Stalk Me (No, Actually)…A Day in the Life…

Well considering today is the two month anniversary of Overpacked and Underpaid, I thought that you and I would…you know…get to know eachother a little more…intimately.

Here, I found your mind, I think you dropped it in the gutter…

Boom boom!

I’ll let myself out…

Anyway all of you lovelies that actually read my posts, (and I know some of you do…you can run but you can’t hide, I have wobbly bar charts and numbers…I KNOW WHERE YOU LIVE…actually I really don’t…but…err…I KNOW WHERE YOU BLOG…occasionally…when you follow me via WordPress), will know that I am studying History and English with Spanish at university, and so I thought I’d let you in on a typical day in my life…

Ooh aren’t you lucky!

https://i2.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/7d/UoEx_Forum.JPG

Monday 21st October 2013

Wake up at 7:30 to the unsurpassable sounds of radio Devon; listen to news of national and international importance such as “man in Devon has been going around shooting signs, to prove this, other man in Devon has been going around taking photos of said shot signs”, “outrage as lollipop man quits after being threatened with suspension for high-fiving kids rather than watching the road” and “small village interviews for a new local witch, no experience necessary” #srsbusiness.

Roll out of bed, shower and simultaneously flood and steam up bathroom, eat breakfast (cereal in a cup, stirred not shaken) and make my way up the hill for my first 9am history seminar on “the supernatural in early modern England”. Discus white witches for two hours, stare at hot history boys.

Walk back (making conscious effort not to pencil roll down hill) and whip up lunch out of remaining ingredients in fridge (eggs and…well…eggs), frantically do Spanish homework.

Head back up the bloody hill for double Spanish, spend two hours trying to stop myself doing something inappropriate/naughty out of sheer boredom (see: I’m Bored or How To: Procrastinate) as the class is a little too easy for me and I’ve done everything before.

Hot foot it over to my English lecture and search for tall friends so as not to look like a complete loner…try not to fall asleep or do any of the aforementioned inappropriate things, take lots of notes with one hand whilst simultaneously covertly stalking Facebook and Tumblr with the other.

Head back to flat, chat to flatmates and cook some dinner out of remainder of cupboard ingredients (tacos and…well…tacos).

Change into dance wear and head down to my beginners jazz class…roll around floor for an hour trying to ignore the indigestion from the food I’ve only just eaten and not poke one of my fellow dancers in the eye with my flailing hands and feet.

Head back to flat, spend evening in the kitchen with flatmates chatting and generally avoiding doing any work.

Do blogmin.

[Insert non-existent sex life here].

Sleep.

Well wasn’t that just…thrilling?

So there you have it, a day in the life of a British university student.

P.S. THANK YOU to all you lovelies who have been reading, following and commenting on my posts over the last two months I really, really appreciate it! Please keep sharing Overpacked and Underpaid with everyone you know, too many readers don’t spoil the blog ;).

Advertisements

Walk the walk…

As a companion to my “Talk the talk..” post, I thought I’d give you some handy tips about what you should ask the people you’re going to be staying with pre-departure.

I obviously failed miserably at this, I was met at the airport to find the family had a third son I had completely no idea about!

Oh, Laura…

  1. How many children will I be looking after, what are their ages?
  2. What are the children’s personalities like? What do they like to do for fun? Are there any problem areas e.g. fussy eaters, allergies?
  3. What is the children’s daily routine?
  4. What exactly are my duties and responsibilities?
  5. What time am I expected to start and finish work?
  6. What can I do in my spare time? What do you do as a family in your spare time?
  7. Are we going to be eating together? If so, what time? If not, what is available to me?
  8. What language do you wish me to speak in? How much English do you and the kids speak?
  9. Where will I be staying? Am I expected to share a room with the kids?
  10. What do you do for work? What is your daily routine?
  11. Have you had an au pair before? If so, what was your experience?
  12. Are there any religious/cultural norms or rules I should be aware of?
  13. Do you travel a lot? If so, will I be travelling with you and am I expected to pay for my share of the transport fees?
  14. How do you see an au pair fitting into your family?
  15. Tell me about the area you live in. What commodities are there?
  16. Will I be expected to cook and clean? If so, to what extent?
  17. Do you need me to be able to drive? If so, do you have a car I can use?
  18. Why are you choosing to have an au pair rather than a nanny or daycare?
  19. Do you have internet or computer access?
  20. Do I need to pay for my own flight?
  21. What happens if I feel unwell? Is there a doctors close by? Will you give me time off?
  22. How will I be paid, in euros or pounds, weekly or monthly?
  23. What kind of clothes should I pack, is there anything in particular I will need?
  24. How should I behave if the children will not listen or are rude?
  25. Do you have any pets?

Well I hope that just about covers it, my brain is refusing to come up with any more!

Talk the talk…

So being the all around kind and giving person I am (just call me your fairy godmother), here are some useful Spanish words and phrases for all you wannabe au pairs…or for those of you that just want to brush up on your vocab…

¡Ven aqui! – Come here
¡Venga! – Come
¡Mira! – Look
¡Ten! – Take
¡Toma! – Take
¡A ver!- Lets’s see/Show me
Pero bueno – Said when the child does something cute but naughty, equivalent would be “Oi Cheeky”
¿Has hecho pis? – Have you done a wee?
¿Has Hecho caca? – Have you done a poo?
¡Para! – Stop
¡Come! – Eat
¡Bebe! – Drink
¡Traga! – Swallow
¡Mastica! – Chew
No me muerden – Don’t bite me
No golpeas a tu hermana – Don’t hit your sister
No tiras/No tira eso – Don’t throw/Don’t throw that
No tire el pelo – Don’t pull my hair
Deja eso – Put that down
No pase nada – Don’t worry
Pobresita – Poor little
Sucio – Dirty
Seco – Dry
Mojado – Wet
Travieso – Naughty
Tete/Chupete – Dummy
Biberón – Bottle
Babero – Bib
Pañal – Nappy
Cuna – Cot
Toalla – Towel
Bañador – Swimming costume
¿Está cansado? – Are you tired?
Estoy cansado – I’m tired
No me cuentas peliculas – Don’t tell me stories
¿Dónde le duele? – Where does it hurt
Con sueño – Sleepy
A dormir – To sleep
Suelta me – Let go of me
Quedarte aquí – Stay here
¡Oye! – Hey


And the most important…

¡Que no!

Practise makes perfect…

We no speak Americano…

According to the little girl I’ve been looking after, my English is terrible and I’m not from England.

Me and her dad had a good old chuckle about this.

In all seriousness though, if this trip has shown me anything, its how bloody awful my Spanish is.

I’d like to think I was one of the better ones in my Spanish class, having had a Spanish teacher at home when I was very little…I must at least be in the top 15 (guess how many there were in my class?).

I’ve also just gotten my IB ab initio Spanish results through and I got a respectable 6 (equivalent to an A), so you’d think I’d be able to stay somewhat afloat in a sea of foreign conversation, right?

Wrong!

When I first arrived, I couldn’t understand a single bloody word. The family wasn’t very impressed, I’m not exactly giving Brits abroad a very good rep…

It was so embarrassing, it kind of put me off speaking any Spanish in front of the family. Not that this was a problem, my job was explicitly to speak in English. I even got found out and told off when I went on a covert mission to speak in Spanish to the kids at the beach…

What’s even more embarrassing, however, is having to whip out the “I’m English”, blank stare excuse in front of the locals. Especially if they speak fluent English, Spanish and French…

So I was perpetually stuck in some “damned if I do, damned if I don’t” purgatory.

In the end I decided I would just listen a la sponge, and whip out my rudimentary Spanish only when absolutely necessary (ice cream, food, Vogue…) and when I was sure not to get caught at the beach.

Something along the line must have gone right…by the end I could understand, and somewhat reply to the 92 year old grandmother who didn’t speak a word of English! I could get the kids to do what I asked them to! And I could understand all of the plaques at a mini Roman exhibition I went to!

At the same time, the little girl had learnt “wind the bobbin up”, “1,2,3,4,5 once I caught a fish alive” and “twinkle twinkle” as well as many a cute, heartbreaking English words and phrases. I almost keeled over when she asked me “what is properly?”…the accent!

It seems I had found a happy Spanglish medium.

When I told her I was leaving, she said to me (in Spanish) “yey! Now I can speak Spanish with mummy and daddy, I don’t like speaking English because I’m Spanish”.

Glad to know my mother tongue made as great an impression on her as hers did on me…

P.S. I think that the unnatural speed and complete lack of intonation in their speech is a ploy by the Spanish especially to make foreigners look like complete idiots…I mean I could even understand a bit of what the French family next to me were saying and I haven’t done French since GCSE!

Siesta fiesta…

I came up with the idea for this post at three in the morning.

Why? You ask me…

It’s because I had a bloody siesta yesterday.

Siestas are much like the Child Catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang…they lure you in with the promise of two shiny hours sleep and then bam, you’re lying awake all night trapped in a cycle of self hatred…not worth it, no not worth it at all.

The children need a nap – that’s a given – otherwise they’re grouchy and tired all afternoon, but I just can’t justify myself (or every other fully grown Spanish adult for that matter) losing three perfectly good hours from the day. I mean how do they ever get anything done?

Maybe I’m just bitter because I can’t power nap and still get a full eight hours sleep at night…

The thing is, I never sleep in the day, unless I’m very sick, or by some other extenuating circumstances, absolutely exhausted. If you catch me nodding off at two in the afternoon, call a doctor, I may be dying…

I am also about as useful (and scary for that matter) as a dead zombie corpse when I haven’t slept…I wake up like a pissed off deep sea monster, rising out of the ocean…maybe I am the Loch Ness monster…I’ve sure been feeling like it lately…

I honestly need about 10 hours of solid, uninterrupted sleep in a pitch black room to wake up chirpy, and as you can imagine there ain’t much of that going around in this job…

This morning for example I was woken up, as usual, at six am with the girl screaming “no, no, suelta me, suelta me” (read: let me go, let me go) as the baby tugged gleefully on her hair and laughed.

She’d climbed into his cot *deadpan*. What did she expect.

They both then took it in turns to shout “mama” and “papa”, attack each other and throw various objects at me, including a dummy and a toy dinosaur. On three hours sleep I was not best pleased…

After a failed attempt at shushing them, and then trying to ignore them, and then hiding under the covers and pretending I wasn’t there (kids these days…they’re too smart…), I rose up from the dead and murderously stomped off, baby in tow to heat the milk for his bottle. By the time the second batch of toast had pinged up, I was halfway to consciousness – this is very important considering the fact I am technically living with my bosses. By the time we’d sat down, on the outside I was smiley and buoyant (oh shut up…I tried..) while on the inside contemplating rolling myself off the balcony. All of today I have felt like hell.

These are the times I regret not drinking caffeine.

No I’m not going to have another siesta…I bloody refuse!

P.S. Why does this only happen in Spain? Do they know something the rest of the world doesn’t or are they just a sleepy (lazy) people.

P.PS. If this post turns out to be incoherent, I apologise, I’m so tired I’m almost face-planting into my iPad…

And I would walk five hundred miles…

And I would walk five hundred more…*sings obnoxiously in hideously inaccurate Scottish accent*

If there was a memo, I’ve missed it. I don’t understand.

The practise seemed even more prevalent in Laredo…

Since I’ve been here I’ve noticed that its a “thing” for three quarters of the beach population to walk, nay stride, purposely up and down the length of the beach, back and forth, like ants carrying food to their nest under the watchful eye of their queen…ok where exactly do I think I’m going with this?

I don’t now if its just me, but it all seems a little bit strange… When I, for one, am on the beach, I…well…beach myself, like a whale…in the optimum “sunbathing position”…basting in Hawaiian Tropic. I refuse to move other than to lightly toast (read: burn) my other side or if I near mummify from dehydration (naughty, don’t actually do this).

I’m starting to think this is the reason why google didn’t bother mapping Lidls in Laredo, or any of the supermarkets for that matter (I’m totally over it….totally…), it would have been too hard to photoshop out all of the “ants” obscuring the view.

Out of pure curiosity, I decided to partake in this bizarre activity, and have concluded that it looks suspiciously like exercise…

Am I skinny yet?

P.S. Do you “walk the walk”? If so, why? It it just for the lols, the exercise *shudder* or is there a secret underground practise I don’t know about ‘coz I’m English?

P.P.S. My “research” walk along Benicassim beach was actually quite pleasant. I would have done it again but that’s my monthly exercise quota all used up…