10 Years in Ireland

This day ten years ago I started an adventure. An adventure I didn’t think would end up me starting a new life in a different country ten years later. When I was only 19 years of age, I decided to leave my home country Germany behind and learn the culture of another country. This was going to be Ireland. At home I did a bit of research. I heard that it would be a great opportunity to work as an Au Pair. In the end I found a lovely family on greataupair.com who had a boy aged 7.

My massive suitcase was packed and my mum and I drove to Berlin airport. The allowance for Aer Lingus was 30kg at the time but they allowed you to go over that a bit. I think I ended up carrying 32kg but I am not a 100% on that. Somehow I have a number 40 in my head. It was time to say my goodbyes. Luckily Ireland is only a 2 hours flight from Germany so I went over to see my family multiple times including Christmas of course.

When I arrived at the airport, I was greeted by my hostmum. They only lived 20 mins down the road from the airport, a town called Malahide. I minded the boy for a year. It involved many tasks. I don’t want to go into much detail but I wrote a blog post about it a while ago if you are interested, read about it here.

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Sightseeing in Howth

During my Au Pair time I learnt a lot. When you leave your home at the age of 19 you don’t know much. I didn’t know how to cook, I didn’t know how to use the washing machine etc. I had to become independent.  Overall I managed quite good in fairness and learnt it all one step at a time. I knew a few Au Pairs in and around Malahide from a language school we went to. We met up a few evenings in our favourite pub Gibneys in Malahide.
It’s mad how you can bump into people, but my hostmum’s friend got an Au Pair from Germany a few months later and she introduced me to her… This was Karo who I mentioned a good few times on my blog who is now my bestie. Mad isn’t it?

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Having a pint of Cider in Gibneys

Of course I cannot forget to mention our crazy times. Most of us were mad into a boyband called Westlife. Some of you may know them. Anyway, they were quite successful during that time and we all spent so much time going to all their concerts, even flying to London for a few days. Au Pair life can be handy sometimes I guess.

A year passed and I had to decide what I wanted to do next. I applied for jobs but was unsuccessful at the time. In the end I decided to work for another family in the same town. We are into the year 2008 now. I went home for a few weeks to see my family that summer.  When I came back, I moved from Dublin to Sligo, from East to West. A few of my friends moved into an apartment and there was a free room for me to stay in. 3 weeks on I got a job in a local super market. It wasn’t the job I hoped for but it was a start I guess. I remember our wild nights at the weekend or during the week when no one had to work. It was great craic and something I will keep in memory for a long time.

I also moved into my own rented apartment which was kindly paid by my mum. It was a lovely apartment I have to say. A friend of mine moved in with me as it had 2 bedrooms. I only ended up living there for 6 months though. My mum and I celebrated Christmas together in my place.

During that Christmas period I also met my now other half/ best friend… 21st December in fact. It was so random. I was out with the girls for a few drinks (You can probably gather from this post that I went out A LOT before I had children) but as you do I had a bit too much and decided to go home. At a corner I met hubby, he walked me home and the rest is history.

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In early April 2009 I got my first car. Hubby got it all the way from Waterford and brought it up to Sligo for me. That’s love. We had some fun times with that car. It didn’t last too long. There was water coming into the passenger seat but I still drove around in it. Even to an outdoor concert in Sligo with my mum. Good memories. The engine blew up in the end and we got rid of it.

In May 2009 hubby and I moved together. He only just bought a house before I met him, that’s timing isn’t it?
I was without a job then. I couldn’t put up with my job in the grocery store anymore. Hubby was so nice and told me I could apply in his company. You can imagine how the interview went with his colleague. I am still working there today and love my job.

We settled down in those years. First we got a cat, then we started talking about having children, we got engaged in October 2011 etc. Matthew came along in August 2012, then there was Chloe in February 2015. So many events happened in just 10 years. There is probably way more I can tell you and I could probably go into great detail but I don’t want to bore you with that.

Our future is looking bright. We are moving to another town due to work circumstances. Hubby is working a lot in Dublin every week since our company was bought which leaves me minding the kids on my own 3-4 days a week. It can be tough. He also misses seeing the kids all the time. For that reason we decided to move to Naas, Co. Kildare which is basically on the border of Dublin. We bought a new built house there. At the moment we are quite busy going through the process of selling our own house and signing the contract on the new house at the same time. I had to decide on the kitchen and tiles in the last week or so. We should be moving in October I’d say. The kids are already signed up in the new creche and I hope it all goes smooth and they get used to it pretty quickly.

Life as an Au Pair

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I had this post in my drafts for quite some time now and was thinking back and forth whether I should share this with you or not. But I think it might be actually quite handy for some mums out there who have one or two children but can’t afford the nursery fees for example.

You finished school but you are not ready to start the job life yet. You want to go on an adventure. There are different things that people do before they go into the job world. If the money is right, then they go on a years trip to Australia or travel different countries. I had chosen to get to know one country better and its culture. In school I was always a big fan of the English language. Not so much of my own language which is German. But I think everyone is the same. My English teacher always wished that I could go and spend some time in an English speaking country. America wasn’t really an option for me because I was only 19 years of age and I didn’t want to be too far away from home.

After school I started to look for families in Ireland everyday. My mum had no idea of this. I wanted to show her that I can achieve something all by myself now. Soon enough May 2006 I found a lovely family in Co. Dublin. We talked on the phone weekly until I started off with them for a year in September 2006. Of course it was hard for my mum to let me go as I was her only daughter.

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3rd September 2006 was the day my life was going to change. Originally I had planned to stay for a year and then go back to Germany but I had no idea that I liked it so much, so that I could call Ireland my new home.

The boy I minded was 7 years old at the time. A nice age but also sometimes difficult in my opinion. The family lived at an estuary road in a cosy little house.

8am – This was the time I generally got up, got ready and then got Conor ready and made sure he had his breakfast. We walked to the school every day as it is only about a 20 mins walk up a hill.

9am – 2pm – While Conor was in school I could do whatever I wanted really. Apart from minding, one of my responsibilities also was to make sure the house was clean. This involved hoovering, sweeping and mopping the floors once a week. On top of that I’ve done the laundry and ironed the dad’s shirts every now and then which sometimes took me up to 3 hours depending how much there was to iron. When I had some spare time left, I went to see some of my friends who were also Au Pairs in the area.

3pm – I had to pick up Conor from school at this time. We passed a shop daily so it was hard trying to drag him away from it but because I am just too nice, he got a treat off me every Friday. Only something small though, like a chocolate bar or whatever he wanted.

Once we were home, he had to do his homework and was allowed to watch some TV. Some days he finished school early so I had to prepare some lunch for him, too. Conor was big into tennis. He had tennis lessons after school twice a week or sometimes we just went down to the club to have a match.

6pm – Once or twice a week it could be a case that Conor’s mum had to work late, which meant that I had to make dinner for him. Either she had something prepared the day before, so I just had to heat it up or I cooked something simple for him. All the other days she prepared the dinner once she came home from work and we had dinner together.

Once a week I went to an English course in the village with a few other Au Pairs. At the end of the course we all had to do our Cambridge Exam. As far as I can remember I think I did the Advanced English one but didn’t do too well. It is on my list to pass it at some point.

8pm – When the parents were off out once a week (this could also be once at the weekend) I had to get Conor ready for bed. He got a bath every 3 days or so. I read him a story in his room and that was me off for the evening until the next morning.

Weekends – Saturday and Sunday were my days off with one evening babysitting occasionally. I spent these days driving into Dublin city centre to meet a few friends and go shopping or just browse around. Basically to spend my money that I earned on Fridays.

My host family was very kind. As Conor’s mum and Conor were both into tennis they arranged for me to have tennis lessons in the park once a week. I really enjoyed it. This was usually in the morning when Conor was in school.

Through the whole Au Pair experience I actually got to meet my now best friend Karoline. She is German, too. On top of that I met my hubby to be and have 2 beautiful children. Life is good isn’t it?

I don’t think having an Au Pair is for everyone though. Personally I wouldn’t want to have one for my own children. That could also be because Chloe is yet too young. My opinion might change once she is maybe 4 or 5 years. It has also got to do with the fact that you will have somebody else living with you for a year. I kind of like my own privacy.

Have you ever travelled abroad for a year or worked as an Au Pair?

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Life Before Motherhood

Motherhood, our kids and parenting advice is a subject everyday. I think it was time to write a post what life was like before becoming a mum of two.

You are probably all aware by now that I was born in Germany and have been living my life there with my grandparents and mum up until the age of 19. Up until that point I was a normal child who finished school and was about to enter job life.
When I was in  business school, I wanted to start doing something exciting in life. I was always a big fan of living in another country for a year or so to see what way people live and see the different cultures.
As I have always loved children, this was the perfect opportunity to apply as an Au Pair.

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Now you are probably thinking “Why Ireland and not America or the UK?”.
One of the main reasons was, it is the closest to my home country and I can still visit my family with not a huge amount of distance travelling. It was also the fact I knew a few people who started doing the same job nearby, so I had friends to hang out with. But another reason that I can’t just deny, and some of my friends will agree with me on that, was a boyband called Westlife. Yes, I have been one of those girls, too who was madly in love with that one by boyband member and chased them.
I don’t regret anything though, as hubby always says to me, we would have never met if it wasn’t for the boyband because they are from Ireland.

Continuing on anyways… when you have no children, you are wondering what life would be like when you have them. Now I am wondering what would life be like before I had my children? Even though it has only been 31 months since I had my first child I can barely remember what I did before motherhood. I might not be alone there.

I must have been bored out of my mind. Work life is the same no matter if you are a parent or not but the weekends or evenings are so different now, like day and night.
Before I had my children I spent my evenings
• watching movies
• going out for drinks
• going shopping
• going on holidays to see my mum etc.
My life wasn’t that exciting really but it definitely made it more flexible.

Now that I am a mum of two my evenings and weekends consist of
• getting puked on
• changing nappies 24/7
• tantrums
• watching the kids movies/series, instead of my own movie I had picked for months but never get to watch
• having drinks at home when kids are in bed because by the time 9pm comes you are just too tired to hit the pub anyways
• going on holidays… in Ireland!! Because packing so much stuff to go abroad with 2 young kids is just too much hassle

The list can go on and on. But we all know for sure, what would we be without our children, their laughter and their little characters. I love being a mum and wouldn’t change it for the world. It gives me a challenge to raise my own little people.

Mums' Days