Today marks exactly one month since I landed on the other side of the Pacific in New Zealand. So much has happened in that month but it still feels like I left yesterday. The constant discoveries and excitement that comes with moving to a new place has really made the days go fast. It scares me to think about how fast the next few months will go…
This past weekend I began to realize how settled I am starting to feel. While everything was so new and a bit overwhelming when I first landed in Brisbane, most of it has become very familiar now. I know my regular train stops, my walking routes around the city and the suburb I live in, the best areas to go out, and the names of all the supermarkets. I’ve even practiced driving on the left side around the suburbs and continue to discover the many different shopping areas around where my host family lives. Living with a local family here and having my friend’s place to retreat to on the weekends has made it fairly easy to make Brissy feel like home – at least for a while.
Theresa, the au pair from Missouri we met last weekend, Leslie, and I explored Stradbroke Island on Sunday. After two rainy days, the sun came out bright and bold for us, making it a perfect day for the beach. We took the ferry from the coast and then got on a bus as soon as we got to the island that took us to the North part, where some of the most beautiful views and beaches are. We walked along a path for a while that followed the headlands and led us to views of crystal blue water and waves crashing on the rocks. I kept thinking how wonderful it was we were able to get to such a beautiful place so easily and casually from where we are living. This place looked like a desktop screensaver and it only took a drive, a ferry and a short bus ride to get to. I love that some of the most beautiful and peaceful places are only just outside of everyday life here. Decide to go to the beach in Florida and you’ll be trampled by kids and tourists. Not to mention, there were kangaroos and koalas!! Such a cool experience seeing them for the first time in the wild. I felt like a kid seeing Santa Claus.
The kids I’m looking after are growing on me every day. To be honest, the first week I had my doubts about whether or not I could handle being a nanny for five months but as I get to know the kids more and figure out my routines, it is all becoming much more enjoyable. I think something I really struggled with when committing to my au pair job was letting go of the idea of doing field-related work right away, or in other words, a job with more “purpose” – one of those that make people feel big, like their doing something important. But then I remember to these parents I am. These kids are their world and they’ve trusted me to take care of them during their most fragile years. More selfishly, it’s a way for me to fund this great adventure. I am not here to be the newest entry-level employee in the corporate world or build my resume with a big name company. I’m here to see and experience a beautiful part of the world while I have the chance – and caring for these sweet kids is my means to doing so. Not bad, not bad at all.
Being stuck in the suburbs for four days of the week seemed to be a bit lonely at first but I’ve found a lot of good in it. For one, I save a lot of money. I’ve also had the opportunity to take up hobbies I didn’t feel like I had time for during the craziness of college. Things like reading, taking long walks around the parks, eno’ing, writing for this blog, and catching up on Netflix seasons that everyone else has already breezed through are activities that I’m able to enjoy now. I even got a Brisbane library card! Guess it’s true that travel really changes you because I would’ve laughed at the idea of doing that a year ago. There was too much time spent reading textbooks to worry about novels.
Tomorrow I begin the third week of living and working for my host family. I’m excited to continue getting settled into the daily routines, exploring more areas and hopefully getting more confident with my left side driving. Until next time!