10th June 2024, 10:41pm – Journal Entry #47

Mood: Pleasant
Weather: 27°C, Clear
Vaping: Geek Bar 600 Puffs Pink Lemonade
Location: Mont Fleuri, Mahe, Seychelles

I’m vaping Geek Bar’s 600 puffs pink lemonade flavour. I can’t vape it at all without mint because it irritates my throat for some reason, so I have a Fisherman’s Friend black currant lozenge in my mouth while I take a puff and it goes in smoothly.

My sister tested positive for Covid. I was looking for some tape in the cupboards and I found an expired Covid rapid test, so I told her to do it and there were 2 lines. Up until now I am not manifesting any symptoms. She only wears a mask when we are in the car together, and she sanitizes as well as washes her hands as often as possible. But I already told her that we live in close proximity (we share the same apartment!) so it’s almost inevitable for me to catch it. It is what it is. I’m only worried about my mother and her aunt because we visited my mother this past Saturday and she held a late birthday gathering for her aunt’s 95th birthday. My sister and I were supposed to attend but my sister had a sore throat that Saturday and we already knew it would progress into something like a cold/flu. My sister was wearing a mask when we were at my mother’s place. My mother tested positive for Covid twice already during the height of the pandemic. But I don’t think a frail 95 year-old would fair well if they were to catch something like Covid.

I was a bit stressed out earlier so I only checked the camera to see if both girls opened the store and they were indeed present at the time. My sister was talking about letting at least one of them go for now because they are just a waste of our resources and I told her that we won’t have to fire either of them – that they will dig their own grave and we won’t even have to wait for that long. Today, one of the girls (let’s call her C2) found out that the other one (C1) received a “bonus” this past Saturday. They work alternate Saturdays so this past Saturday, C1 was the one working. Here in Seychelles there seems to be a law that states if a casual worker has worked for 5 consecutive days, we would need to pay them an “annual leave” payment on the 5th day. This amount is 50% of a full day’s wage. This was stated in their contract with us but they either didn’t read their contract or didn’t understand it. We asked them if they understood the contract before signing it, and both of them said “yes”. I guess a lot of people sign contracts without fully understanding it.

C2 seemed so bugged out about C1 receiving the “bonus” that she wanted to know why she hadn’t received any. My sister called C2 so she could explain it through audio conversation. She told C2 that the annual leave bonus is given out after each consecutive 5 days of work. Because she has been absent at least 1 day each week, she never received any. She told us that she was not absent the week before last week. Although this is true, we unfortunately had a public holiday that week (30th May: Corpus Christi) and so it breaks her streak. Casual workers are also not considered employees of the business, so on days that they are not working for us at the store, their employment status is “unemployed”.

Yesterday I received a Whatsapp message from a foreigner we interviewed earlier this year when we were considering hiring an expatriate. For some reason she was not online at all on Whatsapp but she has access to it now. As I’ve mentioned in my most recent rant, we have already given locals all the chances we could. When C1 and C2 leaves or are let go, we will hire another casual worker until we are confident that we have the resources that it takes to hire an expatriate staff, long-term. I cannot spend my days chasing around junior staff, how else will my business grow? After finally (and hopefully) understanding the annual leave situation, C2 confirmed that she understood everything. I told my sister to verify if paying casual workers an annual leave is really a thing because I’m not entirely convinced. But as she has read employment law in this country and I couldn’t be arsed to, I will trust that she knows what she’s talking about. C2 then proceeds to ask us if she could be given a discount to purchase one of the “broken returned” item that she found lying around in the drawer. To date, we have never had any previous staff snoop to this extent. It isn’t actually a broken nor refunded item. It was an item I made using individually purchased parts. I then pulled it out of our store because it no longer met our standards, as I now import the whole item from a specific seller. I’ll give it to her because we don’t really need it, but I just don’t appreciate how she was snooping. This evening I literally cleared out the drawer and placed everything in storage.

Yesterday one of my Chinese friends told me that he will be needing the room that he’s stored my boxes in some time in July. I’m now quite stressed out because he told me that my boxes were in a storage warehouse that his brother has and that it would be no problem for him to store the items there until I’m able to get to Shanghai. If storing my items would be a bit of an issue, he should have told me months ago that I would have to sort out the boxes before July. I also didn’t know that my boxes were actually in his spare room and not in his brother’s warehouse. When he sent me the pictures, it literally looked like an empty bedroom of some sort and not quite a warehouse environment.

I found a company in Shanghai renting out storage units. They told me that it will cost 169 yuan (close to US$25) per month for a 1 cubic metre unit. I’m in no mood to travel to Shanghai this month or in the next few months just to sort out my boxes. So I will have to find someone who would be willing to assist me in putting my boxes in the storage unit. I can’t ask Clara (my so-called bestie when I was in Shanghai) because I’ve been such a useless, horrible friend to her lately so I’ll have to ask that same Chinese friend if it’s convenient for him to help me out with that. Alternatively I could has another Chinese friend of mine if she could help me. If it’s something I absolutely hate, it’s to ask people for a favour; it’s essentially similar to putting yourself in debt. If I can get these storage boxes in the unit, I wouldn’t have to worry so much about rushing to Shanghai. I don’t really know if the boxes would actually fit in 1m3, but the size after that is 5m3, and that would probably cost 4 times as much so I hope they can just shove it in a 1m3 and make it work somehow. I don’t even know what items are in these boxes anymore, I was told that it has a volumetric weight of 50 kgs.

I told my sister about tagging along with me to Shanghai and she agreed. If it’s something we can push to the later part of this year or the earlier part of next year (most convenient) that would be great. We could do a Dubai – Hong Kong – Shanghai – Harbin trip. The early part of the year would be the dead of winter in China, and Harbin will hit temperatures of below 30c. The last time I visited Harbin I remember it was so cold that my extremities actually hurt. I was wearing 5 layers of clothing and thick gloves were still not enough to warm my hands. I don’t know how I would prepare myself for it this time around. If I could do it again, I would still put on 5 layers of clothing but with a bit of a tweak: thermal undergarments (over regular underwear of course), a sweater, a fleece coat, a leather coat and then a long puffer jacket 2 sizes larger.

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