Au pair life – 3 month anniversary

A couple of days ago marked 3 months since I packed my life in a suitcase and exchanged my beloved England for stunning countryside views in Switzerland. It’s weird, but good, looking back at everything and realizing that I am indeed starting to grow up. The last 3 months have taught me an incredible amount of things, things that you don’t learn in schools, things that make you happy in a very different way. I finally have my laptop, thanks to my super cool best friend, so I’ve started typing all the nonsense I’ve been scribling on tens of papers mixed up on my desk. My life in Switzerland is different, but the best kind of different. I left England with a lot of unanswered questions like “So you’ve finished university and you’re going to be looking after children? Good for you, I guess” or “When are you gonna settle and find a real job?” or “Don’t you want a car or a house of your own?”. The truth is I’m not going to choose a job purely to please society or my friends or my family. I chose to get away from “a real job” in order to learn some life skills, as clichee as that might sound. And boy, am I learning!

I live in some sort of attic in a pretty country house. My room is very similar to a cabin and beside the very creepy Charlie Chaplin poster on the door (think life size Charlie Chaplin poster!) I am utterly in love with my little huge room. I often wake up and become this disgustingly romantic person, staring for a good 10 minutes at  mountain views, cows (Switzerland must be cow’s heaven) and a hell of a lot of green. There’s a smell of coffee and croissants coming from the restaurant (the house has 3 floors: restaurant, the main part of the house and my floor) and a permanent feeling of “Life is as beautiful as you make it!”

My au pair life (the childminding part) includes dealing with 50 shades of poop, taking dominoes out of a plastic bottle (that’s a skill I should write in my CV as proof of patience), learning French from Prune (2yo) who’s always teaching me new words from her books, trying (!!) to read stories, singing and dancing and all sorts of activities who would keep the little ones occupied. Sometimes we have very deep conversations on the meaning of life – Tobias (7months) is the best listener ever and Prune is already very opinionated. We also have dancing competitions. There’s always two teams – Tobias and I (to whoever invented the BJÖRN  baby carrier – thank you!) and Prune with her “baby” doll. Needless to say, Tobias is a total gentleman and he’s always letting me lead, though Prune has some wicked moves so she’s always winning (she dances better than 80% of the adults I know).
I would lie if I would say it’s always easy. To whoever looked after children and says this – You’re either deaf or there’s something seriously wrong with you. There’s times when I have the impression there are two fire alarms ringing in my ears and I don’t know which one to switch off first. There’s a lot of crying (teething period is not pretty), litres of reflux (mainly on my clothes), a lot of NO’s, there’s hair pulling and baby food pretty much everywhere. I’ve learned to pee in 20 seconds top (washing my hands included), feed a baby and entertain a toddler at the same time and I’ve become a professional nappy changer (another very useful skill) Having said that, I would not change a single thing. People who know me very well are familiar with how much I want a family and how important it is for me to be a good mother someday. This experience is giving me the really close insight to how that would be and, regardless of the difficult times, at the end of the day, Prune tells me she loves me, the cute and innocent way only a child could say and Tobias falls asleep on my chest and in that moment I feel I could stay like that until he wakes up (Yes, my biological clock started ticking since I was about 22).

Apart from this, I have started my French course and there’s progress. Slow, but steady progress. It does get frustrating when I’m unable to express myself and to talk to the parents properly (with very few exceptions, we speak French in the house) and I am looking forward to a better communication. Also I have met a couple of au pairs living in this region and we have been going out for coffee, visiting cities nearby and hiking (a hiking adventure post to follow).

Last, but definitely not least, one of the best things happening to me while in Switzerland is that I have become an apprentice cook or at least I like to call myself that cause it just sounds so Jamie Oliver. The French chefs are teaching me a lot of amazing recipes and I get to cook meals that’s on the restaurant menu and actually served to customers. Being in the kitchen and learning how to use the insane number of utensils that I have no idea what they’re called in English (or even Romanian!!!) is one of the best feelings I have ever experienced. Cooking all sorts of puddings, croissants, soups and putting into practice many tips and secrets from Caroline and Luic is incredible and though it might not sound like a big deal, it means a lot to me.

In a couple of weeks I am going to visit my partner in crime, Erasmus flatmate and good friend, Dino in Italy and I am very looking forward to enjoy good coffee, gelato, long talks in the early morning, drinking vodka for breakfast and writing about yet another Erasmus reunion.

So no, I don’t regret not getting a “proper” job after graduation.


The randoms

– I must have watched Aladdin 50 times. I could probably tell what line comes next with no problem. In French.

– I still haven’t learned to swim. Boooo.

– I’ve ditched the milk in my coffee. Never thought this would happen, but I’ve turned into a black coffee drinker. Very proud of myself. (Don’t know exactly why)

– I’ve started to do some cleaning/ironing for another family in the village to save up some money for my future travels and for Christmas presents 😀

– I’ve included some new Yoga poses into my routine and I’m loving it (Prune loves to copy me and she’s hilarious). Dear Yoga, please help me do the split!

– The rrrr is still annoying. What the hell, French?

– I’ve met my Erasmus flatmate Weronika in Zurich a while ago and it was such a beautiful day! Too many Erasmus memories.

– I have also met my Portuguese chick Filipa who has moved to Switzerland (very close to where I live) a month ago! ❤

– I paid 140 CHF to pick up my laptop and winter clothes, that Larisa sent me, from the post office. Not impressed.

– Public transport is what I spend the most of my money on. Woooo.

– F.R.I.E.N.D.S. are my best friends.

– I found Sangria Don Simon in my local shop. My evenings are sorted. Erasmus!!!!!

– It’s getting cold. Like boogies-freezing-under-your-nose cold.

– I’m looking for flights to Marrackesh, Amsterdam or Barcelona for the Christmas holiday. I bet Father Christmas has never ridden a camel before.

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Or how I decided to go for what makes me happy. The last 2 months have been a beautiful chaos. There’s too much to say and little words to explain how pleased I am with how things turned out. My mum has finally visited me in England and witnessed receiving my Modern Languages degree, Larisa and I moved out and the biggest change of all is that I’m writing this post on my phone from a beautiful, small village in Switzerland where I decided to move to to be an au pair for a year. Without a doubt, it’s the most sudden, yet second best decision I have ever made. My feet have always screamed to step on new places and my heart is in a continuous party at the thought of it. I was going through a weird, comfortable phase in which I didn’t quite know where I’m heading to. The phase didn’t last long though and after getting tired of looking back in the past, waiting for people to make that extra effort and hoping that good things will just fall from sky, I decided to leave England. The process was (far too) quick, painless and exciting, to say the least. One evening after work, I decided I want to become an au pair for a while. The same evening I made a profile on one of the recruiting websites and the next morning I was reading applications from families in Norway, Austria, Sweden, France and Switzerland. I went for Switzerland (the French side) as I wanted to learn yet another Latin language and I was and still am very hyped at the idea of skiing, hiking, camping and (!!!!!!!!) doing via ferrata in the Alps. I couldn’t be happier with my choice. And the family I’m living with are making this experience 10 times better. After reading horrifying au pair stories online, I cannot stop but think again “What a lucky girl I am!”. I know it’s early to say this,  but have you ever met some people and you thought to yourself “Yes, I like these ones. They can definitely stay in my life.”?
   Today is the National day of Switzerland and last night the council organised this big overnight party for the whole community with plenty of food, drinks, music, a massive fire, balloons and fireworks, to top it all off. I was stood there in awe and I was enjoying every single minute of it with a silly happy grin on my face.
    It’s the 4th country I live in, after Romania, England and Portugal and I’m sure that, as with the rest, Switzerland will give me great memories, will help me grow up and will give me the life experience i’m looking for. The real expectation from my Swiss story is to learn, through good and bad, as many skills as possible, be it feeding a 5 month old baby while making sure his toddler sister doesn’t play with the plugs, speaking French, cooking better (have I mentioned the parents own a restaurant?) or doing via ferrata and ski.
    Looking back now, I wouldn’t want to change a thing. (Well, maybe that 3 hour delay on my London-Geneva flight)