Au Pair First Week Experience
The first week of being an Au Pair is absolutely overwhelming, and getting used to the way things work can make your head turn. But that doesn’t mean its not loads of fun, and a great way to experience another Country’s culture. I decided to document my first busy week as an Au Pair, so here we go:
Okay, it’s the official first day, I can do this. I CAN do this. Wait, I have to wake up at 6.30AM? Never mind, I can’t do this, when’s the first flight home?
Kidding! The first day went well, I even woke up on time (big shock). It was the kiddie’s first day back at school so the morning was a little hectic, but we managed to get everyone dressed, fed and out the door in time. We dropped Toni (the youngest girl) off first, nipped to the bakery for a cheeky croissant, then dropped off Julia (the eldest girl), and picked Toni back up. Toni only had an hour of school because it was her first day, which I’m honestly so jealous of. But the jokes on them, I don’t have to go to school anymore, HAH! Being uneducated never felt so good.
I think my motherly instincts kicked in, because Toni told me some kids were mean to her and I nearly stormed into the school to beat them all up. Nobody, and I mean NOBODY, messes with my girls. But it was all good in the end, me and Toni spent the entire morning colouring monsters, it was intense.
We all headed off to pick up Julia at noon, and ate lunch at a fancy Greek restaurant with some family friends. We even took the dog (Leeloo), because dogs are allowed in restaurants in Vienna, proving that this is clearly superior to England. Everyone was speaking in German so I spent my time admiring the decor and trying to translate the menu. I had stuffed peppers (because it was the only thing in English I knew was vegetarian), and - oh boy - they were good.
Me and the kids watched My Little Pony and How to Train Your Dragon all afternoon, obviously I was very hard at work. George (the dad) came home with takeout for dinner, and I ate my weight in veggie sushi. When I have spring rolls in my belly, I’m a happy gal, and at this point I swear my blood is 90% spring roll.
We’re back at it! Still not used to the early morning routine yet, but we’re getting there!
After the kids were off to school I came home and spent my time wisely and productively, by taking a nap. It was well needed, okay. Julia came home at around noon and we munched on some pasta I made while watching Diary of a Wimpy Kid (again, I’m hard at work). We both headed off to pick Toni up later, and I was so glad Julia was there because I still had no clue how to get to Toni’s school yet. Of course, to make life a million times better and the kids a billion times happier, we had ice cream on the way home.
I’d been introduced to a fellow Au Pair named Anna through Katja (my host mum), in an effort to help me make friends - I needed all the help I can get so it was greatly appreciated. The kid she looks after is friends with the kids I look after, so we all went to the park and we got to chat while the kids played. Look at me! Making friends! Being a successful Au Pair! Julia and Toni even got in an argument, and I made amends! A huge success!
After looking in a few shops we headed home, and watched a cartoon about a ladybug superhero (that I’m now overly invested in) before doing homework. The homework consisted of drawing their favourite food, kids have it so easy.
Before everyone headed to bed, the night consisted of munching on some delicious vegetarian hot dogs and playing with stuffed toys (it’s hard work! I promise!). And that marked yet another successful day of being the best amateur Au Pair in the world...
I think I’m getting used to these early mornings, kind of. I’m still sleepwalking most of the time, but I’m kinda getting the hang of it.
Today had been the day of pedantic but necessary things. I spent the morning in the registry office filling out a Meldezettel, a very important document you need to live and work in Austria. It basically a posh registration form. With my new and fancy Bestätigung Der Meldung (it’s just a sheet of paper) I wandered on down to the bank and set up an Austrian bank account. After some sketchy English-to-German conversation, I managed to sort everything out.
Next up: German classes! As a dumb British person I speak no German at all, and I want to be able to understand everyone around me a little better (and be a less-dumb British person). Also, depending on what happens with Brexit - honestly, does anyone actually know what’s going on? - I may need to apply for an education visa, and provide proof that I have been studying. Therefore, German lessons are on the horizon for me. But I need to find one first, so I’ve been researching and researching and researching. I’ve found one that starts on Monday, but I need to go in person since the term starts so soon, so that’s another job for the to-do list!
Me and Toni headed to the park after I picked her up from school, I pushed her on the swings for half an hour and then we had a tickle fight. At home I dealt with my first kiddy tantrum. She got really grumpy because she wanted to play with her sister who wouldn’t be home for a few hours, and not me (excuse me Toni, I’m offended). After persuading her to cheer up with one of her stuffed toys, we played puzzles until Julia and her friend (Ella) came home. I was then quickly replaced for some obviously much cooler kids, leaving me and my pride wounded.
I was in charge of babysitting THREE kids while the parents went off to a parent's evening, and - let me tell you - it is hard to get them away from the TV once they’ve started watching. They’re only allowed a certain amount of screen time (not my rules), so we practically had to fight over the remote. I felt like I was fighting myself, because all I do is stare at some form of screen all day (like right now). I may be hypocritical, but at least I was doing a good job.
We all made pizza as a team with a smiley face on it made out of salami, and lots and lots of cheese. After a little watermelon for dessert, I let them watch a little TV, which they argued over - Hotel Transylvania or How to Train Your Dragon? Difficult choices.
I have officially signed up for German classes, starting Monday! It’s a beginners class so we’re all equally as stupid as each other, what’s quite comforting. Apparently it’s a fully immersive class so the teacher doesn’t speak English in class at all… This is going to be interesting…
I finally had some time to explore Vienna, and just wandered around in the sun through the beautiful streets. I stumbled upon a palace (the Shloss Belvedere), just casually, and skipped through the gardens for a while. There were flowers upon flowers and beautiful fountains, not to mention to the actual palace itself. Such a scenic place.
On a slightly less posh note, the McDonald’s in Vienna do curly fries! CURLY FRIES! But no cheese bites, you win some and you lose some I guess…
After my lovely and serene morning, the kids decided to be difficult. In their defence, I was put in charge of making them do homework and chores, and I wouldn’t want to do them either. I had to confiscate Julia’s phone, I felt like my mother. Proper role reversal.
After finally finishing homework, we had one simple job… Put some clothes away… Really, it should have been simple, but the kids did NOT want to cooperate. I had my first real moment of having to put my foot down and show my authority (like the badass I am). After Julia said some nasty things to Toni, Toni stormed off, leaving two unhappy kids and an unfinished job. I managed to comfort Toni and convince her to come finish putting her clothes away, by promising to let her choose what we watch on TV. Julia then apologised to Toni, a real apology with a sisterly hug, with the promise of chocolate milk. Who’s the best Au Pair in the world? Oh yeah, that’s me.
Today is a big day; the parents are out all day (Katja is casually flying to London for a meeting, ya know, just independent woman things). Meaning, I have to entertain the children all night, make dinner, and get them to bed.
After picking the kids up from school, we went and bought some balloons. Because its been 5 days and I am yet to impress them with my incredible balloon animal skills. We made balloon dogs, flowers, butterflies, hats, and - most importantly - swords. Cue the balloon sword fight! The poor dog was so confused…
To make the perfect night better, we had a movie night! With popcorn and everything! We had a lovely cuddle while watching How to Train Your Dragon 2 (these girls love them some dragons), but I didn’t get to watch the end (heartbreaking) because I was too busy being an adult and making dinner. For them: chicken and salad, for me: cheese on toast. I’m a grown up! I promise!
Everyone was off to bed at a reasonable time, and by reasonable I mean early because I wanted to go to bed. I read them Captain Underpants for a while before I rushed off to go to bed myself. Me? Excited about an early night? Who am I turning into?
“I laid in until 8.30am” is now an official sentence that has come out of my mouth. Coming from the girl who used to lie in until 1pm, is this what it feels like to be a proper adult?
The school week has officially ended and the weekend has sprung upon us, you know what that means? I get a day off! I had glorious plans to explore Vienna like a proper tourist, venture through the streets and palaces and drink in a traditional coffee house, but all it did all day was rain and rain and rain and rain. So the day wasn’t the most exciting, I just relaxed and watched Netflix all day...
In the evening we all headed down to a new taco place that had just opened, we were the only customers there and they somehow ran out of beans? Strange place, but really good. You won’t catch me complaining at a good veggie taco. The night was made even better by ice cream, specifically mango ice cream. There are at least 3 ice cream shops within a 10-minute walk of where I live, and I’ve never been happier. Need a quick snack? Ice cream. Kids sad? Ice cream. Lily sad? Ice cream? Ice cream!
Today I managed to sneak in another one of those 8.30am lie ins, I really am treating myself. After a bit of breakfast (courtesy of me, because I am the best Au Pair ever, even if it was just cereal), we packed up the car (a big fancy BMW, I feel like I’ve not mentioned that yet) and were on the road.
We spent the afternoon and evening at my host family’s second house. Yeah you heard that right, second house. A cute little cabin in the woods, the huge garden and water pump really gave it that authentic country feel. Me and the kids spent the day bouncing on the trampoline and running around in the grass, George and Katja spent the day getting dinner ready and stringing up fairy lights. By the time it got dark the entire garden was full of pretty little lights, it really was something straight out of a fairy tale… So magical and beyond beautiful…
For dinner we turned to the barbecue, where we whipped up some quality burgers (veggie for me!). Bloody delicious. We even toasted marshmallows over the campfire, living life like a summer camp. A perfect conclusion to such a hectic first week, here’s to many more!