An interview with Mariah Veerbeek
It’s a beautiful sunny winter day and I’m catching up with Mariah Veerbeek in Manly. Mariah, 29, is doing her very first house sit through Easy House Sitting and is happy to share her experience with us.
Hi Mariah, good to meet you. This is your very first house sit. Could you tell us what type of sit it is?
I'm doing a 5 week house and pet sit in Manly. I am looking after Lily, a 9 year old Maltese dog in a 2 bedroom apartment on Manly Harbour, right near the ferry wharf. The home owner has gone to Europe for a holiday.
This is a great location! Did you know Manly before?
Yes, I feel like I'm almost a local now: I live in Balgowlah where I rent a 2 bedroom unit with my flatmate Jordan. I'm originally from the Netherlands but I've been living in Sydney for about 4,5 years now. I've moved quite a few times since arriving here but have always lived around the Manly area.
How did you find out about this house sit?
I came across the Easy Housesitting website through a friend. I became a Facebook member of the website and every time a new housesit is offered it shows up on the News Feed. I wasn't actually looking for a housesit at all, but one morning the housesit I'm doing now popped up online. I replied straight away as I love Manly, I like dogs and I can still go to work as normal.
What kind of work do you do?
I work as a nanny 3 days a week and I also work in a patisserie 2 mornings. It's not far from where I am staying now and I can still spend a fair bit of time with Lily.
Do you have pets of your own?
No, I don't. I grew up with dogs but at the moment a dog is too much of a commitment for me. I like to go camping on weekends and I travel a fair bit myself, so this 5 week dog sit is perfect.
Why did you decide to do this sit since you've got your own place so close by?
Just for a change of scenery, really. And for the furry company. And because my place doesn't have harbour views. (laughs) I see it as an upgrade from where I currently live and I consider these 5 weeks as a holiday even though I still go to work. I've been catching up more often with friends in the last couple of weeks just because it's so convenient for everyone to get here. And everything is on my doorstep: the ferry wharf, the beach, the cafes and restaurants...
How did you apply for this house sit?
I applied online via the Easy House Sitting website. Peggy, the home owner then rang me. We talked for a bit and decided to meet up the week after. We got along nicely so Peggy offered me the housesit. I came over one more time before Peggy left for Europe. On the last visit she gave me the key to the apartment, showed me around the place again and gave me really clear instructions about taking care of Lily. We've spoken to each other over the phone a few times since.
Were there any special requirements or requests from the home owner?
Not really. Lily is a healthy dog and just needs her food, grooming, 2 walks per day and lots of cuddles. Lily needs enough love and attention and I try to stick to her usual routine as much as possible.
Peggy is very easy going: she told me that as long as I take good care of Lily I can basically do anything I like. The apartment doesn't need much maintenance and there is no garden. So basically all I have to do is dusting and cleaning as I would do at my own place.
Why do you think Peggy chose you as a pet sitter for Lily?
I think it was a combination of several facts that made her choose me. For starters she liked the fact that I live so close to her. When we talked on the phone we also found out that we have a mutual friend. Peggy then called this mutual friend who assured her I am a responsible and trustworthy person. That definitely helped! I also grew up with dogs and know how to take care of them.
And of course, as a nanny I am responsible for 2 young children so it's easier for people to then trust me with their pets as well.
Have you been in touch with your home owner since she has left?
Yes, we've talked over the phone and I sent her some photos by email.
Did you do some 'new' things during this house sit?
I knew the area very well already so I haven't really visited any new places. I've got Lily's company now for my morning walks along the harbour. The sunrise is pretty nice here too! I hadn't acually watched many sunrises before. I've also taken the little girls from my nanny job over to Manly a few times during the day. They really enjoy walking Lily and Lily loves the extra attention. On the weekends I've got more time and I then walk Lily 3 times a day.
I usually visit a cafe for breakfast or a hot chocolate and read the paper while Lily enjoys lying in the sun. I also go for a walk once a week with a work friend and her dog. Lily has also become a regular at Max Brenner's and she's even gone to the pub with me.
This is your first house sit. Will it be your last?
Definitely not. I would really love to come back to this unit and to Lily another time. With Peggy as a referee I may be able to get a short sit in Queensland or Western Australia as well. That would be a great way to have a short holiday.
Thanks Mariah, for your time. Lily has been very patient. It think she deserves a good walk now. Enjoy the rest of your stay in Manly.