|E and his friend playing with the quicksand we made.|
Yesterday was the boys' first day back to school. It was also E's first day of soccer...sorry football practice with a new team, at a pitch far far away (ok, only about a 20 minute drive). But let's start from the beginning:
Monday morning I was up at 9am (since I don't have to get E off to school in the morning, I'm allowed to sleep in). I probably should've been up earlier since the cleaning lady was vacuuming right outside my door at about 8am, but I kind of just chilled out in bed for a bit, and read a few chapters of The Help. At 9am, I started a load of laundry.
Side Note: to those of you in North America, doing a load of laundry in Switzerland is nowhere near as fast as back home. Just to wash a dark load (the shortest length of time) takes over 75 minutes. Then comes the dryer. To put a load on once through the dryer does not guarantee it will come out dry. It is usually a warm damp. I try to hang as much as possible since it's more energy efficient, and sometimes more time efficient.
Just before 9:30am, I took the dogs (we were watching a neighbour's dog, Buddy) out for a walk in the vines, to avoid getting in the cleaning lady's way. Getting back around 10:15am, I took some time for myself to shower and get set for the day. At 11am, I started to prep lunch. As I've mentioned before, lunch is the biggest meal of the day, so there's some pressure. I made a shrimp pasta with zucchini, celery and peppers. It was relatively easy to make and seemed to go over well with everyone.
Since it was the first day of school, E came home with a bunch of paperwork to be signed by his parents and a list of things he needed for school (pens, erasers, rulers, gym clothes, a cup, school shoes, etc). Luckily his dad, P, was also home for lunch, so he took over finding everything to send back with E.
Once everyone left to go back to school and work around 1:15pm, I continued with the laundry and other tasks left for me to do. This can be sweeping, ironing, wrapping presents, etc. I also use this time to pick a place to organize. N (the host mother), suggested cleaning out cabinets of old items and reorganizing if I found I had some down time. It's an easy task, and the results are always worth it.
At 3:30pm I headed out to the recycling centre down the street. The Swiss are very big on recycling, and you need to separate all your different recyclables into different containers. There's even a container for Nespresso cannisters, since that seems to be the only Tassimo/Keurig-like coffeemaker in Geneva. Probably because it's made by Nestlé in Lausanne, Switzerland.
From the recycling centre, I was off to pick up E from school for 4pm to take him to football practice. Have I mentioned before that his school kind of looks like a mini Hogwarts? I'll have to take a picture tomorrow. It's really unfair. I want to go to Hogwarts!
E was great about getting out of school and not chatting too much with his friends because I think we were both a little nervous about getting to practice (for him: first practice with a new team, for me: it was far! And the van's manual! And it's far! And did I mention the van's manual???). So just after 4pm, we loaded up his bike into the van, got him settled with his gouter (snack) and slowly began our adventure to the football pitch.
Now I love to know where I am going. My mum brought me up to be a girl who can read a map and know exactly where she's going. It's been ingrained in me to research everywhere I'm going, and know different routes (in case of construction, parades, etc.), and to have said different routes printed out on a variety of differently scaled maps. Case in point: yesterday, during my down time, I Google Mapped the football pitch and checked the different routes to take. I also checked out the traffic level around 3pm. I checked out websites warning about construction in the city, and I double checked that the preloaded location of the pitch was correct in the GPS. Oh, the GPS*.
Finally I was off. About 5 minutes in, I missed the turn to get to the highway, and my troubles started. A little flustered that I missed the turn, I explained it to E. He answered nonchalantly in between sips of juice, "Don't worry. We have time!" That put a smile on my face. It's amazing what reassurance from a nine-year-old can do for your confidence. But then I stalled. And then I stalled again. And a third time, just for good (?) luck. My patience was wearing thin. And then that angelic voice from the back seat: "Oh don't worry. It happens all the time. The last few au pairs stalled ALL the time. My dad even stalls."
What a lifesaver.
We eventually found a parking lot to turn around in, after that magical box (the GPS, if you haven't followed the star (*)yet) recommended I pull a u-turn right in front of some trams (I think NOT!). We never found the highway again, but did make it to the football pitch, a good 15 minutes early. E was able to finish his entire gouter before we got there (we did drive around for quite a while), so he was able to quickly change and join his team for practice. I, on the other hand, got to collapse in a chair and finally take a breath. It had been a long 20 minutes.
P met us there and took me over to the mall that was across the street. Since E's practices are an hour and a half long, and run all year long, the mall might be a good option for me. At the mall, I looked into the train pass I want to get to go to Interlaken on Saturday. Tomorrow, when I return to the football pitch for another practice (eeks!), I'll go back to the mall and purchase the pass. This pass gets me all fares for half price, as well as free travel between 7pm and 5am. I think it's well worth the price, since it will save me a lot of money over the year.
After practice, I navigated us back home, this time finding the highway and gliding safely into the parking spot. Gosh it felt good to be home!
I then helped to prepare dinner, and I helped P cover E's books for school. The rest of the evening I spent catching up on emails and making hamburger patties for the next day (which turned out great. I even hid mushrooms and spinach in them. Shhh, don't tell E. He HATES mushrooms).
Overall, I love my job. There can be some stressful times, and some amazing times. I still can't believe I'm here! Next post, I'll let you know about my epic, and I mean epic, weekend.
Until then, thanks for checking in. And welcome to the life of une jeune fille au pair!
*When I arrived in Geneva on the 13th, the first stop the family made was to the local electronics store to buy a GPS for the van. At first, I thought they had taken one look at me and assumed I couldn't read a map (which I would have taken offence to, in light of my upbringing and all). But it has turned out to be a godsend. For some strange reason, possibly relating to how old the city is in comparison to the invention of the automobile, roads here are very difficult to maneuver, and are not on a grid system (geez!). So unless you know Geneva like the back of your hand (my goal before I leave), a GPS is mandatory for a newcomer to navigate the city.