Autumn in America, and especially Autumn in New York, was one of the parts of the Au Pair in America experience that I was looking forward to the most. While Canada has some similarities to America in terms of weather and fall activities, there is something especially beautiful about the fall foliage in Northeastern America.
While there is so much to do just in Manhattan at this time of year – leaves falling in Central Park, trying every Pumpkin Spice flavoured treat under the sun, and taking in the cool air – there are also a lot of fun activities in the other boroughs and just out of the city, a couple of which I had the pleasure of partaking in this year.
Even though COVID-19 has cancelled a lot of activities and plans I had for the year, I have found that as long as one can find something to do outside, it is usually still available. Luckily, some of the best things to do in the Autumn take place outdoors. The second weekend of October, my friend and Australian Au Pair, Anni, took a trip to Queens – stopping at a Starbucks on the way for some Very Fall Flavours – to try our hand at a corn maze. Neither of us had ever been to one before, and so we expected it to take us quite a while to figure our way out. However, we actually ended up finding a shortcut and finishing the maze before even solving all the puzzles we were supposed to solve to find the right path. I called my mom after and she said that we cheated, but I like to think we are just really good at mazes. It must be from all the mazes I do with my host kid.
The next weekend, I headed to an apple picking farm with my host family. It was about an hour north of the city at a place called Pennings Orchard. As was expected, the four year old girl that I look after, Phoebe, was quick to make it into a competition of who could pick the most apples, and of course, she won by a landslide. After we finished picking apples, we explored the rest of the farm. There were goats and pot-belly pigs for us to look at, tires and a huge toy train to play in, on, and around, and photo stand-ins for us to commemorate the event. Afterwards, we came home and baked a delicious (if I do say so myself) pie. Everything about the day was exactly as I had imagined and it will definitely be one of my fondest memories with my host family after I leave.
Of course, what would October in America be without Halloween. This year, Halloween was on a Saturday, which in a non-COVID year would probably mean a big party, lots of dancing and staying out late. This year, my friend, Anni, and I opted for a more relaxed version of the above. On Friday, I went over to her apartment, we got our costumes ready and we watched all the classic scary halloween movies. By this, I mean we watched Hocus Pocus and Halloweentown. My tolerance for scary stuff is too low for anything above a PG rating. Then, on Saturday, we debuted our look as Lizzie Mcguire and Isabella Parigi from The Lizzie Mcguire Movie at Washington Square Park. While there wasn’t as much to do on Halloween this year, we made the most of it, going outdoor dining (socially-distanced, of course!) and showing off our costumes in Soho. Even though my time as an au pair will be over next Halloween, Anni and I still have plans to make sure we are together for it, so we can dress up again, this time, as Sharkboy and Lavagirl.