of steaming coffee. She was calling out his name (Jonah or Marcus or something equally obnoxious) while she sipped her coffee and smiled at no one.

I briefly hoped the kid would be doused with scalding tea or hit in the head by a random briefcase. But then I remembered that my anger should be focused on that pasty Amazon with the thick legs, dirty-blond hair and ponytail. Who was this woman? And why did she think it was OK, if not acceptable and even cute to let her kid roam Pacific Coffee without any real supervision? She seemed intelligent enough, no drool on her chin.

Then a Filipina walked back from the restroom and I knew what was up. This expat mom was waiting for her nanny to return from the potty so that she could get back to sipping her coffee without having to police her kid. I get it.

No. Wrong.

This expat mom was interviewing this Filipina for a nanny position. And this Filipina immediately started to supervise little Talbot or Caleb while Mom asked questions in a loud voice so that everyone, including the Filipina’s family back in Manila, could hear.

“When are you available? Can you clean? Is Sunday OK with you? What about every other Sunday? Where do you live? Are your papers in order? My husband is running late but will be here shortly.”

As if on cue, in walks the suit.

He asked the same questions but in a normal inside voice. I got back to my reading and planning. Everyone in the restaurant seemed to relax.

Several minutes later, the Filipina left and the Amazon went off on her husband.

“Mary gets to play tennis on weekday mornings. I want to play tennis. Her maid stays with the kid early in the morning. Why does this one think she’s so special that she can’t? She’ll have it too easy if we hire her. I want her to work mornings and on Sundays. Kathy’s nanny works Sundays so I know it can be done.”

I was shocked. Horrified. Embarrassed for this lady. It’s one thing to think shameless thoughts, to complain ungratefully in private, and then to grab hold of yourself and say, “Baby, get a grip!”

But here was this expat woman airing her dirty laundry for all of expat friendly Pacific Coffee to see. I mean, she was hanging up caca-stained panties and inexpensive hose.

I left. I couldn’t stand to stay and listen to her complain any longer.

I teach part-time, I plan for my lessons at Pacific Coffee. I also get manicures, pedicures, massages and facials. I buy groceries, run errands and plan vacations and weekend get-aways. I have a great housekeeper who keeps my clean place even cleaner–Virgo neat-freak that I am. But God help me if I ever become a shameless and ungrateful expat. Even on my bad days, life just ain’t that damn bad. I have it pretty good. And for that, I am grateful.

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