11 signs you’re starting to adult.

Uncategorized

Oh no.

I’ve been trying to run from this for at least 3 or 4 years. But I admit defeat – I’m slowly transforming into an adult.

Crap.

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Here are some signs you’re also going through this inevitable transition..

1. You enjoy watching Location Location Location

What’s more, you’re actually putting yourself in the position of the first time buyers – ‘hmm yeah they’re right about being so close to the main road. Great access to the train station and decent schools though’. No I ain’t guna buy a house. Why do Phil and Kirsty make looking at them seem so fun though?

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2. You write a list for a food shop

and actually stick to it.

3. You’re friends with real life adults

And they’re not just your parents friends- they’re your friends. Adults – imagine that!

 

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4. You leave a decent night out because you know you’ll feel like hell at work tomorrow.

You may get home and stay up even longer watching cringey proposal videos on YouTube but the good intentions were there.

5. Saying that, sleep is your best friend

You stick to a bed time most nights which is so unbelievably sad but feels so good.

6. Your mates are getting pregnant and married and you congratulate them

Because it seems intentional now…

7. You silently judge teenagers outfits.

Too many crop tops, not enough jumpers girls

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8. People at work come to you with questions

You think I know the answer? I have no idea what’s going on mate

9. You no longer see the appeal of junk food.

It’s gross, it makes you feel awful and you’d rather a nice pasta salad.

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10. You strategically plan annual leave to get maximum beach/festival/lying on the sofa time

Being paid to do a whole load of nothing is a beautiful beautiful thing.

11. Fitbits.

Fitbits everywhere. Basically a glorified, overpriced pedometer. But gotta have one. Counting steps each day – how very adult of me.

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tired of this shizz.

Despite all of these signs, you just gotta remember that you’re nothing more than a lost child, blagging your way through this mess. Keep at it 🙂

Maz

x

My first Marathon – Isle of Man 2015

Sport

It’s been whole week since I ran 26.2 miles on the Isle of Man for my first marathon!

And now G’s boyfriend Chad is (not really) forcing me on my first run after my mini recovery. I’ve bumped into so many people in the past week who have mentioned my blog that I thought it would be best to write a little post about I felt it all went.. Maybe when I’m preparing for my next long distance run or race I’ll look back and feel a tiny bit more ready than without it.

Where to begin; so way back when in June when deciding on a fundraising activity (to fundraise £800 for VSO) I chose to run a total of 600 miles because it’s equivalent to the width of Kenya. Where I’m going to volunteer in September FYI.  Me being me, I had to take this one step further and enter a marathon.

So I was home alone in Spain, bored and armed with Google’s help to find a decent marathon near me. I found the Isle of Man Marathon and booked it immediately, only informing mum and dad later on that they should probably come and support me.

I arrived on the island the day before feeling pretty ready for the big day; I’d spent £16 on one pair of socks (craaaaazy I know!), I had energy tablets, gels, jelly babies, belts, multiple outfit options and heaps of excitement. The day before was spent strolling on the beach with our dog Peachy and grabbing a few last minute things in town. I had a bath that evening with Radox Muscle Therapy Herbal Bath and some  salts and it was the best thing ever. I put out my clothes ready for the morning, got some last minute advice from Frankie (running buddy and experienced marathon runner lol) and got a good nights sleep.

Rewind a day or 2 and I was crying my eyes out thinking I’d have to drop out. All because I’d reached that blissful moment that most girls experience every month, only mine had come over a week early. I don’t know why my period had come early but you know, i really wasn’t loving mother natures decision to bring me a gift because it basically fucked up my plan to run a smooth 26.2 miles. I frantically googled possible solutions to running whilst feeling like crap and most people had written on blogs or forums that they inevitably had to drop out or just run half. This wasn’t an option for me as I couldn’t let anyone down after some generous donations and I couldn’t waste all that time and energy I’d spent training for it. At the same time as my stressing I read about Kiran Gandhi who ran the London marathon whilst on her period… She decided to free bleed which I’m not really sure about. I don’t think it’s a feminist movement or ‘bad-ass’ in any way, I think it’s kinda gross but whatever. Anyway, I decided to push through and run despite this not so great gift, I just used every home remedy to speed it up in the hopes that by Sunday I wouldn’t be in too much pain. I’d never ran during my period and it would just so happen that I was now running the furthest and for the longest I ever had.



Race day!

I ate some granola and a banana at around 6:30am and had a few bottles of water, I was also loading up on Ibuprofen to reduce my cramps before we drove through the foggy hills to reach the small town of Ramsey. I collected my number, time tracker to go round my ankle and put my named Lucozade bottle in the box for mile 17. We hung around for a while before going to the starting line and I had a few jelly babies. It was predominantly an old run, with loads of men in their 40s, 50s, 60s and older, a fair amount of women who looked mid 30s and up and then little old me looking like the baby of the pack. I didn’t feel too nervous at the start as I was just concentrating on running half. I knew I could easily do 21km and a lot of people had suggested just dropping out at the halfway point if I feel I couldn’t do any more. 

The gun fired at 9 am and we set off with the sea just a few metres to our right; we were told strictly no mobile phones or music devices allowed so I just put my headphones down my sports bra until I was well on my way (there was no way I could prepare myself for almost 5 hours of running without any music). I’d been told a million times to start out slow and save my energy, but theres something about being joined by so many others and having all the adrenaline building up that makes you want to rush. Partly because you don’t want to be last, partly because you want to be surrounded by the stronger runners from the start and partly because you want it to be over quickly! I stuck around with the speedy guys and gals for about an hour; chatting about our training and past marathons we’d done, obviously not me but I was talking to a guy who’d ran 150 marathons and he’d only started running at the age of 55?!

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We’d been told about the hill at mile 4 and sure enough it approached and it was hilly. Like really hilly. After what seemed like a lifetime of snail speed jogging to the top I felt a tiny sense of relief; I knew I’d have to face that hill again at mile 17 (the course was 2 laps of the same course) but I could handle it one more time. Then as I turned the corner I saw another massive hill! Basically there was about 2 miles of hills and I was not a fan. After i lost the main group I’d been sticking with I met a girl (I think she was called Alyssa..?) who was the same age as me and told me about how she’d been in hospital with severe neck problems like a week ago but had done too much training up to that point to not run the marathon. Her story made my problems (achey shins and a bit of a dodgey ankle) seem very insignificant. Plus it turned out she completed it 20 minutes faster than me, what a ledge.

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I felt confident for the whole of the first half even though I was convinced I was going a lot slower than planned and guessed I must be in last place. I was daydreaming of jelly babies and a few words of encouragement from mum and dad at the half way point. I ran downhill through the village before reaching 21 km at exactly 2 hours and could see mum, dad and dog in the distance. But there were no jelly babies in sight. I ran towards them yelling  ‘jelly babies! I need to babies!’ and they just looked at me in despair. I didn’t have time to stop so just carried on going with no more sugar and a belly so empty it screamed for something to fill it. I tackled the ridiculous hills once more at mile 17 and grabbed my huge bottle of Lucozade sport which gave me some well needed energy. Around the 19 mile mark I began feeling sick; I had nothing in my stomach, hardly any energy and the wind and rain was pushing against me. I carried on swigging water and Lucozade but just vomitted after every mouthful. It sounds gross but I couldn’t stop drinking because in my head it was giving me short bursts of energy (it probably wasn’t as it was coming straight out but your mind goes a bit squishy when you’ve been going for that long) so as I continued sipping I carried on being sick every couple of metres. 

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I’d only resorted to listening to music for about half an hour as I’d enjoyed the sound of the sheep, cows, spectators and listening to stories from other runners. The last 7 miles felt ok, I was getting cheered on by every marshall and most seemed really surprised I was still going! ‘Oh darling, well done! You’re doing so well, you look great’ – hard to believe when I was covered in salt crystals, was a weird shade of red and was limping like a lost dog but it was nice to hear. At the same time I was thinking a lot about ‘hitting the wall’ and was pleasantly surprised that that hadn’t happened.. At that point i was so close to the end and knew what to expect from the final mile, I was excited to reach the village, go down hill, see my fam and reach the finish line in the stadium and naively believed I’d be so excited to finish that the final mile would be a breeze. Oh how wrong was I. I saw the mile 25 sign and my legs buckled. I couldn’t move. It’s the weirdest feeling as your brain is screaming at you to keep going but your body just shuts down. You can’t imagine the feeling if you haven’t experienced it. It’s almost like wading through treacle; you’re going nowhere. This probably only lasted about 20 seconds but felt like forever and I couldn’t see myself  carrying on and finishing. I honestly thought that was it for me; I contemplated just sitting down, calling mum and telling a marshall that I’d just end my race there. Eventually, after using every bit of energy and enthusiasm I had left (and a voice in my head saying I’d sound like a right idiot if I told people I pulled out at 25 miles), I pulled myself back into gear and went at snails pace through the village. 

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I’d been chatting to one guy for a while who’d been at my pace for a few miles before dropping back and walking. Just after my near-giving-up experience I saw him hobbling along in the corner of my eye. ‘I’ve just remembered I need to catch the bus at half 2!’ he said as he proceeded to sprint past me. I’d missed my chance to finish in 4 hours 30 mins (my very very very optimistic aim) because of all the sick and the 20 seconds of thinking ‘THIS IS THE END’ but knew I didn’t have far to go and could probably get my medal and goody bag by 4 hours 50 mins. My phone had been tracking my run and announced ‘Congratulations, you have completed a whole marathon!’ – I’d ran 26.2 miles but wasn’t at the end yet; all that dodging, weaving and changing sides of the road means you’re actually running almost 27 miles, ouch. Anyway, I passed the village and could see my mum in the distance; I start waving to grab her attention and the people she’s standing with start to cheer for me. Then, with my eyes set on them and my music on full blast I failed to spot the curb beneath my foot and stacked it like an idiot. 

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As I turned the corner I entered the stadium and U2’s ‘Beautiful Day’ came on shuffle on my phone, so cliche, so emotional. The crowd cheered and I saw the massive clock read 4 hours 36 minutes. I’d done it! I’d completed a marathon! All in under 5 hours on my 21st birthday, I’d imagined this for a while and never thought it was a tangible dream but I’d actually done it! My legs didn’t know how to stop going so I kind of stumbled over to mum and dad and dog. I went for a well deserved massage after but actually didn’t feel too achey, the guy standing in front of me was from Edgemead (according to his t shirt) which is where I briefly lived last year in Cape Town! Unluckily I didn’t get the chance to talk to him but small world eh.

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I said to mum that I felt the same as after I completed the Paris half marathon in March, which shows what a huge difference a good training plan can make, along with eating right and being in the right frame of mind. I wore my medal with pride and raided my freebie bag for a flapjack. We enjoyed the mini buffet before going back to our hotel in Douglas. I had a quick shower and chill before we went out for dinner, I kind of forgot that it was still my birthday. I finally went to the toilet too, which was so weird as that had been my main fear during the run. That I wouldn’t have a place to ‘relieve myself’ but I guess I just sweated everything out as I was fine the whole way through despite drinking litres of water and sports drinks. My legs felt stiff but no worse than after a normal run of a few kms. However the next day I had to shuffle myself around and go down the stairs sideways.

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We stopped in Liverpool on the way back and i even drove from Birmingham to home in Hertfordshire. I can’t explain the feeling of acheivement I got and how uch I actually enjoyed running most of the marathon. I know it’s been said a million times but it honsetly is the toughest but greatest thing I’ve ever done. And throughout my run I was already thinking of what marathon I could run next. 

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I’m so so so grateful for every encouraging comment, text, message, tweet etc and obviously anyone whose been generous enough to donate. Although I love running, I also put myself through all this to raise money for VSO – Voluntary Service Overseas, the charity who I’ll be volunteering for in Kenya in September. If you’d like to donate please text YAAS69 plus to the amount, either £1, £2, £5, £10 or £20 to 70070 (e.g. YAAS69 £2) or visit my JustGiving Page by clicking HERE!

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6 months ago I could never even imagine running for that length or distance and my doctor in Paris was even surprised I’d entered a half marathon, hinting that I really wasn’t fit enough. But here I am now, one marathon completed in a decent time with hopes for many more. As soppy as it sounds, anything is possible if you put your mind to it. 

Here’s to the next step!

Mary x

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Settling in and exciting news!

Murcia

I’ve been living in Murcia for a few weeks now (3ish I think) and am feeling pretty settled! I can’t say I’ve done anything particularly Spanish or weird since arriving but I’ve kept myself nice and busy and have really enjoyed it so far. I’ve been working for an English academy; tutoring adults and children. I think I prefer the kids because I get to just play around (whilst teaching obvs) for an hour and a half and get paid for it. Today I watched the boy I teach play Mario Kart whilst I excitedly narrated in English and he repeatedly told me to be quiet. Teaching this kid is kinda funny as the grandma speaks spanish and french and the kid only spanish. So we awkwardly greet each other in French, if there are any problems she’ll speak quickly in spanish then french whilst I try my hardest to translate in my head and reply. And the boy ignores my attempts to get him speaking English. The weather has been crazy good; great most of the time but sometimes we just moan about the heat. Just wish our air con worked and we had a paddling pool or something. It’s only going to get hotter so I’m prepared to reach optimum browness. Apart from working we’ve been eating, gyming, beaching and being really productive watching BGT and Louis Theroux documentaries.

Last week I went home for 2 days (timed it quite well with elections and voted for the first time wahoo); my flight there was so strange. I was seated by the emergency exit so they gave me a little talk about how to open the door in an emergency and kindly asked me to remove anything from under the seat in front of me. Then it came to landing in Luton, I had nothing with me; no books, no headphones, no food, the only thing I had was a thin cardigan. Literally taking up 10cm on my lap; the flight attendant made me move it! ‘Please put it on or place it in the overhead compartment’ lol seriously!?

I was back in England to attend an assessment day for ICS VSO – a 3 month, government funded, overseas voluntary placement. They send young people to some of the poorest places in the world to contribute to development projects. Obviously that’s a pretty vague and broad statement but they appear to do some great sustainable work. The assessment day was good but not quite what I expected in terms of the amount of information we were given about the possible placements. I left wishing I’d seen more visual information about where we could be going and more examples of the potential work. I did meet some lovely people though and enjoyed the ‘what would you do in their position’ problem solving.

In all honesty I can’t give an unbiased opinion of any volunteering selection process because I’ve done it before. Anyway, I came back to Spain on possibly the worst flight of my life (I mean, I’m super grateful I caught my flight and it was all safe but it was a pretty horrendous experience nonetheless), the flight was full of classic LAAAADDDSSS all heading to Alicante and Benidorm for boozy holidays. Most people were drunk before take off and continued to drink, chant and be as rowdy as possible for the 2 and half hours. There were families with young kids who were probably a lot more annoyed than I was. The air stewards continually made announcements to ask people to sit down and calm down. Failing that the pilot repeatedly asked passengers to take note of the seatbelt lights and to stop shouting. A few persistent passengers still carried on and the stewards were losing patience, one air hostess was nearly in tears as she apologised to me for not being able to get the drink I’d ordered. LADs,why be a dick on a flight?! Why can’t people wait until we’ve landed then head straight to the bar!?

To make matters worse we had to be held on the flight for an extra 15 minutes because so many guys wouldn’t listen. This meant I missed my coach to Murcia and had to wait almost 2 hours (in the crazy heat) for the next one. I hate flying in summer!

Anyway, a few days ago, back in Murcia, I got the news that I’d been accepted for the VSO programme! I don’t have much information of what I’ll be doing because they have to clear my medical forms before choosing my placement. But yay! I’ll be volunteering with locals somewhere either in Africa or Asia for 3 months, probably departing around the end of August. I’ll have to raise £800 before departure so that’s another challenge to think about once I have more information.

That’s all for now

Mary x

Major FOMO – 7th October 2014

Europe

Surfers on Table View beach.

Surfers on Table View beach.

FOMO – fear of missing out.

I hate to say it but right now I have the worst case of FOMO. Or just plain travel envy. Everyone seems to be having a wicked time in either Cape Town or Namibia or wherever else in the world and I’m just feeling so sorry for myself and thinking how much my life sucks. Here, in Paris. Oh wait, it relly doesn’t suck. It only sucks because I focus on other people’s exciting plans when I’m feeling a bit crap after a long day of chasing 3 year olds and ironing desgner clothes that I’d never be able to afford and trying to run errands in the pouring rain. All the while it seems like the rest of the world is having a fabulous time in exotic locations eating amazing foods and having the best social life – I full on blame social media. It’s been said a million trillion times but you do only see the best 1% of peoples lives on social media; it’s very rarely a true reflection of their actual lives. So why am I still feeling down about missing out? I think part of it is because of the way I left Cape Town back in June. I never got to say goodbye to very close friends and places that I’d fallen in love with and maybe I just want to be there to get closure. Or maybe I wanna jam on the beach in 40°C weather and go to reggae concerts and drink Savannas in Langa…

So to get over my FOMO I’m trying to plan summer 2015. I don’t know what I’m doing tomorrow but I’m making actual plans for July onwards, lol my weird ways of thinking eh.

I will be TEFL qualified so hoping to start a new job in September (fingers crossed for the perfect job in Rio De Janeiro) but want to fill my summer with some memories from Africa if I can. Or should I just forget Africa for a while and go some place new? Or heaven forbid, do I go to England for the summer?!!?

Feel free to help me figure out my life. Or should I just chill out about future plans and enjoy my time in Paris..? Yeah I should probs do that.

My bad. Ignore my ramblings.

Mary

(bisous)

I’ve survived a whole month – 30th September 2014

Au Pairing in Paris

What a pooey day. literally.

If you don’t like stories about poo then please don’t read on.

Today marks my 1 month anniversary in Paris, wahoo! So, like most days there was bound to be some drama. I woke up at around 7:30, helped feed and dress the kids before waving them off for school. The housekeeper arrived and we said our awkward hello’s because she doesn’t speak any english but also refuses to hear me speak french… I left her with a spare key (I explained that I was going out, she seemed confused and spoke really quickly and confused me and then herself) and got the train and then metro to Bercy to see Steph Bottin (friend from school, well not really school but you get me) as she’s moving to the centre of France and was passing through Paris 🙂 We had such a nice little catch up and had loads to talk about as we’ve both been travelling since we last saw each other. Hopefully I’ll see her for a weekend or holiday sooooon!

Earlier in the day I’d had a call from the kids mum telling me the union who run the after school clubs had gone on strike so my day would be cut short for almost 2 hours as I had to pick the 3 kids up from school early. The twins were pretty chilled when I got them and munched on chocolate biscuits as we waited for F. Soon I was the last ‘parent’ waiting at the school gates. Where was my kid?! Eventually I spoke to a few teachers and located F; she was hysterically crying. Fantastic.

It turns out F’s after school club was still running but no one had told me so I had to deal with her stressing out for what felt like a lifetime. She finally settled on going to the park across the road to relieve her unnecessary anger. The park is truly mental and dealing with 3 crazy children there is always a nightmare, but it’s gotta be done. Today I did my best at keeping an eye on everyone at all times even though they’d conveniently spread themselves apart. I chose to be a nice Au Pair today and let them play for almost 3 hours (I know, I’m a saint)!!! When I was about to give my 10 minute call I noticed P was hobbling around looking awkward; at first I thought she was hurt. And then she just squatted. She full on squatted in the middle of the park and pooped her pants. If I hadn’t of gone over to her I’m almost certain she would of just stayed crouched on the floor, not a care in the world.

‘Mary, I caca-ed…’, I scooped her up, told F to watch J, ran to the buggy on the other side of the park to get baby wipes, sprinted to the toilets and did the dreaded reveal. Poor P suffers from diarrhoea and today she’d left me a lovely present. It was a messy ordeal and resulted in me ditching her knickers and leggings so she was just running around in a dangerously loose skirt. I encouraged the others to say bye to their mates so we could leave but they weren’t having any of it. P was jamming on the floor awkwardly flashing half of the park so I kept reminding her to ‘close the shop’. With a bit of bribing and a few threats we finally left the park and headed home, thank the lordy! J thought it would be fun to run away a few times on the way back and I had that great heart stopping moment of him running into the road. If you have kids or are ever responsible for kids you’ll know how terrifying that moment is.

Bath time and dinner went quite well (I cooked grean beans, potatoes, carrots and chicken and the kids immediately told me it looked ‘yucky yucky’. cool) then by 8:30 ish I was free!!! I went for a run at about midnight as I didn’t get a chance this morning. My day has felt so long but it really has been pretty normal and most days are filled with similar events. Being an Au Pair aint easy but somehow a month has already flown by, it’s hard to fully get my head around it. Here’s to the next 10 months and fingers crossed for less pooping in the park.

Mary (bisous)

What I’m lovin’ about Paris

Au Pairing in Paris

Just a quick post about my fave things in Paris; my first fortnight has been so good and I can’t quite get my head around how much I’ve done alongside working and studying.

Feeling very french in my beret and moustache

Feeling very french in my beret and moustache

So here’s what I’m lovin’ about Paris (so far!)

– Because it’s a relatively small city it’s actually easier and quicker to get around than London.

– It’s perfectly fine to be drinking from a bottle of wine on the street in the middle of the day (I’m not an alcoholic, I promise)

– Baguettes! all day everyday

– Most people can speak English. Obviously I’m trying to learn French but it’s good to know English is there as a back up

– Street style

– You can always smell something delicious  when you walk down the street. Pizza, crepes, bread, cakes etc etc

– My travel is paid for so I use any excuse to get on the metro and explore

– It’s difficult to get bored of the sight of the Eiffel Tower

– Metro parties. Although terrifyingly dangerous, loads of fun

– Clothes shops are amazing

– Casual Sunday picnics with 1000 people

– Sephora. It’s like another world

– The kids I look after can be so sweet; an impromptu hug or giggle outweighs the tantrums

– The weather is fab fab fab at the moment

– French people have the best names

– I’ve met some of the loveliest people here already

– The little dogs…

Aaaaaand I think that’s all for now!

Mary x

First week in Paris – 8th September 2014

Au Pairing in Paris

I can’t believe I’ve only been in Paris for 8 days. I feel like I’ve settled in so quickly, met loads of lovely people and seen some cool stuff and can’t believe I’ve got pretty much a whole year to explore this amazing city.

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As I’ve mentioned before, Au Pairing is a completely different world and it’s been a bit strange to fit into my role but I’ve found meeting up with other Au Pairs has been really helpful. Last Sunday I went to my first ‘meet up event’ in Paris; a big picnic organised for international students and au pairs in Champ De Mars, a park directly in front of the Eiffel Tower. I didn’t know anyone there so just sat down with the first group I saw and discovered a few English girls. We all chatted for hours over baguette and some amazing (my new trademark!) Blanc Peche wine. It might be Paris’ version of Lambrini (cheap and sweet) but I don’t care as it’s so yummy. I was so happy I plucked up the courage to go as I met some awesome people who I’ve already seen a few times again since then.

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My actual ‘work’ has been enjoyable, I’m learning a lot about the children and they seem to be getting used to me as their new helper/playmate/friend.

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One of the biggest challenges here is managing my time and motivating myself to work. Some of you know that I’m studying a TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language) course at the moment and I’ve completed the classroom courses so now the rest is online. It’s 120 hours split into about 7 different units; you learn each unit then have a review at the end to test your understanding. I’m in the early stages of it; it’s interesting but difficult to find the right time to do it. I’m also trying to re learn some french using the duolingo app and website, which are both fab. On top of these i’m supposed to be applying for french lessons at a language school for 1 day a week. I obviously want to learn more french whilst here but the cost of these language schools are a bit crazy so I’ll maybe do some more research before booking. So this is my ‘workload’ but there’s a ridiculous amount of other stuff I want to get done this year;

– I’d love to do some dance teaching as I hate coming completely out of the dance bubble

– I need to get my exercise on and stop being so lazy, the plan is to join a netball club

– More photography. I haven’t touched my DSLR in weeks (I always use my mini panasonic but actually setting up a photo is painful for me now) and that needs to change ASAP

– More diary writing as I love that feeling of reading back over great / average / crappy times, months or years later

– More fashion show, events, gigs, parties, meet ups etc!

– Less time worrying about not fitting it all in. And just doing it.

Mary 

x

today's view from lunch

today’s view from lunch

Bonjour new home and new job – 30th – 31st August 2014

Au Pairing in Paris

Yesterday I left Welwyn Garden City for the third time for the next venture. This time I would be staying a lot closer to home and travelling for only 2 and a half hours to Paris.

The days leading up to the big move were hectic to say the least. I’m a huge fan of leaving things until the last minute but can do 3 days of work in 1 night if I need to. So after seeing Callum and some friends in St Albans I resided to my bedroom to clear the mess, finish up on work related (boring) things and finish packing. I managed to get an hour of sleep before leaving for St Pancras on Saturday morning. I said bye to mum, dad and Peachy and Callum stayed until I checked in. I went on the Eurostar for the first time in years and was genuinely impressed at how speedy it was to check in; I literally went straight from scanning my ticket to having my passport checked to getting on the train and leaving. I slept for pretty much the whole journey and woke up very confused in Paris. My bag weighed a tonne so I struggled getting it off and dragging it to the end of the platform, I then walked around looking lost before Jerome, my host father, spotted me and introduced me to his son Jude. We drove for about 15 minutes to their house in Asnieres sur Seine and I met Guillemette, my host mother and the other 2 children, Penelope and Faustine. 

I’ve now been introduced to this new world of ‘being an Au Pair’; there are a whole set of new rules and activities which you don’t really think about before doing it. I’m excited to start properly tomorrow as the children are lovely and my host parents are really kind.

Yesterday was spent unpacking, being shown round the house and taking a walk to the park and kid’s school. I gave Faustine a bath and read a few stories to the twins (Penelope and Jude) before going to bed. I woke up this morning to the voices of irritable 3 year olds screaming ‘mummy, muuuummy. mummy!’; it will be interesting staying in the bedroom next to the twin’s…

We took a quick trip into central Paris so my host parents could show me how to use the metro and trains; it all seems quite simple and not too different from London. Sunday’s are a bit dead as ALL the shops are closed so we came back for lunch and chill time at home. I gave the kids their presents – loom bands, DVD of The Croods, a Disney princess storybook and a sticker book before they went off for a nap.

Now I’m trying to plan my evening. I just hope I can remember my way to and from the train station as I really don’t wanna be lost and alone in Paris without a phone…

Mary x

 

Filling the gaps – February 23rd-24th

Africa

Hello!

The past 2 days have been so busy that I feel like I’ve been here for weeks already (in a good way!) Sunday evening was spent watching the GAPs do their drama rehearsal. This year’s play is ‘Wind in the Willows’ and from what I’ve seen/ heard so far it will be a really good performance. The kids were so enthusiastic when they sang the songs that it reminded me of how unenthusiastic they sometimes were with us when we we rehearsing for ‘The Giant Slayer’!

Monday morning felt like the first day of a new job for me, it’s so different seeing everyone in their school uniform and attending lessons rather than on the weekends when life is a lot more relaxed. Monday morning also was the first time I saw the teachers again! Hugs and questions about England filled my morning. I spent 2 hours assisting Miss Bitz in the grade 2 classroom. We played games and used beads to teach the number ’13’. I then read ‘The Sly Fox and the Red Hen’ to the children before asking them questions on the book to help their understanding. By before 10 o’clock I was already on to the next set of jobs. Gilly had trusted me with the school car (God knows why!?) to collect the Christmas presents for children who are now at High School for me to sort out. Driving in Otjikondo is bizarre as you can only really go about 20km per hour… Later on I sorted out templates for the kids to send thank you letters to their sponsors for their Christmas presents and typed up examples for them to copy. The rest of my morning was spent in the birthday cupboard, basically a big room full of cupboards of clothes to which we give the children 3 items from when it’s their birthday. Anyway, the room was a mess because of a big pile of new clothes so I sorted them out and put them away in the relevant cupboards.

In the afternoon I played football with the grade 1 boys who are all very sweet. There’s even a boy called Frans who is ADORABLE and I know Fran (my friend, other volunteer Fran) would love. After offering 2 girls a quick dance in the hall I was greeted by almost 20 girls begging for a dance lesson. I also played table tennis with the older boys so it ended up being quite a hot and sweaty afternoon.

That evening we were invited to the Stommel’s for a music concert. We had a delicious buffet (and laughed at how small the mustard spoon was…) and then listened to Rebecca and Faustinas on the violins and Ian on the piano. They’re all so talented so we felt pretty lucky to be listening to them play. When you think about it there aren’t many people who can say they’ve listened to live professional classic music on a Monday evening on a farm in the middle of nowhere in Africa. Life is bizarre here but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Lots of love,

Mary xx