Last Monday was Auckland Anniversary day, like if each state had a 4 of July, and this Monday is Waitangi Day - the actually comparative 4th of July. So to get it right I had three days of training, a three day weekend on a vacation island, a few days of work and then another three day weekend to start out my year in NZ... no I do not miss real work.
That being said, almost 2-year olds are a lot of work. They are top upped with energy and attitude to spare. I am loving every minute. It does feel a bit weird to have playing, going to the park, and coloring as part of my daily working tasks and I keep feeling like I am not doing my job. We are going to start on a little routine next week where we go out adventuring in the morning - different play groups monday (with other au pairs in the area), tuesday (at the civic center), wednesday gym class, thursday library songs and stories, and friday play group (with au pairs from another, but still close, suburb). Afternoons will be filled with arts, crafts, music, stories and just the two of us play dates like going to the zoo (we are signed up for an annual zoo pass), the local park (literally just out the back yard), or the pool.
Hopefully having some idea of a schedule will make the time fly by and make me feel like I am really doing a "job."
I can already tell how amazingly lucky I am to have found my au pair family. We get along very well and there are clear boundaries of what I am responsible for and where my "shift" ends - one of my great early on concerns. Of course the schedule and responsibilities are always open to change as the needs arrive. The newest member of the family is due on Valentine's Day via c- section so all my planning is sure to go right out the window but it doesn't hurt to try.
Today I went on my first out the suburb area outing by myself. I can easily walk to pretty much anything I could possible want and I am going to be starting my left handed driving experience this week! Even so, I opted to ride the bus to downtown Auckland today. As like most non-European transit systems the bus services work wonderfully here as long as you have a few particular destinations and a flexible time table.
I went to get a cup of coffee with one of the other au pairs I met at orientation and walk around downtown. It was funny how proud of myself I really felt once I had mastered the ability to travel on my own in the big city. It was a little feat, but it was nice to feel self-reliant to move about - a small comparison to an almost 2 year-old mastering stairs or better yet figuring out that annoying gate at the top of the stairs, something Mackay has done, but not consistently, YET.
Anyways things are fitting together nicely here, soon be be shakin' up by a new member to the family and I am starting to get my feet underneath me, continuing a fantastic beginning.