Au revoir! À bientôt! Adieu!
My time as an au pair in Paris has come to an end. It’s been a difficult few months for many reasons but it has been an incredible experience overall and I cannot express how glad I am that I decided to do this. Although 4 months doesn’t sound like a lot of time and a lot of my friends seem surprised that it’s already over, I feel like I’ve done a year’s worth of activities so it doesn’t feel so quick to me!
My family here has been absolutely incredible. I’ve read so many horror stories in Au Pair Facebook groups and it has made me even more grateful for Isabelle and Jean-Mi. They have both made me feel so welcome in their home and have let me get as involved as I want with their family activities. We’ve had barbecues, Juliette’s 6th birthday party, dinner parties and more and I was even invited to Belgium for a weekend to stay with the grandparents. I met 3/4 of the girls’ grandparents and although none of them spoke English, we all got on so well and it made me so happy to receive goodbye texts from them last Thursday and thanking me for what I’ve done with the girls.
Au Pair Life
My little Princess Ella and my little Princess Juliette… I think it’s been a long time since I laughed so hysterically! Yes, we had our difficulties and they are not angel children but when they were both in a good mood then we had so much fun. I introduced them into English food, silly English phrases and most importantly (in their opinion at least) Disneyland!! Sadly, me being such an involved au pair meant that it was hard to say goodbye and it broke my heart that they cried most evenings during my last week. I left them with some cute writing sets so hopefully I’ll get a message or some drawings in the post soon…
French Student Life
I FaceTimed a friend at home a few days ago and she asked me if my French had improved at all and I couldn’t help but laugh. Learning a language in a country where it is spoken is always the best way to learn and given that I’ve been taking classes every week and I already speak Spanish, I have even surprised myself at how much I have learnt! Obviously it’s not perfect and when I speak French it’s glittered with little mistakes but generally, I feel comfortable speaking French and have been able to have conversations for a good few hours before my brain gets tired! I look forward to learning more over the summer and luckily I have a few French friends that I can visit whenever I go back!
Friends are so important when you’re abroad. I have had my friends at home who have been a constant support group on my bad days but on my good days I have been able to spend time with a group of English/American/Canadian girls whether that’s a night out, a trip to the pub to watch England in the World Cup or an over-indulging picnic in one of Paris’s many parks, I have a lot to thank them for! A special shout out to Christy who loves drunk food as much as me and was willing to walk for ages to the nearest open McDonalds after Fête de La Musique! It’s also been so good to have Becca around who I went to sixth form with as she has lived in Paris for a few years and knows it so well that she can take me to all her favourite places and introduce me to some of her French friends who were all so lovely!
Paris is incredible. If all the capital cities of the world were kids in a playground, Paris would be the beautiful queen bee that everyone else wants to be like. Everywhere you look there is something beautiful and in between there is some of the world’s best art, food and wine. My favourite two parts of Paris are definitely the two islands along the Seine and Montmartre and I’m already so excited to go back again.
Saying goodbye was strange because I know I’ll be back for holidays and I have many people who I can stay with but to think that I no longer live in one of the world’s most beautiful cities makes me sad. I’m writing this only 2 days after leaving and I’m already so desperate to return long term but sadly an adult job and starting a proper career is calling me and that’s not something I can do in France without a masters degree or a few years of experience.
However, before my big girl job I have decided to do one last stint abroad (I promise this is the last one!) and in 2 weeks I am moving to Madrid to be an au pair again for a family with a boy aged 7 and a girl aged 8. They don’t speak nearly as much English as Ella and Juliette so it’ll be a very different experience but I am very very excited to speak Spanish again!! Let’s see how many French words manage to sneak their way through in the first few weeks…