On Monday we had a Christmas LCC meeting which was also an international Potluck. This means that we all had prepared a meal from our home country that was typical for Christmas, and I made meatballs for it.

Right when we got to our LCC’s house, me and Anna gave a gift to her,since today (Tuesday) was her birthday, with a cup, some german tea and some candy for her which she seemed to appreciate!

After that we ate, caught up with others from the group we might not have seen in a while and just sat around inte the house.
Then we had a gift exhange where you either opened a new one or stole a gift, and not until the very end did people steal gifts, but once it began it never stopped. I ended up with nail polish ad my gift.

After that our LCC was walking around saying ”did you guys hear that? It sounds like someone’s on the roof” in various different ways, before we gathered to take some group pictures, when santa all of a sudden came in. He gave out gifts for us all (pictures below) and we then took some group pictures with him as well.

It was really cool to get to see what different countries eat for christmas and it was an overall really nice night!

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Better late than never is how the saying goes, right?

Almost three weeks ago we celebrated Thanksgiving, and it was so nice! We were a total of 15 people in the house for the meal, out of which 11 slept in the house. We had some family travel down to us all the way from Pennsylvania and they came here rather late on Wednesday evening as the kids had school that day.

On Thursday morning we all gathered in the living room and watched Macy´s Thanksgiving parade. Though being 15 people in a house where there's normally five of us caused some minor problems with seating and such, so we ended up with some people on the floor and some on kitchen chairs. But the adults sort of came and went during the parade, as they were preparing the meal. This part reminded me very much of Christmas back home, where the TV will be on showing "From all of us to all of you" (Kalle Ankas Jul) for those who it is important to, have nothing else to do, or just feel like watching it, while some of the adults cook the food.

We (as in me and the younger ones) played some card games before dinner, and just had a laugh. Then came dinner. Which consisted of Turkey with stuffing, mashed potatoes, veggies, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes topped with marshmallows (I am still not sure about this combination, like it tastes nice, but marshmallows in my meal?), but all in all the dinner was delicious! This was of course followed by dessert, which was pumpkin pie and apple pie with ice cream and whipped cream.

After dinner we abandoned the card games and played hide and seek instead, with the first round taking forever since R's hiding spot was a reeeally good one!

I really enjoyed getting to celebrate one of the most American holidays, and I'm thankful to have been given the chance to do so!

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Today me and Anna went in to DC to see the big cristmas tree, and also the state trees. We ended up going to the big monuments as well, and realized just how far from each other they are. This led to the phrase of the day becoming ”Just because you can see it, it doesn’t mean it’s close.”
We discovered that it takes at leeeast 40 minutes to walk from the Lincoln memorial to the Capitol building. My feet are dead.
When we came back from DC we went to Downtown Annapolis and looked at the Christmas tree there, which was way better looking than the one in DC. (Blue one as displayed in the pictures was from Annapolis, big one with lights all over is DC one, then the little one is the state tree for Maryland)
When in Annapolis we also saw a boat with a red nose and antlers, driven by santa, and we saw another santa that we took a picture with!
Today had been a very good, very Christmasy, day!

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If you look closely at this picture you’ll be able see the remainders of the pumpkins we chugged down this hill behind the house when they started going moldy

This is what happens when you send the readers to a library, and this was only a few of the books

After watching one of S’s games all the way over in Delaware (ticked off another state ✔️) we stopped for food at The Crabcake factory, and then made our way to Ocean City, but by the time we got there it was quite dark but we still took loads of pictures (that I currently have no access to)

The phone camera and darkness were not the best of friend. Other than that the game was a 0-0 tie, and it was rather cold outside as well

There was also this slightly confusing sign in the bathroom...

There has also been an ongoing moving back and forth of this make-up and hair doll going on and it is currently in my bathroom waiting to be moved to either of the kids room (realitically I’m gonna forget it’s there and scare myself)

Recently me and R have played a lot of Uno, which gets a bit tiring so I decided to get a Skip-Bo so now we’ve played a bit of that as well

Last week R had an end of the season meeting with her soccer team where the kids and some of the adults (me included) played dodgeball for about an hour before we had pizza

A series of photos is not complete without food, sovherr is a picture of the food I had at TGI Fridays when me and Anna went there last week

Of all the cards I could have picked up from the middle of the pile of questions I got this one.

(The Naval Academy is located in the area where I live, so me and Ely had a big laugh at this)

And finally, this is how close to you the dog gets if you’ve been gone for more than an hour. She’ll jump up on you and sit on your lap for three minutes, then run off again

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Yesterday I got picked up at 11 by Meg to go for brunch. Our brunch did however turn into pure lunch instead as we went to a Chinese restaurant. We ate our food and then we went to the mall where the goal was for Meg to buy some clothes for the night, but instead I'm the one who ended up buying a dress. she then drove me home but followed inside to buy some girl scout cookies and she then left.

It's crazy to think that she is leaving for Boston in only a few days when she was the first other Au Pair from my area that I met. I've started to realize that this is a thing as an Au Pair though. In my LCC-group there is only one other person who will be here the exact same time as me and at some point everyone will leave.

But after Meg left I was home for about an hour before I left to pick up Anna for over adventure to Ikea. It was cool to go there and see some of the things we have in our house and that I had in my room back home as well. It also made me realize that people here don't know what the names of the products mean as I am always around other people who speak Swedish when I go to Ikea, but not this time. We had dinner there (what is a trip to Ikea without food?) and I got to eat proper Swedish meatballs the way they're supposed to be which was really nice. We then moved on and paid for the things we had and moved on to the food section, where you can buy typical Swedish foods to bring home. I could honestly have cried a little. I found Marabou milk chocolate (the chocolate here is nothing in comparison) and some Daim AND the Daim cake and a variant of Julmust, which actually tasted the way it should!

We then went back to Anna's house where we stayed for a while before we went out for Starbucks (I have still to find an Au Pair who does not like Starbucks, and I don't even drink coffee myself) and we ended up going in to Barnes and Noble as well and just looked around at the books there and I found a book called "Lagom" which a guy in the store said he had read last week and that it gave a good perspective on the world and I flicked through it a little and it seemed pretty cool (and very relatable).

All in all I had a really good day!

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Yesterday I went to lunch with two persons from Germany and we went to a diner and it was one of the more American places I've been to this far. It had the booths everywhere and neon signs inside. But most importantly, it had jukeboxes. Little things on the wall next to the tables with music that varied from Taylor Swift to Elvis Presley to Christmas music. Naturally we had to try this out and we ended up putting on Rudolph the red nosed reindeer. Now if you've never been to a place with these, they play the music in all the booths, not just yours. So I could hear some people next to us laughing then sighing when they heard what song came on, and from our laughing I think they knew we were behind it.


Today my host kids were home from school and we ended up having a pretty chill day, me and R played multiple games of Uno and Jenga. Later in the day we went into the woods behind the house and took some pictures and just wandered around and apparently the place we ended up stopping at usually is a part of a river but it was all dried out.

In the evening I met a Polish girl and we went for Frozen Yoghurt and just talked before we went to see Happy Death Day which I thought was actually a really good movie, and I had a great time!


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Yesterday I went to pick up S after school while my host dad took R to a soccer game. We went straight to Target to get a card and some decorations for today's birthday party. We spent about an hour there before we went home and started the preparations there. We did the last touches on R's gifts before she got home. We then had to go into hideout in my room to prepare more after R got home from her game.

In my room we blew up a bunch of balloons, listened to old music and told each other bad jokes. Apparently we were making enough noise so that R got curious and my host mom had to stop her from coming up.

While we were doing this R and my host mom was making the cake downstairs so we couldn't start decorating there until she went to bed, which happened close to midnight. In the meantime, I and S made a broom out of the cardboard inside a roll of wrapping paper and some yellow paper, which we later hung up between mine and R's rooms.

When R was finally in bed I and S went downstairs and put up streamers and balloons (pictures below) as well as a "flying" owl holding R'a acceptance letter from Hogwarts since she has turned eleven.

Today awaits the actual birthday party and I am also going to a Navy football game!

See you soon,
Hanna

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I just realized that I have never summarized a workday before and that some people might be interested in that so here we go.

Today I woke up at 6.10 and got dressed before I at 6.15 went to wake up my host children. I then proceed to make myself look a bit more acceptable than I do after only putting my clothes on. I then go and check on them once again to make sure they're actually getting up. I then go back and make my bed and grab the stuff I need before I go and check on them one last time to make sure they're getting dressed and what not. This morning the last time I checked in on R I couldn't see if she was up because of how dark it was and she then spoke which made me jump.

After they have woken up I proceed downstairs to eat breakfast, and like most days I had two pieces of toast with ham today, if anyone is actually interested in that. R came down shortly after me and she then packed her lunch, had some cereal for breakfast and packed her bag. A while later S also made it downstairs, packed her lunch, made a smoothie and let the dog out (which they do biweekly) before we had to leave the house.

I then drive them to school and we had to be there at 7.45 today because of Girls Ensemble. After dropping them off I drove back home and the first thing I did was to have a bath which is my new favorite thing. I watched an episode of The Big Bang Theory whilst in my bath. I got dressed again and went downstairs only to fall asleep on the couch for three hours. Which isn't too unusual.

My host mom had to go to the Emergency room yesterday after fainting due to multiple things that have happened in the last few weeks, and therefore her mother stayed the night with us and stayed up until I had to leave to pick up R before her soccer practice today. Up until we both left we were all three sitting in the family room just taking it easy.

Like I said I then picked up R at 5 pm for her soccer practice, and about 45 minutes into the practice the coach decided to cut it short due to the rain (something that would never happen in Sweden) to save the grass on the field from getting destroyed. We then went home, R did her homework and at around 9 pm S and my host dad came home from S's practice as well.

Not much exciting has happened since. I am about to start getting ready for bed now since it's almost 11 pm.

My working hours today were:
6.15-8.15 am
4.30-10.00 pm

I hope someone found this interesting, and I'll keep you updated!
/Hanna


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Since last I've been to Washington DC twice. First time we went to see the major things such as the White House, the Obelisk and the Lincoln Memorial. We also took an Uber to Georgetown to see the University there and did some shopping as well.
Second time it was just me and Ely 🇨🇿and we first went to the gym before going to DC. The only reason we went to DC today was to eat some Czech food, and we ended up eating a three-course meal of which all the dishes where over expectation!

Last weekend as well me and three others went to Baltimore to go to Oktoberfest which was really not what we was expecting. When the initial chock of what we had signed up for was gone we ended up having quite a good time!

My Host family were away on a camping trip this weekend and when they came home on Sunday it turned out that R had run into a bar causing her to get a concussion. This means no sportd, no screen time and no reading until the doctors says she can do it again. This has ended in me and her baking almost every day this week, both some american things and some Swedish things!

I'll try to update more often, at least with pictures!
Hanna

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The past weekend has been an eventful one!

On Friday I went to lunch with one of the new Au Pairs in my LCC-group, Joni🇩🇪, and we had Thai food. We also met up with Ely🇨🇿 for a bit and just sat on the docks for a bit before the two of them had to go back to work. I myself only worked two hours in the morning and had the rest of the day off!
In the evening the three of us plus Meg🇦🇺 and Annalisa🇮🇹 met up again to go and see "It" in the cinema. We ended up having to see one that started earlier than the one we were aiming for because it was so full, but then again it only came out that day. We ended up having to split up inside the cinema to even fit in there, and I ended up sitting with Meg in the top row(!) The movie was really good and I would definitely recommend you to see it!

On Saturday the same people as Friday minus Joni met up for lunch and we ended up getting Chinese. We stayed there for quite some time before we moved on to a coffee shop that was closer to where we all live and stayed there talking some more.
For some reason, I was really tired after this and ended up falling asleep for about two hours before I went with my Host family to their church for Spaghettidinner.

Sunday I met up with the same people as on Friday and we went to Baltimore to go to the Baltimore Museum of Art which was really cool. We had some detours going on due to late navigating (hi Meg) but we made it there and it wasn't like we were in a rush anyway. We wandered around the museum a bit over an hour before we headed off for dinner, which we ended up getting at Olive Garden and I had some really good Pasta Alfredo (also the bread they have there is to die for). After dinner we headed back to where we'd met that morning and Annalisa bought a pair of trainers before we changed cars and went to Downtown and got some Starbucks and just sat on the docks talking.
A big thing this day was the cars. Going to Baltimore and back we were in a five seated car which is kind of crowded when you are five people but we managed. Going to Downtown we were in a seven seated car, however, this car had two child seats in it so we still had to sit quite tightly. I also ended up in the backseat all of the time. We had some ups and downs with the music that was being played, but on our way back from Downtown we ended up listening to throwback music really loudly and everyone was singing along.

I can easily say that this has been a great weekend and that I've had a lot of fun!

Hanna

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