To our surprise our maid was already back in Shanghai when we returned this weekend, because we had not expected her back for at least the next couple of days. We were lucky, but many Shanghai families are still waiting for their ayi’s return. A lot of household staff won’t come back before the Lantern Festival (the 15th day of the Chinese New Year), even though families made arrangements with them to come back earlier. The Shanghai Daily printed a short article about this problem today. According to this report, some people are now paying their ayi’s travel expenses if they come back on time, and others will raise their salaries if they come back on time. One family decided not to wait for her, but took their car and drove a few hours to pick their ayi up in her hometown in Jiangsu province!