Published: January 11th 2012January 11th 2012
Allora, where to begin...?
So technically this is not where it all begins seeing as I left Australia (my home country) on the 1st of December, however
, there has been so much travelling and not alot of soaking up the environment that I feel this is the start of my trip. Today. January 11th 2012.
First of all I would like to preface this blog by saying I am only a little baby of 18 years and am by no means a good writer, so please excuse my lack of imaginative writing or verbose language. Anyway...as I said, I'm 18 years old, I live(d) in Australia up until the age of 6 when I moved to the UK with my father, English mother and younger brother. I lived there for around 3 years and then returned to Australia to live in beautiful Byron Bay
until now. So that's just a little background info. Now, I have travelled literally across the globe to the UK on a 28 hr Emirates flight (which was actually very nice!) on the 1st December, 2011, to visit my family for a painfully brief few days before getting a (dodgy) EasyJet flight to Milan and an even dodgier one again to Olbia (Sardinia) to begin my year as an au pair in the beautiful Italia. I arrived in Sardinia thinking the weather would be similar to that of England, however to my pleasant surprise it was around 20 degrees! A little windy, yes (Sardinia is famous for its strong winds) but nevertheless substantially warmer than the UK which was painfully cold!!
I was a mixture of excited and very
nervous when I arrived and saw my new family, however to my surprise they are actually my perfect match! The mother, Silvia, has lived in Milan all her life up until she met Francesco (the father), so I of course was a little hesitant having heard a few rumours that Milanese women are meant to be miserable, uptight work-a-holics and very anal about cleanliness. However, Silvia is an easygoing, VERY loving mother, who manages to balance home and work life with ease and has gone above and beyond to make me feel welcome. Francesco is a breath of fresh air compared to some of the husbands I've seen/ heard of. He is quite quiet (however I suspect this is due to the fact that he doesn't speak much english) but very gentle with Camilla and loves his family very much. Camilla on the first day or two was very lovely and welcoming to my surprise, given that she has had a big gap between her last au pair and me, so I thought maybe she would resent the fact that she now had less time with her mother.
So everything was going great until Camilla showed her true colours...she wanted only her mother or father to do anything at all with her, including putting on her shoes, jacket, seatbelt, warming her milk...you name it, I couldn't do it. At first I was very worried that 1. It was personal, and she only felt like this with me, and 2. that Silvia and Francesco were getting annoyed that they were doing everything while I could do nothing. However, I spoke to Silvia about this and she explained that Camilla is always somewhat standoff-ish in the beginning, that it was nothing personal and that I was doing a good job. After hearing this I felt immediately better and for any au pair's or soon-to-be au pair's reading this, I strongly recommend that if you have ANY problems to talk to your host parents - seriously, communication is soooo important if you want to have a happy and long-lasting stay with your host family, on both ends.
Anyway, to cut a long story short, Camilla settled down once we got to Milan and slowly but surely we're getting there. I really do love this girl and her stubborn/ crazy/ caring personality makes it so easy for me to feel at home with the family and I feel like I have it under control (somewhat) when I am looking after her. We play puzzles ALOT, play musical chairs, prepare 'la papa' with the play-dough etc etc.
Now for the part everyone wants to hear...We have done alot of travelling between Palau (Sardinia), Milan and Bormio (ski slopes in the mountains), so I haven't really had alot of time to meet people in the one place because when I do I have to leave again, however, what I can tell you is that men are very different in Italy depending on where you go. For example, in Sardinia, the men are very shy and only approach you if they know for sure they would like to get to know you. They are very respectful of women (although this depends on the age group I'm sure) and are in many respects like the true Italia. They like good food, good wine and good company, and many of them do the same work as their parents and never leave Sardinia. They are VERY welcoming people, but it's hard to find someone that speaks English well because they don't need to learn it to survive.
On the completely opposite end of the spectrum live the Milanese men. They are sleazy, disrespectful and have no standards or limits. They approach almost any woman and harrass her until she agrees to go for a 'coffee' with him (which is of course not a coffee, it's a late drink which turns into sex), or alternatively you have 80+ year old men who yell things out of their car at you. Men are alot more forward in Milan which means it's easier to meet friends, however if they find out you only want their friendship you won't be seeing them again. The less interested you are the more they harrass you so I'll let you know when I find a solution to this problem. Apart from this, Milan is very poluted, dangerous (especially for blonde-haired, blue-eyed young girls) and ugly in general, but I love it here haha. There is always something to do or see and because of the huge number of people you can actually choose who you want to associate with. Also the fashion is amazing and I spend like maddddddd.
One final thing to blog about - the people I left behind. If any friends or family from Australia take the time to read this shitty, long-winded thing, first of all sorry for the boring first blog (I promise the next one will be better!), and second of all I want you to know that I think of each and every one of you daily. I appreciate now more than ever the fact that we share so much history and know each other so well. I would just like to mention a few people in particular that have made a longlasting impact on me and who I think about leaving this beautiful country for every single second...Bree - you were the reason I finally sat down and wrote this blog, so thank you for that (who would have thought you would be motivating me to do something haha, we are so lazy). I miss your quirky outlook on life and the way you manage to treat every single person as if they were your best friend. Monique - I miss saying our one liners with so much history to them haha, and how angry you get when one of your friends are hurt. You are such a softy and no matter how hard you try to be tough you always wear your heart on your sleeve.
Hannah - I hold my breath every time I have to write something to you so that I don't cry. I don't want to be sappy because you know that's not our friendship but know that I am always thinking of you and stop worrying I will find a friend that I'll like more than you - it ain't possible! But seriously...I can't really describe what i miss about you because it's everything wrapped up into one. Love you.
I know there is 1000 more people I should write to but I'll do maybe 3 a day, so don't fret, I'll write to you soon!
Ok, now I am officially over writing and I really need to go because I have alot to do around the house and then I am meeting some people for coffee - woohoo friends! - so I will probably blog again tomorrow about other things that are actually interesting e.g the beauty of italy, culture shocks, fun facts and men in depth...should be good!