A Day In The Life Of An Au Pair: Zanie

A Day In The Life Of An Au Pair: Zanie

This weeks au pair is an 18 year old from South Africa, Zanie! I met her on my trip to Tallinn, Estonia and was so happy I did. Zanie au pairs for a family where the mother is Finnish and the dad is American. The family has three kids and also owns their own cafe (hello free coffee). Zanie’s host family also owns a lot where they have two houses so she has her own house to live in! Which is super awesome.

A Day In The Life Of An Au Pair, Zanie:

What is your daily life like?

My daily life can be somewhat repetitive. I mainly look after the five year old girl, who doesn’t go to school yet. Other than that, I get the kids from school and take them wherever they need to be.

We have a good system going. I make dinner on Mondays and Thursdays. My host parents take turns cooking dinner on the rest of the evenings. This ensures that you can have structure because you can plan your meals and never wonder who’s got dinner sorted that night. At least, it’s been working for us.

What is included in your contract?

  • Food at the house
  • Own house
  • Bus card
  • Monthly pay
  • Assist children during hours upon agreement
  • Light cleaning
  • Prepare meals
  • Maximum 30 hours per week

What do you like about being an au pair?

I like working with kids, and learning about another family’s life and culture. You settle in with a new family as if you are a part of their own, and while working you get to travel through a different country and see how it differs from your own.

What do you dislike about being an au pair?

There can be a lot to dislike. For one, if you are very attached to your own family, obviously being apart from them for so long can be really tough. I definitely miss my own country a lot too.

Repetition, another thing I really dislike. I like when I have different things to do each day, not constantly the same routine.

I dislike that there’s almost never getting away from certain things. Sometimes I need quite some space and alone time away from the kids on the weekends to regain the energy to go into the next working week without being utterly annoyed. Although of course its difficult when you are staying with them.

Have you learned anything so far?

Patience. I, myself, am not very patient person. You need a lot when you decide to become an au pair, and although I didn’t have any when I made the decision to be one, I certainly learned some in the past four months as an au pair.

I also learned that you can’t tun away from any problems you have, because they will follow you all the way to Finland 😉

I have learned a lot, life is short, and traveling opens up many doors.

What advice would you give someone looking to be an au pair?

Follow the guidelines of your contract. My host family is so good to me, and that sometimes makes me feel like if I’m working a lot more than I should or running around like a maniac doing things on days I don’t need to be doing it, that I shouldn’t complain, because they are so good to me. But then I question it, are they this good to me because they are hoping I’ll just do extra things for them, or is it because they are just good to me because they have good hearts?

Don’t portray an image you can’t keep up with for the rest of your time working for your host family. If you start off the first month constantly cleaning and doing so much more than you need to, they will expect you to do it all the time. Another reason this isn’t great is because it really just makes the kids lazy and they will see you as someone that just picks up after them!

Also, don’t ever hesitate to communicate. If something is bothering you, talk about it, and ask your host family to do the same. This way, if there is any problems coming from either the au pair or host family it can be worked on and the general relationship between you and the family will be much better.

 

Thank you Zanie for the interview again and your advice!

If you missed my previous posts about au pair life you can find them here and here. Also if you want to know how I became an au pair, you can find that post here.

Any au pairs out there that have advice?! Let me know! 🙂

XX Chynna

 

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A Day in the Life of an Au Pair: Jolie

A Day in the Life of an Au Pair

This week I get to focus on a super cool and sweet au pair here in Finland. Jolie is 17 years old (almost 18!) and is from Germany. This girl can rock green hair like no one I’ve seen before! Jolie is an au pair for a family of eight kids. Yes, you read that right- EIGHT kids. Jolie’s family is also vegan and the parents are from the UK, so they have a different dynamic that I think will be interesting to share! Here is some information about her daily life as an au pair:

What is your typical day like as an au pair?

I start at 10am and usually end at 4:30pm. I will start my day by giving the baby twins porridge and then mostly just taking care of them during the day. I will usually do housework during the day when I can. At noon I take the three year old twins to daycare. For lunch I will make something for all of the children, usually something like sandwiches. The older kids come and go as they need to since they have school and then different activities.

What is included in your contract?

  • Flight
  • Bus card
  • Language classes
  • Food
  • Own room (in house)
  • Extra pay for extra hours

Jolie’s host family also hosts two refugees that live in the lower level with her. She shares a bathroom with them, but they work a lot so she says they don’t really have much contact.

What do you like so far about being an au pair?

I like the family a lot. I also like the country because it is so different than Germany. I am glad I did not pick an English speaking country. My hours are clear and I like that. The family also gave me the numbers of previous au pairs so I could contact them and I really liked that.

Is there anything you don’t like about being an au pair?

Sometimes it’s hard to deal with kids when they don’t listen. (TRUE)

Have you learned anything about being an au pair?

I will hopefully learn Finnish while here. I’ve learned a lot about working with children and also how to make new friends in a different country.

Is there anything that surprised you?

It surprised me how easy it was to feel at home with people you don’t know 🙂

 

Do you have any questions about being an au pair? Let me know!

Also, if you missed my first post about Nicole you can find it here.

XX Chynna

 

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A Day in the Life of An Au Pair: Nicole

A Day in the Life of An Au Pair

One night at one of our favorite Irish pubs in town, myself and some other au pairs in the city were talking about how there was not much information on the internet about au pair experiences. There are a lot of things you should know before signing up for the experience, but for a lot of us you go in blindly and hope for the best. Because of this, I will be featuring au pairs I know and asking them about their experiences as an au pair. Being able to see how all experiences are different will hopefully help one person looking into the experience! So here is a day in the life of an au pair.

My first au pair is Nicole. She is 23 and from Houston, Texas. Nicole has been living in Finland as an au pair for two months. She decided to become an au pair after graduating and getting a job in politics. She didn’t like it so decided to do something different, and so she became an au pair! Nicole au pairs for a family with two kids. The mom is an English teacher, so the kids and parents speak English.

What is your average day like?

I usually wake up around 6:30am to get ready and then I help get the kids ready for school/activities. After everyone is ready, I take them to school/activities. I do chores during the day: dishes, laundry, sweeping. Once a week I do a full clean of the house. After I get the kids from school/activities I take care of them until the mom gets home around 3/4pm. Sometimes I will have to make the kids food during the day or do extra hours if needed.

What is included in your contract?

  • Nights and weekends are free time
  • Extra pay for extra work time
  • Finnish language classes
  • Food
  • Room- Lives in a room in the house
  • Insurance
  • Monthly pay

What is not included in your contract?

  • Flight
  • Bus Pass 🙁
  • Meals out with friends

What are your likes so far?

I really like that the country is so different than where I came from. It’s exciting and new. I really like the kids, when they are behaving 😉

Is there anything you don’t like?

There are a lot of times that my kids misbehave and I get bitten or hit a lot. It makes it stressful.

Is there anything you wish you did before making a decision?

I wish I would have talked to the families past au pairs before making a decision. I talked to some once I got here and the family gave me their contact information. Some of them had pretty bad experiences and I wish I would have known before.

Has anything happened that you didn’t expect?

I honestly was so surprised that I would make friends this easily! I also didn’t expect to have culture shock. When I first got here it was all a lot to take in and was hard at first.

Have you learned anything?

I learned what you really need to survive. You can only pack so much into two suitcases! I also will hopefully learn Finnish 🙂

Would you sign up to do it again?

Yes, 100 percent.

 

If you are interested in becoming an au pair, here is my article on how I became one.
Were you an au pair? What was your experience?
XX Chynna

 

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How To Meet People In Your New City

How to meet people in your new city

Moving to a new city can sometimes be hard, along with exciting, if you don’t know anyone. When you are no longer in school you don’t meet people as easily. Luckily, there are ways to meet people in your new city! This August I moved to Tampere, Finland to be an au pair for the year and so far I have been lucky to meet other people here!

Here are some different things I did to meet new people

Facebook Groups

On Facebook I would just search random things like, Americans in Tampere or au pairs in Tampere to see if any groups would pop up. And they did! So just do some random searching to see what you can come up with. Or if you can’t find a group, start one because I’m sure there is someone out there who wants to join that group.

Couchsurfing

This website is more for staying on people’s couches or letting them stay on yours for free, but I heard it’s a great way to meet people. I also joined my cities Facebook group and there are always get togethers or someone posting about doing something so could be a good way to meet new people!

Word of Mouth

This one might apply more to au pairs or anyone staying with a family or people. My host mom knew of another family in town that had an au pair so she contacted them to get the au pair’s number for me. She also had a dinner and invited their past au pair over so that we could meet. Ask your family or the people you are staying with if they know of any other au pairs in town or where people usually hang out or meet.

Tinder and Bumble

This one may sound weird, it did to me too before I tried it. On Bumble they have an option for BFF mode were people are just looking for friends to hang out with. Also, other au pairs said they used Tinder to meet local people, not really to date. I think the way people use Tinder may be different from country to country or even city to city, but something to try.

How to Meet People in Your New City

I would say that I got pretty lucky on meeting people, because I have known of other people who have had trouble. But stay positive and keep trying and putting yourself out there! You never know, your next best friend is waiting for you!

What are some different ways that you meet new people?

xo Chynna

 

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How To Survive Your First Week As An Au Pair

Au Pair

I arrived in Finland about a week ago and time has gone so fast already! When you first arrive in your new country and move in with your family, you may feel out of place or awkward. After looking back at my first week here are some things to survive your first week!

Spend Time With Your Host Family

If possible try to spend time with your host family and not just the kids. This way you can get to know the parents also. Luckily, the mom was still on summer vacation so she has been able to show me around the city.

Play With The Kids

I don’t speak Finnish and the kids do not speak English so really they only way I can interact with them is through play. I found that this also helps build a relationship with them so they can learn to trust me.

Don’t Judge Parenting Styles

Most likely in a different country they will do things differently than in your country. They may even raise their children differently and have different parenting styles. You may not like it, but they are also not your children. Save yourself the stress and don’t try to judge them. When you are with the kids you can do things the way you want to.

Reach Out To People

I got really lucky again in that my host mom was an au pair herself when she was younger. So she knew that it can be hard to meet people. She contacted people she knew that had au pairs also and gave me their numbers. Because of this I was able to meet other au pairs in the area and have people to do things with. I know this will not be the case for every family, but ask and see if they know of any families with au pairs. Also look for Facebook groups for au pairs in your area. Then after finding people, contact them and ask them to do something! More than likely they want to meet people too so they will be eager to do something.

Have Fun!

As always have fun and enjoy your experience. I realize it may not be for everyone, but give it some time and see how it goes.

Helsinki

If you are interested in becoming an au pair, here is a link for how I became an au pair.

What did you do to survive your first week as an au pair?

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10 Things You Did Not Know About Me

About Me

Today I am leaving for Finland! Omg I know right?! I thought today would be a good day to post a little about me so you can get to know me and my blog. Hope you enjoy! 🙂

10 Things About Me

I Was Introduced To Traveling At A Young Age

young me

I am first generation American on my dad’s side so I was able to travel at a young age. My dad and his mom are both from Mexico while his dad is from Prague. I was able to go visit family in Mexico City and this really opened up my eyes to the world around me. Ever since I have been hooked!

Moving To Finland To Be An Au Pair

Finland
http://www.rhinocarhire.com/Car-Hire/Finland-Car-Hire/Tampere-Downtown-Car-Hire.aspx

I posted a while ago about my experience with finding a family and why I chose Finland. You can read about it here.

Graduated With A Bachelor’s Degree In Elementary Education

College

It took me over four years to graduate, but hey I did it! I started out as a Biology major to go into the medical field, but after about a year or two I decided it was not for me. At that time I was volunteering with Girls Inc. and really loved working with the girls. I always connected with children and enjoyed working with them, but until my supervisor told me I should really think about being a teacher did I ever consider it.

I Was In A Sorority In College

College

Personally, I really enjoyed being in a sorority and I feel like it really shaped me into the woman I am today. I am also really grateful for all the women I was able to meet because they are my rocks.

Love Reading

I love reading all and any type of book! On my blog there is a post about my summer reads you can check out here.

Could Not Survive Without Coffee

coffee

In all honesty it’s not really for the caffeine as it is for the taste. Hazelnut is my jam!

I Live For Patio Weather

Bloody Mary

Anyone else see a perfect day as sitting on a patio with great food, drinks, and friends?

Only Child, But I Am Close To My Family

I am fortunate that my mom and her sisters are very close so I have always grown up with cousins around.

Obsessed With Grilled Cheese And Mac N Cheese

About Me

I mean, who isn’t?

I Have Six Tattoos

Unfortunately I don’t have a picture that shows all of them, but I can list them. There is a cactus on the back of my left arm, “agape” on my right hip, a sun on my left inner elbow, a moon on my right inner elbow, “maktub” written across my back in arabic, and an arrow going up my spine. I am not sure if I plan on getting any others, but you never know 😉

I am excited to share all of my travels while I am in Europe! What is an interesting fact about you?
xx Chynna

 

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How To Make The Most Out of College

How to Make the Most Out of College

This post can also be titled “Chynna is pouting about growing up.” Transitions in life are always hard, but they can also be very exciting. They can be a way to learn more about yourself and also try new things. College is one of those transitions in life that is exciting, but also daunting. Some of you may be moving far from home or have decided to stay at home and go to a college near you. Either way, you still have no idea what’s coming next. This year as I enter my next transition, life after college, I reflect on my years in college and things I did and wish I had done. So here is my alumni advice for those who are entering college this year 🙂

Put Yourself Out There

I know this is really cliche to say and you probably hear it all the time, but it’s true! It feels so weird asking people you don’t know to do something with you or having to ask if you can join but just do it. There is really nothing you can lose from it. You never know, that person may be your new best friend.

College

Don’t Go Home Every Weekend

For some of you who are really close to your family this may be really hard (or if you’re staying home). Living away from home is a great way to became independent and find out things about yourself. This will never happen if you go home every weekend.

College Tailgate

Don’t Only Hang Out With People From Your Hometown

This is so easy to do since you know them and it feels safe, but as stated above put yourself out there! Go out and meet new people. Some of my closest friends are ones I randomly met in college and it is because I branched out.

College

Join a Club and/or a Sorority/Fraternity

I personally went through recruitment, but if it’s not for you then don’t do it! I know a lot of girls who even went as far as joining a sorority because all of their friends did it, but they really didn’t like it. Do what you want to do. College is a time to do things that you like to do and joining a club based on those interests is a good place to start.

College

Go Abroad

Take advantage of studying abroad. You get the chance to live in another country and go to school with students from your school and others. Everyone I know who went abroad loved it. I didn’t study abroad, but I did go to Ireland for a week with three of my sorority sisters. I wish I would have studied abroad through!

Ireland

Take Classes Seriously

I’m really only putting this on here because there were so many people my freshman year that failed classes or didn’t get into Kelley because they didn’t take their classes seriously. So basically study.

Have Fun!

As much as studying is important, so is having fun! While yes there are nights in the library I remember (most likely because I wasn’t studying), but the nights I really remember are the ones where I was with friends enjoying being young. Let yourself have a break sometimes and go have some fun!

College

College

As someone whose college career is over, it goes so fast. So even though midterms and finals may be brutal and you’re super stressed out; you will miss it. So have fun and enjoy it!

What are you looking forward to most in college or what is your favorite college memory?

xx Chynna

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Four Books You Should Read This Summer

Books You Should Read This Summer

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, but all thoughts are my own 🙂 If you click on a link and make a purchase, Boarding for Chynna will receive a small commission. 

Reading is one of my favorite hobbies, but also one that I do not get to do that often. I buy and buy books, but sometimes it takes months for me to get around to reading them. With vacations and nice weather to sit outside and read, I am making it a priority to read this summer.

Four Books That Are On My Reading List:

I am always looking to add to my reading list, what books are on your summer reading list? [bctt tweet=”I am always looking to add to my reading list, what books are on your summer reading list? ” username=”Board4Chynna”]

xx Chynna

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How I Became an Au Pair in Finland

How I Became an Au Pair in Finland

If you have read my about me page, then you would know that I am going to be an au pair in Finland this August! Since making this decision last October I have had many questions on what lead me to do this as well as how I did it. These questions leads to this blog where I will tell you all about how I became an au pair in Finland!

Why Did I Choose to Become an Au Pair?

I am really passionate about traveling and learning about other cultures. It is seriously so fascinating to me! My goal is while I am young to go out and see the world around me as much as I can because I don’t know where I will be later in life and if I will be capable. But I do know that right now I have nothing holding me back. I also really love kids. My Bachelors Degree is in Elementary Education, so working with kids is something I want to do. I really did not know that being an au pair was a thing. One New Years Eve I was introduced to a woman who was also a recent graduate from IU that studied Elementary Education that was currently an au pair in Vienna. After talking to her about her life abroad, I wanted to know more and starting researching!

How Did I Find A Family?

There are multiple sites that you can use. I used AuPairWorld and really liked the format that they used. You can select the countries that you are interested and the length of time and then look at families profiles that match those. When choosing a family make sure that you find one that you think will best fit you. You will be living with them! (unless they pay for your own apartment) Trust your gut. Even if the family lives in your dream location, if you don’t think you will be happy with them don’t do it! Also make sure you Skype with the family a couple times before making a decision along with discussing what they expect from you and what you expect from them. I also asked for a sample contract to look over.

Why Finland?

I get this question a lot. At first I really wanted Paris or a city in Spain, but when I Skyped with the families I did not feel a good connection. When my family from Finland contacted me I really felt like I could live with them! When we discussed what we both wanted, we really matched up. So, no Finland was not my top choice but I have been to France and Spain and I think this will really allow me to experience a new culture.

What Do You Do and Get As An Au Pair?

This depends per family, but in our agreement I take the kids and pick them up from school. I also do light cleaning along with once a month a deep cleaning. I am really there as a nanny who will also help their children learn English along the way. For my nanny services I get to live there for free, a monthly stipend, language classes, a bus pass, half of the flight, and a phone. What you will get paid monthly is not a lot, but the family is paying for you living and your food. Some families will pay for an apartment for you to live in, but I found that this is pretty rare. That’s why I stress that you try to find a family that you think you will get along with.

Do You Need a Visa?

It really depends on the country you are going to and length of time. Finland has an au pair visa that I had to apply for. I also had to pay for this along with go to LA to get fingerprinted. I made a weekend trip out of it, but something to consider and talk to your host family about.

What Are You Going to Pack?

I HAVE NO CLUE. If anyone has any tips, send them my way please! I will definitely post what I packed after I do ;). If you are going to Ireland I do have a packing list here.

Are You Excited?

YES! I’m also nervous about moving somewhere I don’t know the language and I won’t know anyone, but that’s all in the experience right? I am really excited to also travel to other places if I get the chance. If you have anywhere that is perfect for a weekend trip, let me know!

I am excited for this journey and cannot wait to share it with you guys. Have you every lived abroad?

xx Chynna

 

 

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