No, I cannot believe it either! To be honest, life in Rockhampton seems like it was a year ago rather than a month. Which, I guess isn’t a bad thing considering how sad I was to leave. I don’t really know why it seems so long ago, but perhaps it’s because so much has happened since moving to Brisbane. Here’s a rundown:
- Moved to Springfield Lakes and got settled in with my new family.
- Basically taught myself how to drive manual by means of trial and error – emphasis on error. I stalled, bunny hopped, and got beeped at one too many times… butttt I can now proudly say I have mastered stick! Sorta.
- Learned the expectations and routine of working with my darling three-year-old twin girls.
- Ventured into the city to do some solo exploring.
- Completed my first adult coloring book page. Yay for free time!
- Took a day trip to Springbrook National Park and Mt. Tamborine with two other au pairs. I have also had coffee dates with three others (two Germans and a Finn).
- Had a weekend getaway to a city called Toowoomba with B. Yes, we’re still talking if you’re wondering *insert big-eyed, flushed face emoji. See this post if you have no idea who I’m talking about.
- Saw my first Koala and played with marmoset monkeys at Darling Downs Zoo.
- Took the girls to the park, lagoon, swimming lessons, and endlessly played with them whether it was crafts, baking, or playing on our “ramp.”
- Flew to Cairns with my wonderful mother to spend 4 nights in Port Douglas.
- Cruised the Daintree River while soaking up the stunning landscapes, safaried through the rainforest, and stood under and swam around beautiful Cassowary Falls. Thank you to Daintree Discovery Tours and our guide, Jeff – everything was wonderful!
- Splashed around in the Coral Sea along Four Mile Beach.
- Somehow avoided getting sea sick as we took a catamaran out to Agincourt Reef through Quicksilver Cruises where we glided just one meter underwater viewing colorful coral, fish, and even turtles! We also snorkeled… with a lifelong marine biologist… in the Great Barrier Reef. It was awesome.
- Arrived back in Brisbane only to move, again, to a new house in Camira. Kinda a bummer, as I was just getting settled and comfortable in the other house, however the new house is absolutely beautiful and is in a more rural setting surrounded by green :] Oh, and we have a pool now!
- Showed my mom around, but almost left her on the side of the highway after she wouldn’t stop screaming about issues related to driving on the other side of the road… or my attempt at driving manual – it was a toss up.
- Turned 24 along the south bank of the Brisbane River while soaking up sunshine and tipping back a pint of Carlton Mid.
- Ventured to Bribie Island and The Australia Zoo. Highlights from the zoo include lounging around in the grass with kangaroos and holding a koala.
So yeah, it’s been an unbelievable, amazing, eventful month. It didn’t take me long to get used to life in the city/suburbs. My first train ride into Central Station seeing the skyscrapers was a little different just because it looked nothing like Rocky. I also found the first souvenir shop I went to annoying, simply because I felt it wasn’t “real Australia.” Safe to say I was on my high horse after living in Gracemere the previous two months.
As mentioned, I also had a birthday this month. It was the first time in a few years that I didn’t go out with friends and get completely annihilated… which I am sad about. Hahaaa, tricked ya, I bet you thought I was going to say that a quiet birthday was a good thing. It’s not. I am nowhere near that mature yet, and I really reallyyy miss my friends from back home. That being said, I did take some time to reflect on my 365 days of being 23. My last term in college, graduating cum laude (somehow?), a kickass summer working on the golf course and on the Pullmans patio, a handful of amazing concerts, a beautiful fall, Christmas in Florida, and obviously my time in Australia are just some of the things that come to mind when looking back. Having my mom fly half way around the world to spend my 24th with me was pretty awesome as well.
As far as the au pairing goes, my host family here is absolutely amazing! In short, they respect me and I respect them. It’s way different than what I was dealing with in my previous placement, however there are days that I really miss the two girls I looked after up there. Oh well, life goes on they say. Here, I have my own car, the expectations are beyond reasonable, I have plenty of time off, and every meal is like a treat because they are such good cooks! Because my host dad is divorced I only “work” 3 and a half days a week. My duties are minimal; they include pickups and drop-offs from kindy, getting the girls ready in the mornings, baths, packing lunches, and entertaining them on days when they’re not at kindy. I often offer to help with groceries, cooking, cleaning, and odd jobs around the house as well. My free time is spent getting coffee, reading travel blogs, taking walks, going to the lagoon, and napping. The days of going into the city exploring new cafes, markets, museums, and parks each time aren’t too shabby either. I really cannot complain. Can I just be an au pair for the rest of my life?!
Not only does today mark one month of living in Brisbane, but it also means that I am at my half way point of my time here in Australia. Three months down, three months to go. It’s pretty crazy.Within the next few weeks I hope to meet more au pairs and plan some weekend trips for the days that I have off. I guess I should probably start thinking about what I am going to do when I get back to Wisconsin as well. Ewww, I just hyperventilated a bit. Ok, well thanks for reading my wonderful followers, and I hope all is well in your lives. Feel free to post any comments or questions below or contact me directly too :]