AU-PAIR Q&A: Getting settled, Homesickness, Finding Friends

That’s already the fourth blog post of my Au-Pair Q&A series. Wow!!! The first three are linked herehere and here if you can want to check them out.

I really hope you enjoy this one and I can help some of you with my answers. Please, feel always free to ask me questions! That’s why I am here 🙂

But now, let’s jump into my fourth Au-Pair Q&A.

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H O W   D O   Y O U   A D A P T   T O   T H E   E N V I R O N M E N T ?   H O W   D O   Y O U   H E L P   Y O U R S E L F   T O   S E T T L E   D O W N ?

I am not the best person in trying out new things. I am pretty introverted but I am working on it.

So, I would say it took me a little longer to get used to everything than probably some other people.

The first few days in Vancouver were pretty bad. I didn’t adapt to the environment at all. All I wanted to do is flying back to my family, to my hometown. I felt very overwhelmed and not able to conquer this new situation. I think Vancouver was just a lot for the beginning.

Here, in my home town in Canada, I took little steps to settle down.

First, I walked to the nearest “shopping centre” (which is so funny now because I can’t imagine walking there ever again because NO ONE ever walks there :D) and had my first bank appointment to open my bank account. It felt so good after archiving this little task because first of all, I scheduled and had my first bank meeting by myself, and second of all, I walked to a new area by myself and even explored it a bit.

Then, when I first were allowed to use the car, I drove to the same shopping centre again, took the wrong way home but found the way back all by myself. Second achievement.

I also drove Downtown to meet other Au-Pairs which was exciting and scary at the same time and in the end rather a fail because the usual route to Downtown from my place is about 20 min. It took me, believe it or not, 1 1/2 hours to get there without a navigation system (my German phone didn’t work back then). I just stayed there for an hour which was disappointing for me and on the way back home I got lost again. Fail, I told you and I was so disappointed and sad BUT it taught me so much, which I realized afterwards.

The next time driving Downtown wasn’t that scary. Nerv-racking maybe but less scary than the first one. And now, I just get nervous about parking with my big car but not about the drive down there and that is an improvement, isn’t it?

What I’ve also noticed is that driving doesn’t make me as nervous anymore as it did back home. I didn’t like driving and was scared every time getting to an intersection with traffic lights (The nearest bigger town  where I live doesn’t have traffic lights, so try to understand me at least a little bit :D). I had no experiences. Now, I can’t imagine driving without them. I am not getting as nervous anymore and it makes me proud comparing myself driving now to myself back home.

So, basically what I want to say is that it takes little steps, disappointments and achievements to adapt to the environment and to settle down. It is okay to be nervous and to be scared but you have to, at least, try. It is weird for me, telling you all this because I am still constantly working on it myself but we can do it together, right? I believe in you!

Also, everything takes time. I am here for five months now and still haven’t seen the whole city but I feel more settled down than three months ago. Be patience with yourself. And sooner or later it will feel like home.

D O   Y O U   M I S S   Y O U R   F A M I L Y ?

At the moment not.

During the first, I would say, four months, I missed them a lot.

Of course not 24/7, I more likely had phases where I missed them so much it hurt and sometimes I didn’t miss them at all. I never thought I would be the one who would suffer from homesickness but I did and I think I did because I learned so much new things about myself, about other people, about the new country that I was overwhelmed and wished I could go back to my well known little town with all the people I grew up with.

Though I have to say I never thought about finishing my year prematurely and I never thought about giving up because the thought of disappointing my host family, my family back home and myself scared me even more. I wanted to work through it and grow with it and at this point, right now, laying in my bed, writing this at midnight while listening to the new Macklemore song, I can say I am proud where I am now.

It just takes time and never forget that everyone is different. Some might not feel homesick at all, some might feel it a lot. Just listen to yourself, to your heart and your body and you will make the right decision, I am sure. And even if you want to leave and go home, if it makes you feel better, do it but at least try.

You can do it and you will make the right decision, I know it.

H O W   D I D   Y O U   G E T   T O   K N O W   O T H E R   A U – P A I R S ?

I was lucky that the Au-Pair, who was living with my host family before, put my phone number into an Au-Pair WhatsApp group and little by little more new Au-Pairs were added, the ones, I am hanging out with now 🙂

My organization also gave me the email addresses of Au-Pairs who arrived earlier than me but unfortunately no-one of them was living in my city, at least at the time, I arrived.

After about two weeks, I met two girls for the first time at a café and since then so many new arrived, so you are actually meeting new people all the time, even though it’s hard to meet all at the same time because everyone has a different working schedule, of course.

I am so grateful for all the girls I’ve met so far and sometimes I forget, I just know them for five months.

If you come into a family who had an Au-Pair before I would definitely talk to her/him if they can connect you to other Au-Pairs via phone number, email etc. . You can also ask you organization or join Facebook groups (or however it is called, I don’t have Facebook 🌝). I heard there are Au-Pair groups for the specific city sometimes 🙂

H O W   D I D   Y O U   F E E L   W H E N   Y O U   F I R S T   A R R I V E D   I N   C A N A D A   A N D   H O W   D O   Y O U   F E E L   N O W ?

Interesting question!

I definitely would say I feel settled now. As you know, I felt homesick and overwhelmed a lot but now I know my schedule, I know my host kids, I know what might upset them and how I can react, I know my host family and their families, I know the city and where I can find everything to survive 😉

The last week I often caught myself thinking how excited I am for going home but in the same second the thought of having to say goodbye to my host family and my host kids, to my friends here and to the city I fell in love with, hit me. The scary thing is that I don’t know when I’ll meet everyone again yet and it is a strange thought, considering being around everyone 24/7 and they being a part of my every day life.

I also can’t imagine that my Au-Pair dream, which I had for so so so many years will be over in a few months and I am afraid that everything will feel unreal then. At home no-one shares this adventure with me, everything more or less stayed the same, but me as a person has changed so much.

I just want to enjoy these last five (not even anymore!) months as much as possible. I don’t want to feel homesick and I want to discover myself, find out who I really want to be and I want to grow. Grow my personality, my skills, my knowledge, my thinking.

And I can’t wait to see what these last five months will bring.

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Pictures via Pinterest

I hope you enjoyed the questions and my answers. I have a few other Q&As planned since I have lots of questions left. So, stay tuned!If you have any other questions, just ask me here or on instagram 🙂

xo Franziska

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