11 Confessions of a paid house-elf

On Wednesdays and Sundays, I magically transform into a house-elf that works in a local boutique hotel with hidden staircases that connect to different parts of the mini-castle.  We get to wear these lovely Justin Bieber purple shift dresses with ruffly things around the edges, and dream of the day that our aprons arrive in the mail, so we can have pockets again. Oh to have pockets again!

In case you’re wondering what it’s like being a house-elf, here is a collage of my thoughts thus far:

  1. I like how Cindy always plays Bruno Mars when we’re in the Presidential Suite. We sing along while mopping the shower floors or folding the towels. Sometimes I’ll hop or dance.
  2. I like that our vacuums have names. One is Charlie, and I don’t think I’ve met the second one properly. But we’ll have plenty of time to get acquainted.
  3. Rebecca and I have an interesting relationship thus far. We speak a weird mixture of Dutch and English together, and she’s amused by me trying to expand my vocabulary, and also helps me learn new words and phrases. Because of her, I now know what a strijkijzer and a strijkijzer tafel is. I can finally express my love for ironing.
  4. Sometimes we joke around, but mostly we just clean, and I spend my thoughts wrapped up in my head. It’s a nice way to mentally shut down for a bit, or be linear rather than all over the place like I normally am, while still being productive.
  5. It’s fun to make ups stories about the different people staying in each room based on their shower products and clothing choices. Being a house-elf means it’s socially acceptable to be intrusively observant about others. Although I try not to think too much when changing the bed sheets.
  6. This Wednesday I accidentally took some shampoo and lotion home with me. So I put it to good use by showering with it, and pretended that I was a guest at the chic hotel. In my head, I was showering with expensive products for free.
  7. I come home from work smelling like a mix of sweat and lavender. I’m not sure if cleaning makes me clean, or dirty. I’ve been toying with that question for longer than necessary, and will continue to do so until I can confidently form an opinion.
  8. We get free lunch!
  9. Not only can I now express my love for ironing, but by the end of the semester, I will be able to discuss, in detail, all of the aspects of cleaning a room, in Dutch. From the different products we use, to comparing different techniques. Considering I am taking the highest level of Dutch courses offered, I’m really excited to have a purpose behind learning Dutch, other than for entertainment’s sake.
  10. The anthropologist in me is secretly geeking out. I’m conducting research regarding cross-cultural differences in work ethic, population demographics, and employee organization/ work structure. I have now worked in the entertainment-hospitality industry in three different countries, and am applying a comparative approach to discern my findings. If I were to relate my results to the political science half of my major, then I can include geography, history, and political influence as plausible factors or causes for these differences. The embarrassing thing is that I’m analyzing this solely for my own benefit and curiosity. I still have normal people school to go to, and this doesn’t count for anything.
  11. And finally, sometimes I pretend to be Cinderella cleaning and waiting around for Prince Charming.



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