Thursday, July 3, 2014

New Job, New Lessons

For the month of June I am working as a live in au pair for a family who live in Colònia de Sant Jordi, Mallorca. I'm looking after two children: a girl Antònia María who is 11 and a boy Tomeu who is 9, but these aren't just ordinary kids, they have Attention deficit Hyperactivity disorder  (ADHD) so everyday tasks are that little bit harder and take a little longer. Don't get me wrong they are great kids, full of positive energy, they are caring and loving but they have their Oh dear moments.

I've only been with the family for a week, before that I'd only spent an hour with the kids a week, and so far this job has taught me that I don't have as much patients as I thought, but's it's also teaching me to accept every single person for who he/she is, to adapt to the life around me and to try not to stress out over little things.

The days are challenging and long, timetables go out of the window, you have a list of tasks to do that day and if you have time left over you can do whatever you want. The first task of the day is breakfast, something that should only take 15 minutes takes nearly an hour, once task number is one done it's time to move on to task two: getting dressed. Oh hell, that's the most challenging task of the day, "Tomeu, please can you go and get dressed?"  his answer is a "yes" with a huge smile, of he goes. An hour passes and he still hasn't returned, so I go and check on him, there he is either still in his Pyjamas, no clothes on at all or only managed to put underwear on, but he's got completely distracted and is now playing with a Lego boat...

Even though both kids have ADHD they are completely different, Antònia can control herself more she just struggles academically where as Tomeu has a photographic memory  and is highly intelligent, with an IQ higher than most adults but doesn't have the self discipline to apply it, you have to sit with him and help him concentrate on the task ahead.

But despite the everyday challenges they face, they are the happiest kids I've met, respectful of every single person they meet, apologetic after a meltdown, love to play games, swim and draw, like the average kid. They are massively misunderstood. People think that just because they have ADHD they are going to be a handful, but that couldn't be further from the truth, you just need to know how to talk to them and get them engaged in the task in hand.

To Antònia Marñia and Tomeu, Thank you for helping me understand :)

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Jenson Button

My favourite guy races cars for a living,
Racing round and round he never stops giving.
He's tall and slender with bright blue eyes,
No matter what race, his best he always tries.

The car of glistening silver shines in the light,To get on the podium is a difficult fight.

When he crashes or retires it makes me sad,
But to see him walk away unhurt makes me glad.

Screeching tyres as pits pit stops are made,
A good stop mean the race could be saved.
Make on mistake and the whole team pays,
The race engineer, an important role he plays.

Jenson's racing skills make him a master of rain,
At the starting grid, so much to lose, so much to gain.
The Monaco Grand Prix of 2009 he did win,
That season "We are the Champions" he did sing.

For the next victory I might have to wait a while,
I don't mind as long as he continues to smile.
JB is the one I follow with all my heart,
I've followed him right from the start.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter weekend

What a gorgeous weekend!! My Aunt and Uncle came over for the weekend and the weather has been spectacular, it's been so hot and sunny, we spent the whole weekend in shorts and t-shirts getting tanned and in Uncle Paul's and my brothers case sunburnt.

The weekend actually started before they arrived! On the Friday evening we went into town for a few drinks with a couple of neighbours. In the town they had an Easter procession, there were huge statues of Jesus and the Virgin Marie being carried around on peoples shoulders, each statue weighs just over a ton and is carried around the town by a group of 20 men or 28 women. Each float was followed by, what the Spanish call, "Carapuches", which are hooded figures. It was actually quite scary.

Saturday morning I felt sick with excitement, I hadn't seen Uncle Paul or Auntie Vanessa in over two years, as they went travelling around the world for a year, so it felt special to see them again, I was like a kid at Christmas. I woke up early, watched Quali, what a disappointment... didn't go the way I wanted it to. After that I went off to the airport with dad to pick them up, I had butterflies. As soon as I saw them I ran as fast as I could straight into Uncle Paul's open arms, my butterflies went away immediately. On the way back home I got to have a girly chat with Vanessa, it was amazing to catch up! We spent the whole afternoon outside just chatting in the sun, there were some hilarious stories that came out,  it was BLISS! We went out for dinner just to a local restaurant, it was nice just to chill and catch up.

Sunday morning, race day, what a shockingly bad race for McLaren and Massa, that put me in a bad mood, Uncle Paul winded me up something rotten, but it was hard to be mad at him, he's just so funny.  So again just another day of chatting in the sun while eating and talking. Oh and of course, like every time we get together, Dad and Uncle Paul jammed on the guitars for a while, needless to say Uncle Paul was miles better than Dad! But he still insisted on showing Dad how to play songs Uncle Pauls band plays, it was funny. The evening just got better,  after a night time walk, we played Articulate, We've never laughed so much in our lives. Mum burst out into song mid-clue which had us in stitches and then Keiran had to describe Nigel Lawson, but not knowing who he was Keiran's clue was "His first name is a bit of a funny name" So Uncle Paul responded "Dick" my brother cracks up instantly and answers back "Not that funny"... Oh my days, we all ended up crying with laughter.

Which brings me to today, Monday, we all got up quite late, so we decided to go out for a walk in a village up the road and have a snack and a walk. We walked all around Sineu then found a little bar to have lunch in, we all had typical Spanish food called "Pa amb Oli" It was so nice. So again we started chatting, the topic turned to Uncle Pauls job, he's an undertaker, its amazing how many funny stories can come from working in a funeral home. after lunch we drove back home  and lounged around a bit before they had to pack. And before I knew it the weekend was over and Uncle Paul and Auntie Vanessa were saying Goodbye. I felt sad saying Goodbye, as I've got older it's started to hit me that every Goodbye could be the last.

Easter is over, there were horrible parts to the weekend but on a whole it was also really special and amazing. Just can't wait to see them again now.

Monday, February 17, 2014

A Poem for Will

I had a dream that was so real,
Will it was you I could almost feel.
I thought you were really here,
Then I woke to see you disappear.

Tears started running down my face,
And my heart began to race.
Will, I felt you all so near,
Your voice is the one I hear.

You tell me to stay strong,
But everything feel so wrong.
Deep inside I feel so bad,
I constantly feel cold and sad.

You whisper in my ear "All shall be okay",
Because tomorrow will be better than today.
I wish so much you wouldn't leave,
Because I don't want to continue to grieve.

All those days spent at the beach in the sun,
Now are precious memories, we had such fun.
No you're an Eagle who is free to fly,
All day long high in the sky.

At night you are a bright shinning star,
But you being far away has left a scar.
Deep in my heart forever it will stay,
It's been there since you went away.

Will, we all miss you lots,
In my throat I have a huge knot.
You are forever in my heart,
Even though we are far apart.

Love ya man. Xxxx

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Jessica Dubroff: A seven year old who lived by her own rules.

A few days ago I was looking into getting started for my pilot licence, something I’ve wanted since I was 18, when I stumbled across and article about a seven year old little girl called Jessica Dubroff. To be perfectly honest I had never heard of her before, but I became hooked on her story. She lived her own dreams not caring what people said about her and I’d like to share her story with you guys:

She was born in Massachusetts on the 5th of May 1988, to Lisa Blair Hathaway and Lloyd Dubroff and moved to California when she was four with her older brother Joshua and her younger sister Jasmine. She began taking flight lessons from flight instructor Joe Reid on her sixth birthday, and became enthusiastic about flying. Her father, who was separated from her mother by this time, suggested the idea of a coast-to-coast flight, which Jessica readily accepted, and Reid agreed to provide flight instruction and his four seated single engine aircraft for the endeavour. They decided to name their flight "Sea to Shining Sea".

Jessica would sit in the front left seat, Reid in the front right, and Lloyd in the back. It was agreed that Reid would be paid for his services at normal flight instruction rates, plus compensation for the layover time. Reid reportedly told his wife that he considered the flight a "non-event for aviation," simply "flying cross country with a 7-year-old sitting next to you and the parents paying for it.”

Nevertheless, Jessica became an instant media celebrity, having already logged 33 hours of flight time in such a short time. ABC News gave Lloyd a video camera and blank cassettes to tape the flight; once the journey began, it was vigorously followed by supporters, media outlets, and others who monitored its progress, reporting each time Dubroff landed or took off- Jessica had to be assisted by Reid in one of the landings due to high winds.

Dubroff, her father, and her flight instructor arrived in Cheyenne and after some media interviews they got a ride to their hotel in the car of a local radio station program director, who recalled them discussing the forecast weather conditions for the next day. Composite radar image  was showing precipitation intensity around Cheyenne airport at time of departure.

The weather in the morning of the flight, the north and west of Cheyenne was hit by torrential rain but weather conditions were much better to the east, where the flight was headed. Since it began to rain at the airport and the weather seemed to be deteriorating, the program director invited her to stay in Cheyenne, but Dubroff's father declined, explaining that they wanted to "beat the storm" which was approaching.

 Reid decided to take off despite the worsening conditions at the airport, and to try to escape the poor weather by turning immediately eastward. Just before take off Jessica called her mum from the plane phone “Can you hear the rain? Can you hear the rain” The last words Jessica spoke before they were cut off.

As the aircraft began taxiing to the departure runway, it was raining and visibility at the airport fell below the three mile minimum required for VFR flight. Cheyenne's control tower advised the Cessna about the reduced visibility and that the "field is IFR." Reid then requested and received from the control tower a special VFR clearance to allow him to exit the airport's control zone visually, despite the reduced visibility.

At 8:24 AM MST, Dubroff's aircraft began its take off roll from Cheyenne's runway 30 to the northwest, in rain, strong gusty crosswinds and turbulence. According to witnesses, the plane lifted off and climbed slowly, with its nose high and its wings wobbling. It began a gradual right turn, and after reaching an altitude of a few hundred feet, the plane rolled out of its turn, then descended rapidly, crashing at a near-vertical angle into a street in a residential neighbourhood.

The 7-year-old student pilot, Her father, Lloyd Dubroff, 57, and her flight instructor, Joe Reid, died when the plane nose-dived into the driveway of a single-story brick home in a residential area about one mile north of the airport. At the airport now lays a sign : "A little girl and her big dream died here Thursday morning."
Jessica Dubroff (1988-1996)

“Do you hear the rain? Do you hear the rain?”


Sunday, December 8, 2013

Nelson Mandela; A Hero, An Inspiration.

I remember February 2000, I was six year old, sitting in the classroom staring at a tall man from South Africa, he had come in to talk to us about Nelson Mandela, it had been ten year since he's release form prison.

I listened as he spoke, inspired, hanging on to every word, I was hooked and finally I had found something I had been searching for: A Hero.

From that day every library session we had, while my friends hunted down E.B. White and A.A. Mill, I searched for books about Mandela. The more I read, the more I liked him, his achievements were inspiring. First black president of South Africa was something special, I had only ever heard of white presidents until then.

But what struck me the most was his imprisonment, how can someone be put in jail for encouraging his own people to fight for their rights, it sounded barbaric to me at six years old. I was obsessed with Robben Island, Mandela remained there for 20 years, locked in a cell of 2.4 x 2.1 meters with nothing but a straw mat to sleep on; by day he broke rocks into gravel and at night he worked on his LLB degree.

After Robben Island he was moved to Pollsmoor Prison, which allowed him to have communication, through letters, with the outside world and also permitted him to read voraciously. It was here he would be appointed Patron of the Multi-Racial United Democracy Front. There he remained until his 70th Birthday in 1988.

Recovering from Tuberculosis he was moved to Victor Verster prison, housed in comfortable conditions which allowed him to complete his LLB degree.

He was released on February 11th 1990, standing with his wife at his side he gave his first public speech declaring his commitment to peace and reconciliation with the white minority. The speech worked, in 1994 he became president of South Africa, a big step forward for the country and in 1996 he was appointed Chairman of the Southern African Development  Community and installed negotiations to put an end to the first Congo war. In 1997 he stepped down as ANS president and gave his final farewell speech on the 29th of March 1999 after which he retired.

But that wasn't the last of Mandela, still hugely important to his country he made several public appearances. In 2001 he was treated for prostate cancer and in 2008 he celebrated his 90th birthday along side his third wife, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

I had a heavy heart after his death, I lost a hero, an inspiration and South Africa lost their father, their voice.

He was a fighter, he had been all his life, he spread a message of never giving up and fighting for what you believe. He was a voice for people who didn't have one. He taught us that education was important to change the world, that we must use our time wisely and it's never too late to do things right. He fought for the freedom of his people which left him fighting for his own freedom, but South Africa stood by him, he was the voice they needed.

RIP Nelson Mandela.
18th July 1918 - 5th of December 2013
Spread your wings, fly high and free. Lost but never forgotten, a hero that will truly be missed.

"Let freedom reign. The sun never set on so glorious a human achievement."- Nelson Mandela

Monday, October 14, 2013

Susie Wolff, Next Female Formula One Driver?

As a female Formula One fan I am sick of hearing comments, usually from men,  about female racing drivers, that they are not strong enough, that they shouldn’t be allowed to race, that female drivers cause too many accidents on track, but the comment that annoys me the most has to be: “No woman will ever drive in modern F1” WHAT??? WHY NOT?? We can driver just as well as the men!

Susie Wolff is a Scottish racing driver. She has progressed through the ranks of motorsport, starting off in karting, then moving up to Formula Renault and Formula Three before moving to the DTM to compete for Mercedes-Benz. In 2012, she was signed by the Williams Formula One team to work as a development driver.

1996 she was named British Woman Kart Racing Driver of the year. In 1997, she competed in a number of different karting categories and came out on top in a number of them.

In 2001 Wolff made the step up from kart racing to single-seater racing. Her first experience was in the 2001 Formula Renault Winter Series, in which she raced for the Motaworld Racing team. In 2004 she competed in her third season in the Formula Renault UK Championship, this time racing for the Comtec Racing team and she finished 5th overall in the championship with 3 podium finishes during the year.

For 2005, Wolff made the step up to the British Formula Three Championship to race for the Alan Docking Racing team in the Championship Class, but her season was disrupted by an ankle injury sustained during the winter. She also made a one-off appearance in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB at Brands Hatch in June.

In 2006 Wolff made the big step up to compete in the DTM, the German Touring Car series, one of the biggest Touring Car championships in the world. In her debut season she achieved a best finish of 9th overall in the final round of the season at the Hockenheimring. She remained in DTM until 2012.

After leaving DTM Susie became a development driver for the Williams Formula One team. And last summer Wolff got to drive in the Young Drivers test. She later stated:  “A lot of people were waiting for me to fail when I did the Young Driver Test at Silverstone last summer. They suspected I wouldn’t be strong enough to drive more than 10 laps or that I would be three seconds off the pace of my team-mate.” But Susie tested for 89 laps and was only nine-tenths of a second slower than team mate Pastor Maldonado, who had won the Barcelona Gran Prix.

So why can’t Susie Wolff drive in Formula One in the future? She’s already proven that she’s a great driver; she’s fast, determined and a real racer.  Has the world really gone back to the medieval frame of mind that women should be in the kitchen?

 These female racers are an inspiration for young girl who dream of racing.  Yes, females will always get stick for racing, but people need to realise that that won’t make them give up, they will continue following their dream just like any other human being! And why shouldn’t they?

People are very quick to judge drivers, especially female drivers; “Oh, she hasn’t achieved a podium finish yet” No maybe she hasn’t but you all seem to forget to mention that she has beat however many cars it is that particular race, all driven by males, to the finish line, so no she wasn’t on the podium but she didn’t finish last.

In the near future a woman will be back in Formula One, achieving that dream shared by thousands of little girls. And my money is on Susie Wolff. You show them girl!