Hi, I’m Anna and I’ve been an Au Pair in America since January 2014.
It’s crazy to think that I’ve nearly been here four months, time just flies by. I live in suburban Philadelphia, the fifth biggest city in America, in the state of Pennsylvania. I have meet so many au pairs from all different countries and am really enjoying experiencing the American lifestyle.
I care for four children, three girls; 5, 13 and 14 and one boy who is 9. The family is blended so at times I have all four children but other times the 14 year old goes to her Dad’s and the 13 and 9 year old go to their Mum’s very other weekend and on Wednesdays and Thursdays.
Everyday is different; sometimes very busy and full on but other days pretty chill.
My week would typically look like this; start work at 6:30am, getting breakfast all ready, then children up and ready for school. First out the door is the 9 year old; he catches a school bus so I have to wait with him at the corner at 7:30am. The 14 year old gets herself ready and to school on the public bus. I then need to make sure the 5 and 13 year old is eating breakfast and all dressed, ready for school. The 13 year old has Down syndrome and requires extra time, assistance and patience. We are out the door by 8:15 and together we walk the 13 year old to school which about 10 to 15 minute. Then I head the other way to drop the 5 year old at preschool.
From then until 3 I have the day free. I like to go to the gym, which I do with another au pair. After that I often read, meet up with other au pairs for coffee or frozen yoghurt or just chill out.
At 3pm it is all go again with picking the children up from school or collecting them from the bus, getting a snack for them and into homework. After homework is all done we often have an hour free before dinner to play, my host mum normally cooks dinner.
As it’s getting warmer outside we like to play with the football, hide and seek or tag. Monday night there is no activities so it’s to bed on time after a shower and stories.
Tuesdays the 13 year old has Hebrew school and the 9 year old has either soccer or ice hockey. Dinner is earlier on these nights and I drive them to and from these activities.
Wednesdays the 5 year old is the only one at home and she has gymnastics before dinner.
Thursdays the 14 year old has ice skating and every other Friday everyone is home. Typically we have a pizza movie night. Saturdays the kids have activities in the morning then in the afternoon I take them some place like the zoo, please touch museum or a playground. Normally I have Sundays off.
The area where I live is really nice, plenty of coffee shops, pubs and restaurants within walking distance. There is also heaps of au pairs and we often try to meet up once a week at Starbucks.
Public transport is a great easy way to get into the city. The train only takes 30 minutes and on my day off I try to get into the city to look around and shop.
New York City is only a two hour bus ride away and you can get really cheap tickets. I’ve been a couple of times but am already planning the next time, it is amazing go and look around Times Square, the Brooklyn Bridge and Central Park.
Washington, D.C. is also really close and easy to get a bus ride down. I spent a couple of days there and got to see all the iconic sights like the White House and the Lincoln Memorial.
Other than these cities is haven’t done a lot of travel but am planning on going down to Florida and then across to California and Las Vegas in my travel month. I’m taking a Niagara Falls class so I will be able to see the falls with a group of other au pairs in June.
My family is really nice, there is obviously hard times but there is also really good times. It’s great having au pairs as friends as you can talk about your family and troubles you might be experiencing and they often understand and can give you advice about how to handle the situation as chances are, there have experienced something similar.
I’ve meet so many amazing girls from all over the world who I know will be life long friends. We already plan on visiting each other in each other’s home country. I’ve also learnt a lot about the American culture, every holiday is so big here, I’m really looking forward to Thanksgiving.
To anybody who wants to go overseas as an au pair I say go for it!
It’s a truly amazing opportunity, you meet many amazing people from all over the world, get to experience another country’s culture and have the chance to travel and explore.