I still remember arriving at my host family’s place like it was yesterday. All of the other au pairs on my train were so nervous and we tried to calm each other down. Some of them had talked to their families a lot, some just emailed a few times back and forth. I am their fifth au pair, so while all the other families were waiting with posters and balloons at the train station, it was just my host dad who came to pick me up.
Anyways, we all know that it’s the first impression that counts, and what did I do? I got lost at the station and almost stuck in an elevator with another au pair. The funny thing is though, that my host dad later on told me (when he finally found me) that the same thing had happened to their two previous au pairs as well. And after laughing about that, I felt a lot better and all the pressure on my chest simply faded.
It was late when I arrived, so I fell asleep on the way home. But I remember wondering why it was so quiet. When we skyped, my host parents had always told me they live right outside Philadelphia. However, it turned out that it was a very small, quiet neighborhood. Everybody else in the house was already asleep, so I just peeked into the boys’ room, and the middle one actually woke up for a second and waved at me. After that I went to bed, ready to start in my new life the next day.
The first days were exciting and exhausting at the same time. A few days after I had arrived, we had a big cluster meeting in Philadelphia that the neighboring au pair (yep, I am lucky, two families in our street have au pairs as well) and I went to, in order to explore the city a little bit. Neither one of us is a big history fan, but Philadelphia has a lot to offer in that area. We went to the Independence Hall, saw the Liberty Bell and of course the Rocky steps. Love Park and Harbour Park are both very beautiful when the weather is nice; and the sun was shining all day when we were there.
Another big thing that happened right after I got here was a big pool party that our neighbors threw. In this neighborhood, everyone meets up once in a while, since the parents and kids are all friends with each other. We had a lot of good foods, music and fun. So many people wanted to talk to me and get to know me, which already made me feel accepted but also a little bit overwhelmed.
I was very jet lagged for a week, so even though I wanted to spend as much time as possible with the kids to get to know them better, I once fell asleep while playing Monopoly with the boys!
SPEAKING ABOUT THE BOYS…
I take care of three super cute boys, which do Karate, Baseball and Football. After only a few days living in their home, it was very clear that they love their sports and that it is the reason why their schedule is so busy. I hit the ground running and learned how to help them get them ready for school, prepare their lunch boxes and at what bus stop to drop them off.
Two times a week, I have to pick them up from school – and of course I forgot to do so that one day. So the whole family knew from the beginning that I am a little bit forgetful and clumsy. However, all three of the boys loved playing and messing around with me from the very beginning, which made me feel at home pretty quickly.
WOULD I DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN?
Even though I can now finally remember many confusing names, numbers and neighbors (though I still don’t know how to fill up the gas in America as the previous au pair was away on her travel month and wasn’t able to show me around like the previous ones did) I kind of wish I could experience these first few days all over again. What has now turned into my daily routine was such a big step for me these first few days and required so much courage on my end. I am super happy that I decided to start this adventure!