Differences

Besides driving on the left there are other things that are different in UK compared with Slovenia. Camera signs next to the road warn you that you might get caught while speeding. They put radar cameras in the area once in a while. Of course you don’t know when this is going to be, but here in Slovenia you have no idea where the speed is measured.

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More about driving; parking spaces are narrower than here, in previous post I’ve mentioned roads…they are narrow and often verges are not done. I was really enjoying driving “my” Volkswagen golf in the English countryside, especially in autumn when the nature was all colourful and tree leaves ware everywhere. By the way, steering wheel and gear stick and everything under your feet is on the opposite side of the vehicle ūüėČ Oh boy how many times did I go to the wrong side of the car! But I got used to it, after four hours with my driving instructor, who the host family arranged for me, I was good at driving, off to the traffic. Funny thing was, when I got home for Christmas and I drove our family car, the first time when I wanted to change into a second gear I swung my hand to a door…oops, wrong side. And I got so used to beeping when I parked (sensors) that now, at home, I sometimes don’t have feeling of how much space is around me, plus our car is much longer and wider.

I’ll put down some other things that I’ve noticed:

  • You ¬†usually order your drink at the bar. In Slovenia, the waiter comes to your table and takes your order.
  • At the theatre you don’t get alcohol and snacks. I went to see ¬†Les Miserables musical, and people were eating crisps and drank while watching the show.
  • You are allowed to bring your own snacks to the cinema! Awesome.
  • I don’t think it is necessary to mention sockets.
  • They don’t use bidet.
  • Door handles and sinks are different (two pipes), as was the shower.
  • Lifestyle, less free time.
  • Better public transport.
  • Food, they are the nation of broccoli; cooked vegetables is part of every dinner.
  • Fashion; girls like to wear their hair big and use lots of make-up.
  • Leisure centre, we don’t have sports centres like this.
  • Architecture; brick houses.
  • They wear school uniforms.

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Here I am!

Immediately, when I arrived at Stansted airport, I switched from Slovene to English. I had a lump in my throat, I hadn’t been speaking English for quite a long time.
Even thought I spoke with the taxi driver all the way to Witham. It was weird for me driving on the “wrong” side of the road. For a moment when there was a sharp turn and the car from another direction was approaching us I though we’re going to crash. It was weird. And the roads ¬†are so narrow. Also the taxi driver was kind of creepy, staring at my breasts all the time. When he dropped me in front of my new family’s house he gave me his number…if I ever feel lonely, all alone in foreign country, ¬†poor me by myself…I of course should call him, yeah right.

New family but on the other side..me alone! They were waiting for me outside smiling. They were friendly, the girls were excited about my arrival. My room was amazing. There was a drawing with my name on the door. There was a ¬†timetable of the girls, my schedule, driving rules and some other important stuff, like railcard application etc. waiting for me on the table. They showed me the house and left me alone to accommodate, they had other things to do that day. The parents play badminton. I quickly figured out that they are very organized and that their tempo is fast. From the beginning I thought this is too much, people there don’t have time to breathe. Not everybody there is like that, but lifestyle is busy and they don’t have much free time, that is for sure. What I learnt later on is that I would like to have an active everyday too.

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After a month I singed up at local leisure centre, which I liked a lot and ¬†which I miss now at home even more. The previous aupair that was leaving in a week was really nice. We connected and I loved spending time with her. She made my first week easier and my adjustment in a new home not that emotional and difficult. She introduced me to some of her friends, which I am really grateful for. I didn’t have a hard time from the beggining at all, I had people to hang out with. Especially one girl that I met through her is one of the best people I’ve met. We are real friends now, we still talk and I hope we’re going to stay in contact forever.

The girl I was replacing was a nice, friendly Italian. She was calm, with  an interesting sense for make-up, which I liked. She also showed me the neigborhood. We spent a nice weekend together. We are still in touch, hope it stays that way.

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Hold on we’re going home

Everyone at home had watery eyes. I guess we are kind of those people who cry. Me and my family, we are emotional.
I was in a rush, like always. I don’t know if I will ever learn. Putting the last things in my suitcase, two actually, big ones. The number lock got stuck and we couldn’t open it…problems at the last minute. After we break it and found some key locks we were on our way, my parents and my sister. It was kind of weird saying goodbye. But I wasn’t sad. I was excited and happy to try something new. I can still remember queuing to board on my plane and looking at them. I felt andrenaline. It was my first time flying alone. I felt like I was doing something special, like I have some serious business abroad. The feeling was good. During the flight I was reading brochures about my country, which I got at tourist’s office in my town. I was preparing myself to tell my foreign family about Slovenia. In the end they were not very interested in it.
I flew from sunny Slovenia to rainy and foggy England…how tipical. But I was impressed by the view outside my window, of green plains and brick houses.

Staying here was great. My time was divided into two parts, completely different experiences. The first period was more exciting, everything was new, lots of new people, parties, new environment. The second half more quite and being on my own.
I did many things, met a lot of great people whom I’m going to miss a lot. I can say that my life would be nicer with them near me. But I suppose life is just not fair and gives you cool things in different parts of the world.
Tonight is my last night sleeping in this bed, spending time in this awesome room…having my own small apartment!
I got used to living in this house, driving on the left, cooking on their gas stove, speaking English, drinking from their cups, etc. I made a life here, I have habits that will change when I get home.
I am going to miss driving this car, see the surroundings on my way to school, fast and good public transport, the leisure centre. Most importantly, I am going to miss the girls and my friends. I have one more week…to say goodbye to everybody and to do things that I won’t do again.

Decision

It took me a long time to write a blog, four months. This has aslo been the time since I came to England. I live in a small town called Witham, in Essex.
I’ve always liked to travel, meet new people, also to live abroad was never a bad idea for me.
I have a friend who, ¬†after high school, first went to USA and later to Great Britain, where she was aupair for three years. To me at that time this didn’t seem ¬†such a good idea, I was just starting The Faculty of Civil and Geodetic Engineering of the University in Ljubljana. After a girl ¬†I know also decided to do that, I thought:”Wow, this could be something for me too.”

Unpleasant events this summer brought me to the point when in a few days I decided that I want to be an au pair. Somehow I just wanted to leave. To disappear for some time. I needed a change. In September last year I actually did it. And now I can tell, this has been the best experience for me so far. Being alone is sometimes the best therapy, the best thing, you can go through. Because you can find out who you are, you learn how to take care of yourself, you build confidence, maybe you even start to look at some things differently.

On aupair world website I created a profile. I thoroughly wrote my description. Soon I got some offers and I also sent some. In only a couple of days I had my first skype interview with a family from Scotland. They weren’t satisfied with ¬†time I could spend in a foreign country, at the end of February I am going home. I have to admit, that I didn’t find the mum very likeable and we didn’t really connect. But it is hard to tell how people are really like from a short conversation.
The mum, who I’m living with now doesn’t even speak with me, sometimes I don’t even get a good morning hello.

At the end I was choosing between two families. The first one with two girls, six and nine years old and the second one with two boys about the same age. First mum very communicative, the second not so much. I also spoke with the father from the first family. What the ice braker was, the benefits that the first family was offering to me and how official and organized our conversations were. They sent me the decriptions of their family and we signed an offer letter. I knew exactly what my duties and responsabilities are, my working hours, how many times I have to babysit. They are going to help me open a bank account, assist with registering at a doctor’s surgery, and I even got my holidays! They’re going to pay for my English lessons, all of them, for praparation on my Cambridge certificate. The girls, mostly the youngest one, seemed more enhusiastic, than the boys. Furthermore, I thought that for my first experience with children, spending time with girls is a better option.
It wasn’t easy for me to turn down the other family, but the decision was clear. Later on they even wrote to me that they are willing to pay for my flight expenses and that there will be a taxi waiting for me at the airport.

Three months before I will see my family and friends again, I had passed one more exam, packed two big suitcases, then went to England, to me, a very dear country since forever. Who doesn’t want to visit English countryside when watching Midsomer murders.