Packed – Xmas 2014

Europe

packed

Tomorrow I can officially start my Christmas/New years holiday!
I can’t believe I can fit all my stuff for 12 days in a rucksack and small handbag. Let’s see how long I can go before succumbing to H&M and buying new stuff because I have nothing to wear.

First stop is Vienna, Austria for 5 days to see family 🙂 (the real challenge is trying to switch from attempting to speak French to German, waaa. Viel Gluck Maz)

Mary

x

Thank gaaawd it’s Friday – 3rd October 2014

Au Pairing in Paris

Sleeping babies are the best kind.

For the first day this week I’ve actually had a pretty good day.

The kids were almost angels all day, the weather was amazing, we sang and danced the whole way home, we made chocolate cornflake cakes, played football in the garden then watched crap on the Disney channel.

The kids dad came home a few hours early from work and made me and the kids pizza whist we watched the best movie ever; Space Jam! It was getting late and the kids parents had gone out for dinner so I was in charge of getting everybody ready for bed. The twins wanted to be carried upstairs and were too tired to even brush their teeth. They were so snuggly and P drifted off straight away but J kept crying every time I left the room; for the first time he was calling out my name instead of ‘Mamaaaa’. He just wanted me to stay in the room so I had to pretend to fall asleep before he could settle. I read F a long, illustrated book about London and we had a little chat before she fell asleep.

Aaaaand that was my day. This week has been crazy long and more dramatic than I’d hoped and I’ve hardly had time to socialise or do Paris-y stuff. The kids drive me crazy but when their eyes are slowly closing and the crying (& pooping) stops they are so cute and I could just eat them!

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Mary

(bisous!)

‘I’m so sorry Marweee’ – 2nd October 2014

Au Pairing in Paris

Apparently these tales of tantrums and poop are making people laugh (is it bad that it’s at me and not with me…?) so here’s a quick overview of today.

I woke up in a positive frame of mind (basically praying for no major dramas) even though when my alarm went off I genuinely didn’t know where I was for a couple of minutes. I just stumbled around wondering where my mum was and why I’d woken up in this random bedroom. Anyways, I managed to realise what the dealio was and I did the usual get the kids ready for school shabang. After a quick nap I grabbed my running gear and headed for the Seine; almost 7km later I was shattered and sweaty so had a long bath. I tidied up the kids stuff then got on with my TEFL assignments and somehow managed to finish the grammar and language section with 90%. I’m pretty happy with that considering TEFL is so much harder than I first anticipated; the English language is confusing as heeeck. Only 3 more modules to go wahey.

I wish I could say I was super productive all day but unfortunately I was craving chocolate so made myself a mug cake (or 2) and girl crushed over Guillianna Rancic. Todays park session was going worringly too well and after an hour I’d yet to see tears or any poo, miracles can happen! Well, actually they can’t. As I was about to round up the troops it occurred to me that P had been sitting on the ground for over 15 mins, looking like she was digging a little hole in the woodchips. ‘P are you ok there?’ I asked, ‘Marwee I’m sorry I caca’ed’ THOSE DREAD WORDS ONCE AGAIN. Even though I’d taken her to the loo about 20 minutes earlier she thought it was best to poop in the middle of the park for the second time this week 😦 Also she had her legs wide open with a row of mummies opposite her, so, unlucky for them. The buggy to toilet sprint is now perfected so I got her cleaned up in a matter of minutes, new record!

I told F about my ordeal and she then told all of her friends who obviously found it hilarious. They danced and made up games whilst I chased P and J around trying to force them into the buggy. When we eventually left I had another scary moment as we crossed the road (why do roads exist, crossing with 3 kids is terrifying) P tripped on the curb, hung onto a pole and swung round into the road. She lay there laughing at herself whilst a stranger and I tried to drag her out of the road. Thankfully she was fine and it was totally an accident but oh boy my heart skipped a beat.

We played in the garden, sang Taylor Swift songs as I bathed them, played with dolls and then had the most random dinner that I’ve cooked since arriving. Ham and cheese crepes with rice and pureed pumpkin…

I dashed out of the house when I was free and skateboarded and metro’d my way to Bethany and Judit’s flat in Olympiades. We were all loving my great choice of snack; Speculoos with white chocolate fingers. So darn good. I’m so grateful for our girly evening because I was getting a bit tired of talking princesses and pirates with the kiddies.

I hope you enjoy taking pity on my life ruled by toddlers.

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

Holiday in South Africa! 8th-9th May 2014

Africa

Living in South Africa means a holiday doesn’t even involve having to cross borders, there are some pretty cool places to go in the country. Callum, Trisha, Bill and I embarked on a 6 day long holiday last week following the famous Garden Route to Addo Elephant Park with a few stops on the way and I think they’ll agree that it was a pretty amazing trip.

The journey began early on 8th May, following a night out and maybe 2 or 3 hours sleep Callum had to pack all his clothes in a few minutes (because he is yet to learn the beautiful art of organisation) and jump in the Suzuki Swift, our mode of transport for the next 6 days. Our first stop was at Paradise House in Knysna, our rooms were stunning we even had little balconies looking out onto hills, the town and the sea. Knysna is beautiful and the scenery is great but the weather was not on our side and that night we watched a huge thunderstorm outside our window. I gave up on trying to get a decent photo and just watched the lightning strike from the comfort of the warm room; it’s kinda exciting to watch and looks so much prettier than lightning in England.

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Thunderstorms in Knysna – South Africa

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A brighter view the next morning

 

The next morning we woke up to a sunnier view and we were all in high spirits, excited to get onto our next stop until Trisha realised she didn’t have her purse 😦 losing valuable items is rubbish wherever you are but the prospect of not having your purse when you’re away and will be away for the next 7 months must’ve been reallly crap rubbish. I told myself (and Callum) that we’d find it by 10:27 that morning… We retraced our steps back to the B&B, nowhere to be seen. We rooted through the car, nowhere to be seen. We emptied bags, nowhere to be seen. Our last resort was to ask at the pub that we ate in the night before but when the owner told us he definitely hadn’t seen it we all started to panic. We turned to the car with almost no hope left when at 10:26 the guy came out with it in his hand. He’d decided to double check where we’d been sitting the night before and found it right in the corner. A group hug and a few tears followed before we jumped back in the car to carry on our journey. Maybe it was just a coincidence that we found it by 10:27 or maybe I have actual psychic powers….. 

It was an interesting start to our holiday, we left Knysna ready to see some wildlife and have less drama.

Mary x

Extended Family

Africa

Hello!

One of my favourite things about travelling is that most places you go, someone you know will have a friend who lives there has a friend or relative that lives or is visiting nearby. When I’m at home in England I’d never think twice about popping in to see my neighbours old school teacher because they happened to be near where I was going, but once you go abroad it’s totally normal and a nice way of feeling like you’re not completely alone in a foreign place. 

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Reiner Stommel – Otjikondo, 2013

My first ‘overseas family’ live in Otjikondo in Namibia. The Stommels take the place of caring parents (sometimes telling me off when it’s necessary) the teachers and hostel staff act as the greatest aunties and uncles you could ask for and the school children are like my brothers, sisters, cousins and best mates. Always there to make you laugh and they give great hugs when you’re missing home.

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with Tuyambeka and Joyce at a party in Otjikondo – 2012

I see the penthouse guys as my next family in Africa and the most fun to be found in South Africa. I stayed in Penthouse Backpackers with my travel buddy Fran in 2012 for 4 weeks and again with my mum and Fran in 2013. I met my boyfriend there and still go to catch up with friends and meet new people at the rooftop bar (Cape Towns best kept secret for sure).

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Miriam and I – Penthouse, 2014

This week I hired a car to go on some adventures (I got bored of buses…) and went to see Anna (a friend from my sixth form) and her friend Emily from Essex. I braved it and picked them up from Table View and drove to Century City, Africa’s biggest shopping centre and made it there and back alive! 

I’ve used the car to travel to Parklands to see my mum’s friends cousins who were so lovely and welcoming and made me a delicious curry. They complained that I was too fussy with food, something i’m definitely working on while away!

Gilly Stommel’s daughter (also named Gilly) lives nearby so I’ve recently gone to visit her, her husband Arnold and her son Oliver in Plattekloof. I had so much fun playing with Oliver and checking out their beautiful house. 

Being away from home doesn’t mean leaving all friends and family, it just means stretching further afield than you usually would and going to the effort of meeting up with friends of friends 🙂

Mary x