The Other Side of My New Life
On the first night I moved in this family, Amy knocked my door providing me with towel and soap，and said to me “Help yourself, feel free to use anything in the fridge and kitchen.” At that moment I wanted to give her a big hug but I didn’t as I was too timid.
That afternoon Amy and Graeme went to woolworths, and asked me if I need something before they go. They did a big shopping then filled up the fridge and cupboard up in the kitchen. Seeing this, I began to worry whether my arrival would add any burden on this family. Meanwhile I was determined to help them lighten their stress and bring happiness to the family, to get well along with the kids and do everything I can to make this household full of joy.
I quit my noon break and wouldn’t stay up at night. I spent my time after work staying with the kids and doing some light housework. It’s fun to play with the kids. We watched TV, played games and read stories while looking at the illustrations. I try to figure out their interests and their thinking from their perspectives as they have their own thoughts and ideas about things around them. They want to get the attention from adults and hope someone to be there to play with them or watch them. They like to be praised and recognized. I know it will take more time and energy to learn more about them and I’d love to do that. I hope it will be valuable and wonderful memories the time we spend together during their childhood. My favorite time was when I read stories to them though sometimes they only got short attention. However, the time they joined me was gratifying and fulfilling.
I understand that both of us need time to adapt the change of life. The first night I slept in my own room, I woke up at midnight because of the low temperature of the night in winter. Of course I didn’t tell them next day as there were already two blankets on my bed, so I woke up again in the second midnight later. By the third night, I seemed to have been used to it.
The Other Side of the Family
This is a young family full of love and vitality although only with single income. There are two kids, two dogs, three cats, the mummy and the daddy. Amy the mummy is a kindergarten teacher, whose nationality is Ireland. Daddy Graeme is like a ‘manny’ watching the kids at home, who has left office for about two years.
The little pretty girl Alyssa is 4 years old, with brown hair the same as her mother’s. She likes chocolate sauce and cheese so much! The little smart boy Ben is 5 years old with light brown hair just like his father’s. He loves all kinds of cars and motorbikes. Both of them like chocolate milk and drink it before sleeping every night. They both love cats and tend to hold it tightly worrying about its running away. They also love to take a bath and never have enough, so always stay longer in the pool as they don’t want to finish. Which often drives their mummy and daddy crazy. Their favorite animated cartoon is Octonauts which is always being on the TV in their room all day long.
As independent individuals, children won’t likely change their mind according to other’s thinking. So normally when adults tell them not to do this, they will still keep doing it. But it is undeniable that children usually learn from their playing. Their parents used to spend a lot of money on them to buy everything they wanted, and they had a whole room of toys.
Their father often said that they were being difficult, indeed. They intended to show no obedience to anybody when they threw a tantrum. Sometimes you have to get some smart ideas to stop them or distract them when they were arguing about a toy, or rolling on the floor or screaming loudly. Sometimes It is frustrating when they’re being difficult, when they didn’t eat their breakfast or played with their dinner. Then that’s when they got “time-out” from thier daddy or mummy.
One day, Amy shared with me two lovely photo frame & memory books, which recorded everything about the kids on their birthdays from the first day of their birth. It was really precious and moving. I believe that when the children grow up and see the warm memories from the book wrote by their parents, they will see how much their daddy and mummy love them and how much their parents have done for them. That is what I would like to do for my children in the future.
I have put forward two proposals, all in practice.
First, reward stickers for good behaviour. Second, set the family rules.
The Other Side of Language/ Culture Barrier
I realized that I have not gotten used to saying sorry, please, or no worries. For example, when people asked me “how are you?” I would answer “good” but not “good thanks”. Or people ask me “would you like…?” I usually answer “Yes / no” but not “yes PLEASE or no THANKS. I know this is not good but still need more practice to develop a habit. Aussie normally answer “no worries” instead of “you’re welcome” or “no problem” to “thank you”.
Sometimes I should have said sorry but I didn’t. Last Saturday they told me that they were going to Geraldton on Friday. I asked them if they would go to visit some relatives but I didn’t know that Amy’s mother had passed away. It was embarrassed and I should say sorry about that. The other day I blew Ben’s hair with my hair drier in the bathroom, the changeover plug was burned so the socket on the wall has been damaged. I was so sorry about it but when I asked Graeme to help get it fixed I didn’t say sorry. I didn’t know why. Sometimes I was just too slow to give responds and then the chance was gone before I realized that. I felt disappointed in myself about my oral expression and hesitation.
I was terribly frightened when I opened the door and saw Amy crying that she had fallen down and hurt her elbow.
When she was enduring the pain and tried to squeeze out a smile and said she was okay, I thought she was joking with me. I didn’t respond until she said they were going to see a doctor. What a fool I was! And I didn’t know how to comfort her when she said it was still sore.
The Other Side of Food
I remember each meal we’ve had in this house so far.
The 1st day: Potato stewed beef, and Scrambled eggs with tomato.
The 2nd day: Eggs and scrambled onion with tomatoes.
The 3rd day: Beef steak and chips.
The 4Th day: Rice balls (So yummy!) and mashed potatoes.
The 5Th day: Creamy pumpkin with potato soup and bread.
The 6Th day: Fried chicken and bacon rolls, mashed potato, vegetables, pasta.
The 7Th day: Chicken curries.
The 8Th day: Pasta.
The 9Th day: Cola chicken wings.
The 10Th day: (They were not at home).
The 11Th day: Stir-fry chicken giblets, Garlic pumpkin.
The 12Th day: Pasta (chicken, mushroom, bacon, milk), garlic bread.
The 13Th day: Slow cooked lamb with onion, Roasted sweet potato and pumkin.
The 14Th day: Pie (lamb+ mashed potatos).
The 15Th day: Fried cauliflower with bacon, Stewed chicken with potato.
The 16Th day: Soup ( Very tasty!)
The 17Th day: Soup (chicken, turnip, potato, carrot, sweet potato, rice noodles)
The 18Th day: Lunch (sandwich). Dinner (Burritos墨西哥卷饼)
After became an au pair and lived with this family, I noticed that people in Australia drink more milk than water in their daily life. And they are so fond of coffee and beer.
There’s a Chinese saying goes: Do in Rome as Rome does. I’ve got used to having meal without chopsticks but with knife, forks and spoons. I am looking forward to learning cooking as the way they do it. I have tried to cook some Chinese dishes for them and enjoyed the cooking process and felt delighted when they liked Chinese meal I made.