sketches, impressions...

Just short sketches of my AuPair experience. 
On this page I'm publishing separate impressions of my routin to creat a general idea what AuPairing can be. 

Under the Grey Sky

Great Escape closed.
Basin Express closed.
Snow Ghost closed.
Stella closed.
Musical carpet as needed.
Idea our T-bar closed.
Lake view Triple closed.
Musical Chair open.
Welcome to Schweitzer Mountain Resort!
Think snow
Mar. 30, 1:50 p.m.

These lines were running on the outside screen while the wind was hauling and swaying the trees on the mountains slopes. Not many dared ride that day. The only open run was dominated by the racers in yellow or orange. They competed in 24-hour race.

A few from the orange team offloaded from the lift chair. The skiers stood still with their feet wide leaning on the poles. Wind was snatching their uniform. Reading their face expressions was impossible as masks were hiding their faces. The skiers turned in the direction of the snowboarders from their team who were striping in rashly.

Next moment all of them were ready to take off. They followed a man in orange who stepped forward. They carefully slided down the hill. A gust of wind brought thick snow so the scene disappeared from the sight. After the snow cleared off, the orange figures were gone.

Only three persons stayed at the spot. A man in a thick brown raincoat clumsily was walking in circles on the slippery snow. Then he stopped locking his hands behind his back and stared at the approaching lift chairs.
In a few foots from him two kids in blue hoodies had a discussion. One kid gestured energetically with his hands while the other one remained still just contemplating the first one.

A part of the yellow team appeared on the spot blocking the man and the kids from the sight. Bending close to the ground two skiers smoothly slipped of the chair lift and came to a halt. One of them was glancing continuously at the chair lift. In a few moments another yellow figure joined them. As soon as this one reached the ground two yellow figures hastily set off for a cafeteria leaving the third one to keep on challenging the unfriendly slope alone.

For several seconds the spot in front of the offloading area remained deserted. But soon a tall skier in lime overalls gently glided down from a chair. He made a curve on half-bent knees and as still as a cast statue slided down as gently as he appeared.

 Later on a solitude tall snowboarder in black dashed off the lift. He swiftly squatted, striped in his binding with one hand move and darted off.

Soon came another figure in black, but this one differed from the previous. If the first black figures with its rapid jerky movements resembled a ninja. The new-comer had something ghostly. His long black cloak was flaring and flapping behind him. Down the run under the gloomy grey sky he moved silently keeping his skis wide. It seemed the hooded black figure glided over the surface in the wet thick snow.

Meanwhile, those who had given up struggling with the uninviting conditions stomped on bent knees to the cafeteria. They pierced the wind with bowed heads and slouched shoulders.

The cafeteria welcomed them with warmth and empty tables. Bulky snowflakes collided into window panes.

A big screen in the center of the room displayed the same scenery as outside the window. It showed the same mountains, the same runs, the same trees, but the weather was different. The sun was shining and the snow glittering. Professional skiers were demonstrating intricate stunts with broad smiles on their faces.

Yes, it was the same place, but a completely different time.

Blow off Candles, Make a Birthday Wish

Everything turns into magic on your Birthday if you are a little girl. Your heart gives a skip and then freezes in realization, a miracle is to happen today.

Chocolate and cherry scent fills up a little light glass-walled room in the Kroc center. A birthday girl has already blown off the candles and made a wish. It means Chloe is now five. The excitement is growing as her friends are crowding around her to present their gifts. All the eyes are sparkling with curiosity.

“There are tattoos in here!”, Chloe exclaims, as she scrutinizes the inside of a present box. Then she turns her whole body away to put down the present into a gift pile. The next big package gets a lot of attention from her. She spends quite a while to unwrap it running her fingers slowly on the box while wearing an unusually serious expression on her face.

“Thank you!” her cheeks blush pink with pleasure. “I always wanted that!” She embraces her present carefully placing her arms around it as her Dad takes a group picture to preserve the moment.

A boy named Samuel proudly hands the next package to the Birthday girl. Chloe almost dives in a pink bag. After some fuss inside it, she casts her hand up clutching a paper square. “This is my card!” she announces loudly addressing her friends and family. Samuel bounces on the spot in anticipation by her side, “There is something else inside!”. Chloe’s eyes lighten up and she beams with a smile as she discovers a “Hello Kitty” set in the bag.

Her sister Sophia helps with the next present solemnly passing a bulky bag. “This is from Craig and Cameron”, she explains, her blue eyes wide, face serious. Chloe has to make a considerate effort to pull out the thing from the bag. For a moment she freezes still straining every nerve to get the present out and then with a twitch she releases a new life jacket.

The same moment her Dad catches the eyes of Craig’s and Cameron’s Mom. “That is very nice”, comments he with a conspiracy smile.

“One more from Craig and Cameron!”, Sophia turns her sister’s attention to another package. After struggling with the wraps Chloe pushes up two books into the air. This present gets an interested look from Sophia. She fixes widened eyes on it as she goes through the title.

Eventually Chloe turns to a tiny 7-year-old Chinese girl Daisy who has been balancing two considerable boxes for a while now. Chloe drops a chin in amazement when she opens one of the boxes. Both girls bend over the box. Daisy moves her little finger slowly from object to object explaining the things in the box. Her voice is quiet and considerate, “this are fruits, and ice-cream, and a yoghurt…”. Chloe catches every Daisy’s word gasping with admiration and widening her eyes. Other kids are apparently intrigued as they group around Chloe and Daisy and try to glance over their shoulders. Some are tiptoeing to get a better look.

Gradually the present-opening excitement settles down and the guests are retrieving to the swimming pool to get more Birthday fun. Chocolate and cherry scent is still soaring in the air. Only few people are still lingering in the emptied room. The Birthday girl is changing into a swimming suit to join the other kids. The process takes long as she jumps up with the excitement between pulling off the pieces of clothing.

Her older sister tiptoes to reach my ear, “She thinks that’s all for today”. Sparkles dancing in her eyes and a cunning curve of her lips gives away that more surprises for the Birthday girl are yet to come.

The End

All our times have come 
Here but now they're gone 
Seasons don't fear the reaper 
Not do the wind, the sun or the rain 
We can be like they are 
(Blue Oyster Cult ‘Don’t Fear’)

Probably I sited myself facing away from the cafe door on purpose. For some reason it was hard to think of meeting his eyes the moment he would enter. To suppress the inner trembling I took my notepad and began writing down my stream of consciousness just to keep myself busy. That worked out, it brought at least some order into my head. I knew I had to put the end to it and I needed to do it now. But still I couldn’t tame shiver.

 In a few moments I heard someone walking to my table from the door. The footfall was quite and somewhat reluctant. I knew it was him. Still not daring to break from the page I very carefully dropped my eyes to the floor.

Of course I recognized the shoes, there could be no doubts about their possessor. I took a deep breath and finally made myself look up trying to radiate friendly smile.

‘Hey! How is it going?’ ‘Going good’, he replied. He seemed bewildered with my request to meet up. He sat down taking just a half of the chair, a wrinkle rooted between his eyebrows, circumspection in his eyes. He fixed his gaze at me probably expecting explanations why would I want to see him so urgently.
I needed another deep inhale to bring myself to speaking.

 I started with a small talk about his trip to Rathdrum that weekend. With the flow of conversation his huge muscular figure still was constrained, movements restricted, but it helped me to get to the point.

So I started cautiously ‘This conversation will probably seem meaningless and useless to you. But it’s important for me.’

He shook his head energetically ‘It’s not meaningless’. ‘I need to put a full stop. And there are some things left unsaid’, I kept on. He leaned forward bearing serious interested expression on his face. ‘I just wanted to thank you for being there for me. I want you to know I would have never made it without you. It would have being a living hell if you weren’t by my side. You are a wonderful person’.

His reply was quite simple, ‘Thank you’, he dropped his eyelids in bemusement.

Then he went on with complimenting me back and contemplating about me being I great person. But I cut him down. ‘There are some things I shouldn’t have done. Well, I took certain things for granted. And sometimes just acted silly’.

He tried to deny my last statement, but a brief nod of his head indicated that in reality he agreed.

I decided not to drag attention to this fact and continued ‘Remember, you asked me what I was thinking about on our way back from Lookout? I didn’t tell you then.  But watching the sun setting behind the mountains and having you near I thought that moment was perfect. Thank you.’ 

He smiled for the first time during the conversation ‘You are welcome’, his movements became freer up to this point, shoulders relaxed, and he leaned comfortably in his chair.

The discussion dwelt on our nearest plans, of course mine separated from his. Long pauses in the conversation made it slightly uncomfortable, but it was hard for me to cut it down and let him go. So I lingered, he didn’t initiate to put the end to it either. Finally I turned to my cell phone to reply a message.

 He watched me with curiosity, but didn’t ask anything. Eventually I had enough courage to finish it. ‘Ok, can’t keep you any longer’, I stood up, he copied my move, walked me to the door and opened the door for me.

I put on my sunglasses to conceal sadness in my eyes. This gesture didn’t go unnoticed, he gave me an attentive look. Of course, he knew me well enough to realize what it meant. He peered closely at me, straight through the sunglasses ‘Are you O’K?’ I nodded and smiled. There was a friendly hug before I got into my car and rushed away from the spot.

Happy Birthday to my precious self

The color of the sun was unnaturally blue. It was the color that you can see in the pictures created by web designers when the add more brightness to the blue to make it catch your eye immediately. So it was amazingly blue transparent sky with unexpectedly warm February sun in it. It was a perfect beginning of a perfect day.

Mike went out of the car with a bouquet of flowers.  With a confident tread he made it to my door. His lips were curved into a cunning smile but his eyes were hidden behind the sunglasses so it was impossible to say what he was thinking about.

‘Happy Birthday!’, he said. I took the bouquet from him. ‘Wow! You have brought me flowers!’  I said cheerfully. ‘Thank you.’

‘Yes’, he finally took off his sunglasses. His eyes narrowed in a satisfying smile. He put his hand on my shoulder giving a friendly warm hug. ‘Are you ready to go?’

‘I am! Will just grab my backpack downstairs. You come in’ I waved my arm in a sort of welcoming gesture offering him to come in and rushed downstairs. With the corner of my eye I noticed him taking a few unsure steps forward and freezing on a spot saying ‘Nice house’.

When I came back with my snowboarding possessions I found him at the same place. His huge muscular figure didn’t move, feet wide, lips parted in amazement, eyes wide. Only his head is moving allowing his glance to wonder around the marvelous house I temporary live in. And there is much to be charmed with: oak decorated walls, fireplace and probably the most breathtaking scenery out of the window. Lake is glittering in the sun surrounded by mountains. Grand pine trees and fir trees  cover the mountain slopes so they looks like enormous green waves.

‘It’s a great place’, his voice sounds excited and slightly shocked.

‘Yes, I know’ I move my shoulder carefree in acknowledgement. ‘Not mine though. But I was extremely lucky to get it as a home. Let’s go’.  Mike takes my snowboard from next to the sofa and then he takes my backpack from me. His movements are gentle and caring. His green eyes are very warm as he is doing it. The way he helps me to get my stuff into the car makes me feel protected and safe. Not as if I need much of protection. But it’s an amazing thing about Mike. The way he does every little thing always makes me feel shielded from any possible harm. Somehow he shows a big deal of care doing anything.

We get into the car. ‘I can smell coffee!’ I announce with a smile. ‘This one is for you’, he says in a quite calm voice. And so we take off to the mountain resort.
The sky is marvelously unreal blue and warm sun rays are kissing my check through the car window. We take off into a marvelous day.

Happy Birthday to me!

An escape from the routine 

Sun, fresh powdered snow and blue sky distinguished a week-long escape from the routine. A real paradise for snow-riders.  A late morning of one of those magnificent days in the mountains found six people resting comfortably in a cozy sitting room. Tall old snow-covered pine trees outside the windows stretched as far as an eye could see; blue, green and white colours dominated the scenery creating a perfect surrounding for a lazy morning in the mountains.

Everybody’s attention was caught by a big screen over the fire-place which had a popular American game ‘Vegetables vs. Zombies’ running played by Sophia, a seven-year-old girl. She was sitting on a coach motionless in her concentration, legs crossed, blue eyes widened. Only her hand moved to change the position of a computer mouse.

Her younger sister Chloe who wasn’t naturally too interested in such a long battle of vegetables against zombies was setting up a checker game on a coffee table close to David, her Dad. ‘Daddy, I’m ready!’ she announced with impatience in her voice. Her Dad switched his focus from the ‘Zombie’ game which he had been following closely to his younger daughter, ‘I’ll be black or white?’. He spoke with a gentle voice leaning back comfortably in an arm-chair, but something in his voice gave away his anticipation to hear his daughter’s answer. The girl started intellectualizing on the issue, ‘Blacks are bad guys and whites are good. So I’m going to be white. You play blacks, Daddy!’ Her Dad simulated a disappointment in his voice. ‘No, I won’t play then!’. With these words he stood up and went away as if the idea of playing blacks was resenting. Chloe froze in perplexity, her  jaw slightly fell down, eyes widened. In a slow disappointed voice she tried to protest ‘But I want to play with good checkers’.

‘Both sides can be good’, assumed a man who kept silence before. Before this moment he had seemed to be completely involved into the computer game.  His enormous muscled figure which now turned into a rock in his stillness and clear distinct pronunciation together with seasoned features gave away his occupation in the military area. Children called him Bike Mike because he spent lots of time exercising with his bike. ‘Men in black are good’, he added with a wink.

‘That’s right! And Zorro wore black. He was a good guy!’, girls’ Grandma enthusiastically joined into a conversation. She was a blond-haired lady with smiling eyes and kind features who sited herself comfortably in the sofa with her older granddaughter on her right and the younger one in front of her. Before this moment she had also been deep into the video game cheering her granddaughter against zombies.

Chloe seemed to accept all the reasoning about the possibility for black checkers to be good. ‘Alright,  I’ll play blacks!’, she addressed her Dad who returned with a cup of coffee and to her delight they finally started the game.

‘I can’t do anything against these zombies!’ complained Sophia raising her voice in disbelief, eyes shooting furious glances onto the screen, hand nervously clutching a little ball.  ‘Put down a raw of scary mushrooms’ David redirected his attention from the checkers to the screen. ‘They will shoot long range’, explained he with a soothing comforting voice which apparently settled down the anxiety of his older daughter. But the excitement of the game didn’t disappear. ‘They come back from nowhere!’, exclaimed the Grandmother in astonishment. ‘That is what they always do’, agreed Sophia excitingly without moving or even blinking. Even Chloe got dissolved in the battle forgetting about her game. But her involvement into the sister’s game wouldn’t last too long. After attentive observation of the screen she turned back to her board. ‘Daddy, it’s your turn!’, she reminded David. Her Dad gave a thoughtful look to the board, moved one of the checkers and turned again to Sophia, ‘Keep planting staff’, he instructed her, closing a grip of both hands on his coffee cup. ‘Best defense is a good offense’, supported him Mike, still sitting very still, legs crossed.

After a while Sophia reached a higher level of the game which was met with cheers and encouragement from her family and friends; and the checker game was over. ‘You beat me!’ exclaimed her Dad, hugging Chloe with one hand and pulling her closer to him. Little girl seemed not to believe her victory. ‘Daddy, I wasn’t going to win!’, hesitation and rapture filled her voice.

‘One more game?’, asked Dave. 

One morning

I: ‘Do you think we can meet somebody who is like an angel one day?’
Sophia: ‘Actually we have already met such a person!’
I: ‘Really? And who is it?’
Sophia: ‘Deb!’
It was one of those mornings when I wished I wouldn’t wake up at all as it is sleep that gives us serenity and obliviation. Travelling to Morpheus land gives us a chance to retreat from disappointments of the real world and find a haven and harmony in a dream. Nevertheless no matter how far would you go in your journey to the desired tranquility in your sleep, wakeup is still non-avoidable. And that morning the recollections of the bitter pill I had to swallow were the first thing that struck me with the light of the day.

But even amidst darkness there must be a smile. And that smile can be a matter of the simple things found in the usual order of everyday routine.

‘How are you guys doing? Good morning!’, with this words I opened the door to the children’s room and found an unusual thing. Sophia was standing among the chaos of stuffed animals scattered around the room and stretching out the hand with a stuffed dog to her younger sister Chloe. ‘Now, what other two cuddlies do you want next?’, she addressed her. Then she turned to me beaming with a happy smile. ‘We are making our beds by ourselves! It’s our new rule! I help Chloe and she helps me!’, she explained  looking directly at me with her blue eyes shining with pride. ‘Wow! That’s great! Awesome job!’, I exclaimed, showing a thumb-up sign. It took me about four month to turn making beds into an everyday ritual of starting the day. So this event could be considered a success in the struggle for good habits.

The next time I called into their room I discovered another wonderful scene: beds were made neatly, both girls in the center of the room were doing bends right and left, Sophia with a serious face, Chloe with a playful look. Sophia’s movement were accurate, she would always aim for perfection. But Chloe on the contrary was performing all the movements easily sort of carelessly turning everything into a thrilling game. This character feature to take the world positively had always amazed and admired me. She is a four-year positive thinker.

‘Next exercise is going upstairs!’ commands Sophia excitingly. She rushed to the staircase; her younger sister took off following her and trying to overtake her sister. Her lips pursed tightly, eyes glaring with determination to beat up her sister in the race.

‘Wait guys! What about changing clothes? Would you come back here, please?’, I called them. They both came to a sudden halt and changed direction.  While I was looking for their clothes Sophia leaned back in a chair ‘No school today!’ she said sounding relieved. ‘And we are going to Debb’s!’ she added with anticipation and excitement. The whole morning that day was full of anticipation about the visit to their friend and god-mother Debbie. Just a thought about it made them happy and brought rapture and enthusiasm into the morning.

‘I made a Deb song!’, announced Chloe starting to march around the room. Then she began to rhyme words in a singsong: ‘Deb! Deb! Deb! We love you, Deb!’, Chloe was striding around the room, taking one step with one new word. Her sister was sitting silently on the floor watching her sister seriously and pulling on her clothes. ‘Deb, you are nice as a flower!’, kept on singing the pretty gold-haired little girl. ‘Sissy!’, addressed Chloe her sister, who froze watching her, ‘C’mon! Let’s sing it together!’, called Chloe Sophia to action. Sophia accepted the invitation with enthusiasm starting to repeat the lines after her sister. The next moment they both were pacing around the room filling the room with recitative mouthed happily ‘We love you Deb!’…

‘I love you!’, announced Chloe pulling on her socks, her eyes glaring, cheeks pink because of the excitement.

‘I love you!’ revoiced Sophia bouncing around. ‘And this is all our song for Deb’, she summed up before taking off for breakfast.

Happy Dreams
What do you think of hearing the words ‘harmony’, ‘balance’, ‘serenity’? One could probably recall a starry sky or turquoise sea waves or have reminiscences of soft wind shivering hair, or maybe  fresh scent of pine trees in a forest, a warm touch of a sunray on the face. Somebody might remember the sweetest dream where he is happy. The world is quite generous for this kind of things. Tonight ‘harmony’ was a word I thought about observing a child falling asleep. Charming 7 years old girl named Sophia curved comfortably under the blanket in a shimmering night light.

‘So where are you going today? Happy land? Dinosaur land?’, I ask her

Sophia thoughtfully looks up.

‘Happy land!’ Her face forms a smile, a genuine serene smile, the one when the corners of the lips lift up and eyes give the soft shine.

‘So we are travelling to the happy land, where little people live; and they all are smiling and laughing and playing, and singing…’

‘And none’s sad, they don’t fight’,  she says in a dreamy voice still smiling. Then her look turns into serious and the tone of the voice drops.

‘I wish we would never fight with my sister’

‘Well, that is possible’, I wink at her.

‘Yeah!’, this time her voice sounds quite victorious like as she has already put up the end to the misunderstandings with her sister.  Her tiny fist shows a thumb up sign.

‘And there are butterflies all around.’, Sophia goes on describing the Happy Land. Her eyes begin to shut up. Lips are still smiling.

‘…And flowers of all the possible colours’, I add.’ And kids probably play different musical instruments… Guitars, piano, fiddles and even trumpets… Now close your eyes and imagine the games they are playing…’

Sophia is laying on the pillow, her eyes are closed, blond curls frame her face, the corners of her lips are lifted up. In the soft shimmering of a night lamp her pale skin seems almost transparent, one could think she is magically lightened up from the inside. She must be far away in a Happy Land now. But still she isn’t sleeping yet.

Her hand reaches for her cheek. The breath slows down, inhales become deeper. She rubs her eyes with a hand, gives a yawn. Then her hand goes back under her cheek.

As her breath becomes even deeper, her lips straighten up into a line, the smile fades away and she looks serious. Her shoulders jerk softly a couple of times and then suddenly she smiles again in her sleep. Now she is really in a far away land and she is happy there.

No comments:

Post a Comment