lundi 26 décembre 2011

Australia, here I come!

Happy Holidays everyone! 10 days and counting till I leave my home here in the US! I can't wait to make my way to Australia and enjoy some vitamin D. I have been talking about wanting to go to Australia since I was young with two of my good friends, just so happens I'm the lucky one that is going to make it there first. I cant wait to explore the beautiful country I have heard many good things about Australia and the people, that they are fun loving and relaxed....although I ran into a girl from Sydney the other day and was warned that the drivers can be a little crazy and that "J-walking" is not acceptable like it is here in Portland. I expect that moving to Australia for a year would be an absolutely amazing experience and a great cultural change for me no matter who I was with, but lucky me, I get to spend it with Young, Stephanie, two kids that are cute as can be, and two pretty cool dogs! :) I presume that I will learn a lot, I have already learned so much and I haven't even arrived yet. Just the whole process of preparing to travel out of my country has been a new experience for me, stressful, but definitely a learning experience. There are many things that I would like to do and see while I am in Australia of course!

1: I would like to see some strange animals! As I know there are many that I have never seen...the animals here are not very exotic, nor interesting.

2: I would love to learn how to surf, I hear it is very popular in Australia, it is popular here too, but the water is too chilly for me :)

3: Now I know this one is pretty cliché especially to anyone reading this from the US, but I would like to see the Sydney Opera House, maybe the space needle....we have one here in Washington, I could compare lol :)

4: Learn French

5: Learn to cook some good food

6: Hike in beautiful places

7: Learn the Aussie lingo

8: Scuba dive, I would be fine with just snorkeling. I want to see some awesome fish :)

9: Make many new friends....or mates! :)

10: Have loads of fun and amazing experiences!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! Best wishes to you all, I cannot wait to arrive :)

samedi 24 décembre 2011

How I got green thumbs

(I found this funny post I published a long time ago on Stephanie's blog and thought it would be a good idea to share it in english)

Today I'm going to tell you a true story. Something that happened to me the other day while I was walking my mum in the park.

"Mummy, we go this way!"

There was a little tree called "Bonsai", only a bit taller than me. It was weird and I was a bit scared.

"You, my Bonsai friend, I don't trust you!"

Then we went and settled under a tree so I could have my bottle and eat flowers. I was feeling much better.

"That's the good life, the parks and the sun!"

But all of a sudden, something strange happened, birds where singing very loudly and flowers were dancing in circle around me!!

"Something really weird is happening!?"

When everything calmed down, I was... different. I was feeling closer to nature and plants.

"In fact, I'm all green now!"

What a relief... when we left, everything was back to normal... almost...

"Daddy says that having green thumbs means loving nature."

Signed: Poisson Ai-Vy

jeudi 22 décembre 2011

How this all came to be.

Hello again! Just wanted to recap on everything that has happened in the last few months or so for me here in cold wet Vancouver, Washington.

I found out about being an Au-Pair in October and was recommended the GreatAuPair website by a fellow student at school. Soon after I signed up and created a profile, I was pretty adamant from the start about finding the right family for me. It was distracting me from my schoolwork a great deal...but not too much. I talked to many families some here in the US, some from Europe, others in Australia, and one from Spain. I almost agreed to go with a family here in the US in California, but luckily Young and Stephanie sent me quite an interesting message putting me in the position to "show my true colors" I got very lucky and they liked what they heard! (as did I) :) From there we chatted a great deal via Facebook, maybe a bit too much, they became to think I was addicted.

As we got to know each other better I became more and more excited about the idea of spending the year with such wonderful people, in such a gorgeous place! Once I was sure that I wanted to come and that this family was right for me and I was right for them, all that needed to be done was to convince my was a bit harder than you would think. My parents chatted with Young and Stephanie and got many terrific references from them, so terrific that they couldn't say no!

I was ecstatic when I could finally tell Young and Stephanie that I would be coming to join their family very soon, although they didn't think that the end of January was soon enough. So with a bit of work and some more convincing of my parents and cooperation from Young and Stephanie I will be arriving in Brisbane, Australia on January 7th at 7:50 am.!!!! I can't wait to meet everyone in person and have fun with little Ai-Vy and Kien-Nhu! See everyone soon :)

lundi 19 décembre 2011

A new addition to the family

Just a quick explanation dear blog reader (sorry French friends, I've got to switch to English now, so you'd better get up to speed with that language :D)...

I know, I haven't updated this blog for a long long time (a bit more than one year in fact). I'm not going to blame anyone, that's just life, "c'est la vie". Two kids, a house, a garden, a job, and more importantly a very demanding wife and that's it, no more time for the blog :(

But first, here is a quick picture of my two little treasures!

Kien-Nhu is growing quickly (too quickly) and is getting cutter by the day. He is looking so much like his mother, which is a good thing I reckon given how pretty Stephanie is <3

But more importantly, he's the best and easiest baby ever! Started sleeping through the night just after two weeks, always happy and smiling, a real pleasure. We are considering having ten like him! Maybe I shouldn't speak too fast... looks like he's started throwing tantrums...

Our beloved Ai-Vy is also growing quickly (way too quickly) and is starting to look more like a little girl than a little baby. She's really cheeky and while sometimes driving us crazy :) is a little girl full of life and imagination that loves animal and horses like her mother!

And here is a little picture of us taken a few weeks ago. Getting older (who said balder??!!) but still sexy!

But who's the newest addition to our family would you ask?? Thanks for asking.
We are getting a new "Au-Pair" very soon... and this is the last time I'm using this word as we don't envisage the "Au-Pair" in the standard way it is defined.
Have a look at the offer we've put on the GreatAuPair web site:

Family's Introduction to Caregivers

We are a young active couple with two kids and two dogs. We are both French / Australian (we have the dual citizenship) and moved from the south west of France to Australia 6 years ago.

We are both sporty and active, love going out, going to the beach and national parks on weekends, four wheel driving, fishing, surfing, dog training, culture, video games, cinema and meeting people.

We live about 12 km from the Brisbane CBD, the best city in Australia where 4 months of spring follow 8 months of summer! While close to the city, in a top class suburb, and at equal distance to both the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast, our house is beautiful with a unique setting, with the pool overlooking a forest with Koala, Kookaburras and Wallabies. It has a big garden, is also huge and modern and the Au-pair will have her own private room and bathroom.

Job Description

We are looking for an Au-pair to be PART OF OUR FAMILY and look after our two lovely kids (1 year old boy and 4 years old girl). It is NOT ONLY A JOB... Of course, there are requirements: you need to genuinely love kids, be playful, active and patient. We even already have cleaners, gardeners and someone to look after the pool... however we would like you to help with house duties to an equal amount as we are... not more, not less.

But more importantly we want someone fun, sociable, easy going and eager to SHARE OUR FAMILY LIFE, participate in our sport activities and curious to discover the Australian culture. Of course you will also get your own personal time and will be encouraged to go out and make friends outside of the family. We want someone who shares our values: honesty, respect, curiosity, openness, commitment, and work ethics. We are looking for someone with a good education and mature, not someone who is "just looking for a job, free food and accommodation", we want the right person with the right philosophy of life! We want someone committed to stay at least 6 months to establish a strong relationship.

Working arrangements are flexible. Accommodation and food (top class healthy food cooked with love by the daddy who's also making his own bread) is provided and "pocket money" will depend on merit and amount of time the Au-pair wants to be involved... Money will not be a problem. But you'll get richer, not only with money, but from the unique experience you'll get with us. Even if we are French, we are both fluent in English and can teach the Au-pair English if necessary and we've got lots of Australian friends.

If you recognize yourself in this offer and think you are the right person, you'll find that this is probably the best Au-pair offer you'll ever find. The position is open starting from now, but there is no urgency, we'll wait as long as needed to have the right person.

You can get in touch with me by forum email; I'll then give you my Skype ID. We'll have a chat about the position, our expectations and your desires and see if we are on the same page! Then we can meet and have a coffee together in Brisbane if you are already in Australia or have a video conference on Skype.

We are looking forward to hearing from you!

So after only one week, we've received more than 55 applications, and were spoiled for choice. Some very good candidatures (in theory, with diploma and past experience with children...).

I was in charge of interviewing the applicants (Facebook technique...). Fortunately it didn't last too long as my wife was starting to freak out seeing me chatting with that many young women!

I ended up feeling a very good connection with two young candidates, Meagan and Elizabeth, which were, by the biggest coincidence, of the same age, from the same country and from the same region (Oregon/Washington). That must mean that good crops are growing there (hope that makes sense)! It would have been very difficult to choose as they were both great and very different, but Libby wasn't available till April anyway, so that solved the dilemma for me!

So Meagan will very soon be with us. She is a young woman full of energy and enthusiasm, cute, smart, sporty, artsy and obviously with a genuine love for children. We are so much looking forward to welcoming her and strangely, while we haven't known her for such a long time, we already love her very much and believe she will bring lots of joy in her baggage!

So stay tuned as she will be posting on the blog, talking about her experience Down-under!

Introduction (me anxiously waiting to arrive)

Hi blog readers! My name is Meagan.
I am 19 years old and from Vancouver, Washington USA.
I live right outside of a fairly large city called Portland, Oregon where I enjoy going for entertainment, good music, and wonderful food.

I am currently living with my parents and younger sister...but not for long! My family enjoys animals, as do I, we have a variety....cats, dogs, chickens, my dads pigeons, and my rabbit who we call olive.

In the past two years I have graduated high school and am now working on my college education, whilst in school I had numerous hobbies and held a few jobs. I thoroughly enjoyed my first job as a gymnastic coach for young girls, not only was it rewarding....but I got to jump on trampolines for work! I played soccer all through high school, and still play on occasion, as I love being active. Although we only get about one good month of summer here I take full advantage of it and am outside and in the water everyday, whether it is cliff jumping, wake boarding, or just going for a dip and laying in the sun, I love it all.

My family is very important to me, I have loving parents and a wonderful sister who have helped and supported me in all aspects of my life. They have held me to standards and stood up for me when need be, I will miss them greatly while I am away but I know they will always be here when I need them and just a "skype call" away.
My education, and sense of adventure is also important to me, that is what will get me through life. I think it is important to go out and explore, see the world from another's point of view and experience new cultures. Living in Australia will be educational and a magnificent experience as well....especially since I get to spend it with such a wonderful family.

This up coming year is going to be amazing, and I have no doubt that it will be anything but boring. I am extremely excited to join Young, Stephanie and their two children for an entire year, we will have grand adventures and I will learn alot... including some French.
I cannot wait to see everything that Australia has to offer and get to know this wonderful family <3