It has been six months! Well six months and a half now if we want to be precise. And I can honestly say I still have absolutely no regrets coming here and being an au pair. I have met some incredible, fantastic people who I cannot imagine not having in my life.
My top 3 favorite things about being an au pair…
1. Obviously ‘meeting’ my host family
Now, I put meeting in speech marks because I already met my host family a year prior to my au pair year starting when I was in the US in 2019. With that being said, I could not wait until I could finally see them again, and this time to stay with them as their au pair. I can still remember seeing them again at the airport and giving them the biggest hug ever. I still feel so incredibly lucky that they choose me as their au pair. Our relationship has only grown throughout these six months and I can truly say that they are my second family.
2. Road Trips!
I have done more than one and I can’t choose which one was my favorite so, I cheated and put them all in there. I have been to;
- Virgina twice, Smith Mountain Lake and Blacksburg/Roanoke
- North Topsail Beach, Charlotte and Asheville in North Carolina
- Touched on South Carolina
- Pennsylvania to ski, (and drove through Maryland)…. and I have more trips on the planning!
I have always loved being on the road, and used to do a lot of road trips through Europe with my dad, and every vacation my family and I used to drive from England to The Netherlands. So I am no stranger to being in a car. I love it because you can see the landscape changing and I keep track of where we are while driving, where we are passing through. Definitely helps with geographical knowledge. Many au pairs use this app called ‘Been’ and I have to say that my east coast is looking pretty impressive if I do say so myself.
3. Meeting other au pairs and friends
I cannot imagine how my au pair time would be without my au pair friends. I try and do playdates with them about once a week, now that the weather is getting better it is easier to do. And then we go for coffee dates, or out for dinner with a small group. We celebrated Halloween together and exchanged Christmas gifts and cards. We are already planning some easter activities to do with the kids! You really become part of a community as an au pair. I love the social aspect of this job!
I have also been fortunate enough to become very good friends with my host parents social group. They always invite me over when they are hanging out and I enjoy chatting with them and getting to know them more. Plus, their kids are adorable 😩
How I have kept in contact with family and friends back home…
I get asked this a lot, and there are a few things that I do. The easiest people to keep in contact with are my parents and brother. Mainly because they are always home together so if I call one then 90% of the time the rest are there too. Plus they are all pretty active on their phones so respond pretty quickly. This is the same with my aunts and cousins.
My grandmas are a little more difficult to keep in contact with, although I must say that one of them has gotten very good at using facetime. For them I sometimes send them a card in the mail (they love this!) and I found a Dutch website that will deliver flowers. I have done that a few times, just to say ‘i’m thinking of you’. It can be something so small but they really appreciate it.
Then my friends, I have a few group chats that are active most days and individual chats with some of my best friends. Social media is a very good tool to keep in touch with friends as well because it is easy to react to pictures which can spark conversations. My friend group and I are also very good at arranging a group video chat about every month so we can chat and see each other.
Even though covid sucks, I have to say that it may help with keeping contact. Because even friends within the same country are communicating through technology. This means that you are not the ‘odd one out’ while trying to keep in contact with everyone.
What I look forward to in the next 6 (18) months…
There are a few things that I really am looking forward to;
- One is my oldest host kids first day of preschool. He is going to be going to his ‘big boy school’ in August and it is going to be so cute! He is really looking forward to going and it will be a big change but I think he is ready for it. The crazy thing is that in my last week (in Aug 2022) I will also experience my youngests first day of preschool 😱. Besides the school milestones, I am also grateful that I can continue seeing them develop their personalities.
- Meeting my host family’s extended family! Since I have been here I have not been able to meet any other family members expect my host moms, mom (she was lovely and it was amazing to meet her!) and step dad. Now that people are getting vaccinated I will be able to meet some more, I have seen most of them on facetime calls already and they all seem very nice.
- More trips! As I said earlier I have some more planned, I will be heading to Washington DC and Philadelphia with my host family very soon and in April I am going down to Florida to visit my friends there. I haven’t seen them in almost two years! And in October I am heading to the west coast to San Diego.
- I hope to be able to visit my friends and family back home… because I am staying for an extra year I really want to be able to go and see them. With the J1 visa you can only travel outside of the country in your first year, so I only have a couple months to make that happen.
- To keep loving what I am doing. I am still loving every second of this journey and I hope that never changes. That doesn’t mean that I don’t have my days that I am tired or not feeling 100% etc, it just simply means that I still see joy in everyday no matter my mood. Something, or someone can always make me feel better. It can be small moments of a host kid randomly saying ‘I love you’ or them just melting into you for a hug or hearing their giggles in the back of the car. All I can say is that I feel fortunate to have this job, and to be able to look after my adorable host kids.
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