Hello dedicated and disappointed followers. I'm very sorry to leave you hanging after a mere 3 weeks of my last adventure, but I'm hoping to redeem myself now, with my latest.
In case you haven't been informed, this latest adventure is set in Boadilla del Monte, Spain. A beautiful town about 20 minutes outside of Madrid. As I am preparing for the GRE in the fall, one of my favorite expressions of late is, "Boadilla is to Madrid as Kendall is to Miami." The task in Boadilla is to be the cuidadora for two Spanish princesses, Claudia (8) and Angela (6). For those not as fluent as I, a cuidaora is Spanish for an Au Pair, a nanny, directly translated, 'the girl who cares for us,' or as I like to refer to myself: Maria Poppins. I got the gig by way of my sister. The mother of the princesses, Isabel, was one of Kefryn's roommates when they lived in Madrid (2000ish). She requested me, or someone like me to look after her kiddies for 6 weeks of summer while her and her marido (hubby) go to work. You all probably know that last summer I was unavailable, but we made it happen in 2011.
The new and improved Mary Poppins bag, circa 2011.
I left Miami on the 30th of June, 3 days after my 21st birthday marathon, and arrived in Madrid on the evening of July 1st. Isabel was waiting for me in the airport. She brought me to our home in Boadilla where I met the aforementioned marido, Angel. The girls weren't home because they had stayed with their grandparents in Manzanares (see: Don Quixote of La Mancha). After a tour of my rooftop cuarto, a little unpacking, gazpacho, y frozen pizza dinner, I put myself to bed - I would be meeting princesses tomorrow, after all...
The princesses wearing every piece of jewelry I brought.
Isabel and I left for Manzanares via Madrid in the late morning. We had to pick up her brother, Antonio's girlfriend, Luna on the way. Luna, next to Claudia, is the best translator I have encountered thus far. The town of Manzaneres is just as you would expect the setting of a 17th century Spanish novel to look like - and so does the abuelos' house. The bottom floor is used for Summer and the top for Winter. Two complete houses, one on top of the other. Every room on the bottom has at least two doors, and the entry room is decorated in spectacular classic spanish tile. It's fantastic.
Unfortunately, the only pictures I was motivated to take of this Spanish masterpiece was of the dog, Linda.
I was quite nervous about what to expect when I walked in. But the second I did, I knew I was in the right place. The little one immediately grabbed my hand and hasn't let it go since. And the older one doesn't like me as much--she only likes to hold my hand/sit in my lap 90% of the time. These girls are the most loving girls I've ever worked with - that is not to talk bad about any other kids I've looked after, but I usually have to work a little before I receive that kind of love. Claudia speaks beautiful english and Angela is so fervidly eager to learn, it blows me away. And I am happy to say that by the end of this I expect to have the Spanish vocabulary of a completely fluent 6-year-old!
After spending the day at Isabel's parents with her sister, brother, and their significant others, we headed back to Boadilla. The next day was lunch in Madrid with Angel's parents, twin brother, and unfortunate Nadal Wimbledon loss.
Today, the fourth (yay America?!), was my first day alone with the girls. It included barbie-playing, homework - complete with a reading from my bilingual Cat in the Hat present, pool time, lunch (Isabel's cream of pumpkin soup & albondigas), tv + siesta for la cuidadora, more pool, dinner, iCarly en Espanol, and bedtime/blogtime.
The pool time was also "Angela-kidnap-Landis'-camera-and-take-pictures-of-everything-in-sight-time." So you have her to thank for these because I had definitely not been as diligent...