Soraya Heydara, a former nanny for an ultra-wealthy family in Hangzhou, shared her experiences of living and working for members of China’s steadily rising population of new rich in a Business Insider article that’s been translated and published across several Chinese media outlets.
Heydari moved to China from London after her last year at university when she found a job listing for a live-in teacher and nanny online. She was placed in Hangzhou with a wealthy family where “A love of luxury and Westernism permeated their lives”.
Heydari described her host family as being “kind and welcoming” and the Chinese people in general as “incredibly hospitable”.
My host mother is an incredibly stylish and good-looking woman, and I would watch in amazement as she had stacks of designer shoes delivered every week, seemingly with higher heels each time to boost her tiny 5-foot frame.
She said her host family had no qualms in showcasing their wealth and described the child she took care of similarly to many of China’s generation of “princelings“—his life was “ridiculously lavish and he was more than a little spoiled.”
[…] we spent our weekends having lavish 50-dish banquets plus tea and drinks and being driven around in one of the family’s many Porsches. […]
[On one occassion] the family organized an event including famous singers from Hong Kong and a catwalk show that featured their son performing a song at the end. As the performance ended, several girls asked him to sign autographs and pictures and from that his already understandably slightly spoiled personality had another ego boost.
Heydari said that while the child was a handful—”he would pick his nose and wipe it on me, and also tried to sneak me pork, something which I don’t eat”—the experience as a whole was a good one, especially compared to some negative accounts she heard from other foreigners.
It certainly wasn’t all bad. Everywhere I saw kids playing happily or sat by the lake or pond with their grandparents, just enjoying being there. My host-mother would give her son a big kiss and I heard excited squeals before he went to bed coming from the bathroom as she washed him and they played games. Often he would come into my room and talk to my friends on skype or just sit on the bed playing next to me. Once when it was time for bed he looked up at me and said “wo xihuan ni,” which means “I like you.” I’ll remember that much better than the mango, mayo, and tomato salad.