Our new Au Pair, Sabine, arrived from Germany on Friday. After months of choosing the perfect Au pair for us and then months more of staying in touch, getting to know each other, it is hard to believe that the day actually come. And can you believe that the NIGHT before I still had a million things on my to do list that were left to finish until the next day. Things like wash the bedding from my in laws visit, almost 2 weeks prior, putting shelf paper in her dresser, moving our skiing stuff out of her closet, printing some of her pictures to hang on her bulletin board, cleaning her bathroom. Things that could have been done for weeks. But actually, if you know me, you know that I always have a million things to do that don't get done until the last minute.
Well we got a bit of bad news on Friday morning (more on that later) and it threw my day off, exhausted me a little bit emotionally and long story short a week later she still is sharing her closet with my snowpants...but her bedding and bathroom are clean and she loves her room, so I'm not a total failure.
Sabine had a great week at Au Pair school and she had fun on her NYC tour, though it was too short. It was only 4 hrs and even 4 days isn't enough to see all you'd want to in New York. But she got a taste and knows that she wants to go back to see more now.
When she arrived here she was a little shaken from some serious turbulence. We were happy to see each other, and then both went straight to bed once we got home, we were beat.
On Saturday we did the FAAN walk (another post) and Sabine came, we weren't sure she'd want to with all the travel and jet lag, but she said she felt great and joined right in. She squeezed between the two girls in their car seats, since we hadn't moved seats around yet in the trailblazer. It ended up being a great opportunity for her to bond with the kids on the way to Vancouver.
They absolutely love her. I'm so glad we skyped all those times because they felt as though they knew her and were only shy for a few minutes. When they woke in the morning, they could not WAIT for her to get up.
We are having fun getting to know each other. She speaks wonderful English, but it takes some time for us to always understand each other. Mostly because we don't know how the other describes something like a garbage disposal or a cell phone charger. The words don't translate exactly. Then there is the fact that she has never heard of Budweiser! :) And in Germany women put Sprite in their beer. Ewe! :) Ruining perfectly good beer???
Anyway, we are all having fun with it. Lawrence and I have a very sarcastic sense of humor. That also doesn't translate. Like today when I told her to throw a fax machine out the window (she didn't). She did laugh hard when I told her to put it on Lawrence's pillow.
On Sunday we relaxed a lot and it was a good thing because Sabine seemed to be getting a bit of a cold and wasn't feeling great. Even though she didn't think the jet lag affected her, I think that it did affect her body by hitting her with a stuffy nose and sore throat. Josh, Shawna, & Rachel came over for a BBQ and to welcome her. On Monday, she also wasn't feeling good. It was our anniversary (another post) and she was scheduled for her first day, and a long day. She is such a trooper. She has great work ethic and really powered through, even showing unending patience for the kids, while both Lawrence and I were home training her. She also went to the park with the kids and Lawrence. He has been making her drive whenever they go anywhere and she is definitely a good driver. Then you read the post below about the Rose baby and how Monday finished up! :)
Last night we went to Jeremy and Jennifer's for a BBQ, she had a great time, and that is when all the Budweiser talk came up because she brought 2 beers for Lawrence, one from Germany one from Poland. Lawr split them both with Jer, his partner in beer tasting. Jeremy works for Budweiser and couldn't believe she didn't recognize the can. He was asking all these hard differences trying to figure out things in Germany that were not like the US and vice versa. She was a great sport and a great help with the girls, even though she was not "on duty". We are both figuring out how she fits into the family and how it works when she is on duty but we are home and how it works when she is with us but not on duty. So far, it is going better than I could have hoped.
Today Katy came over to drive them all to ballet, and apparently the girls gave her a little harder time with Katy there too. But Sabine and Katy had heard A LOT about each other and really were glad to get to meet. In the afternoon Sabine and the girls had a great time, including ice cream for snack because it was such a HOT day. Tonight Lawrence had a Hood to Coast meeting and Sabine and I got to chat over dinner after the kids were in bed. Then we got her set up to download pictures and set up Skype on the home computer with a new webcam with microphone. It was a busy night, but we had fun. Thanks to my brother Matt who spend about 45 minutes on the phone and skype with us to get it all figured out. He must think I am SUCH an idiot sometimes, but I think he likes how much I need his help for computer type stuff.
There are many things that Sabine does, little things, that show us we made a perfect decision of who to ask into our home for a year and care for our kids. She shows so much respect and consideration, she is caring with the kids, she can be firm with them when needed, and she is an extremely hard work. She also did a lot of homework reading the family manual I wrote from her and when she pulled out her copy I could tell she'd gone through it with a fine tooth comb. It's hard to describe how you will know if someone is going to be a good fit for your family. Because you don't. But there are so many little things that are NOT annoying and that are NOT invasive and that show what a quality person she is. YAY! So much of my anxiety about this has melted. We have also let her know that she is doing this a very hard way to start off, trying to establish control with both parents at home. I think the next 2 days she will be all on her own and it will be easier with the kids.
For now, there is a lot to do! She still is far from self sufficient as far as driving directions and getting to school, making friends, getting her Oregon drivers license and Social Security Card. But this is a list, one you mark of and go through. These just take time to accomplish and we can do it. While I feel that there is a lot for us to do, and I feel like I keep telling her, we will get to that later, I'm so glad that the important stuff, the stuff that is much much harder to take care of, is going really smooth and easy.
Tomorrow we are going to Music in the Park and Sabine might get to meet another Au Pair from Germany who has been here for two months and lives near the park we are going to. Then this weekend she gets to go to the Beach for her first Au Pair meeting. It will be a great chance for her to meet some other Au Pairs in Portland as well as see the Pacific Ocean!!
In this post, I've listed THREE other posts to come. How will I ever get caught up? Probably won't and you'll say, where is that post on her anniversary that she mentioned six months ago. Hey, my Au Pair needed to learn to work my washing machine so that she could help me with some of my burden...OKAY!!!???? I'm doing my best and for now, it seems good enough...