Sunday, October 24, 2010

A few firsts: Elephants and Freeze Mobs

Before I get into what I have been up to this past week in Munich, I thought I would talk about the past two weekends I have had. Last weekend after working on Saturday morning celebrating my host dad's birthday (I made arroz con pollo for it and a cake. Surprisingly both turned out good!) I headed off to the Kinder zoo to see some animals and ride some elephants!

Nicole, Shelley and I on the elephant photo from Nicole

One of my friends, Nicole, has a bucket list and one of the things to cross off her list was a horn for a horse to make a unicorn. This was the result:

Ignore my face, the horse was a little jumpy...

We saw some other animals and a sea lion show (all in German. the music choices were quite enjoyable though!) All in all we had a good time despite the rain and cold.

This past weekend, after I got back from Munich,I got the opportunity to participate in my first Flashmob. For those of you that don't know what this is, it's where a large group of people get together and freeze for 5 whole minutes. Let me tell you, 5 minutes is a long time when you can't move. I don't think I have ever been able to sit still for 5 whole minutes! If you still don't know what it looks like you might want to get an idea from this one in Grand Central and then this one that I participated in in Zurich I'm in it at about 1:08 or so. black jacket and pink ipod! It was fun to participate in and glad we got to do it! Another first in Switzerland.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Perspective on slowing down

I have officially been here 2 months. I never EVER thought I would be doing this. Living the slow life. My friends here who are au pairs talk a lot about how this is our life (whether negative: i.e. I can't believe that I have to take care of THESE kids, or positive: I can't believe that I only have to take care of these kids! you see?) Our greatest worry is where our next trip will be or what time the last train is before we can't get home anymore.
I am generally working 30-35 hours a week. Not even a full time job. The rest of my time? I have spent wandering the city, drinking LOTS of coffee and tea, reading (I have read about 10 books since I have been here. It has been GLORIOUS. So glorious I am looking into getting a Kindle to enable my addiction. All book suggestions are welcome!), watching entirely too much online tv to get my American culture, and doing a little singing here and there (More on that in a later post) It's crazy to think that my life for the next 10 months will consist of me learning German and teaching kids songs I learned in Elementary school (Miss Mary Mack, anyone? Miss Suzy had a Steamboat?) as well as English.
Really it's time to explore Europe, which I hope to fully take advantage of. We'll see where I get to. I have made a list of places I want to head to before I leave (a very long list which I will spare you of.) I am currently planning a trip to Salzburg with a couple of other au pairs (Sound of Music tour!) and perhaps a trip back to Milan at the end of November.
The weirdest thing for me thus far has been not being constantly busy between 8am and midnight every day. No homework, no outside activities (until recently!). It's all a little strange!
More to update later this week about what I have been up to.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Day Trip to Basel

Last weekend, I hit up Basel yet again, only this time armed with an agenda and a few friends. We were headed to the Andy Warhol exhibit of his early drawings and then 2 friends and I were heading to Olin and Nikki's to make dinner!

I met up with about 6 au pairs for the day. We took the train at around 10:15 and met up with another au pair friend who was already in Basel for the weekend, Angela. From there Angela, who lived in Basel for a year a couple years ago, took us on a small tour of Kleine Basel before we headed to the exhibit. she told some history of Basel which was nice to get a bit of background. We then headed to the Basel Art Museum. The exhibit although small was an interesting look at the advertisements that Warhol did as well as his early drawings of Campbell's Chicken soup. (Kate Lutes if you read this- there was the 4 Elvis and the 2 Elvis painting. made me think of you)

We then headed to a cafe area and proceeded to chat in true au pair fashion for the next 2.5 hours. Nicole, Michelle and I then left to make dinner. Michelle and I were ready to make a nice pasta dinner with Garlic bread and salad. Nicole on the other hand decided the best dinner would be cereal. With Milk. We decided to agree to disagree and let Nicole buy her cereal. (There was lots of judgement on my part though... haha) Some pictures from the day:

Most of the au pairs that I went with. I think we are only missing Nicole in this one.
L-r Crystal, Michelle, Angela and Merrin

Nicole had never seen a squash this big...She was really excited if you can't tell

Eating our yummy dinner! (Note Nicole's bowl of Cereal...)

Nikki and Olin joined later for dinner and we all enjoyed ourselves immensely (I think?), until...I realized the time. It was 11:30 and the last train was at 12:15. We made it there with a few minutes to spare forgetting the fact that we had to actually get home from the Zurich Train Station. We arrive at 1:20am. In Switzerland, almost everything closes on Sunday. We didn't realize this included night train's and buses...We ended up taking a cab back to my apt. because luckily I live apart from the family and am able to host people when needed. They had to get up at 445am to catch the first train back to their respective houses to start work in time. It was an experience that I have definitely learned from. Always check how to get home before the last minute!