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Being an au-pair

If one year ago somebody had said that I would be working with kids -and enjoining it madly- nobody will have believed it. But I spent the last four month working as an au-pair and I am sure that this job gave me the opportunity of understanding the kiwi culture better than any other job I could have taken, plus giving me a lot of knowledge about children -something useful If one day I decide to be a mother.
I am a journalist and after five years writing for a magazine in my home country, Uruguay, I decided to take one gap year just to travel, find new experiences and write about them in my blog (www.hillstoheels.com)
Our home tongue is Spanish, so I thought that the ideal was to choose a country were English were the language spoken -this is the language I use when I interview international artists, so improving my vocabulary and pronunciation would be something very useful for my job. Lots of friends recommended me to come to New Zealand. Every year 200 Uruguayan citizens between 18 and 35 years get a New Zealand `s working holiday visa, and in 2011 I turned in one of this lucky ones.
To avoid the temptation of talking all the time in Spanish I decided to live with a kiwi family instead of moving with Uruguayan and Argentinian friends. This would be, I told myself, a short-cut in my immersion inside the kiwi culture and habits. There are several ways of finding a native family to be your hosts -small bed & breakfast, for example- but I decided that being an “au-pair” (a nanny that lives inside the house) was the most accurate for the purpose of my travel, because it was going to give me the extra benefit of talking continuously in English with this children -and also being able to teach them some Spanish. Furthermore, the experience was also making me able to save the money of the rent and food, and also earn a little bit that I could use for traveling around the country (I spent it at weekend trips to Coromandel, Taupo, Tauranga, Roturua and Wellington, plus a ten days vacation at South Island)
There are several websites specialized in nannys or au-pairs in New Zealand, like www.aupairlink.co.nz, www.nznanny-aupair.co.nz, www.aupairnewzealand.co.nz, www.nanniesabroad.co.nz/au-pair-nz, www.culturalcare.co.nz, and many other else -if you write “au pair” in Google you will see a lot of sites. But I already had an Argentinian friend living in Auckland before I arrived to New Zealand, and she put me trow a kiwi women who has looking for an au-pair for their two kids.
I must confess that when I started this job (March 2012) I didn´t know even how to change a nappy. I don´t have kids nor nephews -I am the elder one of three sisters- so my knowledge of kids was very little. They were like ET to me!
The first time I put one of them “Time out” -this is the way we call when they are going to have punishment for bad behavior or “being naughty”- he said to me: “I don´t like you”. It was very hard for me to hear that, being as I was so far from my home and my family, but the mother then said me to don´t worry about that and carry on. Actually she thought me so much about kids in the four months I worked for them, that I am sure that if one day I become a mother I will owe her a lot. Maybe it contributed the fact that she herself had been an au-pair ten years ago, in a winter she spend in Switzerland. She also lend-me all her snow equipment during the week that I took off to go to South Island and ski in Queenstown, and she also offered me her van to use whenever I want -but I don´t drive so I never used it.
And I can´t explain you how happy I felt the first time one of the kids said to me: “I love you”. Far away from home and my beloved sisters, this two kids were somehow my family, so the sweet words of the boy -and the smiles and cuddles of the one year old girl- were the things that made my days. I learn how important is for them to see you strong but sweet, happy but firm. Because everything is simple when you are playing with songs, making castles with Lego or reading stories, but it is not so enjoyable when you have to teach them to share the toys, to not hit each other, to wait their turn for something. It is not easy because they will never say “Oh yes you are right”. Of course not: they will complain, shout and cry. And you need to show them that you are the boss. That you are in charge. And actually this is good for them, not only because they will learn manners, but also because they will feel safe.
Being a nanny also gave me the opportunity to visit parks, museums, streets and do plenty of activities -the parents gave me lots of freedom around the city, the only requisite was, of course, that the activity was interesting for the kids. During several activities I meet some girls -nannys and babysitters most of them- that are now great friends for me. Being a nanny is a common occupation for teenagers and university students, mostly because it is perfectly compatible with studding and also because it is very enjoyable -if you like kids, of course.
I have a bachelor degree in Social Communication, and wile I was working as an au-pair I also started developing the Social Media of Edcorp, an international consulting firm specialized in Education in New Zealand. I was also giving some lessons of Spanish as a private tutor, writing free lance articles of tourism to Spanish and Latin America media, and updating my blog as frequently as I can (the blog is in Spanish, but you can find lots of pictures taken by me in this four months around New Zealand)
At the beginning I was able to all this activities at the same time, but four months before starting I decided that it was the moment for a change. Even though the experience was great, I wanted my own flat in order of having more independence. And I was also craving for new experiences. So I give the job for one of my Uruguayan friends -she is a kindergarten teacher so she was thrilled with the offer-, I took more hours at the office and I also assumed a new challenge: being the barman of a very gourmet restaurant. Before coming to New Zealand I studied how to be a bartender at Cocktail Club Uruguay (www.cocktailclub.com.uy), one of the most prestiguious schools of my country, but I have no experience, so it is quite a challenge. I will write about this new job in a couple of months, in my next post.
Cheers!
Carina Fossati

 





Submitted by: Carina Fossati
Date submitted: 2/08/2012 9:32:19 p.m.


Working as an apple packer in Motueka Mon May 9

Working for free accommodation in Wellington Thu Mar 24

From working holiday visa to a resident Thu Mar 24

From the big city to the field of kiwi fruit Thu Mar 24

Working with Kiwi fruit Thu Mar 24

The Christmas rush Mon Feb 29

Packing kiwifruit in Motueka Mon Feb 29

Asparagus picking Mon Feb 29

put on your work clothes, roll up your sleeves and get out there Tue May 27

MY JOURNEY FROM $350/HR TO MIN WAGE: LOVING IT IN NEW ZEALAND Tue May 27

The Gorilla Hut Sun May 26

Working in sales in NZ Mon May 13

Life as an apple picker Mon May 13

Marahau Sun May 5

hanging nets at isabel vinyard Mon Mar 25

Farm stay Tue Feb 5

Berry-Picking and Ice-Cream Making Tue Dec 18

Vineyard Work in Blenheim Sun Nov 25

Working As A "Milkman" Sat Aug 4

Being an au-pair Thu Aug 2

Grape harvesting in Central Otago Thu Aug 2

Whenever Wed Jun 6

Picking up the oil in Tauranga Mon May 21

Onion grading Sat May 12

Omarama, Place of Light Tue Apr 3

Napier or the job war Sun Apr 1

Some helpful tips Wed Feb 29

Fruit picking in Central Otago Mon Feb 27

Some useful tips Thu Feb 16

Fruit picking in Motueka Wed Jan 18

Where Do We Go From Here Tue Dec 20

Picked it, Packed it, Buggered Off! Tue Dec 20

Seasonal jobs COULD change your very life as you know it Tue Dec 20

I work to live, I don’t live to work Mon Dec 19

I only had $100 to my name Sun Nov 20

Odd Jobs In Central Otago Sun Nov 20

Peach thinning working experience Sun Nov 20

The young vines were frosted over Sun Nov 20

The work found me Sun Nov 20

Working for Watties Factory Mon Oct 24

Working New Zealand from a different perspective Mon Oct 24

I had always been dreaming about coming to New Zealand Mon Oct 24

My first job in vineyards was stripping Mon Oct 24

My happiness was indescribable Tue Oct 18

Working in a Packhouse in Auckland Tue Oct 18

Working on a vineyard in Blenheim Tue Oct 18

Cycling in New Zealand not friendly Tue Oct 18

Fruit Picking Tips for New Zealand Mon Aug 22

Whale and Dolphin Watching Sat Aug 13

Cherry Picking in Central Otago Sat Aug 13

16 Argentinian people living there, it was awesome! Tue Jul 26

No one got payslips, really crazy Sat Jul 23

picked apples at first Sat Jul 23

In 18 months I have worked with kiwi fruits, apples, two epic ski seasons and a travelling carnival Sat Jul 23

cash-in-hand odd jobs Sat Jul 23

A rugby team we’ve beaten twice at the Rugby World Cup? Let’s go teasing them! Sat Jul 23

Talking to strangers about charity Sat Jul 23

Fresh out of college Sat Jul 23

Working trees for $350 per week Sat Jul 23

German Windsurf Instructor in New Zealand Sun Jul 17

Vineyard work in South Island New Zealand Sun Jul 17

We had idea, get visa, sell everything and just go to New Zealand Sun Jul 17

6 MONTHS AS A NANNY IN WAIMAI Sun Jul 17

Wilding Pines Sun Jul 17

boss was very nice and friendly Sun May 8

Vintage in Central Otago - Working in the Wine Industry Sun May 8

Mr Apple packhouse experience Mon May 2

North Island Notes Wed Apr 20

Fruitpicking in Napier Wed Apr 20

blueberry harvest season Thu Apr 7

bbq on the beach and if you lucky see some Dolphis too Thu Apr 7

Mate! You are on fire!! Sun Mar 20

The real vineyard work lowdown Fri Mar 11

I had pretty much run out of cash Wed Mar 9

The Land of New Zealand Mon Feb 28

Work in backpackers in exchange for accommodation Sat Feb 26

heard cattle on motorbikes Fri Feb 18

Traditional Maori hangi Thu Feb 17

Fortune Fruit and spitting cherry pits competitions Tue Feb 15

When I got to Whangamata... Sat Feb 12

I could romanticize it… Tue Dec 7

I thought it sounded interesting Tue Dec 7

My New Zealand adventure :) Wed Nov 3

Well I am from Mexico... Mon Oct 25

~New Zealand has no bandits and the relaxed lifestyle is second to none~ Fri May 14

New Zealand's got cheap banks!! Mon Apr 26

Tips from Latvia...yes not Russia ;) Tue Mar 16

First Job Thinning Apples... Mon Mar 1

Damn recession! Wed Feb 10

Loving New Zealand.. Mon Feb 8

From aircrafts to vineyard work in New Zealand.. Mon Feb 8

A Czech in New Zealand.. Fri Feb 5

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