Friday, November 14, 2008

Things are changing...

I feel like things are changing for the better here. I feel more comfortable than even and that I am really making the most of my time here. I was so worried that I would come here and be too afraid to use German and too afraid to sign up for classes, and truthfully, I totally was in the beginning, but I'm really starting to get in a groove now. I use German every single day and I am understanding more and more.

Really the biggest change of late is that I am really starting to feel comfortable with the family. Yes, I still mess up and I still sometimes feel like I don't know how to please them, but I am definitely getting way more comfortable asking them for help and being less intimidated when they confront me about the mistakes I've made. It definitely feels more like a gentle reminder now as opposed to harsh criticism, and I don't think it has anything to do with their delivery, just the way I was taking it. I kind of had this idea before I came that I was going to be the most perfect, best au pair they've ever had and that I would do no wrong and I am only now realizing that that is totally impossible. I mean, perfection is always a fairly lofty goal but throw two little boys into the mix? It's totally out of the question.

I do try really hard though, and for so long I was so frustrated because it felt like it was never paying off. Mike was still always flipping me off and saying he hates me (among other harsh things) and Nicole was still only ever listing off the days grievances and Nina was always hounding me to do one chore or that other and no one was even particularly acting like they liked me very much (the notable exception being Max, which is why I think I made it through that three week period) but now it feels like that is all behind me. 

Mike can still be pretty nasty, but it's rather rare and it is greatly outweighed by the fact he always wants to play with me and actually does show an effort to be more respectful when I ask. And just this morning I forgot my cell phone and left the bathroom light on, which earned me a sternly worded note from Nicole, which at this point still baffles me but at least it doesn't make me feel upset for a whole day and like she is going to come home from work and ask me to pack my bags for America. 

My relationship with Nina has also improved ten fold, and I think that is most the most unexpected and most greatly appreciated difference of late. We used to be cordial but now things are great and I think all I did differently was empty the washing machine more frequently and start learning German. She loves helping me and now that I make sure the kitchen is always super clean (I always cleaned up the boys' messes, but now if the parents leave a mess behind I'll get that too) she has been going crazy with doing favors for me. She cooks for the boys so I don't have to, she vacuums my hallway and she even did my laundry for me once! She also invited me over this weekend to bake Christmas cookies, and I don't know, maybe I'm lame, but it feels really good to have someone so interested in your welfare and making you happy. Other au pairs have had problems with her and several people "warned" me about her in advance, but now I am starting to think it has a lot more to do with THEIR reaction toward her than what she feels. I think I almost got on her bad side once because I would get annoyed that she would ask me to do stuff around the house, and it seemed like she was demanding, but I really think it was just a language barrier. When you think about it being polite is a pretty complex language thing that involves certain verbs and intonation and really I think she was just asking for help, not bossing me around, and I'm glad I did it with a smile on my face because it paid off like 1000 fold in the end.  Haha, I think there is some kind of deep life lesson in that. I dunno. You find it.

Haha, I feel like my blogs are all about the same thing. I need a more exciting life. Well, it's the weekend, I would say that might mean exciting things but Nicole needs me to babysit for a good part of tomorrow as well as tonight and then I'm visiting with Nina. Sunday I think I am going to the pool again and maybe I will FINALLY get to jump off the 7m platform. Crossed fingers.

In other brilliantly exciting news, Maria and Melissa are coming in a month and like 12 days :):):):):):) and I am SO pumped. Maria and I have discussed at length about what our first hug will be like, it's going to be EPIC. 

This reminds me...FAMILY -- Immediate or otherwise, please take pictures of my house and put them on the interwebs. I need them for something. Joanna, you have a good camera and you like to take pictures, I AM ENLISTING YOU TO DO THIS. I want you to take a picture of 1) My bed 2) Puppy 3) MY MOMMY. I DON'T CARE IF YOU NEED TO TIE HER DOWN. TAKE A PICTURE OF HER. 4) Dad sleeping somewhere, preferably with his mouth hanging open and his tum out. You know, classic Dad. 5) You, Mer, Dad and Mom all together somewhere. 6) I'm going to start reminding you now so you don't forget, but you better take a shitload of pictures of all christmas related events and gatherings. When Maria comes she better have in hand around a hundred annotated pictures of the entire proceedings. Like, "This is dad putting lights on the tree." "This is dad sleeping on the couch after he got approximately 1.5 strings of lights up." "This is mom putting the rest of the lights up." "This is the angel getting thrown across the room." "WHERE IS BABY JESUS?!?!" (I think that last one is in my head, but for some reason I feel like we lose baby Jesus every year.)

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