What is the name of the Chautha ceremony in English

Month: August 2016

wanderlust award

In the meantime I was nominated by Vivi, Hannah and Jana for the Wanderlust Award and now I finally get around to accepting it (? - or what do you say?: D). But first of all, thank you very much for nominating - I find it kind of weird to know (but also pretty cool) that you think of my blog when you think of this πŸ™‚
The rest will now follow in English.

The Rules:
1. Thank and link back to the blogger who awarded you!
2. Copy and paste the Award (Logo, Rules and Questions) to your blog.
3. Answer the questions and nominate 5 less popular travel or Au Pair blogs which deserve more attention and followers.
4. Don't forget to inform them about their nomination on their blog.

The Questions:

1. Where will you go and / or where are you right now?
- I live in Menlo Park, CA (close to San Francisco) since July, 28.

2. What is your favorite place in this world so far?
- I love Madrid! Since I lived there for five months during 10th grade I really fell in love with the city. Although I have to say that San Francisco does a really good job and it might or might not turn into my favorite city.

3. Who is the most interesting person you've met so far?
- Here in the United States I would say my hostdad and my hostmom. Okay, those are two persons but they both have such interesting lifes!

4. What is your most important travel item?
- Most important in the sense of personally most important would probably be my camera so I can take photos and videos of my trips.

5. How did / will your relative feel about your trip?
- My family always supports me in everything I do and to be honest, they knew they wouldn’t be able to change my mind so supporting my decisions is the easiest way of dealing with it πŸ˜€

6. How many countries have you visited?
- Germany, Italy, Spain, Great Britain, Austria, Netherlands and USA - 7 countries in total so far πŸ™‚

7. How are you documenting your trips?
- I have a blog (obviously), a monthly diary, a normal diary, a β€œone line a day” book and I'm doing monthly Follow me Arounds πŸ™‚

8. What are your ultimate travel goals (bucket list # 1- # 3)?
- # 1 Grand Canyon
# 2 Seattle
# 3 that's a hard one! Maybe Los Angeles, but actually just as many places as possible

9. What would you do if you didn’t have to work?

10. How would you describe yourself in three words?
- ambitious, positive and curious

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day 35: work, ocean beach, sleepover & golden gate bridge

I think I have to write a little more regularly / more often, otherwise the headings will always be so long ...

The last week was definitely great! Football training has started again for all three children, which means that I stand on the football field almost every day (if during that time I don't have to drive another child somewhere or do other things), which is not at all bad because it is on there is free WiFi in both places πŸ˜€
Otherwise not so much happened last week. I went shopping for football boots with Ella and my Area Director (supervisor) was there for an orientation talk, which should actually be within the first two weeks, but since my host family wasn't there, we only did that now. My supervisor is super nice and, I think, takes really good care of the au pairs.
In the evening I either went to sleep straight away or met with Kira, who is unfortunately now in rematch and is looking for a new host family.
On Friday, my host asked me if I could work spontaneously on Saturday (a big advantage of the au pair program for the host families is the flexibility) and of course I said yes, as I had nothing to do in the morning. My work then also consisted of going shopping and I love that anyway, so it really didn't bother me at all.

At 12.30 p.m. I took the train to San Francisco (this time with sunscreen ...), where I met with Kerstin. We are then together to Ocean Beach, where there should actually be a Bonfire Beach Party. At 2 p.m. it wasn't so busy, of course, but we just walked up and down a bit and were happy about the sand and the sea πŸ™‚

At 4 p.m. we had to go to Danville to see Nathalie, who has left with us and who happens to be living with my first family proposal. She had her birthday on Wednesday and invited us to her birthday party. It was really really cool! Everyone was super nice and the food was really good too. Your hostdad made us burgers and the hostmom baked a cake in Germany colors together with the children - totally sweet from them. Later we were still in the hot tub and since Kerstin and I live far away, we were allowed to stay with Nathalie. In all honesty, even the air mattresses in the USA are thicker than a German mattress πŸ˜€
On Sunday morning we first had breakfast and then the three of us went to San Francisco. We had looked at the weather report beforehand and it said that it was sunny. I didn't really trust that, because it's ALWAYS at least a bit foggy and cloudy in San Francisco and cold anyway. Yes, you can be mistaken. There really wasn't a single cloud in the sky and we didn't even need a jacket.
We then took an Uber to the Golden Gate Bridge and it was so great!
After a photo session on the San Francisco side, we then walked over the bridge to the Sausalito side, where of course we took photos again. The bridge is really so impressive and the view from the bridge over San Francisco and the Bay is just mega.

Kerstin then drove straight home from there, because she lives in the north anyway and Nathalie and I walked back again (this time without a thousand photo stops) and then took an Uber (I love Uber - it's just cheaper like a taxi, by the way, since private persons take you with them) drove back to our or Nathalie's train station. My train station is "a little" further away, but I always walk there because I don't feel like spending another $ 2.25.
The weekend was really great, but also exhausting and I was really happy when I was freshly showered in my bed and could sleep πŸ˜€

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day 31: san josΓ©, movies & pool

On Sunday I was with two other au pairs in San JosΓ©, which is about half an hour / three quarters of an hour away from me. I drove my electric car to another au pair and then drove on with her - I don't really trust my Fiat anymore since I almost stopped once πŸ˜€
In San JosΓ© we first watched the film β€œFinding Dory”. It's actually really cute! Then we walked briefly through the huge shopping center there and then into downtown, which wasn't particularly exciting.

After that we drove back and I also briefly got to know the host family of the other au pair. Her host parents are also really nice and she has a very sweet two-year-old - sometimes I would like to have a little child like that too .. :)

On Monday it was the first time that I took Ella and Maxi to school alone and let's put it this way, it half worked out. We were pretty late and when I got home I noticed that Maxi had left his lunch bag in the car (they seem to take 1000 bags to school), so I had to go back and bring them to him.
After school it was much better! I was allowed to have ice cream with the two of them to celebrate the day and after that Ella had soccer training. I went home with Maxi because I emptied ice cream and had to change πŸ˜€ I cooked dinner and then I was off too.

Things went better on Tuesday morning and the children left the house reasonably well on time. During my break I went to the gym and met two other au pairs there who I only knew from Facebook and Snapchat - totally funny πŸ™‚
At 2 p.m. I picked up Ella and Maxi from school and brought Ella to a friend. At home I tried a brownie recipe, but it didn't turn out so well, and I made dinner again. Then I went to the pool with Anna and Maxi, which is really super relaxed because they can just go into the water and let off steam. Back at home it was almost bedtime and I helped to get Ella and Maxi to bed and by 9:30 p.m. I was finished. I only had to wait a moment for my laundry and then I went straight to bed πŸ˜€

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day 27: first day of school

Friday was Maxi's first day of school and it was so cool to be there. In the mornings I made breakfast for the children and Ella and Maxi lunch for school and then I went to school with them (I can already walk that way!). There was a little ceremony where a second grader wrote and read a little letter for every first grader, so cute! Then the fire brigade came and brought the children their school cones - I think the idea is really cool and the firefighter β€œmoderated” it really well. Yesterday Maxi was still very worried that he didn't have one because he found out that the families had to do it, but he was so happy about the school cone and thanked him so sweetly
Then I went back to Costco (I'm getting faster and faster!) And after a little washing and cleaning up, it was time to pick it up again. Ella and Maxi both had a playdate after school, so then we had 5 kids in the house, but then I was out and went to the gym (yes, I finally found one too: D).
In the evening I met an au pair from Colombia and we actually wanted to go to Stanford University, but there was nothing going on because the semester hadn't started yet, so we went to downtown Palo Alto.

Today (Saturday, it is 11:45 p.m.) has been my favorite work day so far. My job was to help make breakfast and then have breakfast with everyone. We don't usually do that, so I thought it was super nice. After that, my host explained a few things to me, how everything will go from Monday, when everyone goes to school again and shows me a few things.
In general, after my first real working week, I have to say that I've had a lot of fun so far and that my host family is just great! I'm sure that from next week or even now, when all the activities slowly start again, it will be much more stressful and especially the first month, until everything is organized again, will be tough, but I am confident that we can do it πŸ™‚
After work, I picked Hannah up and we went to a mall in Santa Clara together. Unfortunately, I couldn't find anything to wear, even though I really needed something, so I spent almost $ 50 on food - but that's really expensive here! For dinner we went to the Cheesecake Factory (please enter a route there in the German Google Maps and let us guide you there!: D) and for dessert we shared a cheesecake and didn't even make it! But it was really good.
Right now I'm sitting in my bed and I'm going to sleep right now, because tomorrow I'm going to San Jose with Hannah and another au pair and have a look at β€œFinding Dory” and the city. After Hannah and I saw today how many calories some dishes in the Cheesecake Factory have (better not look it up), I might go to the gym before that. It's on the way anyway.

So, good morning Germany and good night California β™₯

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day 24: shopping all day and all night

Hello my loved ones πŸ™‚

I've been working properly here since Monday, although I really have to say that I've really enjoyed it so far and I don't really see it as work yet.
Since school for my kids starts today, tomorrow or on Monday (Maxi has his first day of school tomorrow!), I have mainly been busy getting things and arranging things.
On Monday morning I was shopping for groceries (oh, I just love it!) And after that I spent pretty much the day helping Anna cleaning up and cleaning up her room. I had a driving lesson during my lunch break, but the driving instructor was kind of weird because he never said anything and I'm not sure whether he even fell asleep in between πŸ˜€ In the end, he just said that I had to practice my side parking and the rest is already good. In the evening I applied to a college that has meanwhile also accepted me and which I can now register for courses. I actually wanted to do two courses, but they are really expensive for foreign students, so I'm only doing one now and prefer to save the money for a course at Stanford in the spring semester πŸ™‚
On Tuesday I worked 10 hours for the first time. I don't remember exactly what I did, but I definitely went shopping again, made breakfast for the children and gathered school supplies. In the evening I played a game with the kids and my hostdad and I won. After that I made the school cone for Maxi with Anna and it turned out really nice - I'm really proud of us.

Yesterday I was just out and about all day. In the morning I was with Ella and Maxi to get school supplies and buy shoes and in the afternoon I went to buy school uniforms, soccer shoes and a backpack with Anna. After that I was really exhausted πŸ˜€
But yesterday I noticed again how perfectionist I am ... I just don't want to do anything wrong or do everything great and with children things don't always go according to plan - I really have to get rid of that a bit.

This morning I worked for an hour and just made breakfast for the children and lunch for Ella. After that I actually wanted to go to the gym, but then I walked past the playroom and Maxi was just setting up his new Lego that he got yesterday. I only wanted to help briefly, but it has now turned into over two hours and I have to go back to work right away, so I'm postponing the gym until tomorrow. But playing was really more important to me now, because I have the feeling that this was a little neglected up to now, as I have mostly only been out with them or had to see that they do all their tasks - so not necessarily like that fun things πŸ™‚

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day 21: lazy weekend

As reported, I worked briefly for two hours on Saturday morning and helped my grown-ups with Spanish. Actually, I'm supposed to speak a little Spanish with her too, but that's really difficult because of course she doesn't understand anything for a year, so we'll stick with English and German mainly.
Then I went to the supermarket for a short time and bought a few things for myself and my host family and then I met with Kira, who lives five streets away. Together we went to Walmart, Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s and because we hadn’t seen enough food, we went to a German bakery for a short while (after the GPS only led us to their warehouse). They didn't have a huge selection, but besides bread and rolls there was also German sweets and Maggi Fix for sauerbraten. Then I brought Kira back home because the lucky one is now in Hawaii with her host family and had to pack for it.
Actually, I wanted to go to an au pair's farewell party in the evening, but after I didn't know when it would start, I stayed at home.

Yesterday morning, right after getting up, I went cycling with Anna for a short time and then inline skating with Ella. Ella showed me her friend's house and a place we should definitely go to play. Then I skyped with a friend, which of course was very nice ❀️
In the afternoon I went to Michaels, a huge handicraft and decoration store, and bought some decorations for my room. The shop is really a paradise and a lot of things were on sale, I just couldn't say no πŸ˜›.
In the evening I went jogging. Some of the houses in my neighborhood are so amazing! I also wanted to go to a park to do a few exercises and Google Maps (cheers for that, because I wouldn't have found my way back without it) showed me a green area near me.It then turned out that this is the cemetery πŸ˜„ So I had to look for another park.

Now (Monday, 7.45am) I'm sitting in my room and waiting until someone wakes up because I don't even know when to start working πŸ˜€ Let's see, I think my big one has just got up.

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day 19: michigan & first day of work

I've been back in California since Thursday night. The days in Michigan were really great πŸ™‚
I still didn't really have to work all the time, but of course I helped prepare breakfast for the kids, get them ready and play with them.
On Tuesday we took the motorboat to Elk Lake and it was so hot that we really jumped into the water every five minutes to cool off. They also had a tube, a ring that you could lie on and pull behind the boat and that was so fun! Anna also tried water skiing and even managed to get up and ride a few meters. By the way, for breakfast I had my first PB&J sandwich, a sandwich with peanut butter and jam and it didn't taste that bad. In the evening we watched the Olympics again - the Americans mainly celebrate their gymnastics team here and of course Michael Phelps.
On Wednesday we went boating again in the morning and actually I didn't want to come with me because I was not doing so well because of my sunburn in San Francisco, but Maxi said that I HAVE to come because they need a minder for tubing and all three of them together Tubes wanted πŸ˜€ So of course I came along. In the evening we drove into the village, as there is Family Fun Night there every Wednesday. It was really so nice and funny and Anna, Ella and I had our first henna tattoo done and we wanted to see if you could do it yourself.
On Thursday we mainly packed, of course we went boating and tubing again and I went jet skiing with Anna - that was really so cool! In the evening the flight left and it was not that easy to get everything into the car, as we had six people + 6 large suitcases / bags + what felt like 100 pieces of hand luggage, but somehow everything fit in and we were at the airport on time . From there we flew to Chicago and I even had an Economy Plus seat, that is, with more legroom, which I made use of with my 1.60m πŸ˜€ In Chicago we then had less than 45 minutes to change trains , but we arrived at the gate just in time for the last boarding call. The plane to San Francisco was so huge! There were 50 rows of 9 seats each (a little less in First Class, of course, but almost 400 people have to fit in there!). Grandpa picked us up in San Francisco and I was so happy when I finally lay in my bed.

Yesterday was finally my first official day at work. My hostmom said I could sleep in the day before, but I was up at 7 a.m. anyway, so I started a little after 8 a.m. To be honest, yesterday it didn't really feel like work. I helped clear the suitcases, did the children's laundry, went shopping for groceries for over 1.5 hours (Costco is just too huge) and helped Anna with her Spanish tasks that she has to do over the holidays. So I hope that I was able to help my host family with this as I somehow didn't feel like I was of much help.
In the evening I was with the whole family in a club with swimming pools, tennis courts and a gym and it was pretty nice there too πŸ™‚

Today (it is 8 o'clock) I have to work for two hours at 10 o'clock, that is, do a little Spanish with Anna. It's such a strange feeling that it is counted as work, because I would just do it that way - but actually it doesn't matter whether it counts as work or not, I do it one way or another. And then I have to see what I'm doing πŸ™‚

P.S .: My laptop charging cable has arrived, which means that I can finally drag the pictures over to my photo and then you will get more photos πŸ™‚

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day 15: michigan!

Sunday morning we left for Michigan at 8.25 a.m. I had a stopover in Chicago and my second flight was delayed, but I arrived safely in Michigan πŸ™‚ My host picked me up at the airport and my three children and my host father were already waiting for me and greeting me in the house - I love my host family already now! Everyone is so nice and nice and I am already treated like family member ☺ On Sunday we went swimming (the house is right on Elk Lake, a small lake next to Lake Michigan) and something to eat in the evening. By the way, I'm only 6 hours behind now! But thank God the time change of three hours doesn't bother me at all.

At noon on Monday we drove to a national park on Lake Michigan. There we were at a huge dune, from which one had an AMAZING view over Lake Michigan (which is so huge it looked like an ocean) and which we then ran down (although the staff didn't think that was that great).

Below we swam briefly in Lake Michigan and the water was so clear and really warm! Then we went up the whole dune again, or rather crawled up, because it was really steep and high and it took us about 45 minutes to get back up. To cool off (a pool is really missing at the top of the dune) we went to eat an ice cream and here in the USA they only have more unusual varieties like mint chocolate chip, peanut butter cookies, ... and not at all simple varieties like yogurt, Lemon, chocolate, strawberry, vanilla πŸ™‚ But of course it still tastes great.
Back at the house we went for a quick swim, but I was really tired from climbing up from the dunes. In the evening we watched a little bit of the Olympics, which are much more important and bigger here in the USA than in Germany! In between I rated the advertisements with Anna and watched Cake Wars - unfortunately our favorite didn't win 😁

In general, I think it's so great here in Michigan! Everything is green and there are so many lakes. I am so happy that my host family made this possible for me ❀

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day 13: odyssey & san francisco

Yesterday (Friday) morning I went to the YMCA for a trial training session early in the morning and I knew that I would miss training, but it was only during training that I realized how much I missed it (after all, I had almost a month's training break now ) and then I was really the happiest person in the world ☺
On the way home I also had a "pinch me" moment when I was driving along the streets and I realized that I am lucky enough to be able to live here for a year - I still don't quite realize it ...
In the afternoon I went shopping with my Gastopa and we drove briefly past the Facebook area, which is really super big and beautiful!
In the evening I finally met Hannah in real life and we went to her first and then went to In 'N Out to eat.

Apparently they have the best fast food burgers there - the burger was already good, but not particularly great now and I didn't like the fries at all, but they were also unnaturally light and yellow. Then we were really a bit disappointed. Then we walked to the McDonald's (first in the wrong direction, just like before on the way to In 'N Out) and bought an ice cream there, because there's something like that at In' N Out somehow not available πŸ™‚ After me Having brought Hannah home, I also drove home and actually my electric car still had a range of 23 miles at that time and the way home should only be 15 miles. Yes, I took the wrong exit on the autobahn, then had to take a detour and the whole time I didn't know where I am and how far away I am from the house, because the entire route is somehow not available on my navigation system , at least I haven't found that yet. In any case, I died a thousand deaths and was sooo happy (you really can't imagine how happy!) When I got 3% battery and a remaining range of 3 miles (I just had real problems formulating this: oops :) stood in front of my house and of course I hung my baby on the charging cable!

Today (Saturday) morning I woke up at 6 a.m., although my alarm clock didn't go off until 7.30 a.m., but when I realized what I had to do before my flight tomorrow, I got up straight away and then took a shower this morning , Bedding changed, packed and laundry washed, dried and hung up. And at 8.30 a.m. it was then SAN FRANCISCO! There I met Kerstin and Nathalie, both of whom I know from the training school, and it was so great! We just started walking and were at Pier 39, at Fisherman's Wharf, where there are a lot of sea lions (and tourists: D), and then we thought that we could walk to the Golden Gate Bridge because we could already see them . After we got to a higher point at some point and saw that it was "a little" further away than we thought, we moved the bridge to the next time πŸ™‚

For this we happened to be on Lombard Street, which zigzags in part because it is just so steep! In general, sightseeing in San Francisco is a real workout because everything is quite far apart and the streets are really very steep. The weather was really treacherous by the way - I have sunburn on my face, even though it was cloudy, cold and windy 90% of the time, but the UV rays apparently also get through the clouds very well here. Next time I'll definitely put some cream on!
I already really like San Francisco and I had a moment earlier on the way from the train station to the meeting point when I just couldn't believe my luck because I was just walking on a palm-lined street with a view of the sea and a bridge am 😌

Now I'm just sitting back on the train and at home I have to finish packing because my flight to Michigan leaves at 8 a.m. tomorrow. Thank goodness my gastopa drives me, but I still have to get up at 5 o'clock ...

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day 11: stanford, cheesecake factory & other things

Hello my dears,

yesterday afternoon, after we took Judith away, my Gastopa and I were at Stanford University. He showed me the bookstore there, but there is much more to it than books and afterwards we found out about courses that I can take as a non-student. It took a while until we found the right building because the campus is actually like a city.

In the evening, I met Kira, an au pair who lives around the corner from me, on a blind date basis. We went to the cheesecake factory and this time I even had a cheesecake - okay, half a cake. I shared it with Kira because we had something else to eat before, but it was really pretty good! Let's see how many different cheesecakes I can try this year 😌

This morning (Thursday) I tidied up and cleaned a bit and of course had breakfast and then I met up with Kira again because she really wanted to show me Target (a supermarket that sells everything). And she even brought two different types of oreo for me - Red Velvet and Reese's Peanut Butter. Mega dear! I think there are over 10 varieties of Oreos here. I bought a pocket calendar at Target and then we went to Downtown Redwood City, where we were in the World Market, which we were a bit disappointed with because they didn't really have a particularly large range of foreign products. To show her a new supermarket, we went to Costco (large supermarkets such as Metro, C + C and Selgros) and we clearly found a new meeting place - there were so many things to try that you could really eat your fill could and also for free πŸ˜‚
In the afternoon I went to the bank and opened an account. I actually thought that I would need my social security number, which is still not there, but other au pairs had told me that they didn't need any. So I'm just going to be lucky and have a free student account now. The "only" documents I needed for this were my passport, the DS-2019 and the I94 (or I96?). The bank clerk was really super nice and we mainly talked about (German) cars.
Then I went to two gyms to take a look at them and ask about the prices and I think I've already found my gym, but at the YMCA I have a trial training session and at 24hour Fitness I have to ask if I can because it can come for free ☺️
Now I'm going to bed right away so that I'll be fit for the gym tomorrow!

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