Today was cleaning day at Legacy Institute. As it happens, there is a very friendly and efficient (and clean) Swiss lady named Fran (from an area near Bern) who lives in Chiang Mai who teaches the students how to clean every once in a while. I was given some notice, but told that there as no vinegar bought, without a really good reason (at least not as it seemed to me). At any rate, vinegar will be added to the supplies in the future to clean the kitchen out, as that was quite a job for the students.
I’d eat my hat, if I were the hat wearing kind of guy (I’m not), if someone had given the kitchen more than a cursory cleaning during the entire break period. Seriously, even in an outdoor kitchen, such as Legacy has (substantially open to the outside air), that cleaning job from today ought to last a good while. Fran knows what she is about when it comes to cleaning, and her Thai is pretty impressive also. Some of the students, including one of the new girls dropped off recently, took to the cleaning really well. Others did not.
I must say that I myself am not particularly fond of cleaning. I know it has to be done, and I accept that. I do my laundry (because I like being in clean clothes), and shower (because I like feeling clean), but by and large cleaning is not something I really relish. When I struggle with a depressive period, I can often tell by the amount of effort it takes me to do any cleaning at all. A large part of the reason I dislike cleaning is because cleaning is something that has to be done, but at the same time is not something that is ever finished, or ever has a goal in mind. It is simply maintenance work, of an often unappreciated kind, and even when I do such acts of service for others (or for my own well-being) it i just not something I tend to personally relish or savor the same way I do completing some bit of arcane research project, or writing an essay or poem or play. I like a finished work of art, where there is a sense of accomplishment, and that is not something I find in a clean room where I’m itching my skin because I’m allergic to something and where the smell of solvents is in the air.
To each their own, though, and for seeing as cleaning is something that really needs to be done, it was interesting to see just how the Thai students handled the job of cleaning. For one, they made sure to work as a team, which not only makes the task go faster (always helpful while doing thankless jobs), but also provides enjoyment of its own. Working with other people is far more enjoyable than working all by one’s lonesome when the task does not provide a sense of accomplishment. Overall, I thought the students did a great job cleaning, and learning how to clean most effectively, and Fran was an excellent instructor. It only remained for me to watch what was going on, and help smooth the cleaning in minor, quick ways. How to keep Legacy’s kitchen clean while require far more follow-up work than that. But that work remains to be done another day.