2: Wanted Au Pair

SHE CHOSE AUSTRALIA because it was the country of her dreamboat, Chris Hemsworth. In her mind, it was just the right thing to do. She had intended to head for Byron Bay within a few days of arriving in Sydney because if gossip magazines were to be believed, Chris could be seen walking around the laid-back coastal town with kids in tow. If she could just see him in person, and fate permitting, hug him, then she could truly die happy.

All that changed when she befriended a group of young intrepid travellers from all over the world, most notably Karina from Germany, Cezar from Brazil, O from Denmark, and Chin from Korea. The five of them did lots of things together, until it was time to go their own way. There seemed to be a two-week rule among itinerant globetrotters.

'Where are you heading next?' she asked Karina, whose humungous backpack was on the floor by her feet, at breakfast.

'Melbourne,' Karina replied, which sounded more like Melbern.

'And you?'

'Byron Bay,' Emily said.

'You'll like Byron Bay,' Karina enthused in her adorable German accent.

'I spent two weeks there. I loooved the nudist beach. Just my sort of place and the people are friendly.'

She smiled broadly at the German lass, who was always animated; even the most trivial of conversation was accompanied with batting eyelashes and flying hands. She was very atypical of Germans, who were generally reserved. They had amusedly said that Karina must have been an Italian in her previous life.

'Did you see Chris Hemsworth?' Emily inquired with unabashed enthusiasm.

Karina looked at her like she was mad.

'Seriously?' she asked in disbelief.

'Yeah, I have a big crush on him.'

'He's married with kids. And aren't you too old to be having crushes?'

Defensively, Emily replied, 'No one is too old to have a crush on Thor.'


THE NEXT MORNING, the rest of her group split up to go their own way. Emily was still adamant that Byron Bay was where she wanted to be.

She waited until the communal dining room cleared of the morning crowd before having her breakfast. She could not be bothered to cook hot food, so she ate a small tub of fruity yogurt mixed with muesli. A bottle of water sufficed, which was straight from the tap; she had been told that Sydney's water was safe to drink.

On the way back to her train carriage, she saw the bulletin board in the foyer and made a beeline for it. It was covered in hastily written "adverts" for old cars, carpooling opportunities, and jobs wanted. Some she could barely read. But one of them caught her eye because it was different.

It was not torn from a notebook, food wrapper, or brown paper bag, but neatly typed in an A-4 yellow paper. Out of curiosity, she went in closer to read what it was about.

It said: Au Pair required to look after an infant (six months). Must be experienced with babies and willing to travel. The position is for three months, but there is possibility of long-term placement.

To discuss, please call Mark.

A mobile phone number, which she had earlier discovered was Australian for cell phone, was listed.

Hold on a minute, she said to herself. Baby and travel? What could be better?