Au pair, au pairs – everywhere!

Can you believe it, I have been here for 3 weeks now! The weather has finally turned ‘autumnal’ – although in Spain this means temperatures of around 25 degrees and the occasional cloud (shocking, I know). However, after heights of 34, this feels quite cold and so I have worn trousers for the first time since arriving – it even rained on Wednesday! Otherwise, normal Spanish life continues…..This week’s saga includes: Seville’s serious drain issue, yet more food-based bribery, almost burning the house down, and meeting an army of German au pairs…..all blonde…..

img_20161012_172531This Wednesday was a national day of holiday in Spain, which meant no school for the girls and a day off for me! And what did I decide to do with this unexpected extra time? Why, try yet harder to win favour with the girls. TIME TO MAKE A CAKE! How better to win their hearts than via chocolatey sugary yumminess? And even better, who cares if they got a sugar rush from my calorie-stuffed master-piece because I WAS NOT IN CHARGE THAT DAY! Hahahahaaaa (sorry Sonia!). I cleverly managed to make, bake and decorate the cake all while the family were out in the town during the middle of the day – just as well really, as I made a fabulous mess which probably would have given Sonia a heart-attack! They arrived back just in time to merienda  on my lovely, still-warm chocolate-covered marble cake. Yes, they were impressed. Yay! Au pair points for Katie!

After having been added to the au pair WhatsApp group, (I didn’t realise such things existed until now either) I took it upon myself to rouse the troops for a coffee in the centre as we all had the afternoon off. There was a little objection due to the threatening rain clouds, and a few unfortunate au pairs couldn’t make it because they had been either dragged off to the countryside with their families, or where suffering through Bank Holiday-style ‘let’s-amuse-the-children-dear’ activities. We arranged to meet in one of the Plazas and I was almost there when I suddenly realised that I didn’t actually have the faintest clue what any of the other au pairs looked like! The chosen plaza being a hub of tourist activity, I was suddenly concerned that I would spend the rest of the afternoon circling the plaza like a lost child looking for its parents. I need not have worried. Upon arriving in the plaza I was dazzled by a group of 6 glowing blond girls, about my age, talking in rapid German – and one slightly awkward looking brunette who turned out to be from Denmark, and so clearly couldn’t talk German. These were the au pairs! Ahh, my fellow comrades! We hugged instead of doing the awkward Spanish two-cheek-kiss and everyone had fun trying to pronounce my name. (Why do non-English people find ‘Katie’ so difficult to comprehend?!! The Spaniards are determined to spell it Kaiti and pronounce it like ‘Cat-ee’!) We were all firmly agreed that the most important thing was to find a café that served tea – I loved them all already! And so we did – a cute little café opposite the cathedral which served all types of tea in PROPER TEA POTS. I was so happy I could have cried, but obviously I didn’t because I had to hold it together in front of my new friends…..img_20161012_184258

We spent a happy two hours drinking tea and comparing notes on our families and the hardships of au pairing (which are actually quite numerous – it’s not all running around playing games!). Unsurprisingly, my family are the only ones who a)require proper English lessons, b)fold socks, and c) FOLD PANTS. Lucky me, although these facts did earn me some respect in the group! Just as we decided to call it a day, the Sevillian heavens opened their gates. When it rains in Seville, it doesn’t drizzle half-heartedly for the entire day like in England, it goes all out and produces a rain storm fit to make Noah worried. And worse than that, the beautiful tourist centre of the town was not designed with rain in mind….what therefore ensued was a very NOT FUN wade through the centre of Seville to get back home, trying not to get dragged off by the current. I arrived home with completely soaked shoes, socks, jeans and underwear! (I had remembered to pack a raincoat, thinking I would NEVER need it……) Of course, it had stopped raining after 5 minutes, such is the way of Seville rainstorms!

So much for a little holiday, it was business as usual on Thursday. Perhaps I had gotten a little ahead of myself with the cake-breakthrough, but I can tell you that I was certainly brought back down to earth by a certain incident which occurred at Thursday lunchtime. Sonia had prepared a lasagne for lunch and had told me to put in into the oven in advance at about 1:30 ish. This was all fine and I did so. I then went out to collect Isabel from school at 2:15, leaving the lasagne in the oven (as I would do at home) because normally a lasagne needs about an hour, right? I was out of the house for NO MORE THAN 10 MINUTES and probably not even that. However, when I returned I was met by a torrent of panicked and mildly angry Spanish from a rather flustered looking Sonia, repeating ‘fuego fuego’…….Just to reassure everyone, there was no fire. The lasagne was not even burnt. AT ALL. But still, I was given an in-depth lecture on why I was never to leave the oven on when not in the house, etc. I suppose it was reasonable. But at the same time, this is something I would quite happily do at home. In fact, I would normally abandon a cake to the oven and go upstairs and forget about it – probably something far safer than leaving a lasagne for 5 minutes after checking it first AND turning it down, just in case! But there we go. Lesson learnt. Even worse, I then fed Isabel and UN-WASHED APPLE (I know – the horror!). Sonia’s face suggested that I might have well as poisoned her……I mean, really?! And the worst thing was that I couldn’t even comfort myself with some of my lovely cake because THEY HAD EATEN THE ENTRIE THING BY THURSDAY AFTERNNON AND I HADN’T EVEN HAD ANY!!!!!!!!!!

I hope you are enjoying my slip-ups more than I am…..


Katie xx


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