21 August 2004

au pairing: the good, the bad, and the ugly

Stiffkey, England:

Bromes leading to marshes merging with sand for mile-long stretches falling into ocean.

Children running around in nothing but sunscreen and adults catnapping in lawnchairs and on blankets.

We stuffed ourselves on shortbreads and Cornish pasties, chutneys and curds. I don't think I drank a glass of water the whole time I was there. And I certainly didn't go jogging.

Dogs and chickens. Bankers and artists. Me and the kids.

That was the last three weeks on the east coast of England. It was heaven as much as heaven can be imagined in an overheated farmhouse where I worked long hours, as holiday for host family = more work for indentured servant.

But really, it was beautiful. And it's okay about the hours; I'm sure they'll throw me some extra bling with my monthly pay. Besides, I had a fab vacation in June.

The bad news: the littlest boy, Jules, one of the twins, burned his face off by reaching up and overturning a cup of boiling hot tea.

You probably aren't sure you read that right.

-Jules burned his face off.-

I called Dirk in Amsterdam after it happened, explaining that I'd had six coffees, a beer, and two Diet Cokes. I needed someone to worry with as the parents had rushed Jules to the hospital, so I was by myself with the other two children.

(This was at 8:30 in the morning and I'd been awake less than an hour.)

Dirk was The Perfect Boyfriend yet again, calming me down and being right about everything: no permanent damage from such a small amount of water; Jules'll just look like Swamp Thing for a few months, have discoloration for a few more, and can't be exposed to direct sunlight for a couple of years.

The good news: Jules' eyes are fine (he had surgery on them in July). His eyebrows did their job in diverting the hot water, so he looks like a reverse raccoon with peeling, bloody skin and no hair on the front half of his head.

More good news: I wasn't watching him when it happened, so my job, and therefore life, is secure.

Swamp Thing will, however, be staying home with me for awhile.

betholindo at 19:43

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