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Piles of Paperwork (and Alliteration)

Well this is truly amazing! I'm actually updating with something somewhat substantial twice in the space of two days! That is.. assuming that I actually post what I'm now typing once I get home where there is internet and the like. But we shall overlook that for now.
Ah well. I'm still posting twice in the space of a week, so we can still consider it something of a success.

I've sat down and had a proper look through my stacks of paperwork now, and discovered that there are several things that I will need to be sending off to various people, appointments I need to make, and all sorts of things to sign and the like. I will also be needing to send an email to the lady in Auckland with questions. So far I have nine of them, but by the time I actually send it they may have decided to breed. We'll see.

The big, brown envelope beside me contains an assortment of different papers. I've got to go down and get some photos taken of me. Two nice, smiling ones (That could be hard, I'm useless with photos), and two that fit the very strict American visa regulations. No smiling, no hats or glasses, light background, and my head has to be a specific size. I hate photos.

Then there is an eight-page contract (eight pages of teeny-tiny writing) with 68 clauses, mostly stating all the things that would result in me being kicked out of the program. Over half the clauses end in either "Au Pair understand that ...doing this thing... may result in immediate dismissal from the program and return to Au Pair's home country at Au Pair's own expense." or "As with all other terms of this Agreement, if the Au Pair violates this term of the Agreement, AuPairCare may in its sole discretion terminate Au Pair's participation in the program and immediately repatriate Au Pair to his/her home country at Au Pair's own expense." They're just covering they're backsides, in case something goes wrong and I decide to sue them, but the amount of stuff they felt the need to cover in there was somewhat brilliant. There were even several mentions of what could happen to me if I decided to go and get myself pregnant. Also found out that I'm going to have to do tax returns (bummer) and watch that I don't post any pictures or names of the family, house, kids and all that. Which I guess is good, to protect them from Harolds and the like, but something of a pain, as I'll have to be careful what I say in this thing, and watch what photos I put up on facebook.

The contract from the New Zealand people is just one page of normal-sized print. In fairness, they do have a lot less to cover. Most of it is just "behave yourself and follow the rules". I've signed that already. It's about the only one I don't have any questions about.

Then there's more childcare hours sheets. They're going to be a pain in the butt, but I shan't continue complaining about how impossible it is to figure out exact hours. This time it's split into group hours, and babysitting etc. They're slowly getting more specific each time they try to get me to figure it out. I need to photocopy a few dozen of each sheet before I can fill them out.

I've also got to send off for a police check, to make sure I'm not a criminal or anything, and sweet talk a few people into writing references for me. And there's guarantor forms, and medical forms, and forms for all sort of other things that I might one day understand.
I really do need to send that email off with all my questions... Sent! Hah! I now eagerly await a reply from the poor lady. I had rather a lot of questions in there... Hopefully she can help me with them and I haven't gone and given her a whole bunch of impossible questions. Especially as I need to be getting on with this asap if I want to be leaving the country straight after Walsh.

I also got another email, saying that I need to renew my passport in order to get a visa. My passport expires in February 2012. I should be getting back in February 2011. The stupid thing doesn't expire for over two years and they want me to get another one! I've only had it for two and a bit years. Stupid NZ passports only lasting five years. Stupid paranoid Americans wanting me to have a passport that expires more than one year after I leave them. Do they have any idea how expensive those things are? I've asked if I can get the visa on my British passport. That one doesn't expire for more than nine years. It had better be good enough.

Interviews and Paperwork

So much for regularly updating this thing regularly so I'll get in the habit of it before America. Ah well. I always knew It wasn't going to happen much to start with. Maybe I'll get better.

Anywho, America stuff.
The interview was three weeks ago, out in Raumati South. It went pretty well, the lady was really nice, and it only ended up taking about an hour (aside from all the time it took for me to get out there and back. Silly traffic). It was split up into three parts, each which took about twenty minutes or so, the third on probably not even that. First section was an interviewy thing. Questions about how I get on with my parents, how independent I am, how I'd cope with homesickness and being immersed in another culture, all that sort of stuff. I found the long list of food she had to ask me about particularly amusing. "Has the applicant tried Chinese/Mexican/Korean/Japanese/Italian/Somalian etc. food? Did she like it? If no, would she be willing to try it?" Sure America will be a different culture, but I don't think it'll be quite so amazingly foreign as they're making it out to be. Or maybe as culturally different in the way they're putting it. I really need to learn how to phrase myself so that I get the point across better. Ah well.
Second part was a personality test thing. Seventy-five (and all similar) questions, all statements about yourself, and you put yourself along the continuum, from 1-5. Some of them were pretty standard, but there were a lot of really weird ones. "I sometimes find myself wearing clothes that I do not remember putting on." I think that was my personal favourite. We put it down to the quiz being American, and therefore naturally odd. But she said that the New Zealand people don't really pay much attention to it, it's more for the use of the American people for whatever it is they do. After I'd done it, she had this transparent grid thing with black lines on it that she placed over my answer sheet. If my answers were outside the black line I had to justify them with a sentence. I think that was possibly the hardest part  of the interview, simply because justifying my answers to pretty self-explanatory questions without just rephrasing the question was nearly impossible. The woman was really helpful. Apparently everyone has some outside the marks, and justifying it is always hard. But really, if you answer "almost always" to "I find it easy to have fun", what else is there to say as justification. I was also out of the line in regards to how I relate to stress. That was three questions, which pretty much all said "In a stressful situation I will make jokes or laugh about the situation". I said "often", because generally I try to find the funny side of things when I'm stressed, as it's better than focusing on the bad stuff. Finding the words to explain it three separate times was something of a pain. Ah well, we can just put it down to the strange Americaness.
Third part was the shortest, and pretty much basic logic. Six (seven?) questions on how I'd cope with various situations while Au Pairing. Stuff like "A strange man turns up at the door, saying that he's supposed to take the kids to a party that you have herd nothing about. The parent's aren't contactable. What do you do?" Me: Uh, sure. Him and his rusty old van stuffed with candy and ice cream for luring in small children, I don't think so.
Overall, good interview, which it must've been, because I got a call a week later to say I got in (took a week for the interviewer to send the papers to the lady in Auckland).

I then had to send off the first payment of $500, and this morning I got a big brown envelope full of papers. I now have a whole pile of stuff to sort through. I've only flicked through the pile so far, I'll probably do another post in the next few days with paperwork stuff. From my quick look this morning there's contracts that need signing, references to get, photos to take, and then more questiony type things.
Okay, I'm going to start actually using this thing now. I figure it's as good a place as any to use for updates on America next year, and if I get into the habit of posting things now (even if no one actually reads these) then I'll already be in the habit of posting when I go over there. So I shall now name this as the America Journal.

So... America news... Well, so far there isn't much of that, considering I'm not even fully through the application process yet. It's still not even entirely confirmed that I'm going, but the lady I spoke to on the phone last Friday seemed to think I'd be fine, seeing as I've got the childcare hours, and a few references who I'm not related to. I've got an interview with a lady called Alison up in Raumati next Thursday after school. The interview is supposed to be almost two hours long, which seems incredibly long to me, and I've got no idea how she's going to find that many questions to ask me. Apparently there's likely to be a bunch of "this bad thing happens, what would you do?" scenarios, which can't be all that bad, as that should all just be a little common sense. Should be interesting.

Before the interview, I've also got to fill in a whole bunch of sheets outlining all my childcare experience, which is proving to be a bit of a mission really. Sure, I can figure out basic hours pretty easily, but they're after names of everyone I've ever babysat for, and a complicated summary of how many hours I've spent with each kid and all that. I can do the names relatively easily, but the hours are incredibly blurry, especially with looking after kids like Hamish and Matthew, who have just been around since they were born. I've only officially babysat them a few times, but I've taken them off for a bit at a few festivals, changed loads of nappies, and all sorts of other things for them way more than that, and it's somewhat impossible to put a number of hours on it. Same with the brownies. I've been there for six years now (a scary thought in itself!) and totalling up a number of hours is far too hard. I guess I'll just have to go with a bunch of averages. Hopefully they don't mind if I guess a bit.

The doom is nigh

This is the first time I'm posting in forever, and naturally it is because I'm avoiding something.
The something I'm avoiding this time is Classics. And History. Both of which are rather large projects. Both are due tomorrow. I am nowhere near finishing either. And yet I still procrastinate. It's like I have some sort of brain thing where I want to cause myself more pain. I'm already going to end up typing into the early hours of the morning, so wasting that typing energy on something relatively pointless like this is so incredibly stupid of me. And yet I'm still typing.

Ok, stopping now before I end up rambling about the doom instead of doing something about it forever.

Jan. 6th, 2009

Why is it that no-one can spell my name? Is it really that difficult? And do people have some strange sort of thing where they think I've spelt my own name wrong, and they're helpfully correcting me? I'm so sick of sending official documents back because they can't spell, or because they think I'm a man! It's really pissing me off at the moment, and I hate having to keep sending things back. If I tick the F box, as opposed to the M box, it means I am female! I think I would know if I was male, and I don't need stupid medical certificate people trying to correct my obvious gender confusion!
I've been spelling my name for seventeen years now, I think I know how to spell it!

Ok, sorry for the ranting. I really should be used to it by now, but it still frustrates me so much, especially when I've already sent something back three times.

Merry Christmas!

I guess I should actually use this thing more often. I've had it over a year now and I've barely touched it.

Looks to be a good Christmas this year. We're off to Ruth and Gerard's soonish, and once we get back I'll head off to the flat for dessert and such.

I feel like there's heaps I should write about, but I'm feeling lazy and can't be bothered thinking about whatever it is I should write about. I don't think anyone actually reads this anyways, so it doesn't really matter.

Oh, we're leaving now. Yay! I don't have to think of something to write so that this won't be a sad lonely post of ramblyness. Which it is, but ah well. Maybe I'll come back and actually write something someday.

I am a very silly person.

I just signed up for NaNoWriMo.

I have no idea why.

I don't even write!

And it's in the middle of exams.

I am screwed.


I do things!

It is a Saturday and I have actually done something (After not getting out of bed until 1...)! Since then I have cleaned both bathrooms, made (and very nearly burned to a crisp) some muffins, sorted out some information for Wellyfest to give to my friends so that they actually know what I am talking about when I tell them they have to be there, fixed up my music on itunes so that everything has capital letters and such (I am a bit O.C.D. and can't cope with things like that) and finally booked a defensive driving course for the end of the holidays so that I will hopefully actually have my full by the time the aforementioned Wellyfest rolls around! Am particularly happy to have the defensive driving course booked as it is something I have been meaning to do since the beginning of the year since I have been eligible to do it.

Tomorrow I have yet another weekend of guiding as I am off to brownie revels out at Battle Hill which should be fun. We only have three girls going, along with me and Julianne, so it's going to be a quieter one (well, as quiet as you can get with a bunch of 7-9 year old girls) which should be nice.

It is now approaching the dinner time and so I say farewell for now.
I hope this worksCollapse ) So after that short and thrilling summary of a small portion of my doom I must evacuate the computer in order for it to be terrorised by the younger sibling.