If you’ve ever babysat, you probably have thought about the worst that could happen while watching the kids… maybe it was not being able to stop them from crying, having to clean up a lot of shit or possibly something a bit more dramatic. One of mine is walking into a room covered with crayon. And it happened.
Last week was the craziest when it comes to my au pairing experience so far. Not only was I waking up two hours earlier to cover for Camille’s busier than normal schedule but I was also dealing with a crazier than normal 4-year-old. On Friday, while already exhausted from little sleep, emotional and low on patience, I walked into the lounge room after finishing making lunch to a crayon-covered carpet. There was a huge blue line from one side to the other, with loops in between. Apparently he was trying to make a train track… I wanted to cry. But instead, I found the carpet cleaner and scrubbed the carpet for 45 mins, dripping sweat, sore shoulders and all. Needless to say, I was over childcare by the end of the week.
I took the train into Brissy Friday evening half asleep but ready to party at the same time. Theresa had a friend she had met up in Cairns coming through town so we decided to commit to a big night out, starting with a bottle of champagne each at a BYO restaurant in West End. Best decision we’ve ever made. Not only were we sufficiently buzzed when we got started, but we also had a lot of fun chatting and eating ridiculously good Thai food. (Asian food will never be the same when I go home.) Theresa’s friend, Luke from London, is backpacking down the east coast right now before he starts his own Au Pair gig in Sydney. We had a great time together and I look forward to meeting up again in Sydney.
The three of us met up with the O’Brien gals and the lovely Simone, Hannah’s roommate, later that night and all ended up dancing the night away. I was so happy to be back together and livin’ it up in Brisbane.
The rest of the weekend we nursed our hangovers by drinking beers, chilling by a pool, exploring museums, listening to live music around the city and most importantly, eating. It was a nice, cruisy weekend just wandering around Brisbane but it was much needed and felt good to be back after being on the go for a couple of weeks. Luke really enjoyed his time here and claimed it was his “best night out in Australia so far!” Woohooo, go Brissy!
I ended up heading back to the burbs Sunday evening so I could rest up and sleep in Monday. I was so happy I did so when I woke up at 10am this morning, feeling revived and ready to go. After a nice, slow morning, I drove to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary near where Leslie lives and met up with her while she was on her break to play with kangaroos and look at all the animals. I got really lucky and didn’t have to pay a cent to get in since Leslie’s family gave her a pass and we were able to get away with both using it.
My face lit up as we walked into the kangaroo reserve and there were kangaroos hopping around EVERYWHERE. Obviously wild ones can be dangerous and you shouldn’t approach them but the ones in captivity are so tame that they let people just roam among them and feed them as much as they like. It was definitely a different kind of zoo experience than I’m used to in the states. Leslie and I joked about how if we were at home, we would be feeding them through a little hole in a fence and it would cost us $20.
Apart from the kangaroos I was able to see all kinds of birds, lizards, flying foxes, dingos, koalas, etc. Because it is technically a koala sanctuary there were loads of koala habitats around the park. Leslie got her picture holding one like all the celebrities do who come through the area. Looking at pictures in the general store, we were amazed at the number of recognizable musicians and actors who have made it to the sanctuary. I’m holding out for my picture when my parents visit and we take on Australia Zoo. Lone Pine was such a cool experience and actually really did teach me about Australian wildlife. There are so many animals here that I have never even heard of, making it really interesting to learn about.
In other news, I’ve been meeting more and more au pairs and backpackers lately, each of who gives me another reminder as to why coming here at the time I did is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. As I talk to people who are around my age, like-minded to me and share the passion of travel, the more motivation I feel to keep doing it. There are so many awesome places out there and so many different ways to experience them. The more I hear people’s stories, the more I realize this. I think there are lot of options as to how we can spend our time and money, and despite our circumstances, we have more freedom than we allow ourselves sometimes. I’ve been thinking a lot about where I want the next several months to take me and I’m filled with ideas and options, and I’m so excited. Not every day is filled with this type of enthusiasm but the longer I’m here, the more I open up to what could be. It’s going to be a wild ride, y’all. Hold tight.