I’m packing heat…

…well I’m packing biscuits…and chocolate, and crisps…

Even though I have been here a while, I have yet to fully adjust to the Spanish meal timetable. Lunch at 2:30? Dinner at 9:30 or, god forbid, 10:30 at night, when you should be sleeping not eating? It goes against every diet book ever published, “don’t eat after 7pm” they say, well woah, the message has not quite reached the Mediterranean!

I find myself starving between meals, and not wanting to eat the family out of house and home (more on this ‘etiquette’ later), or make them feel as though they’re not giving me enough for each meal (they are, they are perfect meal time portions), I have instead perfected a covert operation to gather between-meal sustenance. Mostly junk food, because, lets face it, I’m not going to smuggle apples.

I am like a squirrel gathering his nuts for winter, a bear filling up with food so that he has a comfortable layer of fat to hibernate on, an ant…okay you get the picture…

The trips go a little like this…

Dress in inconspicuous summer clothes
Make room in too large handbag
Ensure there are aplenty Euros to buy contraband
Tell family I am going for a walk
Walk to nearest supermarket of choice (of which I have located all suitable candidates in each location)
Buy contraband
Return home
Use body as shield to block conspicuous, lumpy and larger-than-when-I-left handbag
Unload contraband into suitcase
Hide under large brimmed beach hat (casually obvs, you don’t want it to look deliberate)
Feel guilty
Retrieve when necessary

I have been doing this since I got here and all in all it has worked out well. The family are none the wiser and I am less emaciated.

Don’t look at me like that

Anyway in order to have a balanced diet you need a bit of junk with all that fish and vegetables, it’s on the chart.


No? Okay fine…

Talking crap…

This brings us nicely onto our first topic of discussion; which is shit…

I’m not saying that the topic I’m writing about is rubbish, I’m talking actual feacial matter. The human kind.

I apologise for the bluntness of this post, I think I’m a little bit in shock (or maybe its just the fumes), and I just can’t bring myself to sugar coat it…oh god…the imagery…sorry! Stop reading now if you’re squeamish!

did tell you I was underpaid!

This morning (EDIT: not this morning, see earlier postscripts), I woke up to an actual indoor farmyard. Old McDonald had moved in, unpacked his suitcases and set up the pig pens. It was like nothing I had ever experienced before. There was so much matter, shall we call it, in the baby’s nappy, I could have made myself a fortune at Cash for Gold (yes, there is one here).

At this point in time, he could literally shit the Taj Mahal and I wouldn’t be surprised.

The smell was one thing, but the fact that I actually had to change this nappy was a whole other kettle of fish. If you are planning on being an Au Pair to a baby, consider this very carefully!

It took an entire morning with two doors and a window open to clear the air. Thank god we’re here in Laredo, in the 30-40 degree heat of Benicassim it would have spelled instant death.

 If that wasn’t enough, later that day I had two more matter related incidents with the little girl…

The first; she barged in on me in the bathroom (luckily I was just washing my hands), sat on the toilet and then proceeded to announce “tengo muchas cacitas”, read: “I have lots of poo” and pull a face like the angry hulk.

The second; after a long morning at the beach, I showered her and washed her hair. After towelling her dry, she bent over and told me she had sand in her bum…

…which I had to wipe out…

Now I don’t know what the appropriate reaction to this should be. I am of the the keep calm and carry on kind, and only let it bother me mildly, I soldiered on through, but I don’t know if I should actually have been horrified. I know for one that I have friends that would have been running for the hills at the first whiff of any human substances (and there were many more I had to deal with, read: sick, wee….). Have I forever lost any claim to glamour?

What do you think?

P.S. Handy hint: If, while at a park, playground or any other public space, the baby in your care goes suspiciously quiet and is standing still, straddling a part of the swing structure and looking pensive, he is shitting. Just putting that out there.

And if the four year old tells you she needs to wee, she means now, her body has yet to provide her with the gift of forewarning…

Hello, Internet…

This spring, I made the life affirming decision that I was going to become “one that travels”, a jet setter, an explorer a – forgive me the cliche – a mini gap-yearer. One of those people, that when faced with the mosh pit known as graduate employment, they would be able to sit back in their rolly chair (the king of all chairs, or maybe that’s the rocking chair, ooh or the swing seat, there is much fun to be had on one of those…), an easy smile on their face and an air of cultured-ness about them as they recount how, in their travels across the Asian continent, they learnt to speak 5 different languages, to cook 7 different types of Asian cuisine like a native (would Sir like to come over for dinner to sample these aforementioned delights?), to survive on less than a shoestring budget and to volunteer and fundraise for 18 different children’s homes and charities whilst simultaneously “finding themselves” (through mastering 3 different types of yoga, buddhist meditation and a stay at a zen monastery, naturally). The graduate employer, so overcome by this worldliness and thoughts of beef stir fry (so many graduates, so little time for lunch) – note, he is yet to be cultured on the proper Asian names of the dishes, though come to think of it, it would be handy for those Chinese clients… – hires them without a second thought, in a senior position with company car and benefits.

In my mind, this was exactly what was going to happen. I was going to become a child of the world.

In reality, in a haze of A level induced insanity, overcome with a bout of wanderlust, and petrified that my mum was actually going to follow through on her threats to get me a job on my local ASDA fish counter; I accepted a offer to move to Spain for 3 months to be an Au Pair to two gorgeous children, four and one.

Perfect! I’d thought. I’d get to live in 3 different parts of Spain: Madrid, Benicassim and Laredo, practise my Spanish IRL (in real life), a subject I loved at school, and to top it all off, my job description was to “take the children to the beach everyday”. *Swoon*.

Instead of an uncomfortable 12 hour flight, horrifying humidity, getting lost in a place where I had no hope of learning the language, and having to navigate my way through a variety of U.F.S. (unidentifiable food substances) that would give me something akin to “Delhi belly”; I could swoosh around in a maxi dress and sunglasses on long walks, pushing the pram as passers by coo at the babies. And, of course, work on getting myself as close to the shade of mahogany as possible.

There would be lovely little boutiques and panaderías, ice cream and sun. If everything went pete tong, I could jump on a plane and be back in London in 2 hours. I hate travelling anyway, it’s a pain in the arse.

It sounds like a dream, you may say, and I thought so too, until I arrived and realised I was most definitely…

…Overpacked and underpaid…

P.S. these posts will all be out of synch as, like a good little blogger, I brought my iPad, pad and paper, camera…etc…etc, and then went and FORGOT MY IPAD CHARGER. (More on this later) and so I am already 5 weeks in to my trip and the first post is only going up now *insert slow claps here*. Therefore if I say “today” it most probably isn’t.

P.P.S. Oh dear have I overdone it with the post scripting? I kimd of like it, it’s like when you find a fiver tucked in to an old pair of jeans, a little nugget of extra goodness….I digress…

Hi, hello, ¡hola! My name is Laura, and if there does happen to be a soul out there in the big wide world reading what I write, then I very much hope you enjoy it, and know that there will be much, much more to come!

Besos xx