A Travellerspoint blog

Aupair Tales Part 1

1st Nov 2006ok so ive been in holland for less than a week, and at this family for like...2 days.. it feels like ive been here much longer than that! i dontknow how many ppl read this, but ill jsut give some of my first impressions of this place.... for the dutch ppl reading it, youll prolly have a laugh cos i notice random things lol

Driving: thank god i havent had to drive yet, im a little scared to! im glad that i have the presence of mind (usually) to look both ways before i cross the road as alot of the time the ppl are driving too fast in a tiny street and wont be able to stop in time. and this was at a zebra crossing! dont ppl stop at them?? if ppl dont stop at them whats the point in having them at all!? rens told me look, if u wanna use the ZC then just walk and im like WTF are u mad look how fast theyre going! n i bet ill cop the abuse too, when someone has to slam on their brakes to avoid kiling me.. and as for ppl giving way... well i dont think theres a rule for that, as ppl pull out in front all the time, and denise, the mother of this family does it too! how there arent that many accidents i see all over the place, is beyond me! the streets are so fkn tiny n narrow n she has a BMW X5 which is pretty big n wide, i dunno how she hasnt scratched anything or buggered up a nyone elses car! tho apparently the aupair before me totally destroyed another car with the BMW... so i geuiss it certainly DOES happen!

Cheese: blooody hell, if you like cheese COME HERE! i knew that teh dutch were big cheese eaters but you can go to a bar and order a plate of cheese chunks with a toothpick in them... and you can pick between young and old cheese lol and as for the cheese section in the supermarket, damn. its like double the size of what we have. this doest come as a complete suprise to me really but its def worth a mention!

Old ppl: there are so many old ppl on bikes around here... i mean everyone does the bike thing but... when im riding to take or pick up t he kids from hockey, i see more old ppl than young ppl. by old i mean nannas. with headscarves lol this country is overrun by nannas! altho i think it may have something to do with the lifestyle here... ppl are generally more actifve here with the biek riding, and everythings so close that you can often walk, or ride the bike... so maybe the old ppl just live longer or feel more mobile than ppl back home feel at the same age. i dunno... worth lookin into!

Dog walking: why is it necessary to walk the dogs like10 times a week? i mean shit... dogs need walksim ALL for dogs getting walks but theres a point where the dogs are thinking shit not again.... i just wanna chill! lol it says in my little book of what im meant to do n stuff, to walk the dogs sometimes 3 times a day. now WHY. 3 times a day? bit much i woulda thought...

but to be honest... il ove it here... i really do. in germany i never really felt at ease or anything but here i really do. i feel like ive found something here, i really dont wanna let go of it, which i guess is good considering ive been here like 5 days out of like, a year!! i think maybe it has alot to do with the fact that even tho im IN holland im not totally immersed in dutch language as the kids speak english 90% of the time and so does the mum... so imj not faced head on with the language barrier. ive had a few very brief encounters with ppl talking to me, me understanding and actually knowing what to say back, which is a big big thing really, considering in germany i woulda just given them a blank look back! and alot of the time when i AM saying something, even tho its something easy and really simple it feels normal, i dont feel like a freak butchering a language!! tho when i start to talk dutch all the time ill probably feel a bit like that sometimes!

but how mad, rens is a crazy keen kiteboarder.... and the dad of his family, wouter, is also into it... weird! rens reckons it means that its meant to be! lol maybe hes right... i hope so!

7th Nov 2006
thought it was about time i sent you an email letting you know what im
up to! Ive been in the netherlands for about a week now, and im LOVING
IT! i think, no i know, ive found my second home! it feels like ive been
here for ages, i feel right at home! doesnt matter than i barely speak
dutch! i am learning more n more, but not THAT fast, as the kids im
looking after speak englishmostly, and the parents speak english to them
80% of the time... ill be taking a dutch course sooner or later, but in
the meantime im jsut going to be doing some online and CD stuff to get
me speaking and not just smiling and nodding when ppl ask me something
:P also alot of the ppl im meeting are english... theyre mostly mothers
of the kids friends from school but since they go to an international
school where they teach in english its fair to assume that the parents
are english speakers!

but a typical day for me is...

7:45am dressed and ready to go, i just have to clear away breakfast
dishes n clear up the playroom (which thankfully looks nothing like ours
at home where you cant see the floor!) 8:30 - 12pm Washing and ironing.
ironing takes me forever!!!! i reckon its got something to do with the
fact that EVERYTHING gets ironed. fitted bed sheets. kids pjs. ive
decided that i realy do hate ironing! before i came here i was just
going by what everyone else told me about ironing, i never did it myself
:P but now i can say from my own experience that it sucks!
3-8:30pm taking the kids to hockey, tennis, horse riding ballet....
stopping them from killing each other... clearing away dinner dishes and
clearing up, bathing the kids and then helping put them to bed...

it really is quote a cushy job tho i dont really have to do that much,
ill have to do way more when i have to start driving the kids around,
which im not looking forward to as the car is huge and the streets are
small and they drive on the other side of the road here, as most of you
know! i also dont wanna get lost and make the kids late! they have a GPS
in their car tho so hopefully that'll help me!

my room is on the 3rd floor of the house. well, it IS the 3rd floor, as
its a rooftop room, but its pretty big! i have a doublbe bed, a little
fridge, tea n coffee making stuff, a sink, 2 little armchairs, a tv/dvd
and a computer (well i WILL have one theyre just getting their wireless
inet set up on it!), and the room is decorated heaps cool! it was
renovated pretty refcently i think. the house itself is massive and
really nice too, the kids rooms are all decorated really nicely and its
very posh! they have a MASSIVE tv and the chillest couch ive ever
seen... its huge. its like a bed not a couch.... its the best thing i
ever saw to watch tv or movies on! they have
2 dogs, one a 10month old black lab called max who jumps on you like
itsw going outta fashion, but hes just so cute you dont mind so much
hehe and a brown lab cross with some kinda hunting dog, called magic,
shes about 2 i think. pretty funny dog, very good at soccer!! speaking
of soccer, their backyard just about fits a soccor pitch onit! its
pretty big... their house and garden is considered pretty big by aussie
standards so imagine how it must seem to the dutch! HUUUUUGE!!! Wouter,
the dad is a private equity banker or something, the dude in charge i
think, at a bank in amsterdam, and denise was a lawyer but now shes a
stay at home mum... with a nanny, a cleaning lady, a gardener and window
washers (they came today!). to her credit tho, she does get them up
every morning and ready for school, drives them there, and then after
school drives them to 101 diff activities in diff towns, cooks dinner
and puts them to bed, and she has no help from wouter, as hes ALWAYS at
work. its a little sad realy as the kids dont see their dad that often,
maybe for 30mins or an hour in the morning, n thats not really playtime.
dunno how the weekends work here as i havent been here for one yet maybe
hes home more then? but i guess his way of helping is earning the money
to be able to afford all the help! and the holidays.... they go to
argentina for xmas, and australia in the summmer. a few weeks before i
got here they went to thailand for a month and also spent some time in
spain (they used to live there). denise and the kids also went to london
for a while and flew back the same day i got to holland. oh and denise
and wouter are flying to london this weekend for a party lol apparently
wouter was born in holland and lived there till he moved to paris when
hewas like, 10 or something, then went to uni in london... i dunno about
denise but i know she lived in london and america, and then they got
married and lived in england for 9 years where they had all the kids
(and which is why they speak
english) then moved to spain for 2 years and then moved back to the
netherlands. crazy!the kids are pretty grown up in some respects but in
otherways are spoilt and sheltered a bit..... olivier is 4, charlotte is
7 and mattijs is 8. i asked charlotte to put away a pair of pants in her
room the other day and she said she didnt know where they went. clothes
in her own room. but i guess its not really her fault, shes never had to
do it herselfl before... they do expect sometimes to be a bit waited
on... but for things like getting a cup of tea i cant expect them to
make it themselves as its hot.. but they can be prone to tantrums
sometimes, and im just very lucky that theyre pretty easy to get them
out of it. olli especially...
he'llcrack the shits about something stupid, so ill take one of dads old
tricks and say dont you DARE smile! you do not smile at me!! and he ends
up pissing himself laughing. hes one of the happiest kids ive ever seen
really... i am lucky with the kids, while they can be pains in the
arses, they do love me haha charlotte tells me all the time tthat tehy
lke me better than the last nanny because i play with them more lol
theyre pretty well behaved really, i dont have much trouble with them.
theyre mostly just cheeky!

I was in amsterdam with rens last weekend, but we only managed to get
out to the entre of the city on sunday, as saturday was spent sleeping
and buying rens a fridge (yeah welcome to holland... lets go to harvery
norman woo). it was just how i remebered it, better actually. we werwe
meant to go to a market ton the waterlooplein but it wasnt open so we
just walked around a bit.... checked out the red light district at about
2-3pm...w as full of chicks in the windows... i guess when you have
"needs" in amsterdam youre catered for any time of the day!! it was
pretty funny to watch them tho (rens n i sat in a bar watching over a
few heinekens!) theyll just stand with their ciggs looking bored and
indifferent but then a guy walks past n they put their sexy face on lol
it was funny.... i dunno how they do it tho, some of the guys that went
into those little rooms were old and feral and looked homeless. i doubt
they were cos if they can afford a RLD girl im sure they can afford some
kinda house but y aknow... alot of bums hangin around...

imheading into amsterdam again tomorrow, as i need to go shoping! i
wrecked my boots, as they heel kept slipping into thee cracks in the
cobblestone streets and now theyre gradually getting sharpened, and are
starting to look like a pencil. its not fun to walk in them! so io need
shoes, and also pants as smart me only packed like jeans, 3/4 and
trakies. good one. also bought 2 longsleeved shirts. smarter. so ill be
spending alot of my $$ 2moro on the kalverstraat in amsterdam
(apparently a good shopping street!).

11th November 2006ok so atm im confused... im not sure about my opinion on the way the mum n dad of the family i aupair for, live...

the dad is a banker, and very well off. he works alot, and whike im confused about other things, him im sure of. i dont esp like him, at least his attitude to his family. he seems totally and utterly indifferent to spending time with his family. his first priority is his work, hich is sad. he doesnt like the traffic at peak hour on the dutch highways, so he comes home after 8pm everynight. the kids go to bed between 8:00 and 8:30, so if theyre really lucky theyll see their dad for 10min before theyre sent to bed. for the same traffic reason, he leaves at like 9am for work, the kids are gone by about 8:30 at th4e latest, while they see him for 10-15mins, some times hes still sleeping when they go. the weekends are the only time the kids get to see their dad, and every other weekend he travels somewhere or has something on. poor kids just fall over him when hes around cos they just never see him! they just idolise him cos they never see him... its pretty sad... which leaves the mum, who used to be a lawyer, but gavethat up when she had thekids.

the thing that i dont know if i agree about, is how she runs the joint... they make alot of money, so they can afford a gardener, a nanny, a cleaning lady, window washers etc... but the thing is, my jbs are really not that hard. i have to just clear up after meals, do the washing and ironing, bath the kids and kinda look after them in the afternoons and various babysitting... but small things like putting away their toothbrushes that they leave in the sink, putting their clothes away... i mean, why do they need to employ me to do things like that?? im not sure i agree with the fact that these kids have no responsibility at all, not for tidying up their rooms or anything... i asked the girl to put aeway a pair of pants the other day n she told me she didnt know where they went. it was her own bedroom and she didnt know where her own clothes went! if i ask them to do something sometimes they respond with we dont have to do that... amazing. i mean, they do nothing but go to school, after school activities (which they can get out of with just a whiney voice to mum...) and playing. they have no sense of commitment or responsibility and i dont like that, i dont like those kids to think im just gonna run after them doing things for them all the time. yeah i look after them, i do the washing and ironing... but im not their slave, why should i have to do things like put away their toothbrushes??? but then again theyre paying me so i just do what im told right? but theyre sooo spoilt.. i mean for spoilt kids theyre ok, totally managable so far, but at the same time im like JEEEEEZ you kids need to learn that you cant just rely on someone else to do everything for you!

the mum, i dunno if i agree with her way of life either... i mean, i understand it, totally, but i dont know if i agree with it. she has the cleaning lady, and me to clean the house and just do the stuff that she pretty much just cant be arsed doing. in her defense she DOES have a fair bit to do, when the kids are around but during the day she hasnt gotmuch to do but go shopping and pay bills n non strenuous things like that... meeting friends for coffee etc. when the kids are around she has to get them up n ready for school, n then take them to their activies, hockey, horse riding, ballet, tennis... and then she comes home n cooks dinner for them, helps them with their homework and puts them to bed. she goes in and helps at school, doing reading and things like that in her kids classes, and also volunteers at the local hockey club her kids play at working in the canteen and the bar n thing like that... but... i just wonder, is it fair enough that she gets someone to do all the shitty jobs, shes certainly got the money to pay for it! or is she just lazy? i mean... im torn between thinking HELLO this is the real world and you cant just pay ppl to do all ur shitty jobs while you go out and drink ur coffees and get ur facials and nails done... go shoping for DKNY and Ralph Lauren clothes for your KIDS! and thinking well... no one LIKES these jobs, if youve got the money, why not get someone else to do it??

maybe im a bit jealous? maybe im a bit pissed off that im the one who has to do her shitty jobs, effectively allowing her hassle free lifestyle... i dont know... but at the same time, im in themiddle of a pretty steep learning curve, seeing how the other side lives. i came from a small town where there were ppl with big houses, medium houses and small cr appy houses. there was "rich", "normal" and "poor". because i had a swimming pool and a massive house, i was consideredone of the rich ones, which wasnt helped when i went away to a private all girls boarding school... but in reality, while my parents could afford to swend me to a good school, and could afford to give me enough money to have nice clothes and a nice house, we werent rich. were not rich. were well off, but not rich... but we were the family who had our ironing done for us (mum had no time, as she works from 7-70 and a cleaning lady come in once a week. but my dad was so fuckin anal about me having my room tidy... we had to put our own clothes away... we had to do the dishes, stack the dishwasher... take our clothes to the laundry, n tidy our own shit up. we had the same responsibilities as anyone else, maybe not things like mopping the floor or ceaning the toilet, but the same base chores as everyone else... so while i know how it is the be the one employing the cleaning lady, ive never seen the other side...l either "other" side, the uber rich or the hired help... i am now livingin an uber rich household as the hired help. im experiencing 2 totally different lifestyles that i never thought id be living in... and while today the kids shat me to tears, i have to look at the positives and know that im going to be a better person at the end of the whole thing, as ive experienced how the other side lives.

ill also know how to iron a business shirt :P

Posted by jaxstar84 05:53 Archived in Netherlands

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