I also had a stint in the cleaning department. The least desired department for obvious reasons. I was determined to enjoy it and by any means, not look like Sadie the cleaning lady.
Every day there were carpets to vacuum and toilets to clean. There were also vacated cabins to clean out. Our greatest dread was the single guy’s cabins. After two years without a mummy some of them really let themselves go. When we opened the cabin door we were hit with a gorgeous fragrance of smelly socks, kimchi and ammonia. Better to put a match to it, I thought.
We shone windows, portholes, public toilets and emptied rubbish bins from the offices. We really got around. The other dreaded job was cleaning the engineer’s toilets. The smell and seasickness were never a good combination.
The poop deck was where the nursery was. There was a cute little room with toys and books and an enclosed area with a jungle gym for them to play in. When my cleaning stint was up I was asked to work there with the toddlers. I was in my element. It was amazing how much communication went on. There we were, from all over the world, speaking different languages yet somehow able to understand each other. A hug here and a smile there seemed to make up for all the words we didn’t have.
One of my favourite things to do was to spend time with the couples and their kids. I did a lot of babysitting. An American couple had twins and I was asked me to be their nanny. I jumped at the chance. I loved those little boys.
I walked around the ship with their heads on my hands and their bodies tucked under my arms. That way they could see my face and I could talk to them as we walked along.
It was a challenge when they needed their nappies changed at the same time. One day, they were lying on the bed, screaming their heads off. I kept saying “I’m here, I’m here. Don’t panic. I know what you need and I know what I am doing.”
As I said that, God showed me how often I had been like that with Him. I was anxious about my future, finances and many other things. All the while, He was standing over me. He knew exactly what He was doing. There was no need to panic.