Thursday, June 16, 2011

Brussels, Antwerp, and a big decision

Saturday morning I was up and off to Brussels again. I quite like this city, its not to small and not to big. It amazes me here how you can tell the difference between cities in the french and flemish halves of the country - the cities in the flemish half are clean, those in the french half are all dirty and grimy. Completely different feel.

I had coffee with a Norwegian friend Lillian, who I know from the Ship for World Youth programme in Japan (side note, applications for NZers wanting to go on the Ship in 2012 are open now, if you know anyone who might be keen send them here.) She currently works in the Hague and pops over to Brussels every now and then. I've enviously watched everyone else who participated catching up around the world while I've been stuck far away in NZ, so it was great to meet up and talk. Then I ended up just wandering around and shopping before I headed home, I had plans but they fell apart and I was so tired.

I told myself that I was going to go to bed at a reasonable hour every night this week and run everyday. I achieved this on Saturday night, and left the kids with Khoi for an hour on Sunday while I ran. Then Arin got bitten by something, he reckons he was stung by a bee but he didn't cry or anything and I couldn't see anything there so I just whacked a bandaid on it to make him feel better. By dinner time his foot had swollen up, gotten really painful and caused him to cry, so I asked Khoi where her first aid kit was. She just looked at me blankly! Turns out they have nothing on hand incase one of the kids gets stung by a bee or has a minor allergic reaction to something. I asked if maybe it was a good idea to go and get something now, because no doubt it would get worse in the night and keep him up, but they seemed to think that they could run it under cold water and make it all better.

Koi and Alice
So Arin was up about every hour and a half throughout the night, crying because it hurt. And this is a kid that rarely ever cries because of pain, he's pretty staunch. So my Monday was thrown completely out, because I had such a terrible night's sleep and turns out it was a public holiday and Arin was home from school, and I took a nap in the middle of the day instead of running. Tuesday was a similar story, Alice woke up crying at 6am and it took me an hour to get her back to sleep, she's teething at the moment, so again I was too tired to run and took a nap instead. Tuesday night was interrupted by Arin with his sore foot again and mum calling me on Skype at on Wednesday I admitted the week was a write-off on trying to sleep properly and run every day. This sleep thing is really getting to me, I haven't had a solid night's sleep in weeks. A night in Guantanamo listening to non-stop ACDC is beginning to sound appealing, crying children are a much more horrible means of sleep deprivation I reckon!

The whole insect bite thing makes me mad to be honest, who has kids and no first aid kit? Isn't that just asking for trouble? What happens if one of them gets burnt, or breaks their arm or something? And then, it would have been much easier to just go and get something on the Sunday afternoon like I said, I'm always giving them advise about medical problems but they seem to think that my first aid cert and years of pharmacy experience count for nothing. Even though he woke up crying all night and then again in the early morning, they just sent him downstairs to play with me, got up around lunchtime, went for a swim, and then went to the pharmacy. By which time of course, the poison had already spread around his foot and it took days to get better. I don't get it, it kills me listening to him crying in pain and he's not even my kid, shouldn't they have done something about it sooner? Poor little guy.

Mucky pup kid! I swear some of it did get in her mouth!
Searching for a new nanny job has also really cut into my sleep this week. It's a really horrible process, trying to juggle conversations with different families, who are also talking to different potential au pairs, worrying about leaving things too long or taking an offer before getting a better one the following day or not taking an offer and then getting nothing better! I really hate talking myself up to families and meeting them over Skype, especially when they introduce me to the kids, and then turning around and saying no to them. For anyone that's interested in doing the same the links are listed in the bar on the left. Finally, on Monday I spoke to two families in Luxembourg, one who wanted an au pair to work a couple of days a week for less money, and one who wanted more of a nanny, so five days a week for much more money. I spoke to the former family first, and it just clicked, they are the most amazing family. They had even found this blog and somehow not been convinced by it that I'm nuts! The other family were almost as amazing, if I hadn't of spoken to the other earlier than I'm sure I could have been perfectly happy there. So I had a difficult 24 hours of trying to decide between having financial security or following the feeling in my tummy and just hoping I can find some odd babysitting or english teaching jobs to make ends meet.

Arin excavating the dinosaur skeleton
In the end I went with the second option, and so at the end of July I move to Luxembourg to a Dutch family with two adorable boys, aged 1 1/2 and 3! I am really excited now, I loved Luxembourg when I visited in February, I love this family, and I am looking forward to starting German lessons finally. That leaves me with three weeks of nothing to do between finishing here in early July, but I will spend a week in Italy, some more time here in Belgium with AFS friends, and head over to Germany for a bit.

Found some bones!
Wednesday was pretty eventful here, I was left alone with the kids in the afternoon and we spent it 'excavating' a dinosaur skeleton and putting it together from a set that my parents set over. I set Arin up on the kitchen table and let Alice play with the plastic container drawer while I baked a cake, although the kit was really hard and messy and I ended up running between my cake, helping Arin and trying to keep the baby away from the table so she didn't get plaster powder in her eyes. Then Arin 'helped' me to cook dinner, this is a big thing for him at the moment, we give him a couple of random vegetables to cut up and he mixes them with various things he finds, like sugar and salt, and sets it out for us. Tonight he made salad with cucumber, celery leaves and sugar, and because he announced it was specially for me and I'm such an awesome nanny I actually ate most of it.

Arin's salad. Mmmmm.
Then Jan and Koi brought Jan's mother home for dinner and that ruined the awesome day we'd been having! I'd heard a lot about her, they all intensely dislike her because she's a really negative person and is really rude and puts everyone else in a bad mood. Normally they visit her a lot, but this is the first time she's come out and met me, and it was horribly awkward, she pretty much just ignored me the whole time, and also because she really wanted to cuddle Alice but Alice just cried desperately and reached out to me the whole time, and Arin refused to have anything to do with her either, I think in the past she rejected him as not actually being her grandson so he doesn't like her. Awkward.

Alice, me and Arin using Photobooth
Thursday was madness! They've been asking me to take the kids all day whenever I can, so I've been doing 13 hour days and getting up with Alice every night while she's teething. I really didn't need the kids all day today though because I've been rushing around trying to do a million things before I go to Germany, including leaving the house as clean as possible because no one else will do anything before I am back on Tuesday. I ran around with Alice in a harness all morning, which meant I could finish the cake and clean a lot, but man it killed my back! Arin was really good all day, and we spent ages taking funny photos with Photobooth on my computor.

But, its the end of the working week for me and tomorrow I am off to Mainz again for Hauke's birthday! Three nights of no baby monitor...murphy's law someone snores though!

Incase you didn't notice, my blog got a little bit more fancy, you can now check out my most popular posts, some of the blogs that I follow, and view pages I wrote about AFS, SWY and help on finding your own au pair job.

No comments:

Post a Comment