I felt like another daughter
Laura from Spain was au pair in Ireland. As she noticed that her first family was not the right one for her, she stayed at friends' and looked for a new one. This turned out to be the best decision for her. Finally she could find the right family and had the best year of her life. Her conclusion: "Sometimes you have to fight for what you want."
I was only 18 when I decided to be an au pair. I had just finished high school and wasn’t sure of what to do next, so a gap year to improve my English seemed a great idea. Now after a year I’m searching for an aupair job this summer, and I think I’ve found the right one!
Leaving home when you are only 18 and it is the first time it’s not as easy as people think. I thought I was going to be homesick, but luckily I wasn’t! Why? Because I found such a nice family! They helped me out a lot the first weeks and also told me about an aupair meeting near my town. There I was the youngest of all the au pairs, all the other were 23 and older. But they welcomed me in, and thanks to them I was never homesick. My advice about this: go out, meet other au pairs, they are in the same situation as you!
...when tough times come
I was with my first family for almost five months. The first couple of months were perfect. I was in charge of two girls, and I really enjoyed them. We played with dolls, spent hours with the skates, went to the park, they were like two little sisters for me. But after those two-three months things started to change. The parents saw I could manage the girls so they started working longer hours and even didn’t come home for two or three days at all! When I came back from Christmas holidays I felt like I didn’t want to be there. My biggest mistake is that I backed off each time I thought I was done. There was no communication with the family. And I held on because of the girls. My friends insisted and tried to convince me to leave, and when I finally did, right before leaving the girls came to my room and asked me: who’s going to play with us now? That broke my heart.
Now what? Do I go home?
Yes, I thought about going home, I thought about giving up, but I’m pretty stubborn myself, and that was my year off, that was supposed to be one of the best years in my life, and I was in my favorite country. I stayed two weeks at friends’. Her host parents knew about my situation and even picked me up and let me stay in their house till I found something. And then Helen appeared. She saved me. I met her for a face to face interview and she told me on that first meeting: you can move in as soon as you want. I was so grateful. The first day in her house the kids came to me, they were lovely. I almost cried when I saw what a happy family they were. I felt like home, like another daughter.
Time to go home
When my time to go home came, I was really sad. They gave me a present, and so I did. They brought me to the airport, and I remember we all cried. It was so hard to say goodbye. They became my family there. So girls, if you ever find yourself in a situation like mine, please do not give up. There are plenty of amazing families out there. It took me a year to tell this story, mostly because I was quite ashamed myself. But you know what? I don’t regret a thing. Going through that tough time gave me experience, made me grow up. Life isn’t easy and sometimes you have to fight for what you want. I wanted to be an au pair, I did it, and it was the best year of my life.