When I tell people I am becoming an Au Pair, I usually get one of two responses... 'Oh my god, you're brave' or 'What...is...that....?' For those of you who think they lean more towards the latter question, an Au Pair is very similar to a Nanny however you usually live with the family (or they provide your accommodation), they also pay for your food and most travel expenses, pay you a small salary all in exchange to look after their children and/or teach English.
After hearing a few horror stories about Au pairing, I was naturally a bit scared. I'd signed up to a website called 'aupair-world' and had heard from a few families (including a nudist French one). Despite the large amount of interest, I couldn't seem to find a family where I agreed with everything they wanted. As someone who cannot cook to save their life, I was happy to do a bit of cleaning, but cooking was a big no- for everyone's safety, and I also wanted to be treated as an Au Pair and not as a maid. Something a lot of people had warned me about. About a month into my search, a family of 3 popped up, saying they had a housekeeper and cook, working hours were 20-25 per week, there would be a seperate apartment 2 floors above just for the au pair, pay was 100euro p/w (the average I'd found was 80), and they only had one child, an 8 year old boy. I genuinely thought it was too good to be true.
Fast forward 10 months and I'm on a Ryan Air flight (I know), en route to said family.
I've been here 48 hours now and I could not be happier, or wished for a nicer, more accepting family. Albina, who was their Au Pair before me, has actually moved to Parma (this city), because she has found a whole new life out here which means I have even made an immediate friend, and have a way to meet other people my age. Having one person here who is not part of the family, is absolutely life saving. I have even gone out with her and her boyfriend and met new people. Hallelujah! Besides the first day of unpacking, which was seriously horrendous, my little apartment is finally taking shape and looking a bit more homely. I am definitely most excited about not having to share a bathroom with anyone. After being stuck in there twice due to a stiff door, I was feeling a little worried about what to do. And then I remembered. It's my apartment. I can pee with the door open or closed or ajar.
Today I encountered my first obstacle... the shower. You always think you're fairly intelligent, until you encounter somebody else's shower. I've got 8 months to conquer mine, but today I seriously debated just getting in the freezing cold spontaneously-turning-off shower. Thankfully, it all magically sorted itself out, but I have no idea how for next time. Brilliant.
8 months is a very long time, and a lot will change and happen. But I am so glad I made this decision, even 3 days into it, I am so happy and that's what counts! This is just a little life update I thought people might like to read, but have no fear, the usual life-of-Alice-and-opinions will be back next time!
Ciao for now