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Au Pair: Living in?
Member Name: Ise-Ise
Date: 19/07/01, updated on 19/07/01 (266 review reads)
Advantages: Sleep!, Time on your own.
Disadvantages: Food issues (maybe), You have to travel every day., It can be lonely.
Deciding which family to go to can be a tough descision to make if an agency are not deciding everything for you. One thing you may have to consider is whether you live with the family (like most people) or due to space or lack there-of (like me) you may have to live elsewhere.
My family are by no means unsociable or snobby, there just wasnīt enough room in the flat for me and my rubbish! I therefore ended up living with the fatherīs grandparents (yes that does mean the greatgrandparents of the dear little one) who are in their mid eighties.
I could see the advantages of this straight away (after living with the family for a week I was severely sleep deprived and needed to take a nap in the afternoons when Lukas did!). Moving in with the grandparents meant that I got a good nights sleep and also some quiet time on my own. I met other au pairs who had to wear earplugs at night because the bedroom was next to the kitchen and the children were so loud each morning.....
Because I had my own key to the flat (well, eventually anyway) I could come and go as I pleased and I actually saw very little of the grandparents. This made the job more like nannying rather than au pair work where you are often "on Duty" all the time in the house. With my job there were set hours. The flat although not very large was in crawling distance of lots of pubs, which was also very handy at the weekend.
As with most things there were downsides and this was no exception. Due to their age the grandparents were both in a state of ill health at one time or another, during my six months the ambulance was called out three times, each in the middle of the night. The first time I felt very guilty because I did not wake up and in the morning Eddie was in hospital and I did not know how to comfort Oma. I never got to the stage where I felt completely at home in the flat, I always thought that I was creeping about. Also because I was half living on
my own, I got quite lonely and missed having people to chat to ( I did not have very much in common with the grand parents as you may have guessed).
Food was a bit of an issue too: it was never quite clear where I was suppose to eat. I could eat with Eddie if I wanted (Oma was only seen eating about five times in six months- she ate at night apparently) but breadrolls can become a little boring morning, noon and night. And the actual family only seemed to eat frozen food or MacDonalds.
When I arrived in the morning this was Lukasī cue to start to cry becuase he realised that Mummy and Daddy were going to go soon, but that only lasted about five minutes and I think that that happens with most kids anyway.
Dont be put off with what I have said, one of the things I learnt here is that you just have to be flexible. Being an Au Pair is a great way of learning about a new country, culture and most of all meeting new people. Just bear in mind who you are going to live with and where before you start!
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