Bakeries & Markets

You don’t know a bakery until you have been to one that a city lives off of. I mean that. Germans love bread. They eat so much of it I can’t keep up. Bread with breakfast, bread with lunch and bread for dinner. Granted, it’s usually different variations (croissants, rolls, sliced breads, breads with seeds, breads with flour, butter brezel <–waaaay too much of this) Bread. They love it and they live off of it. On Thursday, before taking Sophia to her class, we ventured onto the bakery. Talk about heaven.

truffles

donuts

I got a chocolate filled croissant, by Eva’s recommendation. I should have never, ever even tried it. I don’t even like chocolate that much and this was way too good.

DSC00056

After the bakery we headed to Sophia’s Thursday morning class. Its called PEKEIP. Pekiep is the shortened version of parent child program from Prag. Get ready.. This is going to sound strange! It’s about ten babies, all naked, playing for an hour. No diapers, No clothes. The room is about 80 degrees and yes, the babies pee. It’s funny because one mom runs and picks up the baby, while another mom comes running with a rag soaked in cleaner. All ten babies do this, and it actually becomes quite funny. Anyways, an instructor goes around, baby by baby and helps the parents understand how to teach them to learn. It sounds wierd, but these are 8 month old babies learning to walk and nudity in Europe is a normal occasion. Germans don’t giggle or laugh or (gasp!) as nakedness. Obviously, it works and the babies absolutely love it. Plus, It was one of the absolute cutest things I have ever seen. Seriously, imagine ten little baby butts all giggling and interacting with each other. Adorable overload.

After Pekeip and Sophia’s afternoon nap we ventured back into town to get groceries… Being the spoiled American I am I expected a grocery store with carts. Wrong! The produce, meats, cheeses… It’s all outside! Everything is locally grown and as fresh as possible. Plus, you taste everything before you buy it. Step it up, U S of A. This is how shopping should be!

DSC00059DSC00060 DSC00061 DSC00073

And yes, it was all as good as it looks.

My first 24 hours..

So, I’m here and I made it alive and still in one piece, which is really good. (I’m exhausted and still have Jetlag… booo) Anyways, here’s what my life has been the last day or so…

EXHAUSTED.

Leaving sucked. Seriously, it sucked. I was last minute packing and trying to say goodbye to ten people in five hours. Friends, family.. you name it. But it happened, and I even got to say goodbye to the one person I didn’t want to walk away from most. (awwww….)

Sooooo…

Germany, what can I say? First impressions are everything, and even though I am still jetlag ridden and it’s late, I want to post this while the feelings are still fresh. So, the flight. It was long, of course, but I can’t say I am very impressed with SAS Airline’s seat designs. They were the smallest seats I think I have ever flown in, I couldnt get comfortable and thus got no sleep. I did, however; get to see the stars while we were flying over the Alantic. Let me tell you, you have not truly seen the stars until you have seen them over the dark, deep ocean, from 39,000 feet in the air. It was incredible and I stared and stared until I finally felt sleepy. (Fail, never fell asleep.) I did doze off for what seemed to be about 45 minutes and when I awoke, it was light out. That is where I screwed up.  I should have never looked. Instantly my body clock was messed up and I kept trying to tell myself to stop asking questions. It was day now, no matter what time it was back home. The good news: I was next to a perfectly nice old man from Denmark who then helped me navigate Copenhagen airport.. which was very easy to navigate but seemed to never end. I landed in terminal F and had to depart from terminal A. I will say, Denmark has got the US beat ten times over in airports. Why? There was a Victoria’s Secret, Burberry, Apple, Starbucks, Charging stations and pretty much any other top notch store you can imagine strung throughout the airport. It felt like walking through a mall. A very expensive mall. Plus, I boarded my second plane like Mr. President. How freakin’ cute.

mrpres

The flight to Copenhagen flew by (literally..haha). The sunrise was absolutely beautiful and just as I started to get comfortable (which was much easier on the smaller plane), the seat belt light went back on and we were decending into Munich. HOLY CRAP. I was finally in Germany. Thank god, my fingers hurt from being crossed so long, hoping everything was right.

clouds

Munich airport was simple, my baggage (all of it) came out quickly and I was on my way. As soon as I walked out of Baggage claim and stopped to look around, I saw Eva approaching me. Sigh… they were real and I was not being sold in the black market. (I really should not joke about that.) Emilia came running up to me, yelling something in German and handed me a rose, a balloon and a huge hug. How freakin’ cute. After meeting, we headed home.

They are so nice and everything I hoped for and imagined. In fact, they are even nicer. My apartment downstairs is just so cute, and so isolated that I love it. As soon as you walk into the house, there are stairs that go both up and down. Which, they spiral in both directions and the railings are rope. How freakin’ cute. (The look. The hardwood floors are not. I fell down the stairs this morning when they were out, and seriously messed up my back. Currently the bottom half is black/red/purple/yellow. JOY. Good thing I brought meds!) Anyways, I was exhausted, so we had dinner. Don’t know what it was, but it was good. I helped get the girls to bed and then I headed to bed myself. I missed home. I miss my mom and my cats.

This morning, jetlag was ten times worse. It’s not helping that I am still keeping touch with everyone back home wondering how my arrival went, that after the kids are asleep I then communicate back home for an hour or two. There are some things and people I just refuse to lose over this trip, so I will just lose sleep. I can sleep when I’m in Chicago (haha).

Today was fantastic, I still missed home. I still questioned everything. The scenery was beautiful but I still hadn’t seen much of the area since it was dark last night. And this.. this ladies and gentlemen.. is where my first impression was made.

Today, we had to pick Emilia up from school (“I don’t need my good camera, we’re just going to run an errand… WRONG). We also had to set me up with a German bank account (that was fun), and sign into the Town Registration Office (Bloggy friends, I don’t know what it’s called..sorry!) Let me tell you a little about Dorfen…..

Dorfen2

dorfen1

There is no way I am not in a movie.

That’s exactly how I feel. The town is just way too freakin’ cute. (As you can tell, I really like this saying since I have been here, it’s all I can think of to describe how I feel at the moment. Sorry, jetlag) Anyways, the buildings are all different colors, all stuck together in a perfect square with only one way in and out. It’s all connected and driving under a little archway is the only way in. The Christmas Market is set up and the booths match the buildings behind them.  Dorfen is just a movie prop, I know it. It’s got to be and they just haven’t told me yet.

The matching Market and Buildings. Why isn't the USA this cute?!!!

The matching Market and Buildings. Why isn’t the USA this cute?!!!

One lane to get in and out of City Centre. Wait your turn or forever hold your peace.

One lane to get in and out of City Centre. Wait your turn or forever hold your peace.

I am not sure if all of Germany is like this or if I just struck gold, but seeing Dorfen today really changed my views from this morning. I was really bummed and almost questioning this. Not now. Now I am so stoked to be here. Now I have started to try to teach Emilia English  Now I am ready to go. I still miss home, of course, and I still miss my mom and my cats.. and I still think I am missing out on things back home.. but I don’t think that will ever go away. I think at this point my best advise would be: the first 24 hours are the hardest. Because now, I am so happy.. so relieved and just so all around ecstatic that I am living in Europe.

panorama

Did you hear that? I am living in Europe.

How freakin’ cute.

Some things I’ve noticed…

 

“Patience, he thought. So much of this was patience – waiting, and thinking and doing things right. So much of all this, so much of all living was patience and thinking.” – Gary Paulsen, Hatchet

 

If there is one thing I have really dedicated myself to during this whole adventure thus far, it was making sure that I was sure of everything. Well, as much as I could be. No matter what aspect of my trip I was planning, there was a level of certainty that had to be fulfilled. When searching for flights, I had to have one that offered low or no cost for checked bags. When searching for a German cell phone carrier, I had to have one with unlimited data. When completing all my documents, I had to have everything completed and submitted in a certain way. And most of all, when choosing a family, I spoke with several, but I had to have one that I knew would I would really fit with.

Maybe this is just me, but everyday I read through blogs and forums and I keep stumbling, over and over, on so many potential Au pairs that are jumping on the first family that is interested in hosting them. When starting my family search, I can not even begin to count the number if Skype requests, never ending emails and even calls to my cell phone. Let’s be honest, you simply can not answer everyone and keep it all straight and organized.

Everyone has expectations, and in the first few families I considered joining there was always at least one negative aspect that I was willing to overlook. Weather it was the children’s ages, hours, location or even pay.. there was something (maybe even just a gut feeling) that I was settling for and that is what leads me to this post. If there is one thing I would like to get across it’s this:

Stop settling.

That’s it. There should never be a time when we have to settle for anything less than we wish for. In the one life we have to live, why should we lower than our standards? Whether it be moving across the world or simply choosing a new car.. Why take the chance?

In the beginning there were a few things that I knew I wanted out of this experience  I knew I had to be with a family that spoke English. I will be the first to admit that I love to talk, and being put in an environment where I could not communicate would not suit my personality. Second, I knew I wanted to care for little girls. I am so close to my niece and I just connect with them better. Third, I knew that I did not want to care for older children and I knew that I did not want to be a personal assistant. I wanted to be a care giver for children. Not for adults. And last, Location. I had to be in a position where if something did happen, I could get home safely and quickly, but I also wanted to be able to travel during my time off.

After searching for a few weeks, Eva messaged me and I almost immediately messaged back. Yes, I was in negotiations with another family in Australia, but I knew to keep my options open. I just had this feeling that they were not everything I hoped for. From the bat, there was nothing on Eva’s profile that I had to “accept.” There was nothing that made me take a step back. They were in Europe, and they were in central Europe. That meant I had easy access to my family in England in case of emergency, and easy access to travel pretty much anywhere. Paris. Rome. London. Berlin. You name it and there was a $100 flight to get there. Second, they had two little girls and believed in a strong family life. They offered me an acceptable situation and answered all of my questions. And lastly, they did not just want a care giver, they wanted to add an additional member to their family.

I can not wait to get to Germany. I can’t wait to throw myself into the unknown and learn to love this new world. To be happy and to be perfectly content. To learn everyday and soak in this new culture. To shape my values and to mold my person.

I am so happy I have not settled and I believe any person that is looking into becoming one of ‘us’ should feel the same. The feelings of excitement definitely outweigh the feelings of fear and this experience is already teaching me new things. Its already molding my values and shaping my person and I haven’t even boarded the plane yet…

Kids..

“You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.”
― Madeleine L’Engle

Isn’t it funny, that as we are growing we want only to get older, and once we get there we would give anything to go back? Kids are some of the worlds most fundamental and enlightening beings on this planet. I talked to Emelia just last weekend again via Skype, she is trying SO hard to learn English before I get there. Sophia- well she is fine as long as she has that dang calculator! As soon as I get permission from Alex and Eva, I will post a photo for everyone to see these adorable kids!

I took a few weeks until I actually met Emelia and Sophia, and let me tell you.. I am in total LOVE ever since! I keep asking myself how in the world I got to be so lucky when it came to such cute and open kids. They are both red-headed typical little girls. Emelia is three and curious and I just got the update that Sophia is officially starting to learn to crawl!

Through the craziness of my job, I do find the time to email back and forth with Eva all week, and have done so since we first found each other, but today’s email really tugged at my heart-strings. Here’s an excerpt…

“Emilia is already planning for everyone where to sit in the car and at the table, she  always counts the people in our family and you are already counted, too. She’s really looking forward to see you. It’s very cute when she talking about Hanley who will sit in front of her in the new car and so on….”

How cute?! Ahh, I can’t wait to get there. I just wanted to share that with all the people questioning why I want to do this.

Is this real life?

Here we go, the start to a never ending cycle… “Nummer 1”

Yes, I googled that. I do not know a lich of German. I don’t know how to tell you my name, my age or where I am from. I feel like Kailyn, my two-year old neice. The only word I know how to say is “No.” NICHT! Hey, at least I know how to avoid the things I don’t want……right?

If I had a dime for every time I was asked who, what, when, where or why I am doing this I probably could have payed for my flight three times over. But, again, for your sake and to get things started I will answer one more time.

What is an AuPair?

Always the first question. “Such a weird word.” Google it. Seriously, google is a beautiful thing and it will tell you more than I ever can.

AuPair: A young foreign person, typically a woman, who helps with housework or child care in exchange for room and board.

It’s a french word. It means “to be equal” or “to become one.” I join a family. I become a sister, a friend, a confident, a newfound daughter, a mother and a foreigner all in one. I am to be equal to these people I join with for the next year or so. Lucky them! ;)

Let’s get down to it. You are probably still questioning me.

“So you’re like.. a maid, right”  O.o

Not so much. Basically, I move. I leave everything I know and have ever known and I move across the world for the next year or so.  I take everything I own, and I relocate it to Dorfen, Germany and hope that my luggage doesn’t get lost.

I care for two little girls- soon to be three- while their parents are working. I have time off to travel, I take language courses and learn the Germany way. I drink German beer on the weekends. I get spending money and get to travel the world in return. I also get 24/7 access to Skype. For all of my super paranoid family members. Continue reading