9 THINGS I LEARNED BEING AN AU PAIR

Before I flew out to Oz I had done a lot of research (read: created multiple Pinterest boards) on traveling Australia alone and working whilst doing so. Au pairing was mentioned in multiple articles when talking about ways to experience the country more like a local than a backpacker, so it had already been on my mind as a potential job before arriving.

When I first moved to Orange I had no idea what to expect. I was putting all my trust into a family I had never met before and they were putting their trust in a backpacker they didn’t know to look after their most precious thing in the world; their one-year-old daughter. Yeah, Australians are weird…

So anyway, fast forward 7 months and I was heading back to England and making the most heartbreaking goodbye to Poppy; my little partner in crime, my number one gal, my BFF. I had the most amazing time looking after her and watching her grow and develop was truly wonderful, so I wanted to share with you guys a round-up of the main things I learned from being her au pair and add a few of my many favourite photos of my time with her too.

Kids are a hella lot smarter than you think.
They know that phones are meant to be put up to your ears, they know when you’re trying to hide something from them (read: biscuits), and I don’t know about any other child, but Poppy sure as hell knew when a camera was out and made sure she was looking her best.

Parents work bloody hard at what they do…
…and we need to give them more credit for it. Especially when their kid is throwing a tantrum in the middle of a store and they’re trying their best to calm the situation.

Peppa Pig is a bad influence.
She’s a brat. End of discussion.


I’m more responsible than I thought.
I no longer joke about how I’m not cut out for adult life because let’s face it, when you’re thrown into the deep end your instincts kick in and you realise “actually yeah, I’m pretty damn good at this whole adulting thing”.

I’m broodier than I thought.
This one makes me laugh because although I don’t want a child of my own for at least another 6/7 years, I just wanted to take Poppy back to England with me because I got so attached to her. I am excited about having my own kid, don’t get me wrong, but I think for now I’ll just stick to dogs.


Kids bring you so much joy.
My Mum always said this to me (because I’m the light of her life of course) and every time I would respond saying I very much doubt it. But through au pairing I’ve realised they will bring you all the happiness in the world when, for example, they say novel words or choose to bring a book over and cuddle with you rather than playing with toys.

Patience.
I’ve always been a relatively patient person, but that was truly tested over these seven months. I will never again take for granted how little time it takes for me to leave the house or how I can just run into a store to do a quick food shop, because a toddler who’s adamant on carrying the basket and making a run for it down the frozen isle when all you need is a carton of milk will get tiring very quickly.


Kids are not adults and we shouldn’t expect them to behave or understand like them either.
Before I became an au pair I would talk to young kids (by young I mean 1-3) using full sentences and expecting them to understand, but now I realise that using few-word sentences with only keywords such as “more or finished?” makes it easier to understand and respond. I would also expect them to behave as if they knew the consequences of their actions, but kids don’t, and that’s all a part of their innocence and they’ll learn as they go on.

Being an au pair is hard work…
…but it’s the best job I’ve ever had and I would fly back out to Oz to look after Poppy again in a heartbeat.

If you’ve been considering au pairing during your travels let me know in the comments below, especially if you have any questions you want to ask before applying! I seriously can’t recommend it enough.

 

Until next time,

Liv

xo

REFLECTING ON 2016: MY TOP 10 HIGHLIGHTS

Hello everybody! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and are just as bummed as I am that we’ve got to wait a whole year to do it all again. The days between Christmas and New Year provide an excellent opportunity to reflect on the past year and consider one’s expectations for the future. Although 2016 seems to the world like a year that has brought nothing but doom and gloom, it’s also important to notice the positive things that have happened throughout the year.

For me 2016 has been a year full of chapters closing, new beginnings, and opportunities that have quite literally dragged me out of my comfort zone. Whilst reflecting on all of this I put together a list of 10 of my highlights from the past year. It was so hard to narrow it down and I’ve missed out so much from this post, but I doubt you guys would want to read a neverending list of them all.

1. In the first semester of my final year of University I somehow achieved 80 in my qualitative research methods module. This went along quite nicely with the 79 I got for statistics the year before and I was in pure shock when I found out. These modules, no matter how tedious and stressful they might have been, were really important to be as I need them to stand out on my transcripts for my future PhD applications. At a time when I was so stressed it reminded me that hard work really does pay off.

2. Being on my university’s Advanced Irish and Intermediate Contemporary dance teams was so much fun, but the absolute highlight of my dance career this year was at Liverpool University’s dance competition, where our Irish team debuted our Lord of the Dance routine. Nothing can even compare to the feeling I got when we finished and looked out to see the audience and even the judges all cheering and giving us a standing ovation. We then went on to win first place at both Liverpool and Manchester’s comp!

3. In March the University of Manchester’s Surf Society went on an Easter surf trip to Feurteventura. Those 10 days were some of my best from this year and if I had the money I would gladly catch a flight out to wherever they decide to go for their 2017 trip. UMSC was such a big part of my final year of uni, and even now I still miss them all so much.

4. Graduating from university was a definite highlight from my year. The day itself was great and to spend it with my family and friends made it even more special. Everyone had worked so hard over the past 3 years and graduating felt like the end of an era, which was sad but at least I can now say I have a degree in Psychology from a Russell Group university.

5. Living at Willesden Ave for half the summer was something I won’t be forgetting anytime soon. Peter, Dale and Zim were some of the messiest yet most wonderful housemates, and I always find myself missing living with them (and Sophie, Taylor and Asa, haven’t forgotten you guys). Having the morning after debriefs in our duvet burritos, beating Peter multiple times at NBA 2K16 (I’m still in denial that I lost), and  cooking chicken nuggets at 2am whilst watching Wasted on E4 is something I actually really miss.

6. In August I took a 5 day trip to Madrid to visit Oscar before I left for Australia. I had never been there before and it was such a beautiful city. While I was waiting to be picked up after my flight I explored El Retiro park and stumbled across a huge, and I mean huge, crowd of people sat on the steps next to the lake. I later found out it was a Pokestop… Over the next few days I got to see the Temple of Debod, Plaza Mayor, Puerta del Sol, the Royal Palace, and got to eat at the Mercado de San Miguel. Watching Suicide Squad at a Spanish cinema was pretty cool, but at least it was in English with Spanish subtitles. Even now Oscar doesn’t find my Cazafantasmas joke funny…

7. Aside from graduating, the biggest and most definitely the scariest thing I’ve done this year is jet off on my Australian adventure all on my own. Doing this has so far taken me way out of my comfort zone, and although I still get homesick from time to time I’m proud of myself for plucking up the courage to move to the other side of the world.

8. Getting a job at Wake Up hostel in Sydney has to be one of the luckiest things to have happened to me since being in Australia, especially because it’s so expensive to live in this city. When I tell people I live and work in a hostel they don’t seem too impressed, but Wake Up is one of the best hostels in Australia, it’s more like a hotel, and it now feels like home. We’re basically family here and when we all start going our separate ways in January I’m going to be so sad. To keep this to a nice list of 10 I’m going to go ahead and add the staff boat party onto this one, which you can read about here.

9. Spending Christmas Day on Coogee Beach was different to say the least. A few of us went to Helen’s house first for a big roast that she so kindly cooked and I think that was the first proper meal I’ve had in four months. Maya and I then spent the rest of the day on the beach as the grassy area at Coogee was too crowded and not really our vibe. I’m glad I got to experience one Christmas away from home but I couldn’t do it again. If I stayed here permenantly I’ll be coming home for two weeks every year.

10. Over the past week I’ve been receiving all the packages my Mum had sent me for Christmas and today I received a card and a letter from my Dad. I can’t even describe the joy that I’ve felt every time I’ve gone down to reception to see that I’ve got mail, and when reading the card my Mum sent me and the letter from my Dad I had to fight back tears. Being so far away from home makes the small things matter so much more. Two of the items my Mum put in my package was a big bar of Dairy Milk and Galaxy chocolate and I was so happy (Cadburys taste horrible in Aus and they don’t even sell Galaxy). Also I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited to see a pack of Custard Creams!

So there you have it, 10 highlights from my year! I know I’ve missed off a lot and after I’ve published it I’ll probably remember something really big that I should have put on the list, but reading this makes me realise how lucky I am to have had these experiences. Here’s to a just-as-wonderful 2017!

See you guys in the new year,

Liv

xo