Oieee! Hello guys, how are you doing today? On today’s post I want to begin a serie of posts where I am gonna talk about one of the things that impact my life the most: being an AU PAIR.
So if you are there sitting, looking for the program, wanting to apply, searching for stories and lived experiences, I suggest you to sit down and enjoy this ride. And if you never heard of it before, read this first post, you might be interested by the end of it.
Last in, in May, I came back from US after spending almost two years as an Au Pair, but my journey started way before that: In December 2014 I graduate from high school, was already accepted in the University I wanted, but felt a strong desire to do something bigger, something that was going to help me find myself and leave a mark on me forever.
Okay, I can be very dramatic when I want to, but that was the feeling inside of me five years ago. At the same moment I sat on the cold floor with my computer, and started digging for exchanges, when I remembered my friend mentioned that she wanted to be an Au Pair in Paris.
I was sure I didn’t want to live in Paris, but I really like the idea of it when I got to EF website: “explore the world” , “work and travel”, “have the time of your life”… Sounded like a dream, so I got in touch with them and found out I need some things:
- Have a medium to high level of English;
- Being over 18;
- Know how to drive;
- Have at least 200 hours of proven experience with children.
Pretty easy , I already had two of those requirements, but I still needed my drivers license (in Brasil we are only aloud to get them after 18), and the 200 hours. Because of my full time high school I never had the chance to do any of those things while studying, but I just graduated, I had all the time in the world now.
It sounded like a good plan, so I made it work. I went to the agency, took their tests, got my drivers license and work at the nursery of the same school I had just got out of for my hours, by April I had it all set.
After that (I think that changed by now) I had to fill it out a profile, with questions about myself, spaces for pictures and also a video presentation about me and my life, plus there was this little online course about children and their behavior that I had to do.
Done it all in a couple of weeks, was ready to go online and talk to families. I was super excited about it all, but from there till I had a match everything was, or at least look like, a disaster.
Cultural Care took a month to let my profile online and visible for families, after that it took another month for me to have the first Host Family on my profile, By December I had only three families:
- A jewish family with three very sweet young girls, we did one Skype, they hold my profile while they were in vacation and never spoke again with me.
- A very nice Mom with two toodlers ( a boy and a girl), she loved me, and had all these plans for us to do together, as she was a stay home mom. We had many skips, I spoke with the grandma, she was getting a car for me, but not even once I spoke to the father. Suddenly she was gone, for like two weeks and no reason, when I emailed her, she said her husband didn’t want an Au Pair
- A family with four young kids, parents were very sweet, they even spoke to my parents, but decided on going for the match with another girl.
Weirdly all these three families were from the same state.
By then it was almost Christmas time, the flew of families are very low by this time of the year, and I was extremely frustrated: I went after everything so fast, did my best the whole time and nothing happened, most girls talk to the same amount of families on their first month, it usually doesn’t take more than three months for a match.
I was devastated and my parents wanted me to start college, so by January I switched my date from ‘right away’ to ‘July’ so I could complete at least a semester. Once I did that, that very first week I had one family every day in my profile (forgot to say something important: back then we could only have one family at the time on our profile, and had to wait at least 24 hours to decline their profile.
These were the families:
- A Korean Couple with twin newborns, they lived in a big city and I even spoke to the currently Au Pair on Skype. They were very nice, but I got afraid of two newborns and only me.
- A family with three boys that lived in a very quiet place, would say it was a farm, but it was definite a city with not a lot going on. And because of that they though my electric personality wouldn’t be happy in a small/quiet town. Fun fact: a year later they wrote me again whiling to know when would my first year would be over cause they wanted me to moving with them, but back them I was in rematch and had no clue of my future.
- This family I got really interested: they had two doodlers and a baby and lived in a gorgeous house, after a couple of skips their au pair decided to extend her years with them, so they didn’t need me anymore.
- In between all of those there was this one and only family for California that never even wrote me an email.
- A single mom with two kids from Nevada, they looked rich, maybe because she made sure that was implied in the profile, also there were more pictures of her and her friends than the kids. I was really interest in talking to them, but after a few days I realized my emails were sent and by then I didn’t have her contact anymore.
On the list of weird cases I have one more to share with you before I had my match:
After that specific week I had no more families on my profile, I started college and had forgotten about everything. By then I was even expecting anything to happen anymore, when I got an email that one family was on my profile, right after, another email asking for a Skype. I agreed, and had the most weird Skype of all: A guy showed up in the screen, his was Skyping from his basement and I could hear the kids playing but they were not on the picture, until after about ten minutes when they came running and playing into the room. The host dad got mad, took them out of the room and told me he didn’t want me to meet anybody until he decided I was a good match. After we were done with the Skype he emailed me for another Skype, I said I wasn’t interesting in the match, and got a few more emails that week begging me for the match, asking me what I wanted for it. It could mean nothing, but I though it was very weird and right after that I had really let go of the idea of actually being an Au Pair.
…. Until a month later when I found a family I liked and closed the match, but for that Storie you are going to need to wait for the next post.
Hope to see you soon, bye bye!