Learning French

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With less than 5 weeks to go in Switzerland I thought: ‘Hey, you should learn to speak French!’

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I’m kidding, I hoped to sooner but with inconsistent work hours & trips away it was difficult to organise. Finally I seized my opportunity & booked a trial class for a level A1 course. I got the little one to nursery by 8am & at 8.30am I was sitting in a classroom with new french books ready for the learning to commence!

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The teacher introduced herself & asked me some questions. She was particularly interested that I am currently single. She’s single, she told the class, in french. She said it so many times she wrote it on the fecking bored “Je suis célibataire”. She made me repeat it after her. She encourage me to write it in my notepad.

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8.34am on a Monday morning in a neglected building in a run down part of town, I am staring at a faded blackboard with the white scrawlings ‘Je suis célibataire’, contemplating my life.

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After moment of quiet consideration I look up & she’s asking me my age. I lie. She writes it on the board too. I think how my friends will laugh at this story. I don’t go back to the class – for other reasons. I wonder why the world is so cruel. I go on Tinder & arrange a date.200-3

5 weeks left in Switzerland

Switzerland, you beauty!

Incredible landscapes, high quality of life rating, med climate. If only I loved Swiss wine & fondue didn’t make me feel ill – I think this could be the place for me. That & a year round ski season social life. I am missing my apres ski life during the summer.

So, in my last 5 weeks I will cram in everything I intended to do from the start!

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First up is french lessons! These are very late coming as I’ve been here since the winter…. I hate not being able to communicate with people, I hate not understanding small children when they speak to me in the park. I feel like an absolute moron!!! It’s not from being lazy that I haven’t got round to it. Working a 6/7 day week really drained my free time to pursue other things & being flexible limits my opportunities to commit to something.

Second up is explore! In typical nuala fashion I have spent my time off as I like & not went on a crazy tourism spree ticking all the sights off & seeing things for the sake of it. There are however some places I have been meaning to go to, namely Zermatt & Liechtenstein.

Third up is a wine tasting adventure. I am surrounded by vineyards & it is one of my life goals to make wine. Hence I should really do more research & get this passion underway!

Goodbyes. I have to say farewell to my friends all over again with the uncertainty of when will I see them again. I have been back to my favourite ski resort a few time too catch up with them & it has been delightful. The incredible scenery took my breath away all over again. Mountains are a peaceful place for me.

Hello again, hello

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Sorry for the unintentional hiatus folks. I guess life got in the way. My previous post was around 7 weeks ago & rather depressing – I can assure you that I have not been in the throes of a breakdown since then! Honest. I have just been working, breathing, making poor choices, laughing, sleeping & surviving. Same as yourself?

I’m still in Switzerland, living by Lake Geneva & working as a nanny. It has been intensely hot throughout July with temperatures in the high 30s & even 40 degrees! As a fair skinned Irish I have been doing my best but still sweating & struggling. Thankfully we’ve had a few days where it hasn’t been insanely hot so I feel normal again. I was worried my internal organs were poaching in my fleshy juices. When that is one of your life issues you know you need to reassess your living arrangements. My delight has been a post work swim in the lake, followed by a good book & a beer in the last light of the day. It has been so refreshing & it feels good for my soul.

I have been working a lot of overtime so I haven’t been able to explore Switzerland as much as I would like. When I do get a day off I have a lot of admin, cleaning, Skype calls, sleep & washing to catch up on. I have a fun group of international friends I see at the weekends to keep my mild alcoholism & craving for mischief alive. They are my regular weekend respite from the nannying. They are great people but, god, I miss my friends. The ones who know me inside out & who can make me laugh with one facial expression. I can get very needy for these pals at times like today.

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I’m not sure how much people pay attention to my blog or like it. In case you do, I will  endeavour to fill you in on what I’ve been up to & what is coming next.
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Standing still for 6 months

As it happens, I have taken a job in Switzerland for 6 months. This is an exceptional commitment for me & the longest time I have stayed still in 5 years. I feel ever so slightly anxious…..

I am however looking forward to:

  • Having a local (pub/bar)
  • Having a regular fitness routine
  • Meeting people who I don’t have to leave the next day/month
  • Not having to pack up my life every month
  • The short commute to work (I’m live in)
  • Becoming awesome en français!
  • Not fretting about my next position
  • Having a regular day off (BLISS)
  • Exploring
  • Discovering
  • Relaxing
  • Having my own space

I do have the fear that I’m missing out on so many other opportunities & travel but I shall push that to the back of my mind for the sake of my happiness & sanity.

If anyone has tips for me to explore Switzerland & the surrounding countries, please do tell!

Time to pack up my life

The upheaval is on the horizon. In the next week I shall be moving to Lausanne. Time to have high hopes of reinventing myself, my lifestyle & my future. This will all fade, of course, when daily life & work happens – but I live in hope. With every move I endeavour to find improvements in my self & my happiness. I imagine I will continue to do so for years to come, despite the apparent lacking success rate.

The thought of packing up my life again makes me feel weary, but this is the lifestyle I have picked so I have to deal with it. Tough shit to me. I’ve made my temporary bed, time to make it somewhere else again & lie in it.

Dear Switzerland, I miss you

I cannot wait to get back to Switzerland. I am super excited about learning to snowboard. I don’t have much time left until the end of the season & I feel like I’ve hardly spend any quality time with my friends. Literally, where has the season gone? It has went even faster this year than the previous 2 seasons & somehow there are less crazy memories.
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What have I been doing for the past 3 months!!?:
  • Had my first snowboard lesson
  • Enjoyed après drinks in the sunshine with the most beautiful views
  • Watched the entire Love/Hate series, that was amazing!
  • Worked my hooves off & have nothing to show for it
  • Moved house 5 times
  • Worked some more
  • Partied very hard about 6 times
  • Nannied the cutest kids
  • Blogged
  • Went to Morocco
  • Listened to London Grammar constantly
  • Caught a virus
  • Starting running
  • Started #take12trips
  • Invested in my skincare
  • Ate pasta
  • Ate cheese
  • Watched dinner date a bit too frequently
  • Read 3 books
  • Broke my celibacy
  • Drank coffee
  • Watched Ireland win 3 6 Nations games so far
  • Basked in many baths
  • Didn’t find a post season job
  • Daydreamed on Skyscanner
  • Anticipated the new Formula 1 season

I’m really going to make the most of it when I get back. Being sick last week & unable to do anything or see anyone has really made me want to get out there & see & do everything.

Switzerland, I hope you are ready for some serious quality time! See you on Sunday x

My Alpine Life

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As predicted, I am straight back to work when I get back to Verbier. Nannying or massaging by day & babysitting by night. I am lucky I am not a big skier as I don’t have the free time to actually ski! I will hopefully be working non stop through to the end of February – & hopefully saving enough money for my next few adventures. I need to write a bucket list to weed through what I really want to do & see in that big wide world.

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I’m still enjoying nannying…. (She says trying to get a crying toddler to sleep). I have been fortunate to have good kids, the days go quickly, the families are nice & the pay is good. I recommend it to anyone who has childcare experience. I’m not sure if I’m using all my maternal instincts up now & when I have my own kids I’ll be so over children by then…. The risks I take to make a wage!

I need to look forward to what’s next on the agenda. 2015 is going to be my busiest most jam packed with travel & adventure year! Bring. It. ON!!!!!!

Forward thinking

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6.15am & I’m stood outside in -7 degree temperatures waiting for my transfer. I’m waiting patiently dressed for my trip to Morocco, not wearing anything remotely ski resort appropriate. 45 minutes later & I have strongly resolved to forward think a little more.

Hindsight. I’ve got plenty of that. It’s the finer details in following things through which I gravely lack. My ‘sure it’ll be grand’ attitude only gets me so far. It doesn’t stop my toes from turning into icicles & snapping off, it doesn’t help the convulsing shiver I have involuntarily developed to survive. Sure, on this occasion, I have saved myself having to carry a winter jacket to sunny Africa – though at some point in life I’m going to have to be more pensive & take better care of myself. Take the jacket bitch!

I’m getting old damnit! I need a bit more comfort in my life. I need to be a bit kinder to this ageing hag. I need my sleep more than ever & I’m convinced I’m developing a lazy eye. What next? My only solace is in my equally aging friends who can relate to the process & are helping me through these traumatic developments!

Now it’s in writing I will endeavour to take a bit better care of myself because I’m getting old.

….To see it in black & white is awakening. On second thoughts I will put it to the back of my mind & continue to live in my carefree manner depending on my resilience to cope with whatever I put myself through. Well done me! You’re a tough cookie!

Daydreaming of places afar

I’ve been in Switzerland for 7 days & already I’m ready for my next move. I want to travel. I was right not to commit to a full ski season & I am relishing the opportunities it has opened to me. I’m currently job hunting for a position in New Zealand however, not satisfied with immigrating to a new continent, I am also working on other travel projects. I’m hoping to do a couple of workaways in Europe between now & New Zealand. I’m hoping this will be financially achievable if I pick a host who will feed & shelter me in exchange for 5 hours work per day.

Not one to plan in advance, I have picked the wrong time for my 2 most desired workaway experiences: working on a vineyard making wine & making cheese. What a dream! If I mastered these two arts I would truly have the skills to be fully self sufficient!

Unfortunately I think it is also bad timing to visit scandinavian countries because I’m a wimp when it comes to the cold. Funny how ski seasons don’t seem to bother me. Portugal & Spain are looking promising & any country I haven’t visited before always takes priority over places I’ve been to.

Has anyone tried workaway before? Any recommendations or advice? If you don’t know me by now, I would go anywhere in the world on the back of a spark of inspiration. I am giving myself 2 weeks. One week to decide what to do, plan & book flights then one more week with my friends in Switzerland. Bring on week 2 in Switzerland & what wistful ideas I follow.

Links

http://www.workaway.info

Another Merry Christmas away from home

My flights are booked to go to Switzerland just before Christmas to work during winter. They have been booked for over a month but I have been putting off telling my family. I work abroad most of the year & find that my timing in telling them has to be impeccable. I have to time it just right so it isn’t immediately after I get back from somewhere, just before I leave for somewhere or while I’m out of the country….. There is a small window of opportunity. My sister is the first one to react “Awk Nuala” she mutters annoyed & disappointed. I sit awkwardly as she motions to her children & says they’ll miss me on Christmas day. What can I say?
 
It’s not that I dislike Christmas at home, Christmas week is the busiest week for me work wise in Switzerland. The ski resort is at capacity & I am fully booked doing treatments & earning an income. I have a great work ethic & I don’t really see Christmas as a holiday. In Ireland I used to work long hours on the build up to Christmas & a 12 hour day with no break on Christmas eve. My dad would do some work on Christmas day & I would be straight back to work & in my usual routine on Boxing Day. I drank plenty with my family & friends in between, but it would never feel like a holiday to me – unlike others who get a few weeks off work to enjoy it. Actual time to switch off & enjoy the break. Oh, the beauty of working in customer service. 
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This will be my third consecutive Christmas spent in Switzerland. I am going to be in one of the most beautiful places on earth spending it with the wonderful community of friends I have found. I will have to work, but it will be grand. Dependent on when I will be working, I will have poached eggs & an Irish coffee for breakfast, go for a Christmas ski (depending on how I feel from the night before. Note that the Irish coffee will happen hangover or not!), visit friends, Skype family & friends at home, pitch in making a big dinner with my friends, do secret santa, eat, drink & go to the bar. The sense of community, love, warmth & acceptance between all the displaced seasonaires is immense.
 
Before I leave Ireland, my family will have a big Sunday roast & I will give them their gifts for Christmas day. I will squeeze in as much quality time as humanly possible & invite people to the house for post dinner drinks & premature Christmas pudding. There will be rain pelting the windows outside & a roaring fire, laughter & mulled wine inside.
 
I won’t miss much from home over Christmas. The things I miss the most are my dog, the people, the craic & food – not anything exclusively Christmas Day affiliated. It doesn’t have to be Christmas Day for me to eat plenty of good food or enjoy the craic & a few drinks with family & friends. I can do that almost every day. You don’t have to restrict your merriment to 1 day a year.
Merry Christmas everyone!