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

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Ciao, Dignity.

A quick update on my quest for a white Christmas.
I left home 10 months ago today.
10 months later I'm about to have a very very white Christmas in the Swiss Alps.

Today I made a snowman for the first time.
Correction: I helped with 3 snowmen, 1 cat and 1 dog.
There were several casualties including a couple of ears and a head and I've just remembered that we didn't put scarves or hats on our snow people. I hope they survive the elements.

I thought perhaps if I moved around enough over the holiday period (a few days with my Swiss fam, a few days with NickNatTayaAbbyGeorgia, and a few days with friends) then I could accidentally miss having to ski. It would be a pity and all but at least I would escape with my dignity this season.
It was a good plan.
Not good enough.
Until there is a major blizzard tomorrow, I will ski. I somehow agreed. What was I thinking? I can see my dignity flash before my eyes.

Two weeks today til we fly out of Zurich to Miami.

2 days til Christmas.

12 hours til I lose any remaining scraps of dignity. MLF3 did tell me she might "sometimes wait for me on the pistes."

Merry Christmas all. I leave you with a photo of my fellow slope buddies. This one was taken in our village.


Anyone know a blizzard dance?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Kylie's Top10 Most Awesome Things from The Week That Was

So, in case you didn't know - being a part of a family who are packing up their house for a year to go traveling is hard work.
I'm not having the best week. Have worked a lot of extra hours this week, and I'm still hanging tightly to a head cold....plus Christmas songs have taken over the Radio. But, despite this atrocity (yes, yes I know, worse things have happened) I have a Top10 from the last week.

Kylie's Top10 Most Awesome Things from The Week That Was.


Shall we count down? - but in no particular order....

10.) Jill gave me an awesome present of Nutella, Carambars and A Physical Blog (also known as a blank notebook) for whilst I am away on the boat with no internet.

9.) I found 85 cents whilst cleaning the Laundry.

8.) I told the girls the story of the boy who licked a metal pole during winter. I explained a metal pole by pointing to the stand of MLF2's desk chair. MLF3 promptly went and licked it to "see what would happen."

7.) I got to finally see nicknattayaabbygeorge in their new home here in der Schweiz. It's amazingly beautiful. I get to live here for a little while when I come back from the States!




6.) I got a BIG (not gigantic or anything, but medium sized) box in the mail for Christmas. Tonight I opened it, just to see what was inside. I shook one of the boxes and I'm betting on a box of BBQ Shapes and I'm so excited. (Don't judge me - BBQ Shapes and I have been parted for a long time!)

5.) My sister Kaity had her 21st (Hip Hip Hooray!) and I called during her party and totally used and abused the situation by catching up with all her/my friends. 3 cheers for Skype. And for Kaity, since it was her birthday...

4.) The discovery of an AWESOME gift game. I love gifts and I love games so this was the best time ever. I've been meeting pretty regularly this year with an awesome group of people to discuss what it means to make Jesus a reality. And this week we had a Christmas party and I won a packet of popcorn.
I'd like to dedicate this packet of popcorn to my sister Kaity, because she loves popcorn the most in the whole world. And also because I stole many of her party guests away from her party to talk to me the other night.

3.) Cake. Birthday Cake. It was MLF1's birthday yesterday and this equals cake. Cake for days. Happy Birthday MLF1!! Thanks for choosing my Banana Cake as your PRIMARY birthday cake. I feel awesome and affirmed.

2.) Tomorrow morning all the kids from the Primary School start at 7AM and walk through the Village shaking and hitting and clanging the noisiest things they can find. What an awesome tradition for the last day of school for the year. I made MLF3 a bottle with rice in it. She thinks I am so clever. Such admiration in her eyes. I have reached the highest point of my Au Pair career. You think I'm joking. I'm not.

1.) And last, but not least: Singing Christmas Trees. They're pretty much awesome.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

I AM 1 Brother and 4 Sisters

So tonight I had my first really long conversation in German.
All German.
And it was pretty long.

I think I pretty much stepped on all and any German grammer rules - not really applicable since there are too many anyway - but! I was understood - and! it.was.in.german.
I may have told her I am 1 brother and 4 sisters, but hey, nobody's perfect.

This is my 100th post. I'm pretty excited about this also. Because a couple of years ago I realized something about myself:
I don't like starting something that I may not be able to finish.

Now, I can't finish a blog, but I was terrified of starting it and then never writing in it. I wanted to write a blog, and to actually write in it. To have memories and thoughts and anecdotes written down.
And my goal in a year was 100 posts. I thought approximately 2 a week was achievable.

So, hip hip hooray! On my 100th post I had a full adult conversation in German.
I may have been 5 of those adults (1 brother and 4 sisters), but hey - at least we spoke in German.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Pregnant Much?

So, a couple of weeks ago, I got asked if I was pregnant.
I didn't think much of it.

Yesterday, when I was taking some medication, I was asked again. Are you very sure you're not pregnant?
I know, I know. They have to ask this. To be safe. So I didn't think too much of it.

But today. Today I was handed some clothing and asked, Do you want this? It might fit you. It's too big for me now, I wore it when I was pregnant.

!!!

Thanks, but no thanks!

Actually, I took it.
Who says no to Free Stuff?!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A Million Mandarins & A Suppository Deposit

Dear Blog.
I'm sorry I have not paid you any attention over the last few weeks. But you don't call or remind me that you exist. I forgot about you.
Here's an update...
I de-registered today. I have officially told this country that I plan to leave in less than a month!
This makes me sad. I don't want to leave.
Hooray for return tickets in March!

The lady at the Gemeinde Office (Community Centre? Where they keep track of all their obedient Swiss citizens?) seemed unsure about the whole process. My residency card stated a date that I was required to leave that did not match up with my VISA. When I questioned her about this, her only answer was, We can neither understand or fathom the ways and thoughts of the Foreign Police, or something to this effect.
Yeah right, just admit a typo!

I feel sad. I should be packing. Somehow I've accumulated far far far too much stuff. How did I come here with only 20kg?!
I technically leave Zurich in a week and a half - how did this happen?

I console myself with thoughts of sunshine and white beaches. Are the beaches white? No idea. I realized that many of the luxuries that I enjoy here: Internet, copious amounts of chocolate, TV, my own space, the ability to go for a walk whenever I want in my free time...
I will not have these on this sailing trip. No internet, no constant and available supply of chocolate, no TV, no space??! And definitely no random walks....unless I suddenly learn to walk on water...hmmm....

For 5+ weeks....eek.

However, instead I am swapping these for visits to Trinidad, St Lucia, Grenada, St Vincent & Martinique. (It's ok if you want to google these, I had to!)
So it's a swap I'm prepared to make. I think.
And....I get to visit my ever beautiful friend Katie and her lovely family in the States for a few weeks after the Caribbean trip and before returning to Switzerland! How wonderful is that!?

And in other news, my Swiss family is a bit sick at the moment and I seem to have fallen down as well. I don't know how, I am eating millions of mandarins! Isn't there Vitamin C in them?

This week I learnt about Suppositories. I think they are much more common over here than at home? I've certainly never had to deal with them at home?
I won't tell you the whole story, but let's just say that this week I've had to google Giving Suppositories to Children.
I never thought about this aspect when I decided to be an Au Pair (the things they don't tell you!)
I tried to convince her to take a normal pill. I assured her she was capable of swallowing it. That perhaps she could just try, and if she couldn't, that would be ok, but please please please could she just try.
She couldn't.
She wouldn't.
And so I learnt about Suppositories.
But I later found out she thought I was going to try and make her swallow a Suppository.
The language barrier.
Sometimes it's bigger than you think.

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Story About Vomit (Not for the Faint-Hearted)

I'm not a fan of telling stories that, um, reflect no-so-well on me. So, for that purpose, today I've got a story about Pippi.
Pippi Longstocking.

Pippi was so glad it was Friday night. It had been long week and she was looking forward to the weekend - she had plans to visit the tallest mountain in all of Europe.
But first - a costume party!

She was going to go as, uh, Pippi Longstocking, and despite feeling slightly unwell, dressed up as, ahem, herself. A friend of hers dropped by on her way to same party and also became Pippi Longstocking.
And off they went - catching the train to the city where they would dazzle everyone with their - ah, long stockings.

Until Kylie, I mean Pippi, continued to feel more and more unwell. Quite nauseous and capable of projectile vomit.
The pair of Pippi's arrived at their destination, and after taking a small walk in the hope of giving Pippi#1 some fresh air, decided that they really should head back home.

On a side note, you would be very surprised how many people will stare at you when you are dressed up as Pippi Longstocking. Pippi#1 was so glad that she had been unable to make bendy wire stick in the long plaits.
Oh so glad.

They sat down to wait for their train and spent their time discussing where it would be best, should be the need arise, to throw up. On the train tracks? Or in the rubbish bin? The Pippi's were divided on this issue.
Finally their train came and they boarded and sought seats near the toilet. Just in case. Although, by this time, you should know that it was highly likely.
There were none and so Pippi collapsed on the steps of the train.

*Side note: Ticket-checkers will NOT check your ticket if you look white or green. Or perhaps if you are dressed up as Pippi Longstockings with your head between your knees.

Pippi would like you to know that there is nothing quite so undignified as throwing up into the toilet of a moving train dressed up as Pippi Longstockings.
Nothing.
Or as the Ticket Inspectors asking if you were pregnant. Me? said Pippi. I'm just a kid!


Unfortunately Pippi was unable to visit the highest mountain in all of Europe that weekend but hopes to in the future. Instead, she spent her weekend studying the causes and statistics of why she is far more likely to get sick on the weekend when she doesn't have to work.
She promises to publish any future findings.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

A Story About Chocolate

I was making MLF2's bed this week and I came across this:




Well, actually, it looked more like this:


They were somewhere in there with the sheets, very over-sized bear (which takes up more of the bed than she does!), pillows and the worn-out but much-loved duck. I think it's a duck.

How to discuss this? How can I, who can easily consume large quantities of chocolate in my bed during a book or movie, tell an 8-year old that she really shouldn't be eating small caramel lollies in bed after the brushing of teeth.

They may be small, but my friend Jill thinks they are better than Nutella! Sacrilege.

And so that night I broached the problem.
MLF2? (I don't really call her this, in real life I use her name) I think there's a little problem.

Yeah?

Well, I found Carambar wrappers in your bed. I think your bear has been doing something a bit naughty. I think Teddy has been eating them at night when you are asleep and I don't think they are good for him.

Her face was hilarious when I told her this. At first, she looked really worried, as though she knew she'd been caught out. Then, as I blamed the bear, she looked relieved. She even smiled.

Perhaps you could tell Teddy not to eat them in bed anymore. They are not good for your, I mean, his, teeth.

We reached an agreement. She'd let the, ahem, bear know, and Carambars would no longer be consumed in bed.

Now, where's my jar of Nutella?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Reflections During My 35th Week



I was driving home with the girls tonight from horse riding lessons. It was dark and and all the lights over the Lake were just beautiful. We had the music turned up, singing, and for once, I wasn't lost and I knew where I was going.
And I just felt overwhelmingly blessed.

I still wake up every morning and can't believe I'm living in Switzerland.
This thought comes after, Humph Grumph What's that incessant ringing Oh it's my alarm How do I shut that thing off Can I sleep a little bit longer.
But still. I'm pretty sure I'm in the top 100 Luckiest People in the World.

I've been going to School with the girls this week and sitting in on their classes. I like this because:
  • I get to practice my German with the unsuspecting Kindergartners from MLF3's class. I got to have a whole conversation today with a little boy. Granted, it was about a toy helicopter - but still, I don't think he picked up on the fact that I speak English. A lot of the conversation was filled up on my behalf with words like Super and Megacool - but at least I sound hip.
  • I got to actually understand the lessons in MLF2's class - they were English lessons, but whatever.
  • I beat kids at a French counting game in MLF1's class. Yes, Mum, your efforts teaching me to count to 10 in French have finally paid off. Madame (What's her name - your French teacher??) would be so proud.

I've been especially aware this last week that I am here. It's not that I forget, but this week I've remembered. Some days it's hard and I feel tired and far away from home. And if I have to look at that Vacuum Cleaner again, I'm going to throw it from the top floor
(Of course, that would involve lugging it all the way up there, so I would think twice).
But all days I love being here and am overwhelmingly glad I came. My experience has far exceeded any expectations. I just love it.

Alas - time is slipping away. I keep thinking, It's only November, but tonight MLF1 came to me with some important calculations.
Only 48 days until we leave.
Huh? That's so....[gulp] soon.

Did I mention that I'm leaving a little early? Before a full 12 months? I'm leaving with my Swiss family on a sailing trip. On a boat. In the water. Somewhere a little south of the Caribbean.
Not sure how long. A month? Two? But then I am coming back to Switzerland. I hope. For 3 months. I plan to milk that Tourist Visa for all it's worth.

So these are few thoughts that are swimming around in my head. Along with questions of next year and what I should do with the rest of my life. But you know, no need to sweat the small stuff.
I got to fulfill a lifelong dream on Saturday. I licked Liechtenstein. Also discovered the ruins of a Wild Castle and very much enjoyed forests full of Autumn.
LG. Life's Good.

Monday, November 9, 2009

A Guided Tour Gone Wrong

Dear Tourist Guide Registration Office,

I would like your suitability checklist reviewed.
Or perhaps you just let one slip through the crack.

Recently, I was in Germany, in an unidentified city, which will remain nameless until I blog about in the future.
I went on a tour.
The tour was fine. The city is beautiful.

Unfortunately a droning irritating voice followed me throughout the whole tour.
Or perhaps I followed it. Yet to be confirmed as the tour guide.
I seemed to be attached to it by an invisible thread, also known as a tour.
Do not be alarmed, I was not alone. I was fully surrounded by others attached by an invisible thread, also known as a tour group. We held each other up for support.

I tried to follow along at the safest distance possible - ie 1 km, but then he would just shout at me to hurry. To be honest, I was embarrassed to be seen with him in broad daylight. Nighttime, perhaps. With the cover of darkness.

I knew things were a bit strange from the beginning, at the first attraction. Here, he spent no less than 5 minutes laughing at the people around us taking photos of the aforementioned attraction. Whilst instructing us, his obedient tour group, to NOT take photos. He loudly proclaimed that this was perhaps the most disappointing tourist attraction in Europe.
I liked it?

Now, I like jokes. I make too many of them. Funniness is funny. I like to laugh. BUT IF I'M NOT LAUGHING, STOP TELLING YOUR JOKES. Curiosity definitely killed the cat and your jokes killed your entire tour group.

The guide behind the droning voice with the unfunny jokes hissed at me. Seriously, it was a hiss. He also told the girl beside me that he didn't like her. Twice. Tour guides have to at least pretend they like the people in their group, don't they?

And he kept lamenting to us, NOT his friends or even sympathetic listeners, about his relationship issues. Over and over again. I think I unfortunately know more about his past love lives that I do of the city of M*****.

And he kept mentioning his tips. Every time I heard him mention his tips, I mentally deducted 1€ from my tip. 10€ - 100 x his unsubtle tip remarks = you do the maths. I'll keep the end result to myself, but let's just say he now owes me money.
I wanted to hand him a piece of paper, on which I'd written, Don't give up your day job, because that would be a tip he could use, but I think this is his day job!


The tour was fine. The city is beautiful. But there's a heartbroken, unfunny, hissing tour guide out there. And he owes me money.



Much love,
Kylie

Friday, November 6, 2009

Goodbye Autumn?

Autumn is fast giving way to Winter, so when I took a walk around our Village this afternoon I took my camera. It's so beautiful here at the moment, and, like I resented Autumn for taking over Summer, I'm also resenting Winter for stealing Autumn.

Perhaps too much resentment? If the seasons could just slow down a little bit, please. Thank you.








I'm off in the morning for Munich, or München, for the weekend. Hopefully there'll still be some leaves left on the trees there! I'll let you know...

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

17 Toothbrushes, And Counting...


I probably really should have called this blog, All About Me, By MLF3 (it even rhymes) but I didn't. It's not supposed to be all about her.
However, I find myself writing yet another blog entry about her. I sort of apologize. But - it's my blog and she makes me laugh so much. So therefore:

She turned 5 last week and her birthday party was today.
We were brushing teeth after lunch (side note: there are 17 toothbrushes in this house! - not including mine!) and she wanted to use MLF2's toothpaste, Junior.

You see, it clearly states on MLF3's toothpaste, Kinder, that it is for until you are 5.
In the past, she would never ever use MLF2's toothpaste because it was too hot. Not even under threat of death.
But today - she was ready, and insisted upon it.
I tried to insinuate that we had 2 tubes of Kinder to use up before she could give up forever, but she didn't take the hint.

2 seconds into brushing she started to give me the eyes.
Bobbing up and down.
Waving her hands around.
Wild hand movements.
Strange vowel sounds coming out of a frothy bubbling mouth.
I listen closely - what is she saying.
Bleh Blah Bleh Blah ..hell.
What? I think. Something about hell?
She repeats: Blah Blah Bleh Blah ...hell.

In German, hell means bright in English. And I don't think she understands hell in English.
After several more attempts (whilst brushing) I understand.
Bleh Blah Bleh Bleh SCHNELL.

Bit hot for you, MLF3? Want to use the Kinder toothpaste tonight?
And tonight: She wisely chose the Kinder toothpaste.
After all, there are still 2 more tubes to use up.

Friday, October 30, 2009

WBSD: Burn, Böögg, Burn!

Wilkommen! Today I'm blogging as part of a World Blog Surf Day - a giant circle of crazy expats who choose to release their blogging powers into cyber space and allow some serious armchair travel.
More details at the end of the blog!




I want to share with you a celebration that is now very near and dear.

A year ago? Wasn't even on my radar. Now, I am hoping and wishing and praying and pleading that I will be around next year to experience it again.
The Burning of the Böögg. (Also known as Sechseläuten)
I don't care too much for the Böögg, so it's ok if he gets burnt.

Let me explain.

Somewhere back in April I had to come via the Zurich City on my way to a weekend away in the mountains. I was meeting friends briefly and I'd heard rumours of a giant snowman being burnt? What was that all about, anyway? But when I got off a very full train, I found myself in a crushing crowd of people.
I hate crowds of people.
Detest. Loathe. Abhor. Despise. Etc.

I couldn't understand the attraction. A big bonfire? A strange looking snowman thing made of wood and not snow?
Why were all these people here and where had they come from? There was so many.

The idea of the tradition if that they'll burn the snowman (false advertising - he is NOT made of snow), correctly know as the Böögg and depending on how long it takes for him to burn, depends on how good the summer will be.

I was skeptical.
At best.
It's just an opportunity to get out, party, and to eat and drink and be merry. Around a (albeit rather large) bonfire with NO marshmallows.

Go home, and let me through this crazy crowd.

Fast forward 6+ months.

I think I've been talked 'round. I've had a summer in Switzerland.
And it's been the most glorious, amazing, beautiful, glorious, spectacular, delightful, marvelous, splendiferous, and did I mention glorious, summer I have ever been a part of.

There is nothing like a sunny summer's day here in Switzerland - thousands of meters up, high on an Alp or two and being a part of such gloriousness.
Now I understand why everyone made such a fuss about Summer coming.
The Burning of the Böögg is now my absolute favourite holiday.

And next year? I will front of the crowd, throwing matches, and begging the Böögg to burn fast.

Oh Summer. How I loved thee. Who loved Summer? Hands up!






Thanks for being a part of the World Blogger Surf Day.
Next on the list is the World Wide Westfields and They too will be blogging on their favourite holiday/celebration.
But don't forget that the Burning of the Böögg is really the best :)

And the WBSD's events will be reported throughout the day on Twitter, by Karen of Empty Nest Expat - Karen is an American expat blogger last seen in Prague. The Wall Street Journal said, "Her blog makes a fun read for anyone looking for reassurance that change can be a wonderful thing--and also for anyone interested in visiting the Czech Republic."

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Secret Plan: Plan A

MLF3: (who turned 5 this week and is now old and wise. Happy Birthday MLF3!)
I like you so much.
You should not go back to Australia. You should stay here with us.

ME, Au Pair1:
I would like to. But my Papi said I must come home. And my Mami would miss me. (Correction: My Papi said not to marry over here and your Country will kick me out for overstaying my VISA.)
But! You can come back with me to Australia and live there.

MLF3: No. My Pap said I said must stay here and my Mami would miss me.
She was delighted that she could repeat my words and for them to make sense in her context. It dawned on me in this moment that she has been mimicking me and using sarcasm now. Uh oh. She has learnt that from me. Oops.

MLF3: I know! Your Mami, and your Papi and your sisters and your brother can come and live here.

ME: Here? In Switzerland?

MLF3: Yes. But ssshhhh. We shouldn't tell them.

So watch out, family for a dubious looking 5 year old who seems capable of masterminding something of a kidnapping attempt.
When you least expect it...

Saturday, October 24, 2009

My Big Fat Greek Holiday (9 Things You Should Know About My 9 Days in Paradise)

They said we were crazy. They said we'd never make it. A trip to Greece - outside of Season? But we came, we saw and we conquered - and had an amazing marvelous 9 days.
Zurich - Milan - Athens (will never fly cheap airline again, ugh) - Meteora (via Trikala) - Volos - Skopelos -Volos - Athens - Milan (will never fly cheap airline again, ugh) - Zurich.


I went with another aupair, Pei Wen, who has the ability to make me laugh so hard I was forever needing the loo. We spent the first day looking all around Athens, before heading to the Areopagus (Mars Hill - Paul preached from up here!) to watch the sun set over the Acropolis.




I'd heard rumours of a €2 Kebab. As in, a donor Kebab NOT skewered meat. Living in a world where I can only dream about affording a Kebab meant I rejoiced with anticipation.
And I was not disappointed. I've never seen such a work of art. It was like a bouquet - with hot chips!



At Meterora, I saw some of the most amazing man-made feats I have ever seen. Six monasteries built on these
huge
rock
pillars.


It's hard to fathom. They date back to the 14th century, when there was more than twenty monasteries.
They're just sitting at the top of these huge pillars, I'm still speechless when I think about it.
Pei Wen and I were lucky enough to have a contact, now friend - Vasilis, in a little village near the Monasteries to stay with, and even more, to be a part of his family and friend's lives for a little while.
They cooked us fantastic food and we stayed at the family home outside of the village, in an even smaller village. I also saw the biggest vat of tomato sauce I have ever seen and we got to clean to vat afterwards (yum!)


As we were leaving, Vasilis' mother gave us both a Pomegranate. Vasilis told us later in the car that it was a special gift, a symbol of fertility.
Uh, thank you?

(Many seeds, am feeling especially fertile)


I met Rebecca the Brave. Rebecca the Brave with Pepper Spray. We happened to be staying at the same place one night. She told me about keeping the Spray at the top of her bag, at the ready if she felt wary. I didn't want to scare or wake her in the night!
But who knew Pepper Spray came in such a convenient little size?!
But she also told me good things, thoughtful things about being a guest in another's home and embracing the life of those around you - wherever you are. But more than telling, she showed me what it looked like. Her gentleness and grace really touched me and I'm glad to have crossed paths.




After visiting Athens and Meteora, we decided to head to the island of Skopelos. Everyone said not to go there, that the season was over and nothing would be open.
I was in search of beautiful beaches, warm weather and no other tourists.
We hit the jackpot.
None of the touristy shops were open, but that suited us 100%. We managed to find the sole car available for hire on the island and went in search of beauty. At night I came home needing to sleep. My eyes had seen too much beauty and needed rest.
I'm serious.
Jackpot.




While we were there, might as well see the Mamma Mia film locations. I'm not one to waste an opportunity!
The best place? Agios Ioannis - (the wedding chapel used in the film). It was amazing. We got to visit many chapels on the Island but this one stood out from the rest. It's almost on it's own island, jutting out from the cliff - and there are more than 200 stairs to climb to the top.
I did this twice.
I'm a glutton for punishment.


(see that second rock jutting out? the chapel is on top of that!)





The second time we got up very early and made the trek there to watch the sunrise. It's even more difficult to climb the 200 steps in the dark!
It was more than worth it.

video

This is an attempt to 'time lapse' the photos I took of the sunrise into a video.



Unfortunately I got a bit sick - even the morning we climbed the steps I thought my glands might actually pop out of my neck (is this physically possible? and if not, why does it feel this way?) and so we headed the chemist. I'd heard on the grapevine that chemists here could give out antibiotics and so I went to plead my case.

Me: I think I need antibiotics. I heard that it was possible to get them from you. (I then proceeded to tell him my medical sorrows.)

Chemist: (cutting me off, glancing furtively around.) Where did you hear this?

Me: Um, just around. Can you?

Chemist: Perhaps. If you don't tell anyone. Hush hush, so to speak.

Me: Um, ok.

Chemist: But I don't know if you need antibiotics. Perhaps you should visit the doctor.

He made it sound so easy. The doctor was just around the corner and it shouldn't take too long.
I rounded the corner to the doctors and something about the long line snaking out the door told me the chemist never needed to visit the doctor, him being able to prescribe himself any medication. Not too long, indeed.

I spent some time playing charades with the other waiting patients as they wanted to discuss our ailments.

Several hours later I left. When the doctor told me I probably shouldn't leave my bed for the next couple of days, I realized that I probably shouldn't mention the 200+ stairs in the cold and wind that morning if I wanted to maintain any respect. I headed for the Chemist, armed with prescriptions that would set me back quite a few Euro.
Me: Can I please get these antibiotics.

Chemist: (glancing at my list) Oh, so you are sick. It's quite serious.

Me: Yes. Just hand over the pills and no one will get hurt.

I think this is why it cost so much. I should have been nicer.



When I fell in love with the beautiful Skopelos I increased with vigour my search for the perfect Greek man. One who would take pity on me and my obsession with beautiful beaches and stunning cliffs and make an honest woman out of me.
However, then I discovered the Pom Poms.
On the shoes.
And the silly dance with the Pom Poms on the shoes.
Nothing wrong with regular visits, me thinks.





An amazing, amazing trip. So glad we went. Happy happy Greek holidaying!









Thursday, October 22, 2009

A Royal Visit & A Plastic Silver Sword

I know I should be blogging about Greece. And Holland. Report of dream holiday is overdue. I know.
But I must admit the prospect of going through all those photos is daunting. And so I'm putting it off to the weekend. Somebody, make me do it on the weekend, please.
PS: Weekend, where are you? Why are you taking so long to get here?!


But in other news, I was picnic-ing at the Lindenhof (a beautiful park overlooking Zurich, and includes the oldest wall in Zurich) yesterday. Nicole and I were sitting on the wall, braving the cold weather (did I tell you it's winter here now? So rude!) and out of the corner of my eye I notice a man.
Nothing unusual.
Except that he's donning a cape/coat.
A red one with fur trim.
He's putting on a gold crown.
He's mumbling out over Zurich.
Maybe he's cold. Coat and Crown keeps you and your head warm.
He's taking out a plastic silver sword.
Holding it to the sky.
He's got a huge book. He's either got really bad eyesight and needs extra large print or he's stolen a prop from Snow White.
He's reading from the book, mumbling, waving the sword around.
The police drive by. Surely, I think, they must think this odd.
They slowly drive by, bemused looks on their faces.
Arrest him! I want to scream at them. Lock him away!
But they do nothing.
What if he's casting a spell over Zurich?
Perhaps winter will disappear. Please stay, strange kingly man. Bring summer back.
But then he closes the book and and puts it in a shopping bag.
The sword, crown and cape/coat soon follow.
Soon he is a normal man again.
A normal man surrounded by shopping bags at the oldest wall in Zurich.
I wait for winter to melt away and summer to return.
Nothing.
I give him the benefit of the doubt. These things take time.
Still, nothing.
Arrest him! I want to scream. Lock him away!
But now he's just a normal man.
A normal man with a plastic silver sword poking out the top of his shopping bag.



*I managed to take a photo of the strange kingly man. I needed it to prove my story.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

To Holland, With Love

Dear Holland,
Ready or not, here I come.
Dutch windmills, licorice, canals, and bikes, here I come.
Please don't rain.
Please don't let me fall off a bike into a canal.
Thanks,
Love Kylie

Friday, October 2, 2009

'Sup Girlfren?

On the way to school yesterday morning, MLF3 narrowly missed stepping in some, ah, doggy doo. This is not normal - we are in Switzerland after all. It is the world's cleanest country (also home of the most expensive Big Mac in the world, but that's another story).

But then she spent the rest of the trip explaining to me how on our walks to and from school, she would look out for me, and I should look out for her, and then neither of us would step in anything.
I think she wanted to say Sisterhood, but she just didn't know it in English. Then we could say things like, 'Sup, Girlfren' to each other.

Needless to say, we didn't find any more doggy doo on our trip but as we neared school she cried, Achtung!

Whew - nearly stepped on a cigarette butt. Close call.


{Same little friend also spent 10 minutes last night trying to sound out YMCA.}

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Cinderella

I'm still very regularly asked for a story. MLF3 is very gracious - it can be about anything - "deine sisters or brother, Mami or Papi or Puss Puss or Tesse."

Really - the choice is mine. The problem is: I've no more stories to tell. None. I've told her every anecdote I can think of about my life and the lives of family members and pets. And then some. I'm not above embellishing a few details.

So this week I've started on Fairy Tales. She is mostly unaware of all fairy tales and the slate is clean and blank and all mine.
I began with Jack and the Beanstalk a few days ago. She loved it. But she was so scared. No kidding. I must be a better story teller than I realize.
Cinderella was today and - again, I am an awesome story teller. She loved it.
Although as I was telling the story - I identified with Cinderella a little more than I would have liked.

"The Mother did not like Cinderella. She made her do all the cleaning. She had to do all the cooking. She had to do all the vacuuming."

-"But why?"

"Because the Mother did not like her. She had to make all the beds. She had to do all the washing. Cinderella had to work very hard."




And in other news: I almost ran into my Host Mother this morning. And she nearly ran into me.
I was turning back into our street with the car and she was leaving on her Vespa and we very nearly met in the middle.
Could have been worse, could have been much much worse. Whew.


Note to self: In future times, when you read this blog - you were not feeling like Cinderella. Put your rose-coloured glasses back on.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Sometimes It's Ok To Jump Off A Cliff

I'm grasping at summer straws but I'm trying to tell myself that summer is still here. That sunny warm days will still continue.
I'm probably kidding myself.


Goods and Bads from the last week. Bad news first?


Bads:

Friends are leaving to go home left, right and centre! It's weird being one of the "older" au pairs - I'm not! I just got here! Stop asking me questions, I have no idea what I'm doing!


Winter is coming. This will bring the obligation to ski. I still have nightmares from last season.


I also seem to have picked up a cold from somewhere. If someone is missing theirs, it's probably in my head. I would love to return it to you!



Goods:

I just spent a lovely day with a friend doing - well, not much. Eating. (We even ate ice cream for breakfast with crepes. Don't tell my Mum!)


Holidays in 2 weeks!!
Am planning on a few days cycling in Holland and then off to Greece for 9 days to ... eat Greek food! (And perhaps pretend that I am in the Mamma Mia movie!)


I made Pumpkin Soup for dinner one night this week and MLF1 was NOT happy. Not happy at all - due to a dislike of the main ingredient.
She sat down at the table - pushed the soup away and was NOT happy.
Did I mention she was NOT happy?
But after about 10 minutes, I saw her pick up her spoon and lick it. And then, filled up the spoon and ate some more. And then, a little more.
6!!!! bowlfuls later, I think she liked the soup?


MLF3 (4 yrs) correcting MLF2 (8 yrs) on her English.


Paragliding last weekend! Absolutely amazing!!


It was a birthday gift from my host family and I just want to go again! Had about 20 minutes of flying time above the town and mountains surrounding Zermatt. And got to see the Matterhorn closer than most!

I wasn't nervous at all (birds fly all the time, right?) - until my tandem dude's words were, "Now we're going to take a few running steps toward the edge of the cliff."
How many times do you hear that in your life?

But after that all was fine.

Until we landed and my legs didn't work and it was all rather unceremonious. Him trying to pull me up, being attached by many strings, belts and clasps, him not being able to pull me up, still being attached by many strings, belts and clasps.
You get the picture.


A beautiful walk/hike near Neuchâtel. Steph and I were whisked away to a land that resembled a fairytale.






But it did play with my head when I realized the scenery I'd seen the day before compared to this day. Such a small country but it's vastly vastly different!

Day 1:


Day 2:

Day 3:

- See? I told you I worked sometimes!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I Am A Fun Au Pair

I am a fun Au Pair.

I am such a fun Au Pair that I eat entire jars of Nutella by myself. (Where's the fun in sharing?!)

I am such a fun Au Pair that I gasp when I find Charlie and Lola books at the BiblioTech (Library). All the girls want to know what is so exciting and give me strange looks when I show them my find. (However, when I read it to them tonight -in German!- their response was quite positive.)

I am such a fun Au Pair that when the girls had friends over last week and I drew a giant game of Twister outside with chalk, the neighbours thought we'd been having a birthday party.

I am such a fun Au Pair that I go around singing Barbapapa tunes in my head most of the day. (This is NOT fun for me, but the girls do feel like they are listening to the cartoon all day. Selfless, I tell you. Selfless.)

I am such a fun Au Pair because we cook fun stuff. Although when 2 four-year-olds are scooping cake mixture into muffin tins I have to look away. Otherwise the obsessive compulsive side of me will attack the aforementioned four-year-olds.

I am such a fun Au Pair because I can sometimes be talked into Cereal picnics in the Lounge Room. Sometimes. (Although why they want to eat Cereal more than once a day is beyond me. It's hard enough to face once a day!)

I am a fun Au Pair.

Sometimes I just need to convince myself.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Heaven is the Face

"I know it's all of this and so much more....God, you know, I just can't see beyond the door...."

I'm one of those people who get a new song and listen to it over and over again.
And again and again and again. And again.

Steven Curtis Chapman released Heaven is the Face this week and I really like it.

The Chapmans lost their daughter last year in a car accident and their journey of grief has been followed quite closely by the media. I'm sure it has been very difficult to go through it all with your every move watched, even if the watchers are well-meaning fans (myself included).

In a time like that, what does faith look like? How does it work? What is the right response to such a tragedy?

The whole family has shown so much beauty and grace. I've somewhat shamelessly followed their blogs and been overwhelmed at times by the pieces of their heart that they've chosen to share.
Their trust in the God of Heaven and their determination to stay true to what they know - their faith - has really stuck with me.

And this song is a beautiful overview of their past year or so and I'm so glad that he's chosen to share his journey this way.

I love: "I know it's all of this and so much more....God, you know, I just can't see beyond the door...."

And I know it's not the main theme of the song, but sometimes it's just a relief to be reminded that it's ok if sometimes we can't see past the issue that is at hand.

Whether it's something as tragic as losing a child or simply our own day-to-day struggles in relationships I think it's ok to admit that we just can't seem beyond what's in our face right now.

And I really like the idea of a place where HIS glory fills every empty space.


Heaven is the Face - Steven Curtis Chapman
Heaven is the face of a little girl
With dark brown eyes
That disappear when she smiles.
Heaven is the place
Where she calls my name
Says, “Daddy please come play with me for awhile.”

Chorus:

God, I know, it’s all of this and so much more,
But God, You know, that this is what I’m aching for.
God, you know, I just can’t see beyond the door.
So right now...

Heaven is the sound of her breathing deep,
Lying on my chest, falling fast asleep while I sing.
And Heaven is the weight of her in my arms,
Being there to keep her safe from harm while she dreams

And God, I know, it’s all of this and so much more,
But God, You know, that this is what I’m longing for
God, you know, I just can’t see beyond the door.

Bridge:

But in my mind’s eye I can see a place
Where Your glory fills every empty space.
All the cancer is gone,
Every mouth is fed,
And there’s no one left in the orphans’ bed.
Every lonely heart finds their one true love,
And there’s no more goodbye,
And no more not enough,
And there’s no more enemy (no more).

Heaven is a sweet, maple syrup kiss
And a thousand other little things I miss with her gone.
Heaven is the place where she takes my hand
And leads me to You,
And we both run into Your arms.

Oh God, I know, it’s so much more than I can dream.
It’s far beyond anything I can conceive.
So God, You know, I’m trusting You until I see
Heaven in the face of my little girl,
Heaven in the face of my little girl.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

BEWARE of Falling Crab (Tins)!

7:50* - MLF1's spare backpack falls on my head as I try to get it down from the top shelf.

8:05 - The tube of Icing Sugar falls out not once, but three times in quick succession as I put other items away in the cupboard.

8:41 - MLF3's drink bottle is aiming straight for me when it falls out of the cupboard when I am putting other dishes away.

10:28 - A tin of crab tries to attack me and barely misses my head and then foot as I search the pantry for lasagne ingredients.

10:58 - The tin of crab makes a better-aimed shot at me but still I am quicker as I put the remaining lasagne pasta away.

13:40 - After a few hours of respite the Alphabet Mobile in MLF2's bedroom tries to entangle me but I will live to clean another day.

15:30 - Yet another backpack falls on me twice as I attempt to put it away. What is it with these bags. I think they are desperate to be out hiking or something.

15:33 - I think about the blog I will write detailing all the things that tried to get me today.

19:25 - Apparently all the evil items in the house have decided to leave me alone as it has been three hours of safety.

19:29 - Apparently I was wrong. MLF3 knocks over a bottle of perfume - a large portion of which spills onto me. At least it wasn't a tin of crab juice. At least I smell good. But, having just accidentally licked my finger, I DO NOT taste good!




*These times are not exact as I am not quite anal enough to keep a diary of my day's events. I do however keep a blog....

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

I think I'm in Love




Did I tell you how much I love the moutains here? Yes?
Can I tell you again?
I love it. So much. I can't get enough.

Went for a day trip on Sunday to Appenzell but didn't stay long in the village.
(Women are only allowed to vote in local elections here since 1991! and they still vote through a public assembly by a raising of hands!)

Instead we headed for the top: Hohe Kastern.

I went with my friend Dani (another au pair) and I think all day long we were just opening and closing our mouths in astonishment. It was so beautiful.

We took a cable car up to the top of the mountain and spent quite a few hours walking down. We may have prolonged our trip just a little bit by missing the last PostBus and having to walk to the next Village but we both blame the other for that so it's ok.




Monday, August 31, 2009

The Search for the Perfect Pasta: Life's Greatest Quest. (Week 1: Italy)

This is a happy picture to start off this blogging post. The people in Italy are so friendly!




If you haven't been to Venice - you should go.
And don't put it off, because the entire city is sinking.
Seriously. At a rate of 2 1/2 inches a decade.
So go.

'Twas dark by the time we arrived in Venice that fateful eve.
Actually, eventful is probably more the word.




'Twas dark by the time we arrived in Venice that eventful eve.
We felt like super sleuths for finding our hotel. I think U2's song 'Where the Streets Have No Name' is about Venice.
We felt like athletic champions when we finally reached our room after climbing many many stairs. This was the first of many times that Dad almost passed out from carrying too many bags up too many flights of stairs.
But we had an amazing view and even a singing guitar man on the street below us.




We also had banana juice drinks left in our room for breakfast. This is why we pay for a B&B, I tell you, this is why we pay. It was all for the banana juice. Breakfast in a banana juice.

I think Venice was actually one of my favourite places. Only downside was the swarms of tourists. Go home, people, go home!





It actually is this crazy bizarre city built on little islands and with water, water and more water. (I know you know this, but it's truly amazing. )




The locals just have boats outside their houses. This is because it is ridiculous to pay 100 Euros for an hour long Gondola ride. Eeek! So, instead we used public transport - the Wassertaxi!




Our addiction to Italian coffee started here. It was here that we learned you take your coffee standing up at the bar if you're a real Italian. (We are not real Italians but we like to pretend) They come in for their morning shot, swig it down and off they go.
I like it.



We caught a plane from Venice to Rome. But we almost missed it because we wanted to have pizza one more time in Venice.
We then had to run for the plane. It's yet to be confirmed but Mum may have taken her shoes off to sprint.
(It's a proven method - I do it often).

Rome was crazy. We had been warned NOT to drive there and I'm SO glad we didn't. It's dangerous enough just being a pedestrian (more running involved).



Very cool to see the Colosseum, Catacombs and the Vatican. And I really liked seeing the Sistine Chapel (although the magic is a little lost when you are squashed amongst many tourists in a room that seems smaller all the time) (Go home people, go home!)



We were in search of the perfect pasta and one such night was previously mentioned in a blog here


(This is a photo of the man we'd like to forget. If anyone wants his address I found it in my pocket the other day...)



But whilst in Rome we were mostly left with an empty feeling where pasta fulfillment should have been. (Don't worry - there is a happy ending to this story).

Dad and Mum did try to lose me after we had been through the Vatican. They could have told me they wanted some alone time but instead I felt like that little kid in the supermarket all over again.
(hmmm...has that actually ever happened to me? Or am I assuming other people's experiences?)
Several people offered to take me home but I knew my parents would need me eventually. Did they think they could find their own way home? Ha!




After Rome came Florence and Pisa. We spent a night in classy accommodation in Florence. Well, it was supposed to be classy. We came back to our room later in the evening to find liquid dripped from a spot on the roof. And the room smelt rather like...umm, urine.
We called the owner/manager and he admitted he'd been having some issues with plumbing upstairs but assured us it was only water.
We assured him it wasn't.
He assured us it was.
We assured him it wasn't.
Etc.
He then picked up the towels that were under the drip and smelt them. He paused and simply said: "Could be."


The happy ending to our pasta story came whilst we were in Florence. We had amazing pasta not once, but twice in one day. Good thing I'm going back to Florence this weekend...pasta here I come!


Pisa really is all about the Tower. However, it is a very cool tower.


With much pleading I then persuaded Mum and Dad to take a detour through Cinque Terre.


(They look like it was a hard choice for them eh?)




They are five towns built into the hillside/cliffs along the coast from La Spezia. They are colourful and bright and beautiful and amazing and I will forever love this area because this is where I first had pizza covered in pesto. Also for the forementioned reasons. Oh, and because I got to dip my toes into the Mediterranean!



And then we took a train to France. But that is another story. For another day. But I shall leave this post with a few fond memories of Italy.

  • Don't try and sell my a fake Prada bag. No, I don't want a fake Prada bag. Seriously, I said no. A fake Prada bag? Thanks, but no. Hmm, let me think about it.....NO!

  • In Rome I took my shoe off to find...a belly button ring IN my shoe. Now, it wasn't mine - as to my knowledge, my belly button is not pierced. The stories it could tell if it could talk. Who is your owner and why are you in my shoe?

  • What architect thought it would be a good idea to put the toilet in the shower? Seriously. It was more than one hotel room that our toilet was almost directly under the shower. Who does that?!

  • The engraving on the wall outside the Accademia Gallery in Florence. People wait for hours to get in here to see the Statue of David.