(Guest post from Caroline!)
I moved into my new house today to start my job as an au pair. It’s in a very posh satellite town 2 ½ hours outside Sydney and the mother was concerned that I might miss the bright lights of the city.
“Are you sad to leave where you’ve been staying, then?”
I paused for a while, because I am sad to be leaving my friends behind, but the place itself….
“Well, the landlord asked me to marry him a couple of time, once in return for money, he kept hugging me and said our babies would be beautiful, so on the whole, maybe not.”
This isn’t to say that my stay in Sydney wasn’t good; far from it, in fact. And, even my stop with the crazy landlord wasn’t too bad, as long as I was able to sneak past his office without him accosting me. If he did spot me this generally led to a pause in my journey and some overly long hugs. He even invited me out for dinner at one point. Later, I was forced to pressgang J and Milena into promising to come with me if it got to the point where I really couldn’t put him off any longer. Their promises to cut holes in newspapers to keep an eye on me was heartening.
So, I gave a fair report to my new boss about my relief to be leaving Sydney’s weirdest landlord behind, but I am I overjoyed to be hauling arse all the way out here on my own? Not really. The smallish town I’m the newest member of is quite sweet. And, I’m letting the father continue in his vehement and frequent assertions that it “looks just like England”. He’s wrong, but he pays me, so… The town is very proud of the fact that it was originally the summer retreat for rich Sydney gentry with the money and time, and little seems to have changed. Even now, the demographics show the town is largely made up of retirees and empty-nesters. Basically, I appear to have moved into a really large retirement complex. And, I’ll probably survive that; I like how people seem pretty relaxed here and not much actually seems to happen. There’s even a cinema so I probably won’t lose my mind completely, I hope.
The family I’m staying with also seem fine. The parents both have high-powered jobs, hence the need to a live-in nanny, and they keep quite odd hours. Nevertheless, I still (nominally) get two days off a week, a room in a very swanky house and payment. The kids are 2 and 4, and may prove to be quite the handful. Especially if the younger one keeps hitting me and shouting “go way”. Still, I have technically done this before and I can count it as an improvement on last time if nobody jumps up and down on my chest to give me an asthma attack. I’ve even changed some nappies. I feel like I’m on a particularly well-paid paternal internship scheme, the only downsides of which are the isolation and the potential for tantrums and children that leak. I think I can probably handle that.