Aiming to be happier families.

THE GOVERNESS DIARIES – Series 1, Episode 3 – Yoo eet zat!

“Yoo eet zat!”

[If you’re just checking in, and haven’t yet read the preceding episodes of THE GOVERNESS DIARIES, click on the link to the right under ‘recent posts’, where you will find them. If some of them are not there, you will find them in ‘THE GOVERNESS DIARIES’ under ‘categories’, just scroll down to whichever episode you missed.]

Tuesday dawned, another beautiful day in Italy. The sun shone, the birds sang and Adelina screamed like an insane cockerel trying to wake the dead.  After the yoghurt-musical-chair-breakfast was over, the children went outside and I followed.

They were riding bicycles and Vladimir was talking on the phone. When he finished, I asked him if there were any shops close by. He pointed left and said there was an alimentair when I gave him a confused look,  he explained it was a little food shop. I asked if there was a supermarket and he pointed behind the house and right saying there was a superstore called ‘Esselunga’. At that point Nikoli pushed a pink bike in front of me and said, “come, yoo ride.”

Oh great – the last time I rode a bike was … I took the bike, took a deep breath, told myself that you never forget how to ride a bike and wobbled off after them. There was just one small problem, the one of me being small. The bike was too big for me and the little twists and turns too narrow. If your feet don’t reach the ground and you turn too fast you tend to fall off or go headlong into the wall…. Well at least the children laughed for a change. Not one to admit defeat, I kept going and after hitting about ten walls I began to improve. Vladimir told me that a bike would be arriving for me later…. oh please noo!

We then went inside and I was told that Adelina wanted to go to the beach so Nikoli would stay with me (ookaay…. change of plan already). At this point two women arrived and gave the children a box of cakes (little individually wrapped sponge cakes – a bit like Twinkies) and a huge bag of marshmallows. Within 5 minutes they had almost been demolished. Katja took them away;  Adelina threw herself on the floor and screamed; Nikoli argued. Katja ignored. Vladimir came down. Adelina continued screaming. Nikoli and Vladimir argued. Nikoli was sent to sit with me Adelina and Katja headed for the door. There was some Russian prattling by Vladimir where my name was mentioned a few times and then he too left.

Nikoli sat and continued eating his cake, sulking. I said I would wait for him to finish his cake and then we could begin.

He suddenly threw the cake at my face and shouted, “Yoo eet zat!”

That was it. My teacher voice just popped out of nowhere…. “Hey!” (in that deep, “do not …. with me tone”) It was his turn to jump.

“Do not throw things at me and do not show disrespect to me,” I said (his eyes widened slightly). “I am an adult, and I will not be treated that way.” I continued, “ I do not speak to you like that and I do not expect to be spoken to like that. I am here to teach you English and that is what I am going to do. You can either have fun or we can fight, it is your choice.” (I certainly had his attention). “Now I am going to my room to get some pens (the pens were already on the table) and when I come back we will start again.”

I went to my laundry only to find the two women getting undressed …. well gee thanks but I would have preferred men (?) – The ladies turned out to be cleaners – Lithuanian – perhaps related to Igor the driver?

I went back outside. Nikoli turned his back to me so I ignored him, picked up Robinson Crusoe and began to read out loud (a little louder than was necessary).

[Katja had given me Robinson Crusoe, Treasure Island and two space videos. Both books had a glossary of words at the back with Russian translations…. both books had obviously been translated into Russian and then back to English. The English was … weird (!) The space videos were in Russian (!!)]

 I managed to get his attention by switching to Afrikaans at the second paragraph (he had been listening after all) and then we did a little comprehension I had prepared. At the end of the comprehension, there was a note saying he should ask me for a map – I had hidden a sweet in the garden. (If ya can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em). When he found his sweet he wandered off to the lounge. I followed him and found him playing with a plug that was crackling loudly. I stopped him for fear of him being electrocuted (-oops sorry, I fried the kid) and put the plug in properly. He promptly turned on the TV and a video game.

I’d had enough by now so I just sat down and watched him, noticing that he became totally hyper while playing and jumped around like a muppet on ecstasy. When his parents arrived he was still playing – Russian arguing ensued. Then the bike arrived.

A three-wheeler with a big basket on the back. Apparently they hire it every year so that the nanny can take Adelina out. (I am a nanny now?) Vladimir said that she would fold a towel in the basket and there was a seatbelt. Adelina took one look at this and started protesting loudly. She was ignored as Valdimir continued to tell me that,  the nanny would put her in the basket and not allow her much movement.

Then the family went to the beach.

I spent the afternoon preparing things for Nikoli and Adelina to do with the meagre supplies.

On Wednesday Vladimir left early for Russia saying he would see me on Saturday. He handed me a phone and said I should use it if I needed to contact him or Katja. When the children woke up, they were very excitable and kept running to look out the front windows. Breakfast didn’t really happen, but sweets were eaten and then Adelina was pushed through the patio door at me and the door was locked. She yelled and screamed and hit me but there was not much I could do because I was also locked out. I eventually managed to stop her by drawing a picture of her crying and playing  ‘ai see yooo’. At one point, I hid in the front garden. She noticed the front door open, went inside and … locked me out (the ‘f’ word came out in my teacher voice).

I knocked on the door and smiled sheepishly when Katja let me in. Adelina began hitting me again and I stopped her by holding her hands and saying (teacher voice) “No hitting” – Katja did nothing. The time with Nikoli was no better and when he just marched off to play video games I just sat down and gave up.  Katja said they were excited because their Grandparents were coming. I told her quite straightforwardly that I was having a problem with bad manners and respect. I said that I couldn’t work with children who refused to co-operate, ate sweets constantly, screamed and hit me and that I needed her help to sort it out..

“Yes, I will tell the ladies to not bring the sweets.” —— say what???!! All she gleaned from all that was “sweets”??

The Grandparents eventually arrived and after much excitement and jumping and screaming and shouting and fighting they went off to the beach… Valium came to mind.

During the peace, I prepared more stuff and went online to look for more appropriate books and things.

Then the girl from the agency called and asked me how it was going. I filled her in and she said that perhaps the parents were looking towards my professionalism to sort it all out. She also said something about not telling them their children are spoilt… (?) Aha, there had obviously been a phone call to the parents first. No problemo senorita…. so the parents thought their children were spoilt? I had not said that.

The week continued and I continued to observe:

  • no routine
  • no discipline
  • no table manners
  • no respect (they hit the grandparents too)

I just fell in and waited for Vladimir to return as there seemed to be a little more control when he was around… no wait… let me rephrase that, e teensy, weensy smidgen of control, but I noticed he lost the arguments more often than he won them….

So during my free time, which during that week was usually from around 6pm onwards, I took to leaving the house. I said I didn’t want to interfere with family time so I would eat supper later. It worked and I managed to miss out on the evening squawking and performing. I found the shop and the beach and took long walks every night.

The weather was tremendous and the people were so polite and helpful. I even had a few people who greeted me every morning and every evening. We shouted “buongiorno” and “buona sera” to each other. This and of course the Italian men being really good eye-candy, kept me sane and gave me something to look forward to. I honestly think I could have stayed there… if I could afford it, it is really expensive.

It is quite quaint in the back streets and strange little markets just appear everywhere with clothes and bags and shoes. There are the cutest little dresses (making me wish I was a dress person) but there seems to be a lack of things for men.




19 March 2013 - Posted by | The Governess Diaries | , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. Wow…I think I’d pull my hair out in frustration=) Props for your patience and good job conveying your experience.


    Comment by jennifermzeiger | 20 March 2013 | Reply

    • I’m assuming this is a true story=)


      Comment by jennifermzeiger | 20 March 2013 | Reply

    • Thank you for visiting – I still have most of my hair 🙂


      Comment by denib14 | 20 March 2013 | Reply

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    Comment by birds hitting windows | 22 March 2013 | Reply

    • Thank you for visiting my site. This is a free template and it is called Andreas04. xx


      Comment by denib14 | 25 March 2013 | Reply

  3. @admin: I must say your blog is the first I’ve come across this morning that doesn’t have spelling errors
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    Comment by electric infrared garage heater | 25 March 2013 | Reply

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