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.