I’m so sorry that I’m once again 3 days late, but this time I actually have a good excuse: my mum was here to visit me. I think spending time with her is more important than some blog. #sorrynotsorry
After the last post got a bit too long, I decided to keep this one a bit shorter. Here is my 15 days post:
ONLY 15 DAYS LEFT!
Since I lived with my new host family, I got to travel a bit. Not only in my private time, but also for my job.
Early in January my host mother asked me if I could come with them on their skiing holiday to Switzerland. That I never learned how to ski was no problem at all, as I went with them to work and look after the children and not for my own pleasure.
On Friday, 10th February, the family got ready to leave for Switzerland. They went by car and had to leave a day before me so we would arrive on the same day. As they are 5 people the car was full and I had to go there by plane and train. After the family left around 1.45pm, I started packing my own stuff and went shopping, because I still needed some gloves. Luckily my was able to send me a package with my snow gear and some warmer clothes.
After a short night I had to get up shortly past 4am and get ready as my taxi was organised to arrive for 5.30am. Luckily I was ready on time and even had to wait ten minutes for the cab. As I had to go to Heathrow Airport, which is rather close to where I live, it only took us 30 minutes to get their and I arrived at 6am at the Airport. Another 30 minutes later I had checked in, been through security and found the gate.
As the flight was delayed and we couldn’t take off at 7.40am, we therefore landed at 10.50am instead of 10.15am at the Euro Airport in Basel. Normally this wouldn’t have been a problem, but I had to catch my train in Basel. Because the airport is not close to the train station, I first had to take a shuttle bus. Of course I missed the original shuttle bus, but luckily there was another one just ten minutes later.
The 11.15am shuttle bus arrived at 11.30am at the Basel train station, just 3 minutes before my train was supposed to leave. It wouldn’t have been a problem if I would’ve missed it, as there would’ve been another in an hour later, but I didn’t want to wait at the train station so I hurried to the platform. I even run down the escalator with my heavy suitcase to make it on the train just in time.
At 1.40pm the Intercity arrived in Landquart where I then had 7 minutes to change to the Regio Express to Klosters.
Klosters is a popular ski location in the Swiss canton Graubünden. It’s probably best known as the favourite ski resort of Charles Prince of Wales.
At 2.47pm I arrived safely in Klosters and was greeted by ice and snow, but luckily it wasn’t snowing. However it was still hard enough to steer the suitcase through the ice and snow on my way to a café.
The host family was two hours behind and therefore I had to wait for them. I found a really nice Café where I sat down and called a friend to have a little chat.
Around 4pm the family finally arrived as well and picked me up from the café. Together we then drove to the rental apartment where we would stay during the week.
After we unloaded the car and got everything settled, we got the boys ready for the snow and went outside in the garden. Luckily this Garden had a slight hill and we soon started to sled down the hill. This evening in the snow was especially fascinating for L, as it was his first time ever in the snow.
In the evening, when the boys were in bed, the parents went out for drinks with their friends leaving me to babysit. But I didn’t mind at all, as there is german TV in Switzerland and I could finally catch up with german tv. Sadly it was still as bad as it was before I left for England, so I soon switched to the English tv program.
The next morning started rather relaxed, except for V, because he had ski school already. After he was settled and in school, we all got ready and drove to the cable car station. H, L, the parents and me then took the cable car up to the slopes. We arrived at 12pm, just in time for V’s lunch break and together we walked up a mountain to a restaurant called Madrisa Hof.
After a quick lunch my host father brought V back to his school and the rest of us went back to the main area with the beginner slopes.
One of the slopes in this area is more like a hill and on its side are some sledges provided. L and I borrowed some and sled down the hill over and over again, while my host father got H settled on the skis.
At the bottom of this hill was a bouncy castle and after the boys were too tired for sledging, we all went to the bouncy castle to take a break until V was finished with school.
Afterwards we all got ready to leave and squeezed together in one cable car. Back down we got on our way home.
The evening was rather relaxing and the parents went out again. I went to bed earlier that day, as we all would have an early morning the next day.
However it wasn’t just early, but also hectic! V is the one that needs to be out of the house first, but we all went together to drop him off and then went to the cable car station.
Back up in the mountains it was L’s first day on skis.
As L and V both were entertained in their ski schools, only H and me were left. In order for the parents to be able to ski as well, I stayed with H on the beginner slopes. The day before we borrowed a bigger sledge from our friends and therefore H was kept busy going up and down the slopes. Around lunch time the parents came back and L and V were picked up from their ski schools.
After lunch V went back to his ski school and L and H had some more sledging and bouncy castle time. When V was finished with his skiing lesson, we all got on our way back home.
Back home I had an hour or two, time for myself before we had dinner and the evening routine started.
Even though it was just our third day, we already got into a routine the next morning. V was dropped off first and then we all got to the cable car to go up. After L was brought to his school, with the hope of less tears and more learning that day, H was once again left with me and the parents went skiing.
Because H showed me really good listening the day before, I had no problem with letting him go up and down the slopes on his sledge on his own. I sat on the sidelines with a good book and read the time away. Of course I always kept an eye on H, but he was absolutely fine and I think he really enjoyed to have some freedom for once.
For lunch time V and L got picked up from school and we enjoyed a snack together, before V went back to his lesson and H finally started his first lesson. It took so long for him to be able to have a lesson, because this school only has one special needs teacher and Tuesday afternoon was the first lesson that was free.
Now it was L‘s turn to be entertained by me. But once again I got quite lucky and L was so tired that he just slept for a while and afterwards we went to the bouncy castle.
When V and H were finished with their lessons we all would get ready to go home.
This Tuesday routine quickly became the routine for the whole week and every other day would go the same, except for one or two changes from now and then.
But the main events were always the same:
1. V gets dropped off at the ski school for his lesson.
2. The parents, H, L and I went to the cable car to make our way up to the slopes.
3. L starts his skiing lesson, the parents use the free time to ski a bit themselves and H sleds down a hill while I sit next to the slope reading a book.
4. V and L finish their ski lessons and we all have lunch together.
5. V goes back to his skiing lesson, while H starts his and L spends some time with me.
6. When H and V are finished with their lessons we all get ready to go home.
The evenings normally are also quite similar. Except for two days, when first my host family went with their friends to dinner at a restaurant. I was left at the apartment, because I should have a break from the boys. I took the time to walk through Klosters for a bit and then go back to watching TV.
No wonder that I celebrated Valentines Day completely on my own. But hey, I was in Switzerland, at least I had first class hot chocolate and Toblerone.
The following evening I was left behind once again, because my host family was invited to their friends for dinner. I was actually quite upset that they didn’t ask me to come along, especially because their friend actually invited me to come along. However in the end I’m just the nanny and not part of the family.
All week we were really lucky and had warm and sunny weather every day until Friday. On our last day my sunburn finally got a break when the clouds made all the mountains disappear and everything was painted in white again. The only downside was that it was rather uncomfortable to stay outside.
Even though I quite enjoyed the holidays, I was more than glad when I could say goodbye to the family and got on my way back to London.
As my host family had to leave before me, my host father dropped me off around 10.30am at the same café where he also picked me up a week ago and I waited until it was time to get the Regio Express back.
Around 11.15am I left the café for one last round through Klosters. I took this time to take a picture of the mountains with the fresh snow from the day before.
At 11.33am I took the Regio Express to Landquart, where I arrived at 12.15pm. I then had to wait until 12.49pm to take the ICE to Basel.
2 hours later, I arrived at 2.53pm in Basel and once again I had to hurry to the Shuttlebus, but this time to go back to the Euro Airport.
When I arrived at the Airport at 3.15pm I soon had to learn that my flight was affected by the industrial action and instead of British Airways, Privilege Style would bring me back to London. Because this change needed a bit preparation and the airports schedules had to rearranged, we only started boarding at 5.45pm, 30 minutes after the original lift off time.
At 6pm I was finally on the plane and couldn’t wait to get home. With 45 minutes delay we finally landed at 6.45pm (GMT) at London Heathrow Airport.
As we didn’t took off at the original time, our landing time at Heathrow was already over and after going in circles over London, we had to land at the Heathrow Cargo Airport. Therefore it was already 7.20pm when I finally was through border control, had my luggage and left the Airport. Just 4 minutes later I took the Piccadilly Line towards Central London. At Earl’s Court I changed to the District Line and it was 8.30 when I finally was back home.
I first unpacked my suitcase in the kitchen to then directly wash my laundry, go groceries shopping and finally to bed. I enjoyed the quiet house until 1.45pm on Sunday, 19th February, when my host family came back.
Four month later I got ready to join my host family once again on one of their trips. This time it was a short weekend trip to Belgium.
On Friday, 25th June, I had to leave the house at 7am in order to be at the Victoria Coach station on time. Even though I arrived at the Coaches at 7.30am, I had to realize that I actually was 30 minutes late.
By now I had made some experience with travelling by coach from the Victoria Coach Station. But so far I only travelled through England and never to Europe. Normally you have to be at the station 20 minutes before departure, but when you leave the country, you are requested to be there at least one hour before departure.
Luckily I wasn’t too late and was served at the border control straight away. After they checked my passport and printed me my tickets, I boarded the coach as one of the first.
At 8am we left Victoria Coach Station just on time and started our long journey to Bruges.
Around 10.30am we passed the first border control (british) and at 11am we were past the second border control (french) and on our way on the train.
The Train is a special train which is wide enough for cars to get on, but also high enough for busses. Unlike to a ferry, where you have to leave your vehicle, you stay in your vehicle for the time of the journey. However you are allowed to get out of the car/bus during the journey as long as you don’t walk between the cars.
The train goes through the Euro Tunnel. This Tunnel is underneath the Channel and completely dark. But that’s hard to tell anyway, as the train doesn’t have many windows. I easily felt trapped inside the bus, which is in the train. Therefore I was quite glad that we at least could leave the bus. Otherwise you would’ve been trapped in a box which is trapped in a box, which is trapped in a box. For everyone with claustrophobia a rather big problem.
At 11.50am (english time)/12.50pm (european time) we arrived in France and started the last bit of our journey to Bruges.
When we arrived in Bruges at 2.47pm, I quickly bought a train ticket and then got on the Train to Knokke. The train arrived at 3.20pm at my station in Duienbergen and I got off. As I had a rather bad headache and generally felt too tired to walk to the Apartment, I waited at the train station for my host mum to pick me up. An hour after I arrived she finally came to pick me up and brought me to the apartment to take a rest, while the others went to the beach.
At 6.30pm I woke up again and made my way to the beach to meet the others. After a bit of playtime for the children, we went back to the apartment to get changed and then go back to the beach for dinner.
Next to the restaurant was a playground and while the parents chatted and reconnected with their friends, me and two other Au Pairs were on childwatch duty.
Around 9.30pm we went with the children to buy ice creams, which was a rather interesting part, because there were 21 children in total.At 10.30pm we were finally back and the kids were sent to bed straight away.
The next morning I got lucky and had time to have a lie in. There weren’t enough rooms in the Apartment so I got to share my room with one of the boys (in separate beds obviously!!). I got lucky and had H as my room mate. H is the one who stays in bed the longest. Therefore it was no surprise that it was already 10am when the both of us woke up. We quickly got dressed and then joined the others for breakfast.
After breakfast we went to an indoor playground, because the weather was too bad to do anything outdoors. Around 12pm we arrived at the playground and stayed for 1 1/2 hours. When the weather cleared up, we even had the chance to go outside and play a bit with the go carts.
Around 2pm we joined the other families for lunch. Afterwards the family went to an indoor tennis court to play some tennis with their friends. As I had another headache, I was able to go back to the Apartment where I took a nap until the family was back. In the evening we went to the apartment of one of their friends and the children and Au Pairs had Pizza. Around 7pm the host parents said goodbye, as they would meet their friends for dinner and I brought the boys to bed until I relaxed for the rest of the evening.
The next morning H and I once again had a lie in and joined the others for breakfast shortly past 10am. After breakfast I took V to the beach until we were joined by my host father and the other two boys around 11am. My host father then sent me back to the apartment so I could pack my things. At 11.30am my host mum and I were finished with packing and joined the others on the beach again.
Around 12.25pm my host mum brought me back to the train station, because my train left around 12.40pm. Luckily I had more than enough time to buy me a ticket before the train arrived. At 1pm I arrived in Bruges and after I bought myself something to drink, I went outside to the bus stop where I had to wait for 25 minutes until the bus arrived.
At 1.45pm the bus departed in Bruges and we drove straight to France. Even though we arrived at the french border control at 3.45pm, we couldn’t leave before 4pm. This time they not only checked our ID’s, but also our luggage and one girl of my group got held back for further investigations.
The british border control was a lot easier, as we only had to show our ID’s. Although I took a bit longer, because I had a little chat with my controller. When he checked my passport, he not only noticed my rather british name (Viktoria Elisabeth), but also that I was born in Trier. As chance would have it wasn’t he just familiar with the city as a tourist, but he actually lived and studied there. He even remembered the street he lived all those 30 years ago!
Between 4-5pm we were in the tunnel again and I got to know the guy, who was sat behind me, a bit better. On the last bit of our journey I suddenly was the one everyone around us would ask when we are going to arrive. I luckily got to know London quite well by now and were able to keep track. At 6.40pm, 10 minutes late, we finally arrived at Victoria Coach Station. Because the guy from behind had to get another bus to Birmingham and it was his first time in London, I kindly offered him that I will show him to the Department Station.
Around 7.30pm I finally got on my own way home, where I arrived at 8pm.
But the evening wasn’t over yet. As I would be travelling home on Tuesday, I started to pack my suitcase with all the things I wanted to bring home already. By 9pm I was finally finished and went to bed.
On Tuesday, 27th June, one day after I came back from Belgium, I went on yet another trip. This time’s destination was Trier, Germany.
As my flight was due to depart at 11.35am from London City Airport, I took the tube at 9.20am and arrived at 10.30am. Just 15 minutes later I already had checked in and went through security control.
At 11.20am we started boarding and 15 minutes later we took off. The flight was easy-going and we even landed 15 minutes early. Therefore it was no surprise that I arrived at my mum’s car by the time we originally were supposed to land.
The rest of the day I mainly spent with my family, although they finally treated me to one of the babycakes by the ‘Törtchen Manufaktur’. This shop opened sometime this year while I was in London and my mum and sister have been annoying me with constant pictures of the cakes they bought there.
The next morning was an early one as we had to get up at 5am. The only reason why I went home for such a short visit was an interview at a uni. Because the uni is around an hour drive away from my home town we wanted to make sure we’re on time for my interview and left around 7.30am.
I got invited for an interview at the HBK Saar, an arts uni where I applied for arts for teaching. The interview was at 9.15am and lasted only 15 minutes. After the interview I was already finished at the Uni and we went to the city centre to go a bit shopping.
On our way home I finally was able to drive again. My mum was quite hesitant at the beginning and I had to use the same strategy as my host children (be angry, ignore her and just sulk) to get her to let me drive.
In the afternoon I joined my mum for her weekly english lesson, where her ‘classmates’ got to ask me any question they wanted and I got to take part in their lesson.
Afterwards I took the time to meet my best friend again. Mäthi and I haven’t seen each other since September, when he came to visit me. Therefore we had a lot to talk about, but I’m glad to see that nothing has changed, except that we both grew up a bit more and are now facing new challenges in life.
On Thursday morning it was time for me to leave again. Luckily it wasn’t too hard saying goodbye this time, because we know that I’m going to be back in less than a month.
Even though I was rather early, I had to wait a long time until I could check in, as they had check in for several flights at the same desks.
But at 9.45am I finally made it through check in and security and had to wait for 5 minutes for border control.
Afterwards I had to wait another 50 minutes until we finally started. It was already 11.25am when I finally got on the tube to go back home.
As my normal working schedule includes me picking up L at 1pm on a Thursday, I had to hurry home. Even though I made it home for 12.30pm, I didn’t need to pick him up, as my host mum offered to take over to give me a little break. I was rather glad that she took over, because the last couple of days have been really exhausting.
Luckily I didn’t went through all the hassle of flying to Germany for a 15 minutes interview for nothing. On Friday, 30th June, my mum sent me a message that there is a letter from the uni: I GOT ACCEPTED!
Now I only need to worry about getting accepted for english and I’m all set for my future life!
Hopefully I’ll still be able to travel, because all these trips, as exhausting as they can be, really made me realize how much I love travelling.