Hasta luego Sevilla!

Dearest and most loyal readers, the time has come for me to write my final au pair blog post. To be truthful, the time came a long time ago. I’ve been home from Spain for 6 weeks now, but I’ve been unable to write this because it was too hard. I was forced to leave Seville early, for reasons we will get into shortly, and the experience was all quite painful and even a little traumatising. So forgive me for how long this has taken, but I have finally plucked up the courage to tell you all how my gap year ended. I’m not just doing this for you (although I do of course love you all dearly), but more because I hope that by writing this out I can come to terms and accept what happened. It was not a happy ending to my year, and since then I have struggled to remember the good parts and the fun I had with the boys and the other au pairs. So this isn’t easy for me to write. I’d rather pretend that everything was perfect until the last moment and that I walked away from my gap year feeling fulfilled and proud of myself. But it wasn’t to be. And I think it’s important to tell you all that sometimes things don’t go to plan, people lie, and quite frankly, sh*t happens. But life goes on, and while I miss those boys with all my heart and it hurts me to know I will probably never see them again, I know that I need to find a way to put this behind me and look forward with positivity, remembering the good times I have had this past year rather than dwelling on the painful and abrupt ending.

So you are undoubtedly all wondering what happened to me out there. Well, it’s an interesting story. Only now (6 weeks on) can I begin to appreciate the hilarious absurdity of it all. I don’t wish to point blame at anyone so I will keep the story short and sweet. A woman in the park, another nanny I’m told, rang up my host parents and told them some things about how I had been treating the boys in the park. These things weren’t true. However, despite knowing me for 6 months and seeing me every day with their kids, playing and laughing and loving them, the parents chose to believe this stranger over me. Consequently, they told me they could no longer trust me with their boys and asked to me leave – the very next day. We won’t dwell on the fact that this was the day before my birthday, the weekend my aunt and uncle were visiting Seville and that I had a 10k race that Sunday, or that it was ironically only 2 and a half weeks until I was to leave Spain anyway. I was shocked and didn’t know what to say. Of course I tried to explain myself and prove my innocence but unfortunately their minds were made up and I could see there was nothing I could do. So what else do we do in desperate circumstances but ring our mothers? I think I scared here quite a lot…..a crying daughter down the phone at 11:30pm starting the conversation with ‘something terrible has happened’. Apparently she thought I’d been raped. It wasn’t like she expected me to tell her this story, who did?! Somehow I managed to find myself a hotel for 3 nights and we booked flights home for the following Monday. I wanted to stay in Seville to see my aunt and uncle, and also to run my race on the Sunday. It all felt like a bad nightmare, it didn’t feel real.
The next day I packed my bags. In all honesty, I think that day was the hardest of my life so far. These people, who had been so kind and welcoming to me for so long, were suddenly cold and wouldn’t look me in the eye. I wasn’t allowed near the boys apart from when we said goodbye. It broke my heart. Saying goodbye to those two was brutal. I didn’t want to let go when they hugged me. I left them with a photo album I had been creating of all our happy times together, unfinished, with the hope that Marta may finish it with them when the photos I had recently ordered arrived. Marta seemed the most affected by my gift, so I suppose all was not lost and that she did appreciate how much fun the boys and I had over the months. When that door closed behind me I felt quite lost for a few minutes. All that had been my life and my family for the past 6 months was suddenly gone. They would go on with their lives and I was left to pick up the pieces of my own crumpled self (and broken heart, if we are being dramatic) and figure out how to turn the page on this incident. I always imagined that I would stay in contact with these boys forever, writing them letters and sending them Christmas cards, etc. But now I just don’t know if the parents would want me to. And what hurts the most is that there is a strong possibility that they could both grow up and not remember me at all, or how much I loved them and how much fun we had. All I can do is I hope that that photo album doesn’t become buried in a dark cupboard along with all the other skeletons, and that the good times are remembered over the bad. Which is what I am trying to do at the moment, but honestly, it’s really quite hard.
Despite all this I managed to enjoy my last few days in Seville, thanks to my fabulous bunch of au pair friends (who all offered to put me up in their houses) and my family. They all reassured me of the absurdity of what had happened, and they reminded me of who I really was, rather than this nanny-monster the woman had created and who I was staring to believe was really was somewhere inside me. I’m still struggling with this. It’s never been hard for me to doubt myself and this has really challenged me again. But my wonderful friends distracted me and gave me lots of hugs. They even somehow managed to throw together the most amazing and adorable photo album of all our adventures in Spain in ONE NIGHT. So thank you again, you know who you are and I love you all. Who knows what I would have done without you! We went for brunch on my birthday and I then went out for dinner with my aunt and uncle to a great Lebanese restaurant. We did some sightseeing on Saturday, which was a nice way to say goodbye to the city, and on Sunday I ran my race. Perhaps it was the angst and anger inside me, but I ran that 10k in my fastest ever time to date and even managed to come 1st for my age group! I was so surprised that I didn’t believe it when they called out my name from the podium and they had to repeat it! It felt like a nice way to end it all, especially after a traumatic few days.

So there you go. That’s how my gap year ended. No, it’s not what I wanted, and nor is it what I ever expected. At first I thought this would be something I would never tell anyone as I was ashamed – ashamed of what felt like a complete failure and also of the person I was portrayed as. But that’s not who I am and although it wasn’t exactly a complete ‘success’, I know I have come out the other end as a better and stronger person. I could waffle on a lot here about maturity and responsibility and finding myself blah blah blah. But who wants to read that? All I have left to say is that sometimes there are crazy people who make up crazy things, and sometimes there are even crazier people who believe those other crazy people. And what can you do? Nothing really. Except for carry on with your life, hanging up the socks the way YOU WANT TO, and remembering the good times that make you smile, whether it was a Sevillian sunset, or falling of the merry-go-round because Agu pushed it too hard. Just keep your head up, and flaunt that suntan 😘

Muchos besitos mis queridas 

Katie xx

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Feriamos!

Hola mis amigos,
Since we last spoke I have been enjoying a month of Spanish celebrations – Semana Santa with my parents, and then two weeks later La Feria de Abril. We have also been enjoying some amazing weather, with it reaching 35 degrees one day in Semana Santa and not really dropping below 20 degrees since (except when it rained last week – the first time in about 2 months). This is the reason I came to Seville! (Well, one of them…..but one of the most important 😝) Needless to say, the tan is coming on VERY well.

Continue reading

The Incident in the Bath

Hello once again, dearest readers!

I hope 2017 has treated you well so far – how long did the New Year’s Resolutions last? Don’t worry, it’s almost Lent so you can try again. I have been keeping myself busy running around after children, going to my Spanish choir, and also learning Flamenco in preparation for Feria de Abril (ironically in May this year!). The sun continues to shine gloriously here and it is now reaching around 22 degrees in the middle of the day again. It was actually warm enough to have a barbeque and eat outside on our terrace two weeks ago! Barbeques in January, who ever thought it?!

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I have been with this family for just over 2 months now and am definitely feeling like an older sister almost to the boys. We have a lot of fun rolling around on the floor and playing, and Agu’s new favourite English phrase is ‘Chase me!’ – which is handy as it gets him home from English lessons a LOT faster than when he walks! Unfortunately, Luisette has been teething of late and so has been a little more difficult when it comes to eating (he usually eats more than his brother 😲). We also had a few ‘incidents in the bath’….for those of you with a delicate stomach, be warned that this next part might disgust you…

As you may or may not know, little children often have a ‘poo face’ (I apologise for the crudeness), and I learnt to recognise Luisette’s early on. So, we were having bath-time one evening when he suddenly started pulling the face. I luckily managed to whip him out of the bath and dangle him over the toilet just in time. Luisette however wasn’t impressed and promptly started to cry – probably due to shock that he had started to do a poo in the bath, and probably also because he didn’t like being dangled over the toilet where he cold easily fall in and disappear into the sewers…..(Anybody else ever had that fear?) Anyway, I felt quite proud that we had avoided that disaster. HOWEVER, a few days later we were once again in the bath and he pulled the dreaded face. I asked him if he was doing a ‘caca’ and he shook his head saying ‘no, no’, but I was fairly sure that was just because he didn’t want to be dangled over the toilet-monster again. On edge, I kept my eye on him but, true to his word, he didn’t seem to be doing a poo….We continued bath-time quite happily until Luisette suddenly broke wind and THERE WAS A POO FLOATING IN THE BATH!! Luisette was surprised as I was. I franticly started to try and fish it out with the various bath toys…unsuccessfully – possibly the most disgusting thing I have ever done. I resorted to simply draining the bath and firing the shower head in the right way to wash it all away. I then washed my hands about 20 thousand times… Luisette however was having a great time and seemed rather amused by my reaction!

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Between fishing poo out of the bath and changing nappies in the park (WHAT HAS MY LIFE BECOME??!), I have also started clases of Sevillanas at my gym, which is a type of Flamenco dance. As soon as I had decided on Seville as my destination I knew I would have to learn how to dance Flamenco in order to be able to take part in the Feria de Abril without looking like a complete numpty. We learnt the entire first Sevillana in the first class and I am having some trouble in remembering what comes next in the sequence! It is so much fun and I feel like such a sassy Flamenco-ist with the hands and everything, I can’t wait for the Feria. I just hope I will be able to remember all the steps – there are 3 more completely different dances we are going to learn apparently!

In other news, I HAVE FOUND SOME ENGLISH AU PAIRS!!! As it turns out, there are actually loads of us, and even a girl from Scotland (I’d love to know if her kids are developing a Scottish accent!). We had great fun going to watch ‘La La Land’ at the cinema (yes in Spanish, but the songs were in English and that’s the bit the counts), and we have also been exploring more of Seville by getting lost in the little winding streets and 20170113_203933attempting to try out as many tapas bars as possible – a considerable challenge as I was told that for every ONE person in Seville, there are TEN bars! *Challenge accepted*. These adventures provide a welcome break to my exhausting week of playing animals, animals, and MORE ANIMALS. I am beginning to dream about them in my sleep….It is of course, still much more fun than being locked in a library studying, as many of my friends at Uni are currently. One of the recent highlights was watching Frozen with Agu one Friday evening when the parents went out. We had ice cream and I sang all the songs very loudly, to the great amusement of Agu. And he even managed to stay awake until the end of the film!

Until next time my exquisitely English chums,

Besos, Katie

xx

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Au Pairs hit the town

Los Reyes!

A Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all! And Happy Kings Day too! I am feeling rather spoilt, having had two Christmases this year. I enjoyed a lovely Christmas at home, although I felt quite busy due to my attempts to see all my friends and various family members. I then came back to Seville on the 2nd to start Christmas all over again! Continue reading

Christmas Festivities

This week has been a week of firsts:
• First time I changed a nappy in a park (lovely experience….)
• First time to read a bedtime story in Spanish
• First time to see a Spanish ‘Belén’ (a nativity scene)
• First time to eat churros (FINALLY!)
It has been an eventful, and frankly exhausting, week. Marta had to go to Malaga for work from Thursday afternoon until Saturday, and then she and Agusto had a Christmas lunch celebration for Agusto’s work on Saturday, and so I was childminding all of Saturday as well! Continue reading

The Mystery of the Oxbridge Interviews

So my dear readers, the long-awaited moment finally arrived – an interview at Oxford to read English Literature and Spanish at Lady Margaret Hall College. The good thing about doing a gap year is that it gives you a relatively blasé feeling towards most things, and I have to admit that I was less nervous about the interview than I was about travelling to Oxford by myself. The journey involved a flight from Seville to Gatwick, a train from Gatwick to Reading, then Reading to Oxford, and then somehow finding my way to the right college from the train station. Not to mention that I had to find somewhere to buy an English sim card for my phone to avoid a repeat of the terrifying experience of my last trip back home when I was stranded ALONE and without ANY MEANS OF CONTACTING ANYONE. My mum had thought it would be prudent to send me an English sim card in the post so that I would have one before I came to England……of course, it didn’t arrive in time. Even the post is late in Spain!! Continue reading

Is it Christmas yet?

This week has undoubtedly been the best so far in Seville! Despite the fact I am nursing a black-eye thanks to Luisette (be wary of over-excited toddlers with plastic horses…), everything about my new family is wonderful! It has been a very busy week though and it feels like I have had to learn everything all over again – where the school is, where the nearest shops are, etc, as it is a different area of Seville. That being said, I have only got lost once, although it did involve me cycling round in circles for about 20 minutes… Continue reading

I’m determined to make it feel like Autumn…

In the past two weeks I have experienced torrential rain and thunderstorms, blazing sunshine and blue skies with 30 degree heat, and currently the frosty autumnal British temperature of 10 degrees. I am once again sat in Stanstead airport waiting to fly back to Seville after coming home briefly to sit my Oxbridge Admissions Test yesterday. It was a short and beautifully autumnal visit home, but now it is back to 25 degrees and lots of sunshine, and I can honestly say my body temperature has become VERY confused and I don’t whether to put on big fluffy socks and a winter jumper like my hibernating-instincts are telling me to, or whether to whip out the bikini again as the forecast for Seville suggest I should do…… Continue reading

Time to be a Tourist

This weekend, my mum and sister visited me in what was, until Friday, sunny Seville. Typically, this weekend was the only time that I have experienced full cloud in the sky and heavy rain for more than two hours in one go. It rained ALL WEEKEND. I mean it really didn’t stop. At all. Still, we were not put off and used the opportunity to be proper tourists, visiting the Cathedral and the Real Alcázar, and of course also getting lost in the old town’s beautiful winding streets. We did try to visit the Plaza de Espana, but that failed. It turns out that heavy rain closes the Plaza due to the threat of falling branches….. Next time, I guess! Continue reading