So today marks my one week anniversary of being in Massachusetts, so I guess I’m due for an update!
Last Friday I caught a bus from the training school on Long Island with 35 other au pairs bound for northern CT and the Boston area. When we stopped in CT to drop off the 5 au pairs going there, the rest of us watched from inside the bus while their host families greeted them with balloons, flowers, hugs and pictures from the kids, which excited everyone on the bus even more.
When we got to Newton, my host family was one of the handful already there, because I had sent my host mom a text earlier to let her know that we were nearly there. Since we were 20 minutes early a lot of the other host families had not arrived yet.
It was great to see my host mom and the two kids, Miss Three and Master Five (which I’ll be referring to them as from here on in, to protect their privacy), who I was lucky enough to meet last time I was in the US. The ride back to their home was about 20 minutes, and Master Five proceeded to tell me that he’d drawn a picture of me and tried to remember what I looked like, but couldn’t remember. Totally cute.
My host mom’s mom was visiting for the week to help out with the kids during the annual ‘au pair changeover’ (the previous au pair had left the week before) and I was welcomed with loving arms by the whole family.
Earlier in the week, my host mom had texted me to ask what I was craving for dinner on my first night here, and I’d told her chicken and steamed vegetables, which she was happy to oblige with (and secretly thankful, I think, that it was something so simple, since she claims not to enjoy cooking that much)! Anyway, my host dad was out at a work function, so it was just the three of us women and the kids at home – and somebody had the cook the chicken on the grill (BBQ for those aussies playing along at home). Let’s just say that my welcome lived up to the precedent that the family set on my previous visit (where Miss Three, then two years old, projectile vomited all over the kitchen during dinner). The chicken, which was supposed to be grilled, ended up (to put it nicely) charcoaled. Oops. We all laughed about it, and decided that it was still edible, and that we would just cut off the nice toasted outside bits. The funny part, however, came when we served up our dinner, took it outside to the table, and Miss Three looked at us with a look of disgust on her face and said “Are you going to eat that dirty chicken?” PRICELESS.
My first weekend here was very busy – Master Five had his birthday party on the Saturday afternoon, where we went to an indoor playcentre for 2 hours, where the kids played, and then we ate cake. Short, sweet, simple, but fun. The great thing about it was that we had the playcentre all to ourselves for an hour and a half, and then we went to a party room upstairs to have our cake when the next party arrived. There were bouncy castles, little race cars for the kids to ride, a pirate ships, slides… lots of fun for all. Even I took off my shoes and had a bounce on the bouncy house with Miss Three and one of her friends.
On Sunday Master Five’s best friend had his birthday party at the Boston Sports Club in their outdoor pool area. They had great pools for kids including waterslides, and because the morning was overcast and only about 22 degrees we pretty much had the pool area to ourselves which was great. I swam with the kids for the little while, and then we had pizza for an early lunch, and then again, cake!
Monday was my first day of “work”, but my host mom stayed home for the day. It was Master Five’s actual birthday, so in the morning he opened the rest of his gifts and him and Miss Three played with them for a little while. I gave him an AFL football which I think he liked, but was obviously overshadowed by the Buzz Lightyear and remote control cars he was given! The kids had a soccer camp every morning this week, and so on the Monday my host mom and I both took them along to the local high school where it was being run. Unfortunately it was raining, so it was held indoors in the school gym, but the kids still had a lot of fun. At Master Five’s request we had pizza for lunch. And then after dinner, more cake (are you getting the picture?).
Tuesday was my first day alone with the kids, and I think I got through it with pretty much flying colours. On the Sunday my host dad had taken me driving in their 4WD to get used to the roads, so I was used to driving the car. It’s now Friday, and I don’t even feel strange about driving on the right-hand side of the road – it’s all come back to me pretty quickly and feels quite natural.
The last few days have been pretty hot (in the high 20’s and low 30’s) and on Wednesday the kids and I got outside with the sprinkler going and some water pistols which was a lot of fun. The great thing about the weather though is that it is starting to cool down in the evenings, so it is still cool enough to sleep!
I have made some friends and went out for the first time last night, to the local mall in Burlington, where we shopped, talked and ate. I finally feel like I am settling in and a lot less “homesick” (if you can call it that) now that I have made some friends. One of them is an Aussie girl, and it is SO good to hear another Australian accent!
I opened a bank account at the Bank of America yesterday, which made everything here feel a lot more real, and I’m planning on hitting up the YMCA in the next week or so to get a membership – otherwise this American food is going to go to my thighs super quick. Did I mention that I ate Chick-Fil-A for the first time last night? Yum. Enough said!
I can’t believe I’ve already been in the US 2 weeks, and I know that this year is going to fly by, so I’m ready to make the most of it and make some memories.
PS. American’s make the best cake in the world. Seriously.