When your average day on your average sailing boat is spent being the average au pair to your average swiss children, it might look something like this:
6:45 AM - I wake up having been awake most of the night dreaming the craziest dreams you can imagine. This is most likely due to 1.) my new and different enviroment, and 2.) movement of the boat during the night.
Spend 5 minutes trying to clear head working out the true and the false of the previous night. Make mental note to warn 4th cousin's husband's aunt of her impending doom and to cancel dinner tonight with the Prime Minister.
6:50 - I was blessed by a friend with a silver box containing cards for every day reminding me of Jesus. She'd also talked about starting the day with 1song+1prayer, a project I'm currently working on. And she'd included a Lindt chocolate for each day, which made this time actually 1song+1prayer+1card+1chocolate. I'm really glad for this time I had to start each day fresh and new and grounded, regardless of where I was actually waking up.
7:10 - Straighten my bed - which included positioning the bike, bag and strange unidentified sail like thing that lived on the other half of my bed. Funny, I spent approx 315 hours lying next to this thing and I really have no idea what it looked like or what it did.
Straighten myself. This did NOT include showering, unless it was one of the 2 out of 35 days I showered. Don't despise me.
7:15 - Prepare breakfast. This included first cleaning the table of the inch of salty goodness it had acquired throughout the night. This also included toting a whole bunch of cereals and spreads to the table that we didn't ever seem to consume.
See, I told you I worked.
7:59 - Hurridly try to clean up all breakfast dishes before school starts promptly at 8. This involved washing in salt water and then rinsing in a centimer of fresh water. This is a lot more fun than it sounds. After a few days of so much salt water, your fingers actually start to literally disappear. Layer by layer.
8:00 - I am really fast at washing up. MLF2 and I start an hour of English. Over the course of my time there we learnt about food pyramids, the journey of milk, and how to make pancakes. Also about the difference between earphones/headphones and rollerskating/rollerblading. All very important stuff. Her English improved so dramatically over the boat time. I think it was the study content. She loves pancakes.
9:00 - Another hour of English Power. We read through The Enchanted Wood by Enid Blyton and Romona and Her Mother by Beverly Cleary while I was there. I selfishly chose some of my favourite stories and I can't express how much they loved them. And we learnt 99 new English vocabularly words whilst learning about pixies and brownies and magical trees.
10:00 - Time for a quick swim to insert some more salt into the hair before MLF1's turn for her hour of English. Her English also wonderfully improved during the boat time. We studied amazing animals, volcanoes and learnt how to organize and run a Sports Day. She wanted to include a competition of holding your breath underwater. Little did she know I am the world champion of this.
11:20 - Last but not least, MLF3's turn to shine. I tried to think of arty and crafty things for this time, and so we ended up painting and drawing and sewing. She is master of embroidery and I am the master of Butterfly Blot paintings. So.Much.Respect.
12:30 PM - We ate. The French Skipper would usually make lunch for us and our menu was good and new and varied after a year of Kylie's cooking. So.Much.Fish.
13:30 - The afternoons varied. Sometimes we would go into the town, or sail to a new one.
If I was lucky, they might decide to take a nap and I would be most obliging and take one too.
Or perhaps we would go snorkelling or explore a tiny island. Or perhaps a big one.
We might go on a hike or take a tour with some rather-focused bird watchers.
Swimming was also a popular choice and most afternoons I lived in my swimmers. FYI, I am a master of all things sandcastle.
The afternoon might also include grocery shopping, swimming with turtles or make bread. Or perhaps cake. Cake is better.
Sometimes it was good. Sometimes it was hard. Sometimes it was hard but good. It was a different dynamic because, although I'd lived with them for a year, I'd had my own space, my own time and then, for this trip, a lot of that disappeared. Which wasn't altogether a bad thing, just different. After all, we were sharing Caribbean space.
17:30 - Time to start dinner. Sometimes it was me, sometimes the French Skipper, sometimes M or P. It's a good thing to make dinner watching the sun set over the ocean.
I've had my food options expanded to include a lot of then-rather strange vegetables and unknown fish. I didn't die from any of them though. And I even half-like fish lasagne. And fish pasta. And baked fish with fish patties. Even fish nuggets and fish salad. And of course bbq'd fish.
19:00 - Eat fish.
20:00 - Of course no meal would be complete without the washing up. My fingers are now half their size due to the fact that skin does a funny thing when met with a lot of salt water.
21:00 - We tidy up the boat and the girls go to bed, followed closely by me. I found it sometimes rather tiring being your average au pair to your average swiss children on your average sailing boat. Why, you ask?
Persistant boat-salesmen, French/German-speaking children, mountain guides who ran expecting me to follow, angry fish, snorkeling through strong currents, flesh-eating salt water... Sheesh. It just plain wears you out!
And so, time for bed.
Ah, hello strange unidentified sail-like thing. How I've missed you.
PS: MLF1, 2, 3? M & P? I miss you!