Being an Au pair

29 01 13
The ladies in the drawings were part of the household as well.

If you live with a Chinese family, like I did you will become part of the family. I was the au pair for two cute little boy's (4 and 6 years old). The family lived in Beijing but they took me to their country houses as well. Not only is being an au pair a culture shock but a social shock as well. I got to see, eat and do things only available for the more privileged. It was definitely interesting to experience a different layer of society.
The Chinese household I was part of was big, and everybody was considerd family. The two boys called me their big sister. After two months the kids and I really started to bond.
It was super fun but also exhausting. But you get a lot in return. After a while you learn how to hold their attention and learn them English without them really noticing.

I was amazed at the speed with which their vocabulary expanded, once they had more interest talking with me. Often they just naturally picked it up. This one time we where playing hide and seek and I asked the youngest one "Do you know where your brother is?" and he said "downstairs". It's a word I never really taught them, and I may have used it once or twice, but still, it stuck! The easiest way is just to repeat and repeat words in games. You will be surprised at how kids learn. It was delightful to see!

Some tips you might take in to consideration though;
Check out your au pair agency! Try and contact people they gave work. After a while I realised my au pair agency had given the impression to the family that they already paid my flight and that they gave me some kind of pay check (the family had paid a large amount of money to this au pair agency)

Because of that the family had really high expectations of me. Especially for my time, I worked six hours a day, six days a week with the kids. But besides that the family expected me to spend the rest of the day with them as well. Which left me with little to no free time at all. And I blame this on the lack of communication from the agency. They never explained properly what regular hours are, and how many free time and money an au pair should receive. I spoke with other girls who also worked for that au pair agency and they had similar or even more uncomfortable problems. So make sure to check properly. Au pair agencies will promise a lot just to get you to work for them, and they promise the family a lot of things, thereby raising the bar significantly.

I guess I was pretty naive starting this, but apart from some communication issues I definitely don't regret it.
It was an incredible experience and I recommend it if you are thinking about doing this. Just go for it!

On the left: Some good looking dinner.
On the right: Sticker attack of the youngest brother 

Drawing together was a fun way to learn the youngest brother the colours. 
The oldest had a knack for drawing epic robot fights.