InterExchange Working Abroad Ambassador Allie, Au Pair Australia
So, long time no blog. I'm super sorry! It's just that watching all seasons of the Big Bang Theory took a lot longer than I anticipated. Let's be honest though, when else am I going to find time to do that in my life again? So lesson number one from this post is-Take the time to do things that you always wanted to, but never did because it took too much time. It's a little sad that watching a television show is on my list of things I always wanted to do, but oh well!
The first item on today's list is a little tour of where I live. For those wondering what a typical Aussie house looks like, or those wondering what to expect when coming to live with another family as an au pair abroad, I have compiled some pictures to satisfy your curiosity. I personally love this house, and am delighted to be living here.
The second order of business is my life outside of au pairing. So, I know that I have mentioned that I have met several girls through a facebook group for au pairs in Australia. This was working great to initially meet girls, but not much was happening after that. The facebook group was private and had quite a few old au pairs still on it that were no longer in Australia. After talking with several girls, we decided to create our own facebook group for au pairs, focusing more on traveling and activities rather than initially meeting for coffees. I created the group, left it open to let other girls add members, and within the first week we had planned an outing and a dinner for many of the new girls! We have planned trips to the Barossa Valley, to pubs for a drink, and are working towards renting a beach house near Victor Harbor in November. It is great for au pairs to have this opportunity to meet others, because many (like me) come to Australia without knowing anyone beforehand. I have benefited from this group so much, and I know other girls appreciated it as well. My only word of caution to you if you choose to do the same is to watch out for anyone that you may offend by doing so. The owner of the initial au pair group was not exactly happy with me for creating a second group. We worked it out in the end, but just be careful!
Besides outings with the girls, I also attended chocolate class at the Adelaide Chocolate School. This was another one of my activities that I have always wanted to do, but never have done. I chose the beginner course because I figured I should just start with the basics. It turns out I knew much more than I had originally thought. This was basically just how to melt chocolate and fill molds. However, it was still a blast and I did learn a few new things (never stir chocolate with a wooden spoon-it holds too much moisture and will ruin the chocolate). Plus, I got to take home a bunch of chocolate, and some neat molds!
Finally, I should update you on all things Leonardo and Stella. We have been busy, busy, busy lately. Every week I have been trying to do at least one exciting thing with the kids, which isn't always the easiest with schedules, naptimes, and weather. Many days, we resort to our library trips and our Disney movies. Also, with the warmer weather, it is easy to just stick the kids at the park and let them play for hours. We have spent many an afternoon just climbing trees at the "Hundred Acre Woods" park.
When we aren't hanging out at the parks or library, I try to get the kids to try new things, especially Leonardo. For those of you that don't know, Leonardo is one picky little boy. He knows what he likes, and he likes what he knows. Therefore, I cannot express to you how happy I was that I got this kid to dress up in a costume. From the very beginning of my stay here, I have talked about our Halloween party that we are going to have. Also from the very beginning of my stay here, Leonardo has strongly rejected to wearing a costume to said Halloween party. I kept trying and trying to suggest different ideas for costumes for him to wear, but he never agreed. Then, one day, I found a grim reaper costume tucked behind some other toys. I got it out and tried to put it on Stella, who was having none of it. However, Leonardo gave the costume a curious look. He asked me if it was in fact a bat costume, and would you believe it, it magically turned into a bat costume right then and there! I said it was and he agreed to try it on!!!! He loved it and agreed to wear it with some bat ears for Halloween. Next stop on the new experiences train for Leonardo is food, but I can only do one battle at a time!
We also have been doing a lot of painting here at the Valenti household. My best friend Liz, from back home, was kind enough to send me some nail polish for my birthday. Upon seeing the bright pink, Stella immediately wanted to try it out. We had a grand old day watching the Little Mermaid, eating oreos, and painting nails. It was nice to have a girls' day for once! We also tried to make bath time a bit more fun with some water colors. This worked okay until we found out the blue paint liked to stain the sides of the tub. They keep asking me to do it again, but I think we will have to find some better paints that don't stain. Finally, because Stella has a tendency to put things in her mouth when they shouldn't be there, we decided to make some condensed milk paint. We used the paints to make some cards for Dad. It was really shiny when it dried (which does take a few days), and Stella thought it tasted delicious too!
In addition to painting, we also had a fun recyclable project to do again. This household goes through a lot of toilet paper rolls, so there is never a shortage of crafts to do with them! This time we made a marble maze. Or rather, I made the race track and they had fun racing the marbles down it. All it took was some paint, tubes, and marbles. It was really easy and they had a blast doing it! I would recommend doing it on carpet, however, because marbles on wood floors are veryyy annoying.
Also, as the weather grew warmer, I just had to introduce myself to the art of making homemade ice cream in a bag. These kids may be picky, but they do love their ice cream. We just took this recipe and went to town. Stella and I had numb fingers at the end (it was still a bit chilly outside), but boy did it taste delicious.
Finally, a dream of mine finally came true. Ever since my brother and sister-in-law had my nephew Grayson, I have been looking for fun toys to give to kids. One of the very first things that I saw was a product called gelli baff. It is a powder that turns the bath water into goo. I thought it looked like the coolest thing ever, but I wasn't sure if it would work, and I didn't want to buy it unless I was sure. Then, one day, I happened to see some Gelli Baff at the toy store for a pretty good price. I decided to splurge and get some for the kids. We had an early bath one night, and we tried it out. It was so cool, and yet so gross at the same time. It does turn your bath to goo, but does not change it back quite as well. We had to wait almost double the amount of time the directions said. Also, don't do it with young kids. They took it upon themselves to fling the blue goo everywhere in that bathroom, and it made for a very slippery clean up. Still, it was a pretty cool idea, and I finally got to see what swimming in goo might be like!
I am still learning my way around this household, but the cuddles from kids and the looks of appreciation from my host parents make me feel right at home!