1st December: Going back in time

This is the first post of my advent calendar and I’ll tell you a bit about what has been going on with my last family after we came back from Ireland and before I left them.
Because I’ll write about some things on other days I may skip a day or will tell you then that I’m writing more about it another time. I’ll especially skip the Sundays, since that were the days were I did the most and they’re worth their own post. 😉

As you may remember, the family took me to Ireland for a week and when we came back I had the Monday off, because of a bank holiday. On Tuesday I then had to get back to work.
This week was hopefully going to be a good one, seeing as the younger one was off devices for the week.
It all started with his request to bake later that day and also if I could show him a bit Origami. So we baked some Rocky Roads that day and I showed him how to fold the crane and we even folded the London Eye together. After dinner we went out to play a bit of table tennis, and the best day during the whole stay was over.

The next day I got a bit time off, since the older one started Rugby practice for school again and the mum took the younger one to the zoo. After I’ve received a letter from my best friend I took the time to answer her and then went to the post office to buy some stamps. On the way back I then posted the letter together with two postcards.

With the 1st September the start of school was coming closer, so I went with N. to the High Road to buy some things for school. We also went to the supermarket to buy some Marshmallows, because I promised him that we would try the chubby bunny challenge. After we’ve done that (I won with 4 Marshmallows, while he could only fit in 3), we once again did some Origami and later on played table tennis again.

On Friday, Amelie and I had planned a playdate for N. and her girl (Sa.). They both know each other from school, even though Sa. started at a new school after the break.
We took the kids to the Park, where they played a bit of tennis and went back home after 45 minutes. Because it was lunchtime soon, Amelie and I started to prepare lunch, while N. showed Sa. some Origami things he learned.
After pancakes with fruits and yoghurt for lunch, Amelie and Sa. had to leave again and N. and I draw some pictures.

For Saturday I didn’t want to do too much, since I had to babysit at 5pm. Therefore I met with Amelie and took her around North Finchley and to Finchley central. On the way there we passed my park, the Victoria Park!
Because the weather wasn’t too nice we went back to my place and drank some tea until I had to work and Amelie left.
I soon started to prepare dinner: self made PIZZA! And the boys then went to bed at 9.30pm, easy thing!

On Monday, the 5th, N. and I once again baked. This time we made brownies. But sadly it wasn’t as nice as the week before, because he was back on his devices and therefore didn’t like to do things with me.

Wednesday, 7th September, a day before school is back on. This day was a bit hectic because I had to drive back and forth. First I had to drop off N. at his Rugby training. At 11am I then had to bring S. to a birthday party. Around 2.30pm it was time to collect N. again and at 4.30pm I had to collect S. and bring him to his Tennis training straight away. Luckily I haven’t had to collect him, since his father brought him home.

The day, we’ve all been waiting for has arrived: the boys are back to school!
On Thursday, 8th September the boys had to go back to school, the summer break is over now. But not only the boys had to get up early now, me too.
After we had breakfast at 7am, we tried to leave the house around 7.30-7.40am. I was lucky that first day, because the mum drove us all to school, to show me some pick up places and also where I’d have to drop them off.
After we’ve been back home, she had to go into work and I went to see Amelie.
At around 3pm I had to pick the boys up again. While S. already had to do some homework, N. and started on a puzzle.
Because both parents had to work late, they asked me to babysit the boys, so I was finally free after S. went to bed around 9pm. N. was (hopefully) already asleep by then.

0116f7242d72220cb18be468a59e647c929453408d

The nice puzzle N. and I did – 08.-14.09.

Friday I had to bring only S. in the morning, since N. had to be at school earlier and the mum dropped him off.
Around 3pm the mum and I went to pick up N. and his friend and she showed me another parking lot on the school’s grounds. When we were back,she told me that I’m now free for the rest of the day and that they’re heading to out to eat at a friend’s place.

After a chilled Friday night I planned to do something on Saturday, so I met with Amelie and we went to Muswell Hill. We decided to stroll around some shops and just take in what they all have. But we also went into a Oxfam bookshop, which is a charity shop with only books in there. Because it’s second hand, you can find most of the books there for just £2-£3, depending on what book it is. After we decided we’ve seen everything, we took a bus to High Barnet. Once again we strolled around the shops there and next to all the charity shops we even found a really nice Candy shop with a lot of baking utensils next to the candy!
Originally we wanted to meet another Au Pair there, but sadly she hadn’t had time off until shortly passed 6pm, so I could just say hello and then had to take the bus home. Normally I would’ve stayed longer, but that night the Last Night of the Proms were on and I planned to watch them. So I prepared some Pizza once I was home and then chilled in front of the TV and watched the Concert live from the Royal Albert Hall.

The following week was nothing special at all. Only on Friday I had to babysit S. and his friend C. After I’ve picked them up from school I cooked some burgers for dinner and then let them play a bit on the PlayStation. During the check ups on them during the evening I’ve picked up that they wouldn’t even play together! Most times one of them was playing on the PlayStation, while the other one had headphones on and was watching something on YouTube on their phone. Weird… when I had a friend for a sleepover over, we actually played together…
At 10.30pm they finally went to bed and I could go to sleep, too.

Saturday night I had to babysit once again, so I didn’t really want to go out and instead just went to the High Street with Amelie. After a stroll through the Waterstones bookshop and a coffee I went back home, where A. and her family had already arrived. If you can’t remember, A. his my host mum’s sister who lives close to Oxford.
I was actually looking forward to babysit her girls that night. Once again we had pizza for dinner, so I soon started to prepare it and let the kids put all the things they want on top of it. Around 5.30pm we could finally eat and the parents went on their way to the city.
While the girls then had to get to bed soon after, the boys were allowed to stay up until 9.30pm again.

The next morning I went down around 10am and watched a bit Mr. Bean with the girls until we had breakfast. After breakfast I was asked by the girls if I can braid their hair again.
At 1pm they then left and went on their way back home. I got ready and left too, to go to central London to meet with Amelie and do a bit of sightseeing. But I’ll write about it another day.

On Monday the problems started… First the power went off in the kitchen, which wasn’t too bad. But on Tuesday I then had my first critical conversation with my host mum. This one was worse than all the ones we had before and left me pretty shaken up. So much that I still had problems concentrating the day after. But I tried to work a bit on the things she mentioned and went out with N. to the garden that night.
On Thursday I decided to get out a bit and met with Amelie and two new Au Pairs in Finchley central. In the evening I went out with N. again, when we came back I had another talk with my host mum again. She still said that I wasn’t doing enough with the boys, even though I just went out to the garden with N. the last two nights and played with him.
But she also told me that I’ll have the Friday off, since I’ve asked for it. Her only wish was that I’ll start fresh on Monday and try to do everything she asked of me.

After an eventful weekend (you’ll never believe how eventful…), I tried to start “fresh” that monday, but it wasn’t that easy. I still tried and baked a crumble for dessert that night.
Sadly the week wouldn’t be any better than the weeks before. N. still would be grumpy now and then and would get gross with me without any reason.
On Friday I then had suddenly the whole day off, without telling me any time sooner, which was quite sad, because it was on such a short notice that I couldn’t really made plans with anyone.

On Saturday I once again had to babysit. At first I didn’t plan to do anything, but just stay in my room and do some creative things. In the end Amelie could convince me to come with her and some other girls to the British Museum. It was really nice to go there, but sadly you can’t see everything because there are just too many tourists being in your way. Even though it’s a blessing that all the museums are for free, it can be a course too with all the tourists then visiting.
You may think that I’m a tourist too, so I shouldn’t complain. But the thing is that I’m living here now for so long (nearly 2 month is a very long time 😉 ) that I actually feel more like a Londoner than like a tourist. So I’m officially allowed to get annoyed with all these tourists being around and in your way of the perfect picture.
When I was back at 5pm I had to babysit already and make Pizza yet again. Luckily the boys went to bed at 9.30pm already and I also could go to bed.

All these things happening in the past few weeks really got on my nerves to this point where I was thinking about changing. On the Sunday before, I met someone from my agency and talked to them about it and they confirmed that I should think about it and then talk to the family. So this Sunday, the 2nd October, I finally made my decision and asked my host mum if we could chat, to tell her that I indeed want to change.
So on Monday, the first day of my 2 weeks notice started. But it was just another Monday. All these days were just like the days before. Sometimes things would happen that would just confirm my decision and made me rant the amount of days left in my head.

On Tuesday I decided I needed a break so I went with Amelie to Wood Green, where we went to Primark and other shops that are located there. We even saw a Deichmann.
I also had my first Skype call with a potentially new family, but I didn’t like it all so I had to keep looking.
Friday I got into contact with another family I really liked and even went to see on Sunday, but sadly they didn’t want me to be their new Au Pair.

01fa4fe26c6c8532da8d230019a4874d39d691f632

DEICHMANN! –  could be in Germany…

So I was back to searching on Monday and then also decided to sign up on aupairworld.com to get better chances on finding something new.
Even though I should’ve started packing I rather kept myself occupied with different things.
On Thursday S. came down with a cold and came home earlier. When I made him a hot water bottle after dinner, he was really grateful and it was the first time in all my time there that I felt like I’ve done something right.

The next morning S. still wasn’t feeling well enough for school so he stayed at home, but this affected my day not in a bit. Apart from the laundry I was off again that day.
In the evening I went out with some friends from the area to say “goodbye”, because it was my last friday in North Finchley.

Even though I planned to start packing on Sunday, I once again distracted myself with other things. So I then had to pack on Monday. I started with pulling everything out of the closet and chest of drawers. In the evening I then called my mum and she helped me get everything in the big package they’ve sent me over from germany. On Tuesday I then packed everything that’s left over in a hand luggage suitcase I borrowed of a friend and brought both the package and the suitcase to Amelie.
Later I then finished packing my suitcase that I would carry around with me until I’ve found a new family.

01badb6239ed8ef091a53c0a0702995edbdb07605c

definetely a lot of things – and that’s not even all I have…

On Wednesday morning I finished everything and cleaned my room up. At 9am my host mum brought me to the Tube station and said goodbye. Even though I had to work the day before, I haven’t had the chance to say goodbye to the boys. But I had the chance to say goodbye to the father and had one last chat with him, which made me really happy because I definitely liked him the most.

That’s it. My time with this family is over and what you just read were the last few weeks with them.
I didn’t expect them to take me out for a goodbye dinner or anything, but I at least would have thought that they would give the boys and me the chance to say goodbye properly instead of me just leaving without a word. But on the other side, I never really got this connection with the boys where it would have been necessary to give us this chance.

With all this being said and written down, I can finally leave this all behind me and can focus on the new.

I wish you all the best and a very merry christmas season!
See you tomorrow, when you can open the 2nd door 😉

Vicky! Xx

Exploring London

When you go to a new city, there’s always a point when you start exploring the area. For me it was on my first weekend here in London.

Normally I’d have the weekends of, but because it was my first weekend I prefered staying with the family so they could teach me some more important things about minding their kids and also show me around.

On Saturday my host father took me on a drive around town so I’d get more used to driving in London and also would get a better knowledge of the areas I need to drive the boys around.
After lunch my host mother drove with me to Muswell Hill, which is another part of London near North Finchley. While she went shopping on her own, I had the time to walk around and explore the shops there. I really have to get back there to visit ‘art for art’s sake’! And also Oliver Bonas, but I think I can find them all over London.
When we came back I really had some time for myself which I used to update my blog and diary and also started reading JK Rowlings new book ‘Harry Potter and the cursed child’ I just bought the very same day.
In the evening we took advantage of the good weather and had a barbecue.

But the best and also the most exhausting part of my weekend was the trip to London central on Sunday.

The Sunday morning started off with a very nice breakfast at Boyden’s Kitchen where we met friends of the family, because their boys slept over at my host families’ home.
From the restaurant you’ve got view on Prince Park Manor where all the stars are said to live.

21421794

Boyden’s Kitchen

After Breakfast we drove to Arnos Grove and took the tube to Leicester Square.

As you can see we started at Leicester Square Underground station and went a round to the actual Leicester Square and from there we went to Trafalgar Square where you can see the Nelson’s Column and the National Gallery.

National Gallery

The National Gallery

We then went down a street called White Hall where the Horse Guards Parade is placed at and where you can take a look at 10 Downing Street. But sadly you couldn’t really see the Door, because of course the area was protected by police and all the other tourists were standing there and wouldn’t allow you a glance.

At the other end of White Hall we came to stand in front of the Houses of Parliament and the Elizabeth Tower with the famous bell Big Ben inside.

Big Ben & ME

Me in front of the Big Ben

Next we went over the Westminster Bridge to cross the River Thames. We could already see the London Eye in front of us. And when we turned around we could see the completely Houses of Parliament.

At the other side of the river we followed the southbank walk down the river to East London. On the way we passed the London Eye and the Southbank Center where we had a small snack before continuing with the tour. Which  led us past the National Theater, the OXO Tower, the Blackfriars Bridge and the Tate Modern Museum to the Millennium Bridge, which is called the Wobbly Bridge in London.

Going over the Bridge was really windy, but the wind was very welcome because it was just too hot sometimes. The sun was shining all the time, so I got a little sunburn.
On the other side of the River Thames the bridge leads directly up to St. Paul’s Cathedral.

Finally back on the north side of the River Thames we walked down Fleet Street to go back in the direction of Leicester Square, but stopped in Covent Garden to eat a Pizza at Pizza Express.
When we were all stuffed we took the tube back home, after a long day of running around.

When we came back home I was quite tired. It really has been exhausting. Fascinating, but exhausting.
I’m really happy that my family lives here in London because I can go to central London every weekend if I’d like to. So I can really take my time to explore every small corner and not only the tourist sights.

See you soon,

Love

Vicky xx

New city, new life?

My first week is already over, but I still feel like I’ve just arrived..
The last few days I had time to get to know the family and getting used to living here.

My first day started at 8.15 am. While the boys were still asleep I had to learn to prepare their breakfast and lunchpaket, because they would attend a cricket camp from 10am till 3pm each day this week.
After we had brought the boys to their camp, I had to learn how to drive in the UK. Therefore I had to take driving lessons. Since Tuesday 11am the english streets are not safe anymore, so be careful if you ever find your way to London during my time here!

No, it’s really not that bad. A lot of drivers that are used to driving on the right side of the road are afraid of driving in a left-sided traffic system, but it’s not that hard when you’re driving a left-sided car, because everything is turned left. Of course it will take its time to getting used to it. But what makes it more complicated are some rules that are quite different to germany. Driving in roundabouts wouldn’t be that hard, if they would have the same rules. I also came across something I never even heard about: yellow boxes.
But I think I will explain all that later on…
In the end it worked out fine for me and I was able to drive the familys car during my second driving lesson and during my third the instructor even removed the ‘L’-learner signs on the car so they wouldn’t treat me any different.

When the boys were back from cricket camp. S. helped me bake some brownies on Tuesday afternoon. Normally they would just play on their devices until they get bored and go out in the garden for a bit. While they are playing I would prepare their dinner. On Tuesday my host mother thaught me to prepare one of the boys favourite meal: Toad in the hole.
It’s just a few sausages baked in a pancake-like dough.

Wednesday morning was kinda the same. But in the afternoon I went to a local language school to have an interview. I want to take some english classes as soon as the boys are back in school.
In the evening I drove to Finchley Central to meet family friends. My family is friends with an English family for so many years and now that I’m in England I’m finally able to meet all the family members. So on Wednesday night I met Rebecca, who lives in London, too. And Hannah her older sister, who came to visit. We went to a pub called ‘Catcher in the Rye’ and just enjoyed a drink and talked for a while.
At around 8.30 pm I catched the tube and drove two stations to Woodside Park where my host father fetched me.

On Thursday morning my host mother went back to work the first time since I arrived here. Also the boys were allowed to skip cricket camp so we were on our owns the whole day. After my last driving lesson we had a small lunch and then went to Torrington Park which is a five minute walk from the place we live.


The boys played around for a bit and enjoyed an ice cream.
When we came back I ironed their clothes and prepared dinner for them.

On Friday they were back at cricket camp again and I had an appointment at Lloyds Bank to get my own bank account.
In the afternoon my host mother dropped me off on the High street and I strolled around exploring the area and the local shops for a bit before returning home.

After being here for the last week I can really say that one of prejudices are not true: it’s not always raining!


You can see it’s really sunny here. We’ve had no rain for 4 days now and it’s been really warm, too.

On Friday night N. even took his shower outside underneath the garden hose.

It was so hilarious! He kept jumping around and screamed because the water was too cold.
I must say I’m really happy with my family. Not only the kids, but also the parents are lovely and very obliging.

I look forward to the next 360 days here in London! I’ll kepp you updated!

Love,

Vicky xx