Friday, November 5, 2010

The Nanny - Part 1: Settling In To The Hut

This is Yv.

Sorry Yv - (she's probably going to hate me for this)...

In December 2007, when Darcy was not even 1, I decided that I would be needing a little extra help around the place in order to do more things for me. I should really explain that by "doing things for me", I don't mean reclining on a sun bed in a bikini, sipping Mojitos from a glass with an umbrella in it...  I mean doing things like getting back into my Masters (studying), and doing the odd bit of work here and there. So I started looking for a Nanny or Au Pair or In Home Carer to come and help.

Because the nearest town (where I do relief work) had no day care or child care facilities at the time, I had to consider my options. 

Option 1: My Mother In Law - She is amazing. She is always my first port of call,but it just isn't feasible to suggest that every time I want to do something for me, she would need to drop everything to help. So even though she could always be my 'back up plan', I needed something a little more permanent. 

Option 2: Friends - See Option 1 explanation. 

Option 3: Nanny or Au Pair - They would need somewhere to stay (living in our house wasn't really a long term solution. But aside from the logistics, it seemed to be the best option. 

And so the redevelopment of 'The Hut' began. This is 'The Hut'.

Before it became 'The Hut', it was used as a workshop for CP and my father in law. It was covered in grease and dust and housed spare tyres, bits and pieces, machinery and assorted junk. The first step was emptying the contents and finding a new home for everything. CP moved an abandoned caravan on the northern end of the property down and this became the new 'workshop'. Once The Hut was empty,it needed to be scrubbed down and cleaned properly. A coat of paint was next, and one of the smaller rooms was transformed into an ensuite. We had the floors polished, and then furnished the rooms. 

Inside The Hut, on the left, is the bathroom. The centre room is the 'living area'. It houses an oven, fridge, microwave, appliances and all cutlery and crockery. There is also a table and chairs, and a single bed (where we will one day put a fold out bed/lounge). The room on the right is the bedroom. There is a bed, a wardrobe, dresser and desk, as well as a television. There is an air conditioner too. It is fully self contained. Even better, it is only about 50 metres from our own house. Incidentally, The Hut was only completed a month after Yv arrived at our house. But nonetheless, it has become a valuable addition to our 'home'. 

But back to Yv...

Once I had decided to find an Au Pair I set about finding the right person. I was looking for someone from January 08, until July 08. This was bound to be difficult, because I was looking for someone who would be capable, someone who would love my kids, someone who had their first aid certificate, and someone who could drive (amongst an exhaustive list of other worthwhile assets). On top of all that, I needed to find someone who would be happy living in such an isolated part of Australia. Someone who would be able to stick it out for more than a month. I designed a questionnaire for potential candidates. The questionnaire narrowed it down to two 'possibles'. It was going to be tough. Long story short, I ended up selecting Yv (who is from Holland). Having spent a year in Belgium myself, I understood enough Dutch to be able to help her settle in if language was to be a problem, and also had some English-Dutch Dictionaries on stand by if that would help.

Shortly after I selected Yv, we received an email from her, telling us about an accident she had had as a young child. She had lost her eye in a sling shot accident, and had a glass eye in place of it. She wanted us to know that it hadn't stopped her from doing anything (such as driving a car), but that if this made us change our mind about having her, she understood. It didn't bother me at all. If she could drive, I really didn't care.

I picked her up in Brisbane at the end of January, after she had been travelling around Western Australia for four weeks. We headed home immediately. On the trip home it started raining (REALLY raining). At one point I thought we wouldn't make it, and swollen creeks became flooded and dangerous within hours. That's just how it works out here. But after a very adventurous drive and a detour of 'the long way home', we made it. I apologised for the last several hours of the drive and assured her that if she wasn't happy I completely understood. We had previously agreed on a trial period of 3 months. That way if either of us weren't happy we could walk away at Easter, and that would at least give us both time to work out new arrangements. Yv assured me she was loving it. I couldn't believe it. I kept expecting her to pack up and leave at any moment. 

On her first day, we took her lamb marking. 

I thought for SURE that would be enough to scare her off, but she loved it, and didn't seem in a hurry to go anywhere. 

We spent the first month settling in. Yv was in our house with us. We made her watch "Wolf Creek" and still she wouldn't budge... When Yv moved into the hut, she found her stride. She had her little place, and she well and truly made the farm her new home. 

Very early on in her stay, I once overheard Olivia ask Yv, "Do you love me?" To which Yv replied, "No Olivia, I like you very much, but I actually only love my family." I smiled, because I knew that would change. It was just a matter of when it would change...

(Stay tuned for Part 2)...

1 comment:

  1. Looking forward to the rest of the story, Jess. Sounds, to me, like you chose the best option.

    Love The Hut, it looks like a lovely place to nest.

    I love the honesty and directness of the Dutch. A Dutch girl has just joined our team at work. When I was tactfully explaining a delicate problem she replied, "I'm very Dutch, just give it to me straight." Know I'm going to love working with her!


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