I’ve been in my new position as an au pair for 28 days now which means I have officially been in Australia for a whole month. Four weeks, and I have not written an update post; I’m the worst. But don’t fret, this post is here to catch you up to speed.
Because it would take me forever to tell you everything I have been up to since landing in Rockhampton and because I don’t want you to waste precious minutes off your life, I decided to sum up highlights of my first four weeks in the form of bullet points. Yay for saving time for the both of us!
- was warmly welcomed at the airport by the family’s previous German au pair, Anka, the girls’ grandma, and the girls themselves with their “Welcome Amber!” signs.
- consumed my first glass of Australian wine with my host mum and Anka before passing out hard in my new bed.
- juggled settling into my new environment, entertaining the kids, learning routines, avoiding the heat, and setting up phone and banking accounts… all while attempting to overcome jet lag.
- saw my first kangaroo. It was a dead one in the middle of the road.
- went to my first Aussie barbecue. We had snags, and it was Australia Day… how fitting!
- drove on the opposite side of the road. This was hard enough, believe me. However, my host mum thought it was an appropriate time to talk about religion and ask me “what I believe” and everything in between. You could say I was a bit stressed out. Oh, and only once have I entered the car on the left side ready to drive, only to remember that the wheel is on the right side. This was picking the girls up from school, so of course parents were everywhere most likely wondering what the hell I was doing. I smoothly scooted over into the actual drivers seat making it look like I meant to get in the car on the opposite side. No one noticed! Riiiiight Amber.
- dropped off and picked up the girls from their first day of school. In Australia, kids have 6 weeks off in December/January and various 2 week breaks throughout the year, rather than having a large 3 month summer vacation like in the US. They are also required to wear uniforms that include cute little sun hats that I call safari hats.
- started to somewhat understand just what the heck some of the slang meant that everyone around me keeps saying. Future blog post coming detailing some of these words!
- saw crocodiles at a crocodile farm. They are amazing animals.
- got drunk in Australia… but it costed me 70 bucks. Not worth it, considering I can achieve that level of drunkenness when going out in Wisconsin for 10 bucks. Future blog post coming on the difference between going out in the US compared to Australia.
- said goodbye to the most mature, responsible, kind hearted 19-year-old German girl that I have ever met. Thank you, Anka for everything you did for me during our 10 days spent together. I will be seeing you in Heidelberg.
- tuned in for my first Australian reality TV show, The Farmer Wants a Wife. No shame.**UPDATE** One of the farmers on the show is from Rockhampton, and I just so happened to run into him at the Gracemere shops one day and get a photo with him. He even gave me his fencing business card and invited me over to take his horses for a ride. Yay for meeting my first aussie celebrity!
- FaceTimed my favorites from home.
- stopped by the tourist info center to get an idea of what I get to spend my free time doing
- took the girls to their first Jazz and Cheer practices
- got drunk for the second time in Australia. This time with three Germans and a Dutch girl in a small beach town called Yeppoon. This night provided me more insight about the drinking culture in Oz that I will disclose in a future post.
- popped a tire on the car, only to have an amazingly nice Aussie guy replace it with the spare. After thanking him excessively he responded with, “Oh it’s no problem mate, my old man would kill me if I didn’t help out a young lady like yourself.”
- went to another Aussie’s house for a party and was, again, warmly welcomed with drinks and finger food and asked to tell “my story.” I have given nearly the same response to everyone who asks, and they seem to think it’s pretty cool. If your’e not familiar with what my “my story” you can check out this post to get you up to speed.
- watched Super Bowl 50 from the comfort of the lounge room on the family’s big screen. Peyton Manning, you are the man.
- grocery shopped and meal planned for the family
- attended my first yoga classes in Oz. The studio hits capacity at 10 yogis per session, and the floor is covered with carpet from the 80’s. It still felt amazing to be back on the mat, despite the atmosphere.
- grabbed lunch at the pub with another au pair from Scotland. Yay, I made another friend!
- jumped on the trampoline in the rain with the girls
- spent Valentine’s Day by the pool with pina colada in hand with two lovely Scottish girls
- beat the Monday blues by heading to the Yeppoon beach with 3 German girls. Stood in the salty Australian ocean water for the first time. I had a “woah, I am actually standing in the ocean in Australia right now” moment. It was pretty awesome to realize I am here, doing what I worked so hard for the past six months.
- improved my cooking tremendously.
- considered quitting for like the sixth time. Ask me about this personally if you wanna know more.
That about sums up what I have been up to in a nutshell. I decided to leave most of the negative things to myself, my journal, and my FaceTime conversations with friends and family. Being an au pair for this family is a ton more work than I anticipated it would be, and my host mum expects a lot from me. Adjusting has been extremely difficult, but I’m doing my best to stay positive and realize what a great opportunity I have at my fingertips. Some days have been so hard that I considered quitting, only to realize I have no where else to go. Other days have been so amazing that I look around me and cannot believe this is real life. For me, the two hardest things are that I have basically been tossed into a one month crash course on becoming a mom and that I never know when I am or am not working. Think about it, in most jobs you have clear hours that you work. As an au pair, you are never really clocked in or out because you are part of the family. It’s an awful feeling at times, and I usually end up just helping out because I feel obligated. This makes me feel as if I am always working. Not a fun feeling!
In other news, it’s currently 7 degrees Farenheit in Wisconsin and 92 here, so that’s pretty neat. It’s also just past 2 o’clock which means it’s time to get ready to go grab the munchkins from school. It’s takeout and movie night, so I’m thinking it should be a pretty chill rest of the day. Thanks for reading!
Oh, and here are some photos to prove these things really did happen :]