Monday, January 27, 2014

I'm so sick of jet lag.

I've been home for about two weeks now and every day I have been thinking about writing this blog... my closure post, but I have been so tired or busy that I have just kept putting it off. Today I finally came to terms that I just wont write anything but I don't like to leave things unfinished so here it is. I don't really have a theme or an idea that I've been thinking about which would normally create the post or I would try work in so bare with me if it is a bit scatter brained.

I'm home and its hot.

I had a swell last three weeks in DK. The first week was Christmas which has been covered in another post and the later weeks consisted of spending money, sleeping... a lot of sleeping, a comedy/magic and orchestra new years concert and finally catching up with Host families, a few friends with an odd Rotary and Inner Wheel meeting thrown in for good measure.
Gosh, being back in DK was just so refreshing and so normal. It always feels like coming home. I just kept being reminded after every visit to my host families how fortunate I was to fall into this little community and have these people in my life. Never has my heart felt so full and happy. I get this warm feeling and I just have so much love and appreciation for them.

and I guess that's what this whole venture has been about these last ten-ish months. I've really found that the world is filled with wonderful people and if you open yourself- your heart, the world comes flooding in. Sometimes you have to filter out the bad and make choices to find the good, but there is good there and I feel fortunate to be breathing the same air and sharing the company of these wonderful people. I have always known this I guess- it's not a new revelation but it's just something I really felt this year.  It comes from being able to call a strangers house a home, it comes from spending Christmas with a family you barely know and being spoilt rotten, it comes from a stranger holding the door for you while you struggle up the tiny hostel stairs with 20 kgs of luggage or a few strangers adopting you for the night because you are travelling on your own. I have had so many wonderful encounters with people from all walks of life on all sorts of journeys and I feel privileged that our paths have crossed. The more people we can understand the smaller the world gets. The smaller prejudice and intolerance gets.   

It feels different coming home this time. A wonderful lady mentioned to me that this time she thought 'I was calmer' or 'more ready' to be coming home than I was when I was coming home from exchange. I definitely get that, I definitely feel that. My whole life was changed after exchange and because it was my first big venture and everything I had left had changed. I had no idea what I was coming back to and if I was ever getting back to DK. a whole 'era' had ended- that's what scares me really about life, how it can be so one way and then so not. Time just moves on. However, I do find peace knowing I know what it takes. I know, how easy it is to come back and to create something so wonderful, I think that's why I am calmer, that's why I'm not so devastated.  I just feel strange because this time is all over. I've spent my whole life really working towards this and it feels strange that its been and gone. Travel and living overseas is something that I have always been aware of mainly because of my British side. I've always known of the countryside in England where my relatives live, I've always known about my parents 18 months spent living overseas and various other relatives travelling, so all I have ever envisioned was spending a 'gap year' living and travelling overseas. I always thought about university and relationships and all that domesticated life that happens later but I never really saw past my 'gap year'- my dream. I'm almost 21 years old and I've achieved really all I've ever dreamed of doing and now I don't really know where to go from there. I'm working on a few new aspirations but I know it wont be long before I am back venturing.

I have discovered through all this that I love starting fresh, starting new and creating a life somewhere else- even if it is just for a while. I feel that is definitely something that I will spend my life chasing and delving in and out of. I find my home within my self and my happiness. I find my home in streets, landscapes and in smiles of other people. It is lovely to have familiar hugs, the sound of our whinge-y accent and the company of my family but you know what, I know I'm ok when I don't have the familiar. I can survive and I can be happy.

I'm excited to see what this next chapter of my life brings. I'm not too fussed on going to university or be back in aus, but I do know that I am grateful, that I am lucky to be able to come home. I am lucky that I have education easily available to me, that I have family and friends that welcome me with open arms, I am lucky that I am healthy and I that I have choice and opportunity, purely the opportunity to do well in my life if I choose to do so and that's, that's more than enough for now.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

There is no snow and the temperature isn't under 0. What sort of Winter do you call this love?

Here is such a belated Christmas but I simply felt I could not combine it to my leaving Ireland one, so here it is.

I had such a big a hole in my stomach leaving Ireland. I was exhausted from the past two weeks which consisted of longer days, later nights and sad goodbyes that by the time I got to DK late on the 22nd evening, all I wanted to do was sleep for days and wallow in my 'leaving Ireland misery'. Seriously, leaving two little girls in the car crying made me feel terrible.

But Alas, I landed in the sweet arms- or home, of my lovely friend Astrid and her family. They were kind enough to let me share Christmas with them this year (last year) and I could of not of felt more welcome and cared for.

Christmas this year consisted of four days of non stop eating. Seriously. The 23rd, was spent making goodies. We made Danish Floedeboller, which for aussies, is a better version of a Snowball. The 23rd also consisted of putting up the Christmas Tree. The family got the tree in and we set the lights on and then they let me decorate it. Normally at home we all do it together but I think because they knew I wasn't in full christmas spirit it might get me going if I did it. So I got to decorate the tree and even complete it with putting the star on the top! Oh, and the tree was a real one. No plastic!  Then that evening we had a pre-Christmas dinner with consisted of Steak, Duck, Potato and a lovely white sauce.

The 24th evening is when they celebrate Christmas in DK, so the morning we went off to Church. I'm not religious at all but it was a great thing to experience, we just sung danish christmas carols and the Priest had a speech. All over within 45 minutes- my kind of service ;)
Then we just relaxed until the evening when it was officially Christmas. We had Fleskestej (pork with crackling), Roedkod (red cabbage), Potatoes and Gravy. A very traditional Dansk meal and it is always one of my favorites (not bad for a girl who didn't eat pork before she came to DK a few years a go!) ! Dinner was followed by Ris ala-mande which is basically a rice pudding with an almond hidden and you eat it with a jam like sauce. Yum yum yum.
Following dinner we did the traditonal dance around the christmas tree singing christmas carols and then we sat down and unwrapped presents. My presents this year came via the bank account, but my host families and Astrid's family were so kind to get me some little things, so I had some things to unwrap on Christmas. I enjoyed that Astrid's family follow the same idea as my family, that the youngest hands out the presents!
I also skyped with my Family which worked out to be Christmas Day in aus, so it was wonderful to see their faces and to hear their voices on Christmas Day.

Eating day number three- the 25th, begun around 2pm when the first dish of food was set on the table. Fish. Lets just say the day started off slow for me. Most of you will know that I don't eat fish. I cant stand the smell and can't stomach the taste. However, the day quickly picked up when glazed Ham, Chicken tartlette's, Potatoes and bunch of other yummy foods which have escaped my mind circled the table and by the end my stomach was bursting and I still had dessert to go! I was in control of Dessert this time around which was nerve wracking for me but also exciting because it was lovely to share something from home with everybody. I made Pavlova- My mum also made one this year so I didn't feel too left out ;) Traditionally a 'Pav' is one whole thing about the size of the cake but for a much safer option I made small dollops so everyone had their own mini Pav. I whipped some cream and put Strawberries, Blueberries and some crushed mint choc on top. It was delicious and it felt like a light dessert after the mountain of food we had just eaten! Oh and it was a success too so maybe I can add Pavlova to my small repertoire of foods I can cook! ha!
It was my last night in this lovely family so Astrid and I finished it off with Bridget Jones and a good chat. I had a brilliant time with her family and I am just so thrilled that I got to experience another Danish Christmas. I can't thank them enough!

My final day of eating was 'Julefrokost' at Claus and Hanne's, where I am currently residing until my dreaded departure (kidding Mum.... sort of ;) ). The dinner was very similar to the day before so I wont go in to too many details but it was another lovely day of stretching my stomach and spending time with people I love.

I was so relieved to get back to 'my' old room in Korsoer, it always feels like coming home. Since then I have been sleeping better and enjoying the fact that I have had no alarm. So much so, that when a buzzing noise woke me up yesterday morning at the absurd time of 8am, I was like 'what on earth is that?' to which I quickly remembered 'oh, my alarm'.

I'm thoroughly enjoying my time back in DK. I'm a little disappointed in the fact that there is no snow. However, I had five minutes of some sleet-like snow in Ireland as I was walking home from a goodbye on my last day, so I figured it was the universe giving me something.
I haven't managed to get around to all my host families yet, but I will and I need to hurry because I don't have long left!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Once again, I have landed on my feet.

A week has passed since my Irish adventure has closed and now that I have caught up on much needed sleep and am feeling back to normal again, I can write about it.

I've had such an adventure these past seven and a bit months in Ireland and I am just devastated that they have come to a close. It has been such a challenging yet joyous experience to be an aupair and I just feel incredibly heart broken that it is all over and I have had to say goodbye to the lovely family I was working for.  
At the beginning I found being an aupair challenging. Not because I had naughty children, a language barrier or difficult host parents but because I myself had to change, I had to adapt to another lifestyle and find a new awareness. Being the youngest in my family and never really having had much experience with children I've never really had the pressure of being responsible for someone else nor too thoughtful in the way in which I conduct myself. So, you can imagine pressure I felt when I realized I was responsible for three young souls and not just responsible for entertaining them, but for feeding them and teaching them. For nourishing their curiosity and for keeping them safe. Suddenly when the activity or game said 'Adult supervision required', I was the adult and it was me who was responsible. However, as time progresses everything gets easier, everything gets routine and as I built a relationship with the children and learnt their lifestyle, I felt calm and in control. As the children grew, I grew too. It was a job where I learnt something everyday. One day it would be to remember to squash my competitiveness when it came to games because children like to win. One day it would be to approach with caution in the morning because you never knew what you were going to get or one day it would be that simply, finger food would be the easiest way to get to the 2 year old to eat the healthier food. I learnt to pick my battles and that even though it looks horrible to put your child on a leash, there is a reason someone thought to invent it because those things are magical!
The girls I minded are pure gems and I enjoyed so much being a part of their lives. They were my daily joy and I'm so thankful to them for the happiness, patience and open arms. It must be hard for them to have different people come into their lives and be such a part of it, only to leave again. I can only hope in the future that this experience with aupairs from different cultures enriches them.
I'll be forever grateful for my wonderful host parents, you hear horror stories but this was not and I don't have a bad thing to say about them. I was truly lucky and my aupairing experience has been 100% positive.

I will miss my wee village in county Meath and I will miss beautiful Ireland and all the joy that it has brought to me.

Monday, December 16, 2013

The train to Greystones.

My heart is a little bit broken tonight. I just had the loveliest final weekend away with my beautiful Cousins. I had a great time with them despite the fact that Ireland decided to make this weekend the perfect weekend to introduce me to to typical Irish weather.... Rain... and more rain, so I did not see much of Sligo. However, to be honest with you, it was time spent with my cousins that I wanted more and that's what I got.  So today, being Monday, I finally had to say good bye and I just feel terrible. As I stood at the train station waiting for my connecting train, I just wanted to hop on the train on the other platform that was Greystones bound. I know that this wasn't my last journey to see them, but it is for now. It's my last journey as I am this person now, right in this time and I know that there will be no journey to see them next weekend or the following. The next time I visit them (or they visit me), Noah will have a voice and Eve will be able to count to a hundred and know a thousand new words. It's exciting to think of what I will be like then. Who more will I be and who more will they be. It just breaks my heart that in the mean time, I don't get to see them grow like I have the past seven months.

It has been the most wonderful thing getting to know my family. My Dad has never had that luxury as great as me. My Grandfather is English and moved to Australia to live, so my Dad has parts of his family all over the world- Cathy is my Dad's cousin., However because all my Grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins all live in Australia, I don't know what it's like to NOT know my family-my life has always felt full on the family front. But coming here, coming to the other side of the world to meet more, to get to know more family filled a little a hole in me that I never knew was there until I found it being filled. Before I was just connected to these people through blood, through family ties but now we are connected by something much more stronger than that and that's friendship, that's love.
I am so so appreciative and grateful for my time with them, I have am so thankful for them letting me into their home every other weekend, for including me in their lives, for spoiling me and for helping me out. I never thought when I decided that Ireland would be my new place of residence that my Cousins would become a staple part of my life. Seeing them every other weekend, always felt familiar, always felt comforting, it always felt like coming home and I'm just so devastated to leave them. Time will fly and I know I will find myself back again, but all the while I will just miss them all so so much.

Cathy, Noah and I - crappy quality... the one weekend I forget my camera! and missing Ciaran!

Miss Eve and I- this little girl is so bright and such a cheeky miss. 

Mr Noah- the cutest boy, I will miss our snuggles

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


Home is not where you live but where you are understood- Christian Morgenstern
The days are getting shorter now and the good bye hugs and thank you's are starting to become a fixture of my life of late. It's nearly time to go home and it makes me realize that wherever I go I will always be home. I have shown myself that life can be lived from any corner of the globe and that my home is everywhere. It's in the cobbled streets of Edinburgh city, it's on the tube in London. Home is is the Danish word 'hygge' and in the hearts of three little girls living in county Meath. 
It breaks my heart to know this life here is all ending. I believe my life will forever be spent missing people. Missing the fact that I'm no longer a part of their daily routine, that I'm no longer in their company and even though when I give someone their last hug good bye I wonder 'am I ever going to see this person again?' I do find comfort in the fact that life happens and sometimes paths do cross, time collides and some moments of our lives continue to connect to others moments. I saw this in June when I ran into my crazy Mexican friend who when I hugged good bye three years ago at a little bus stop in DK, I thought I'd never see her again. And I did, we just happened to be in the right place at the right time. 
As an exchange student the motto we told ourselves to get us through was ' it's not good bye, only I'll see you soon' and as my heart was made to wander I honestly believe this is the case. I will forever be going home and I will forever be looking for a new home. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Wild and Sexy Scotland

I have been to England and Wales and I am living in Ireland so I thought it was only fitting that I knocked Scotland off too! I may have only scratched the surface of what I want to see in all these lovely places but such is life of an adventurer.
I have spent five wet and cold but lovely days exploring Scotland. I flew into Edinburgh early Sunday morning and had the day to explore. Then the next day I was off on another wonderful Haggis tour of the Highlands including the Isle of Skye for three days. Then my final day in Edinburgh before flying out late at night. I had been told that if I loved Wales that I would definitely love Scotland, and love doesn't even come close to describing the joy and happiness I got from lovely Scotland.
I had not done any research on Edinburgh, I just simply booked my ticket and got on the plane. As I travel more I seem to be a bit more relaxed, I don't feel the need to have everything planned and 'googled' before I set off and I am glad that I didn't because Edinburgh is just enchanting. The city has quickly become my favorite city in the world. As the airport bus drove into the city, I could not believe what I was looking at. All these old gorgeous castle like buildings lining the city skyline and as I wandered the streets, despite the splash of the modern day life, I felt like I was in another time. There was no need for site seeing just wandering the streets was mesmerizing in its self!

 After I became acquainted with lovely Edinburgh it was time to start my Haggis tour and it was such a great tour! We had a fantastic tour leader/driver who certainly payed homage to the Scottish cheeky, perverted and honest humor! I tell you what I giggled all the way through those Highlands.
 Our first day was spent getting to the Highlands so we saw many gorgeous Lochs and Battles sites. We also had a trip to distillery and tasted some Scottish whisky as well a lovely drive through the Glencoe area... our first taste of the highlands before making it to Fort William our base for two nights.
The second day was spent on the Isle of Skye with a quick stop at Eilean Donan Castle- a very popular castle for the Hollywood industry!
Where we went on the Isle of Skye was very weather dependent so the west was our destination and the Macleod's Tables were our back drop for the day. Again Scotland did not seem to disappoint and at every turn was another amazing site of mountains, water and sky. With autumn out in full force everything was also covered in different shades of red and orange which just added to the beauty.
Our last day we stopped off at Loch Ness- which to be honest, is just as gorgeous as all the others I have seen but obviously more popular because of the legend attached to it. Needless to say I saw no monster but I enjoyed the stories of the crazies that packed up and sold everything to devote their life to finding the beastie!
We also stopped through the battle site of Culloden which is probably one of Scotland's most important battles in history as the outcome changed- and damaged, the identity of many of the Scottish people, the highlanders in particular! Now I am not a history buff and I'm not particularly interested in past warfare so when we stopped off I wasn't all that fussed but after learning about the battle that took place there I think this story will always stay with me.
After Culloden we continued our drive back to Edinburgh, with a wee stop at some old ruins, much similar to the ones at Newgrange (see previous post) and then a traipse around a forest for a stop at Hermitage Falls.
My final day in bonnie in Scotland was spent wandering Edinburgh again. This time I went to the National Portrait Gallery and the National Scottish Gallery which were great but mainly, I was just interested in soaking up the atmosphere of this fairy tale like city.
While on tour I also met some lovely people which just added to the experience and while I love traveling on my own it does get lonely, so it was so nice to be taken in by some lovely people and share the experience of this magical place with them.

Eilean Donan Castle


Isle of Skye

Scotland is just truly a treasure and now all I need to do is find a Scottish Prince so I can live in a castle on hill surrounded by gorgeous mountains and bodies of water. I could live very happily indeed.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Little adventures

You can blame procrastination for my lack of posts over the past six weeks. I get busy, I have some adventures then I get busy again and then when I finally feel ready to write about it I get overwhelmed by everything that I put it off and get busy again. So here I am, a week away from my Scotland trip and writing my latest fun down so I don't forget about all this in my Scotland hype.

Lately I have been working some five day weeks so I have been very much in a bit of a working mindset and settling into the routine of that. However on my weekends I do have some fun things to report.

A while ago myself and two other aupair friends went to Dublin for the day and went to the National Leprechaun museum. We were honestly going because we had a voucher for a free gift and we were wondering what it could be. However, we had a fantastic time! the tour basically took us through Ireland's folk history and it definitely sparked a curiosity in me to buy and read some folklore stories!
That day was also followed by dinner and a few pints in the city at a lovely Irish bar with some great music!

National Leprechaun Museum

I've also had two really lovely nights in Dublin. One I went to see Aus comedian Adam Hills and another I went in to see one my my fav musicians Passenger.
Adam Hills was great! He was hilarious and so good with the audience! and the night was even better as I followed it on by having a few drinks and danced away with some of my aupair friends in the city!

Adam Hills @ Vicar St
Passenger is a musician that I have been trying to see live for years now. I heard about him through a friend when he used to just busk on the streets. She has seen him in Fed Square in Melbourne. I never got around to seeing him live and when I saw he was in Dublin just recently I booked my tickets right away! He was such a great artist to see live and definitely going to be a concert I will always remember!

Passenger @ Vicar St.
I have spent a weekend in Northern Ireland with my original aupair girls. Ioana and Martina were just finishing as I started but we became good friends very quickly. Ioana is now living in Northern Ireland with her husband so Martina and I caught the train up to Belfast and spent the weekend with Ioana! I enjoyed being with these girls again, I have missed their presence in wee Stamullen! We had a good time exploring Belfast. It was great to see a new city. We took one of those 'hop on, hop off' bus tours and it was such a great idea because the weather hasn't been too kind lately, coming into winter and all, and those tours are an easy way to get your bearings and learn about the city you are in. Belfast is laden with an interesting past (and present) and it was such an eye opening experience to learn more about it.
Ioana, Martina and I.
Peace walls that are still needed in Belfast
In between all my little weekends away I have also managed to go off and visit my lovely cousins!
I always enjoy going down to visit them and I love that I get to see their gorgeous kids grow up in the time that I am here.
One weekend that I was over we had lovely weather so Cathy took me to a place called Glendalough. It is very near to them in the gorgeous Wicklow mountains and it has been the backdrop for many movies over the years. The sun shone, so we had a lovely picnic overlooking the gorgeous lake!
A grave yard in the mountains- not a bad little part of the world to be buried in ay?
'the money shot'- Glendalough
and finally, just this weekend gone, Ciaran took me off to a place called Newgrange- which is actually very near to where I am living, just hard to get to on public transport!
Newgrange is part of a set of 'tombs' or 'chambers' that are older than the pyramids of Giza and Stonehenge. These, what look like mounds in the landscape or as a part of the hill are an amazing piece of work that has been well organised and constructed by its people. There are lots of theories to why these were built but it's believed that they were used for ceremonial and religious use as there were skeletons found in them but also mostly likely used for farming and agriculture as a way of counting the seasons and time. The chambers are not only known for their precise and unique construction but also for their beautiful stone carvings inside and around them. Newgrange was definitely a very special experience!
Newgrange- the outside fully reconstructed however the inside, despite a few beams, left untouched.

the entrance and some beautiful original carvings

more carvings

In other news I have been doing a bit of house keeping lately such as I changed my flights for back home. January 16th- save the date! and I am mid applying for university. It's crazy to think I have just four months left. I have so many things coming up that time is just going so quick. I love my little life here and I have don't like that I don't have long with it left. My heart is torn in two and I just wish that I had a little bit of clarity. 

oh, and in case you were wondering what that free gift was? Pins. They would of been handy when I was a Rotary kid ay!