I know what you’re thinking: Molly, you only work 20 hours a week and you live in a tiny village in Austria. That sounds awesome and all, in theory, but what do you do all the time? If you’re very clever, you’re thinking: There’s no way you’re going into the city everyday, because you’d never be able to afford all those awesome weekend trips.
But you must be doing something, right?
To be honest, in my first months as an au pair, I was overwhelmed by the amount of free time I had (by far the most since before I started high school). I just kind of drifted around…and watched a lot of TV. But I’ve started to get into a nice schedule, especially as the weather has gotten warmer. I work as an au pair from (roughly) 7:30 to 12:30, Monday through Thursday. I always have Fridays off, and on Fridays I always ride with my “host dad” to Linz and spend the morning volunteering at LISA (an English language elementary school). I spend Friday afternoons having city time–poking around stores, going to museums, sitting by the Danube, etc. So Fridays are different. And weekends, of course, are when I do my adventuring.
But my average Monday-Thursday afternoon goes something like this:
12:30-1:30ish: Check email/facebook and do Something Productive for my apartment–laundry, dishes, take out the recycling, etc.
1:30-2:30ish: Go swimming. Yep, my host family has a pool. I KNOW, RIGHT?
3:00-6:00ish: Read/plan trips. Lately, I’ve been making a lot of progress with reading Grimm’s fairy tales in German–mostly because I can sit outside in the sunshine and ask my host family for help with vocabulary. But I also read tons and tons of fiction/travel guides in English. I am also trying to work “update blog” regularly into this time slot. We’ll see.
6:00ish: Cook/eat dinner. Then I watch TV or a movie for a while before bed.
Right now, I’m on summer hiatus from the choir, but that will go back into the mix in September, and once a week I meet with a lady for a language exchange (we speak for a while in German, so I can practice, and for a while in English, so she can), but that’s it. This is probably the lowest ratio of work to free time that I will ever have, so I’m really trying (against my intrinsic busy-bee personality) to just chill out and enjoy it.