The novelty of travel.

Murcia

To play while you read 🙂

I feel bad for my baby blog. Yep, lots of bloggers describe their blogs as their baby. I get where they’re coming from but mine is so neglected that if it were to be an actual baby, social services would’ve taken it off me weeks ago. But yeah I feel bad as it’s been put on the back burner whilst I’ve thrown myself into running and everything that comes with it as well as work, Kenya preparation and generally enjoying Spain. Anyway, let’s see if I can keep people updated for the next few weeks whilst I temporarily move back home and do boring adult stuff while everyone else is excited by the thought of a summer holiday.

That’s the thing with living overseas; I’m now getting into my head that it’s likely I’ll have to return to the bright lights of Welwyn Garden City for a month or 2 every summer or winter. This is to give myself to recuperate, see family, sort out my possessions, go to the doctor, make some money and plan my upcoming trips. Oh and see friends aha. This is a blessing and a curse as I hate the thought of not fully moving out (even though I’ve only been at home for about 5 months in the past 3 years!) but I guess it’s good to catch up with everyone/everything.

So I have a week left in Murcia, Spain, and I know it’s going to fly by. For everyone asking; I leave for Kenya on September 23rd so you have 2 full months to see my pretty face! As always towards the end of a trip, I’m having a reflective moment – mainly because I’m poor so am sitting at home doing a whole load of nothing. I’m thinking about the novelty of traveling and how I think it’s worn off. Most of my mates are now graduating and a lot of people are planning trips to exotic locations because of all this new found freedom they have. It’s cool but I can’t help but be a bit jealous of their excitement! It’s like anything else; once you’ve done it for a while the honeymoon period dulls down and it becomes more of a routine. You don’t wake up early and plan your outfit and make sure you’ve got your packed lunch ready and message all your friends before work everyday like you might have on your first day. Because after a while, going to work is just routine. It’s normal.

This is almost how I feel about traveling. It probably sounds dumb as each new place is different and I’ve only seen a very small percentage of what the world has to offer, but in my head most travel is pretty similar; like the actual travelling and preparation takes up most of your time and energy and the gorgeous sunsets, fun days surfing, bizarre meals etc that you post to your social media is a tiny part of the whole picture. I’ve been looking back at videos we use to make in Namibia and South Africa and things were just so much more exciting to us! Every little part of it was new and fun and now I kinda know how it goes. The getting up early for trains, flights and weird ferry journeys. Getting bitten by half the cast of ‘A Bugs Life’. Packing and repacking and then realising you have way too much stuff, repacking again 10 times. Arriving in a new place with the wrong currency. Not knowing the language at all or knowing enough to hold down a conversation but not knowing enough to form your desired opinion. Awkward opening hours and overpriced bars. Noisy guys in your hostel. Cheap clubs but full of creeps. Bloody selfie sticks.

Of course most of being overseas is ah-maaaa-zing and I like totally love the ‘GARP YAH’ life and slowly fulfilling my life goal of being a crazy hippy lady living in the forrest and braiding my hair. But sometimes I feel a bit ‘over it’. I’m not desperate to take photos, videos, keep a diary and every ticket stub I collect. I don’t care for a selfie in front of every landmark (That’s a lie actually) or telling all of my close friends where I am or what I’m doing in each new location.

BUT HEY I hope that just means I’m ready for a change.

Kenya will hopefully prove me wrong that travelling can get a bit same-y.

Kenya is going to be about others and less about my own mood so let’s see how it turns out. I’m excited for the new challenge and to be working in a big group. Who knows if they’ll be annoying me with their over-excitement for the trip and treating it like one big instagram opportunity or maybe they’ll inspire me with their energy and make me feel like one big ungrateful whiner. I hope they’re nice and have the same good intentions for the trip as I do!

I’m also thinking about life after Kenya. Many have commented that I’ll probably stay longer and be reluctant to come home, but due to visas and my general lack of money I doubt that’ll happen. I’m desperate to go Central America to surf, chill and improve my very very basic Spanish. Who knows if I’ll go through with it as my plans pretty much change on a day to day basis. I’d like to go with other people but not as a ‘oooh we’re travelling. Let’s pack our go pros and chocker necklaces!’. So any non dickhead takers for a year in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Brazil (olympics!) and maybe Jamaica please raise your hand…

Errrrm, I think that’s me done. Please let me know in the comments if you ever feel the same or even get what I’m going on about?! I’m super grateful for what the last 3 years have handed me and I’ve fallen in love with so many places I just think this weird lull in mood and motivation happens in my last weeks in a place. I really and truly love living in Spain but I’m ready to land back in the UK and for my dog to jump into my arms and watch Disney movies in bed without having to worry about crap wifi. And maybe even see a cloud or 2.

Maz x

 (me crying as I left Barcelona. lol maybe the novelty hasn’t worn off)

Maz goes to Mallorca

Europe

This time last year I was visiting my sister, G, in France at the campsite/holiday home park where she was working; this year she’s upgraded to starring in a dance and variety show in Palma, Mallorca so I went to go and pay her a visit.

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She’d told me how our friend Nev had booked a little last minute trip to see her and that we should surprise her – fab plan as I love a good surprise I do I doooo. The plan was to both go and pick Nev up from the airport the day after I arrived but G decided it was best I just went alone (we told Nev G would be there to meet her) just in case the flight was delayed as G had to go to work that evening. It’s a good thing she didn’t come because the flight was indeed delayed by over an hour. Nevs face was of pure confusion when I greeted her at arrivals. ‘huh what are you doing here? whaaaa?’

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Before this mini holiday I hadn’t seen G since around valentines and I think I last saw Nev in January and I probably won’t see her until Christmas time as she’s off travelling when I’ll be in the UK, so it of course was lovely to see them both as well as meeting G’s room mates Lottie and Claire.

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We all had a fab few days together but I’m guna let the photos do the talking. It was so good to have the three sisters / destiny’s child reunited for a short time 😀

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Palma is so much more beautiful than you’d think and because it wasn’t peak summer season quite yet it wasn’t swarming with tourists.

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Seeing G perform in the Son Amar show was an absolute highlight for me as I haven’t seen her in a show since early 2012! (bad sister). The whole production was so professional and had a great pace, we actually didn’t take many photos as we were too busy enjoying the show.There were songs from around Europe (did make us lol a little), a contortionist in a giant see through ball hanging above the audience, MJ dance numbers, lots of spinning in a German wheel, LED light dancing and an amazing quick change act. I also really enjoyed the Spanish dancers, especially the guys as they have stamina for days! And I honestly LOVE  a quick change act; how do they do it?! HOW?!

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On my last evening Nev and I headed to Magaluf as it’s only a short bus journey from G’s and you know, why not (G was at work, we weren’t just ditching her dw). It was a mixed night and I think 1 night was definitely enough!

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We got back at 7 am and after a few hours of sleep I got ready for my super quick flight back to mainland Spain and my house in Murcia. I had such a chilled few days and would love to go back again, you know, if I win the lottery because now I gotta save up for Kenya aye aye aye.

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Mallorca was so beaut that I almost wish I was there for a bit longer but then I again I love Murcia too, and I’m sure I’ll get another opportunity to go in the future, fingers crossed G wants to get a job again there so I can visit again because I could get used to all the ice cream, beaches and pretty buildings.

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n’awwww sisters ❤

Mary x

Stuck on a metro, pompiwho, ‘do I look like voldermort?!’

Europe

Look who I bumped into in Paris! Unfortunately it wasn’t Beyonce and Jay Z but seeing Jenna and Steph was second best I guess..

They’d been off interailing and ended in the french capital so we got to hang out over the weekend. We went to a metro party (about an hour after I’d landed back in Paris) but bailed quite early on because it was basically a game of cat and mouse with the police and some idiots weren’t letting us out of a carriage. We ended dancing in Bastille. I ended up missing the last train home so did the standard sit on a bus and chat to a randomer about cultural topics for the whole journey home thing.

On Sunday Steph had planned a walking tour to see all the sights. So here are some generic photos of us at the sights 🙂
We went for a drink by the sacre coeur that evening, took the funicular, got the metro to the Eiffel tower and watched it light up as we drank €12 champagne. Living that Parisian life

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Cheeeeers to all the lols girls

Mary x

Zurich, you were fab.

Europe

If you have low expectations for a place then you will almost certainly be impressed when you arrive. This was pretty much the case when coming to Zurich. Actually, I didn’t have any expectations before I came. I just booked it because it was kinda between Milan and Paris and I’d never been. Great travel planning maz.

After 4 days here I can proudly say I LOVE ZURICH! Seriously, I love it.
Reasons why everyone should go to Zurich (you don’t have to, I ain’t forcing anyone)
1. Its not as cliche as Paris, Rome, London etc. (Ooh I’m so indie) but in all honesty its not as tourist heavy. Less selfie sticks floating around = happy Mary
2. The people are friendly! – says everyone who ever went anywhere. But they are, I promise
3. The girls are gorgeous. And really fashionable. And don’t do that horrible looking you up and down glare that they do in the UK.
4. Nearly every guy is H to the O double T, IE. They all seem to be in that nice transition stage between skier and surfer. And they dress really well. Yeah.
5. Almost everyone can speak English, wahey.
6. Fancy architecture
7. A pretty lake that goes into a pretty river. And it looks blue not murky grey/brown. Ahem Thames.
8. You can see actual snow topped mountains.
9. After admiring the mountains you can go into a huge Zara that has 6 floors or something crazy like that.
10. Steep hills means toned calves
11. Men aren’t creepy and abusive! (Double yay)
12. You can buy fancy bread in plaits. Shweee. And pretzels
13. Trams. Trams rock.
14. Swiss beer is pretty good
15. There’s a Lindt chocolate factory. Must I continue?

Mary x
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P.s. thank you Franziska and Laurina for being the best hosts ever and not waking me up in the middle of the night brushing my hair! You da bestest

‘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 see blood!’ another fab Wednesday – 1st October 2014

Au Pairing in Paris

I’m sitting on the toilet writing this. With the seat down don’t worry, listening to P splashing around in the bath. She should of come out 10 minutes ago but she’s way too busy playing with a pink watering can and plastic cup to care about our evening schedule.

Fast forward a few hours and I’m on the sofa thinking about how dull my evening has been. I was asked to babysit tonight; usually I wouldn’t mind but Wednesdays are literally the day of the devil for me so it feels like the day has been dragging on for weeks/months/years/ I don’t even know anymore. I’m so exhausted!

This morning I helped get the kids ready again and then had 2 hours before I needed to pick them up from school (how pointless is that?! Going to school for just over 2 hours, crazyness). I fell asleep to an episode of Friends; at 10am my alarms went off and I had that mini panic attack of thinking it was first thing in the morning and I’d slept in. Thankfully that wasn’t the case.

I picked up all 3 munchkins and started the 10 minute mission of walking home without a fight or accident occurring. P wailed the whole way back because I didn’t bring a biscuit for her (lunch was on the table at home, i’m not starving her don’t worry guysies). I got some great awkward looks from snobby mothers who must think I’m torturing these kids from the way they cry so much. All was going well in the morning – I got F dressed and ready for ballet and put the twins to bed for their nap time. J said he couldn’t sleep on his own though so we had a long sleepy cuddle until he drifted off and I could tiptoe away.

When F returned from ballet we watched Bratz movie (what a classic) and then Life Size (Lohan and Tyra Banks at their finest) before waking up the little ones. Sleepy 3 years olds are my favourite kind because they’re too tired to scream, shout, kick or punch. As soon as they regained their energy though the house was filled with ‘NOOOOOOOOO, LEAVE ME ALONE’ & ‘ REALLY MARY YOU ARE NOT NICE, OUR LAST NANNY WAS A LOT NICER THAN YOU’- yay. I struggled with their out-of-no-where aggression and we ended up watching each other dance to One Direction songs. Somewhere this turned into a kicking match and I’m pretty sure F got kicked in the eye. The next thing I know, F is screaming ‘I see blood, Mary she’s bleeding!’ cool. P’s lip was bleeding (a tiny tiny dot of blood to be fair), I sent them all to their rooms and made their dinner and then dunked them all in the bath quickly and had the fun job of washing their hair.

‘Mummy’s home!’ means I’m out of the picture and luckily I’m not responsible for injuries anymore. We sat and watched Krypto the Superdog and Baby Looney Tunes before their mum disappeared again and I was in charge of bed time. The twins bedroom looked like a bomb had hit it; I’m guessing it was the aftermath of being sent to their rooms… We played ‘put the clothes on the wolf’, a very strange magnetic board game and I read a princess story to F.  They all fell asleep pretty quickly and I was stuck in the house all evening (mega bored) because I was babysitting whilst most of my friends were out celebrating the end of another stressful Wednesday.

Until next dreaded Wednesday…

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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)

Child’s play

Au Pairing in Paris

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A sofa is a fort, a puddle is an ocean, a blanket is a cloud and your legs are a climbing frame. One of the biggest parts of my job is to play; learn to let go and have fun with the kids. Bring on another week of using my imagination and being a kid again.

Mary x

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

Pros to Traveling Solo

Uncategorized

This is a bit of a different post today; I’m going to be writing about my experiences traveling or living oversees alone. Part 1!

Cape Town 2014, Sea Point

Cape Town 2014, Sea Point

My first ‘travel experience’ (not family holidays or trips around the UK) was to Namibia and I was partnered up with a complete stranger, Fran, by charity Project Trust. Luckily for us we got on so well and I could not imagine a better travel buddy and friend for our year in Otjikondo. In Cape Town I knew Callum, some people at Penthouse and no one else and I pretty much didn’t know anyone when I arrived in Paris a week and a half ago.

 There’s a million reasons why it’s great to go traveling or live abroad with a buddy or a few friends but it’s not always possible and I’m sure I can convince you that going it alone can be just as fantastic.

Pros to traveling alone

Freedom! – to do what you want, when you want. Fancy getting pizza at 3am in your pyjamas? Go for it!

Money issues – there’s never the awkward moment of really wanting to do an activity or go to an event but your travel partner doesn’t have the funds. Go alone and have a wicked time without the guilt.

Accommodation – you’re more likely to find 1 bed available in a hostel thats nearly fully booked than 2. 

Safety in numbers – believe it or not, thousands have done it before you, thousands are doing it now. Probably in the places you want to go. You’re not alone; get out and meet people in the same position as you and swap stories and memories. 

Get out of your comfort zone – do things that scare you; whether that’s forcing yourself to meet people or going to something alone.

Go on a date with a hot local – if you fall in love then stay a bit longer than planned, why not?

Embarrassment free – there’s no one to remind you of that time you (insert horrendous drunken story here)… Once you humiliate yourself enough in front of one group of travellers, move on to the next bunch.

Spontaneity – Pick a place, go. No waiting around, no arguments over where to go. Don’t like a place? Move on. Fall in love with a city? Stay.

‘Find yourself’ – LOL

You’ll come out of it a thousand times more confident, open minded and eager to explore. Plus you’ll have probably made more friends than if you’d gone with someone you knew.  

If you’re at all worried about taking that first step to travelling alone, talk to people who’ve done it and take their advice. Be safe. Enjoy it 😀

Mary x