November 24, 2010

Lazy Mondays, Desperate Housewives Obsession, A Promise of Snow, Miscommunications, and a Tollwood Double Shot (Nov. 22 – 24)

Monday – I woke up at 6:30 and carried on with my regular morning routine, which usually consists of emptying the dishwasher, making the girls school snack, eating breakfast, and trying not to lose my cool over a child’s dramatic daily tantrum. This happens every morning. Give or take. I cleaned up after the girls weekend mess – I hope they learn how to clean up after themselves someday, for their futures sake, anyway. I didn’t do much of anything else after that. I read my book – I’ve started reading Summer Sisters again (for the 12th time, I swear…). I watched two discs of Desperate Housewives over the course of the day. I’m obsessed with this show. I can’t believe I never gave it a chance. I’m halfway through the 4th season and I cried when I saw the tornado episode. I know that Lynette’s family would survive but the emotion of her discovery that they were buried under the rubble was jarring. I ached for them as if they were my own. I started writing some post cards but only got through one and a half out of 12. One for my grandma and half of one for my mom. I “worked” which means that I made dinner (salmon grilled over butter, white rice, green peas, and lemon butter sauce), played board games with Eenie and Vee, and wandered around aimlessly trying to get the girls to get ready for bed but they don’t listen to me so I had little purpose or desire to be there at that particular moment. I then cuddled warm in my bed and fell asleep to another episode of DH. Uneventful Monday, to say the least.

DHwivesMy new favorite ladies!

Tuesday –  Followed my usual morning routine and then I read my book for most of the morning.  Jessica came over around 11, after she’d braved the crowds at H&M’s one-day only Lanvin sale. She tried to convince me to join her but when I don’t have any money, shopping is the last thing that I want to do (and in Europe, trust me, this sucks because the clothes and the shoes are amazing and I can’t buy any of them). I get cranky and irritated and the crowds start to piss me off. I couldn’t convince her of this and she begged and begged but I did not relent. I opted to get out of the house today anyway. Sans shopping, of course, and in spite of the weather which is getting colder and colder everyday – and Jessica and I ventured into the city for aimless wandering. We managed to go to Tenglemann (grocer) to see if we could find some variety of turkey for our Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday. We found some small birds (baby turkey, duck, and goose) but they’re all incredibly expensive and we’re thinking we may have to pass on that particular novelty of American tradition. After we met defeat, we wandered into a little eclectic store on Leopoldstrasse and oo’d and aww’d over their delightful Christmas displays and adorable ornaments. I love Christmas time for this reason. The stores turn into beautiful, Christmasy wonderlands with fun stuff to look at.

DSCN9722 It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

One postcard purchase later, we ventured down the street a ways to Karstadt (department store – kind of – with a bottom floor grocery store and food court) to get out of the cold and sit down and eat our homemade lunch but they kicked us out and so we ended up back on the UBahn and, eventually, at Odeonsplatz where we wandered into San Francisco Coffee Company and stayed for 2 1/2 hours. (By the way, I’ve never even seen a SFCC in the actual city of San Francisco.) We didn’t buy anything but instead took advantage of their comfortable chairs, free wireless and convenient bathrooms and we played Words With Friends (Jess is winning) and I read my book while I waited for her to find her words. At 3, I returned home to regroup before the twins came home at 4:15. During my walk home from the UBahn station, I encountered my first snow fall – which was, to be honest, pretty pathetic. It was kind of like a rain-snow hybrid and it melted as soon as it hit the ground or my outstretched (gloved) hands so I guess it’s not really snow but it was exciting and left me wondering if one of these mornings I will wake up to a winter wonderland outside my window.

Kind of like this (which are all photos of past winter wonderlands here in Munich):

munich snow 3[source]






(Okay maybe I’m a little bit excited for the snow…)

Once the girls came home at about 4:30ish, I attempted to entertain them (and myself) for 3 1/2 hours. They were throwing tantrums right from the get-go – high pitched screaming, hysterical crying, hitting, and yelling – you know, the usual. I don’t know about what but it’s starting to really grate my nerves. We had dinner early – or they had dinner early, seeing as I wasn’t interested in dinner at 5 pm. Then we all kind of wandered around the house without purpose or direction. I don’t understand why they don’t just go off and play together – it can be very strange sometimes how they just wander around the house with no aim. Vee even talks to herself sometimes. Weird little kids… They took a bath for about 45 minutes and then got ready for bed. I read them two books and then was dismissed. The Frau is going out but not until 9 so going out to karaoke tonight (the usual Tuesday night event) would have been rather pointless. I tried to watch Sex and the City 2 but I quickly realized how ridiculously stupid that movie actually is (for the second time…) and I fell asleep instead.

Wednesday – Repeat of the morning routine and just a few frustrations. Miscommunications or something between me and my host-mom about some laundry business. Because I had to use the drying rack which had all of the cloth placemats on them, I opted to bring all of the placemats upstairs to put them away in the kitchen. I left them on the kitchen table and intended to put them away after breakfast but when she came into the kitchen she immediately questioned me about why they were there and then very rudely stated that they were not ironed and that we’re not using them anymore so they need to go back downstairs. And then suggested that I iron them. Well, ironing placemats isn’t part of my job (sorry!) and I don’t appreciate being criticized after I’ve tried to be helpful  so I just nodded and agreed, “Okay, okay. Yeah. Okay.” I put the placemats downstairs in a nice and neat pile, un-ironed and tried not to be too angry about the exchange. I’ve gotten to the point where I just concede and nod to whatever she’s saying when things like this come up. I used to smile and nod but even that’s getting to be hard to do. I think it’s just a cultural thing, to be honest. Or a clashing of personalities or lost expectations. I really don’t know. I honestly don’t think that she means to come across as rude – at least I hope she doesn’t – but it’s very hard for me to keep high spirits when I feel as if I’m constantly doing things wrong, especially five months later. It happens more than I’d like to admit and it’s a huge part of why I’m starting to resent this job. But alas, I will suck it up. In the end, I do get to leave so I’ll chin up and manage. I know that I should try to talk to her about it but I’m terrified. I hate confrontation and who knows how it will end so… I probably won’t and will just hope for the best.

After all of this, I did my laundry and cleaned my bathroom – took out my garbage – took a shower. I went into town around 9:45 to meet Helen for the morning. She and I are both in a similar situation – we’ve been working with children so long that we’re in dire need for a new perspective but neither of us can really come out of it. So we spent the morning venting and complaining and getting it all out. Sometimes that’s just what you have to do. We both agreed that we’re tired but that we’re starting to take it out on the kids and it’s not, in the least bit, fair to them so I hope that the two of us can get some kind of clarity. I really do love having this experience, don’t get me wrong. I didn’t expect it to be sunshine and roses all the time but I just wish that it wasn’t so taxing on my emotions. I am so stressed out and with everything else that I’m dealing with, this resentment and frustration certainly doesn’t help. All I can do is hope that Christmas brings glad tidings of joy… and stuff.

Anyway, after Helen went off to work, I tried to go to Tollwood (winter folk festival) but it wasn’t really… open. Even though it’s supposed to have started today – it definitely wasn’t so I just wandered around the streets of Munich until I stumbled onto an UBahn station at Sendlinger Tor. I was approached by some Mormons (one of them from California) and they tried to get me to tour their church and then invited me to a Thanksgiving feast on Saturday. I told them I was busy but thanked them kindly. I couldn’t really figure out what to do with myself so I took pictures of random wintry stuff and then headed back home where I finished my laundry, made lunch, and watched yet another episode of DH.

Random observation but whenever someone starts talking to me in German or whenever I am too overwhelmed to try to speak German myself I say, “Sprechen sie Englisch?” And no matter what, 98% of the time, the German person always says, “A little bit.” It’s cute because they always know more than they give themselves credit for.

Come late afternoon and I’m back with the girls and I’m still trying to figure out how to entertain them in a way that works for all of us. Today I went with a Thanksgiving theme, trying to explain to them how important the holiday is for me and why it’s so hard for me to be away from home and how they can help me feel better. I sat down with them and told them about Thanksgiving and how it’s all about celebrating the things in your life that you’re grateful for and I told them that I was very grateful to spend the year as their au pair, learning from them, loving them, and growing together. I gave them some coloring pages of turkeys and pilgrims and stuff and I asked if they could color me a picture for my wall so I would have reminders of my favorite holiday to keep close to me while I’m far away from home. Of course, they obliged. There’s nothing these little girls love more than coloring.

DSCN9745Not colored by a 6-year-old… but a 24-year-old. Ha.

In the evening I decided to give Tollwood another go and Eric and Helen joined me for the evening. We enjoyed ourselves as we sipped our glühwein and checked out all of the Tollwood vendors and did a bit of “window shopping.” There is so much cool stuff there. I can’t wait to get Christmas presents. Between Tollwood and the Christkindlmarkt, I’ll be set!

DSCN9760Hey, dad! It’s me and my  glühwein!

DSCN9765DSCN9777 DSCN9786 DSCN9806


Laura said...

I LOVE that you taught the girls about Thanksgiving! realllllllyyy realllyyy sweeeet! :D

Debbie said...

Those Tollwood vendors have some pretty stuff!
What's gluhwein?

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