it´s been two months now since I first arrived in Paris and there is heaps to tell. My host family is great! I have to admit that I am living with three guys.....hehehe: the host father (a widower) and his two sons Erwan (7) and Mathieu (5). When I first arrived, they welcomed me extremly warmly and even the grandmother came over for a week to help me get used to the boys and show me around, expain where the school was, how to get into Paris centre etc... I live approximatey 30 km outside the centre; it´s 30 minutes by train. The grand mother showed me around Paris a bit and gave me all important briefings regarding my duties.
The beginning was tough, especially as I was only 18, when I arrived and it was hard for me to separate from my parents and my brother at home. But little by little I am adjustin to the new situation. I am actually combining my au pair work with studying at the Sorbonne University here in Paris. Combining both activities is not aways easy, but I manage in the end, even though I finish my day quite exhausted. Most of my day is occupied by being Au Pair, but I have enough time to attend Uni and study. I only have 4 hours of classes a day, but as it´s all in French I have to do a lot of work afterwards to translate etc. My teachers at Uni are very understanding due to the fact, that I also work as au pair and they give me a hand whereever they can. In this sense they are really great. The afternoons I spend with my host chidren. When they finish school, we have an afternoon snack and, depending on the day, they have different after-school activities. On Wednesday they don´t have school, which was very surprising to me at the beginning. So all Wednesdays they spend at a leisure time centre, where they have the same timetable as at school, but it´s all about playing. Sometimes it is a tough job to deal with two boys and I am really tired at the end of the day, but it´s all worth it, when you realise how they start trusting you and become more and more caring and loving towards you and enjoy spending time with you. Mathieu, the little one, sometimes spontaniously says: “Lidia, t’es belle”, which means: "Lidia, you are beautiful”; and every time I drop him off at school, he would say goodbye to me with a big kiss and a hug. Erwan, the older one, likes joining me in my room, once his brother is in bed, to chat for a while and listen to music or read on my bed, while I study. Even though sometimes I have to get angry and send them to their room, they quickly reconsider and return well-behaved. When they behave well, they can watch a movie, but always in Spanish. During the mornings I am always at University in Paris, and thanks to my public transport ticket, I can get everywhere I want!! And that´s the great thing of being so cloase to Paris. I can go see places without loosing much time. I have to say that the French people are a bit more serious than the Spanish, but little by little I am making friends, even though it takes time. And soemtimes it´s hard in that sense.... But overall I am convinced that being an au pair is the best way to fully immerse yourself in to a new culture and language. Within the last 2 months I have improved my French a lot, even though I keep sometimes making mistakes. But my host father always corrects my and helps a lot in my learning process
Thanks for offering me this grand opportunity, girls!!