...I suspect I may be the luckiest kid in the world

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Mary vs. Kylie

Tonight we watched Mary Poppins.  It was the first time for the girls, and it was such a treat to introduce them to it.  Only a few minutes into it, I realised my mistake.  Why hadn´t I suggested a movie about a horrible nanny?  Why would I put ideas into their head about a nanny who could snap her fingers and the clothes and toys pick themselves up off the floor?!  What was I thinking?
Thankfully, as I was putting A to bed afterwards, my mind was put at rest.  "She would be a pretty awesome au pair," I said, as I tucked her in.  "Yeah," she said. "But you and her are the same."
It´s kind of like climbing to the top of the corporate ladder.

Im continually having to come up with new stories for the girls.  Today I mentioned the only (I think) detention I ever got in school....the result of a food fight at school.  This delighted the girls so much I went on to mention one of my brother´s detentions at school.  Sorry Tom.  But it involved Tom standing on a toilet at school to yell out the window and the seat breaking.  I may have embellished the story slightly.  In my version, Tom also fell into the toilet, it wasn´t pretty and the girls pretty much made up their own version from there.

I have somehow found myself reading a type of parenting book.  I dont know how this happened and it only hit me half way through it that I was identifiying with it and creating action plans in my head.  Ok, so its not just a parenting book.  It´s a happiness book and it´s really good.  But there´s a few chapters on parenting and I´m really enjoying it.  Many many months ago I decided that I wanted to open the door to the girls with a giant cheery hello every time they came home.  They ring the door bell several times a day....lunch, after school, after different activities, and there are three of them, so sometimes it feels like I´m running to the door all day long.  But I think answering with a cheery tone spreads a cheery vibe into the ensuing time we spend together.  Lately, I´ve been answering the door with different accents and Allisons, you´d be proud of my Southern drawl.  All that to say that it is quite bizarre to be able implement suggestions from the parenting chapters of my book...

 And that´s all I have to say for tonight.  That, and here is my rebellious, live-outside-the-box picture for the week.  Here I am standing in the place reserved for Sleds, Sleighs and Sledges.  It´s all about swimming against the tide.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Job Motivation: Increase of Ego

If nothing else, being an au pair is good for your ego.  You are followed around by kids who you cook and clean for (therefore, who wouldn´t love you!?) and who you teach to make braids and plaits and buns in their hair.  You can impress them with the cool apps on your phone and you can teach an 8 year old how to Borrow and Subtract for the first time ever (no mean feat!).  You can by some raw talent make muffins that taste the same (that is, awesome) every time and your (rusty and somewhat simple) piano playing skills exceed that of anyone they´ve ever known personally.

I love these girls.  Today, quite seriously, they told me:
You should play in concerts.  I would pay to come and hear you play.
You should make a CD.  You can sing better than the people on the radio. 
(and whilst we were listening to/watching Youtube) Why don´t you sing and make videos like this?  You could be famous.

But, by far, my favourite comment of the day, was: Your salad sauce is good. 
Finally. After almost 2 years of trying to make salad sauce, today it was good.  Mission complete.   

And in other news, it snowed in the city this week.  Which is CRAZY because its still only October.  On Monday, I happened to be out for a walk at sunset, in the snow, for a full moon rise, with a 360° view and it was lovely enough to make a video :)

Actually, I change my mind.  My favourite comment of the day was just as I was saying goodnight. N (13 years): I really like you very much

It makes your heart happy.  I really like you too.  Your English could use a little work, but I really really like you.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Swiss Curiosities

I love finding new Swiss Curiosities.  Although let´s be honest. Sometimes I don´t think curiosities are the right word...they´re the cultural habits that wouldn´t stand a chance in Australia. 

I discovered my first SC on my first day here.  It was the whole recycling business.  And tying up the piles of papers with string. And then the realisation that it was more likely the Swiss government is collecting string.

There have been others along the way.  Including the constant voting, the cleanliness, and the need to always be on time.  Always. Always.

I was introduced to another today: the Radfahrer Prüfung.  MLF2 (11 years) and all the kids in the 6th class have to take a practical test around the village to see if they know how to ride a bike on the road.  Until they past this test, they are only allowed to ride on the footpath.  She was quite nervous but passed with flying colours.  It made me laugh a little to be driving yesterday evening and this morning and see lots of parents taking their kids out for their last minute practice.  I mean, who wants to be stuck riding your bike on the footpath for your whole life!?   

Congratulations MLF2.  Welcome to the real world road.

Not quite a curiosity, but I do love the Swiss farms in the Zürich surrounds.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Too many good things!

You can fit quite a lot of things into a week or two.  Hard to believe I´ve only been back in Switzerland for a couple of weeks!

Two weeks ago, I was here.
 On Thursday, we went to the Weltklasse Zürich.  I feel somewhat ignorant that I didn´t really know what this was before I went.  They offered me a ticket, I heard Usain Bolt would be there, and so I thought why not?

It was all rather cool...kind of like the Olympics in 4 hours.  Perfect for me, as I didn´t get to see a single event of the Olympics this year, as we were sailing to whole time.


 There was even a closing ceremony with fireworks.  The Swiss love their fireworks.  And everyone was given a blue torch which made it a little bit like magic :)

This weekend, I went to Lille, France, to the largest flea market in Europe.  I consider myself somewhat of a flea market fanatic, but even I was overwhelmed by the amount of people and stuff.  But its nice to spend the Euro and pretend its the Swiss Franc.

On Sunday some excellent friends planned an surprise adventure for my birthday.  The rain had other plans, but we still saw some amazing places in the middle of Switzerland. 


  And then we raced down the mountain on Trottinets! How fun is that!!

Somewhere in there I turned 21.  Or something like that.  I had the funnest birthday cake ever, with decorations made by 6 girls (and it tasted pretty good too!) - which we ate for breakfast!

I opened my birthday package from home with the girls, and they thought the contents were pretty funny.
7 showercaps
6 packets of biscuits
5 candles
4 birthday cards
3 balloons
2 packets of Australian tattoos
1 packet of corriander

I don´t want to talk about how many packets of biscuits are still in my possession, but such a splendid package to open. Thanks family!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

I just love that...

Tonight, MLF1 (13 years) came down to dinner and all her thoughts just came pouring out. Sometimes she speaks (English) so fast that I can barely keep up. Seriously. 

She´s doing a project at school about Global Warming and her part of the project has been to find out the effects on the refugees caused by all the changes happening.  It created such an interesting dinner conversation; which they all talked as fast as each other (it was just me and the 3 girls tonight) ... everything from the hurricanes in Haiti to just listening to what the media tell us, to bottled water and where our rubbish goes.  It amazed me that we had such a (long) conversation - probably 30 minutes - in English! - and I just love that the end the conversation naturally turned to what we could do that would make a difference. 

Then we watched a couple of Youtube videos...The Story of Bottled Water...and a TED talk about people creating beautiful spaces in their communities. At the beginning of each video, I started to regret putting it on for them...they´re both about big concepts, in English, and directed towards adults.  But at the end, they wanted to talk about the videos and I could see that they had all grasped the ideas and had their own ideas that led out of them.  I just love that they care about such things and that I get to talk about stuff like this with them.

...and then we got to hang out and play music and sing together.  MLF2 has a piano here now (yay!) and MLF1 can play the guitar, and I show MLF3 a few base notes on the piano...I just love that there is more of a depth to my relationship with them now.  Plus they think that my (cheating) piano skills are concerto-worthy: always good for the ego.

...and in other news, I am the best problem solver ever.   In the words of MLF3.  True story.
MLF3: Oh!  Sigh!  Oh!  My toothbrush (which sits in a cup) is always wet on the bottom of the handle when I go to use it! Always! I hate it!
Me: There´s a special secret magical way to stop this from happening. 

...and so I told her to give the toothbrush a little whack after rinsing it out.  And the next morning, during teeth brushing time....

Me: So is your tooth brush handle wet this morning?
MLF3: (as the look of absolute amazement crosses her face). No!! You have the best ideas ever! In the whole world!

I know, right?!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Saving the World

Y´all can thank me later.
Today I saved the world.
I saved the world from another sock-and-sandal-wearer. 
MLF3 (7 years) put her sandals on, ready to leave for school.  I managed to keep my recoiled horror under control and took a deep breath.
"Oh.  You´re going to wear your socks with your sandals today?" I squeaked casually.  My voice was abnormally high, but I don´t think she noticed.  Poor kid, I so often speak with ridiculous accents and quote movie lines at her that it all comes normally now.
She nodded with a shrug.  Why not?  I mean, the blue stripey bed socks with the 3/4 jeans and the sandals...it´s cool, right?
Thankfully, she looked for confirmation at MLF2 (11 years), who shook her head with a look of sadness.  Or was that disgust.
Even more thankfully, she peeled off those socks and braved the day (close to 30 degrees!) wearing sandals without socks.
Saving the world.  It´s just what I do.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

+2 years

Wow.  The last time I wrote on this blog was almost 2 years ago!  That´s crazy.  I´d just left Switzerland, had moved back home and decided to go to uni.  Since then, I´ve randomly blogged on my other blog, but I´ve been a little, ah, sporadic. 
I thought it might be appropriate to ressurect this blog because I´ve moved back to Switzerland.  I´m not sure how long I´ll be here for, but I´ve returned to the au pair world yet again and feel a little like I´ve gone back in time. I still can´t afford anything in this crazily expensive city, and I still continually find myself running for trains. I´m also back living with my 3 favourite Swiss girls and making their beds every morning (among other things).
Some things have changed though.  Some of my favourite people who lived here last time don´t live here anymore and I have to meet new favourite people.  I´m studying a little bit through uni back at home, and my 3 favourite Swiss girls are a little older and sometimes make their own beds in the morning!
It´s hard to start again somewhere.  I feel like I´ve done it a LOT lately.  But I´m ever so glad to have the chance to live here again and to create new stories.  And who doesn´t love a good story?
Thanks for joining!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The final, very last blog post at the end.

The final, very last blog post at the end.

Thanks for reading my Swiss blog. I had it printed the other day into a book and I certainly managed to talk about myself a lot. 150 A4 pages. Small print. Thanks for wading through all that.
I'm a bit sad that my Swiss life is over. I've started a new blog about ... well, me - (You, by the way, are more than welcome to start a blog about YOU) - and if you want to take a look, I've set it up here http://kylieathome.blogspot.com/

Thanks for reading my Swiss stories and being a part of a (very excellent) Swiss Story.

See you on the other side. I mean, the other blog. http://kylieathome.blogspot.com/

Friday, June 11, 2010

Toto, We're Not In Europe Anymore. Part 2:

On Returning home.

Out of the bajillion of flights I've taken on this trip, the last one was the worst. It's a 4 hour drive from Sydney to our family home and so I decided to fly, rather than beg my parents to be waiting for me at 6AM in Sydney. I should have been on this domestic flight at 8AM and then glided in sometime around 9AM and been home in time for a coffee. Should.


With thanks to

ChinaAir for their tardiness, Sydney Airport for their exceptionally long customs and baggage line at 7AM in the morning(!), the Sniffer Dog for thinking my nail polish was delicious (thus requiring a search of my luggage for non-existant food), and a broken Qantas plane,

for making this not possible.

Instead my family went to the airport and waited for an unaccounted-for missing daughter (sorry! but I did try and call!) Heartfelt apologies to the any disembarking female passengers in the 20-24 age bracket who may have been swamped by a loving but foreign family.

Thankfully, they did come back and fetch me later that afternoon when I finally got in. Go here for my Mother's Side of the Story.

During the wait, where they shifted us between planes, buses and waiting gates I drifted off to sleep so many times. Each time waking with a shock and having to think about those essentials - who am I? where am I? why am i drooling? what am i doing here? why does everyone here have that strange accent?

Someone's gotta provide the entertainment.

But now, I'm home. Spending time with my fam. Shocked a lot by the local-yokel-ness of Australians. Finding myself out in the bush helping chop firewood (ok let's be honest, Dad uses his chainsaw and I collected the logs - why chop when you can chainsaw!?). Eating Mumma's food again. Taking family pictures. Freezing. Hunting down my old Uggboots. Catching up with friends. Baking Swiss bread --

What can I say? Old habits die hard.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Toto, We're Not In Europe Anymore, Part 1

I took myself off to the Airport and waved myself off. After a bad experience the week before-
(On the way to London - this included finding lines 100+ metres long - NOT normal for Zurich Airport! I had to beg, borrow and bribe my way through to the front of each line - I have NO jewelery left now, and then running for my life all the way to the gate which happened to be (of course) on the other side of the airport)

...I allowed plenty of time. I was maxed out on luggage allowance and would not-could not, be running anywhere.

After a brief sprint through the Frankfurt Airport, I was drooled on by a Chinese man most of the way to Beijing. I should have seen this as a foretaste of what was to come.

Beijing: Probably one of the craziest experiences of my life. In my whole week in China I probably saw only 20 other "white" people. Which meant that I was a walking sideshow freak attraction to all the Chinese.

Stared at?
Spat on?
Sat on?
Sneered at?
Shocked by?
Sized up?

Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes.

It was like going back to the beginning again. I couldn't read anything or understand anyone.

But after a good sleep, I felt like I might be able to cope and had an amazing trip. I got a wonderful glance of the Great Wall and finally was able to beg my way into buying a train ticket (an experience all of it's own) to visit my friend Aimee up in northern China.

I took a Night Train (they would only sell me 1st class-and I had to pay for the privilege) and arrived in Harbin. Here, I finally got to eat some real, good, Chinese food, explore miles and miles of underground shops/markets, take a million taxis, and even practice some Chinese on said taxi drivers.
It was very fun to see Aimee again (I actually caught up with her last when I was passing through Singapore on my way to Switz) and to tag along on some of her classes (she's teaching English).

The night train back was, ah, different, as I managed to buy a cheaper 2nd class ticket. Let's just say that the people who designed the bed size were very skinny.

But, actually, I really liked China. It couldn't have been any different from Europe. It's probably been a good transition spot for coming home. At least, home couldn't be any stranger than China.