By Rose Dermott
Au Pairing Adventures: Week 1
“…I am no longer just an English tourist, I am Parisian”
I have nearly survived my ‘au pair first week’ in Paris without getting really lost, missing the last train home or losing my children! I’ve seen the Louvre, Sacré Coeur, Musée D’Orsay, Arc de Triomphe and Notre Dame already because I was so keen to see everything as soon as possible. I have had some really lovely days out with my au pair family, such as going to the Jardin d’acclimatation, where I saw my very first bear! There was also an amazing horse acrobatics show, where the acrobats rode their horses through fire and jumped off them whilst galloping. These are the kind of things that I could never have seen if I had stayed at home in England!
I decided to become an au pair in my gap year before university, in order to improve my French and experience Parisian culture. Everywhere you go in Paris, you can find something amazing to do or some cute little café or shop to visit. One day I was wandering around and window-shopping near Bastille, when I found this adorable little shop called ‘Bird on the Wire’* which sold travel journals, notebooks, maps and cute little pieces of jewellery. I fell in love with a little green and gold ring and I had to buy it! I am enjoying that as I get to know Paris better, I am discovering the hidden shops and cafes which are less well known to tourists, but are still well worth visiting.
I think I am very lucky with the family that hired me, they are all lovely! I mean, of course the girls I am looking after do have tantrums, they are only five and seven years old! But I am getting better at stopping them from attacking each other, and Peppa Pig has become my backup plan when they just don’t want to listen to me. Both their parents are very welcoming and try to help me as much as possible. Even though they are separated, they both spend a lot of time with their children, which I think is really good for the girls. I have made a few mistakes like forgetting my keys and putting dirty plates in the clean dishwasher, but after doing them once I will hopefully not do them again!
I have felt quite homesick a couple of times, I do miss my own comfy bed and my friends and family. But I have been told by other au pairs that in the first week they all felt the same and it gets easier as you settle in. However, Skyping my English friends from another country is quite exciting and I do feel quite cultural as I post pictures of Paris onto my Facebook! So I am looking forward to feeling at home in Paris, understanding the Metro system and finding all the tourists annoying because I am no longer just an English tourist, I am Parisian!