Trip Start Jan 01, 2014
23Trip End Ongoing
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After speaking with some of the other au pairs that I have met in my French course, this seems to be a rather typical routine. Lunch is a very big deal in French culture and generally lasts from noon until about 2:00. Judging from the information I got from my host parents, this is practiced- for the most part -in the workplace too! Since lunch lasts so long, the kids eat a late snack, and parents tend to get home so late, it makes sense that dinner is served at such a late hour. Luckily, my stomach is still accustomed to my college schedule, so it wasn't too hard to transition in that department.
The hardest part so far has been my lack of knowledge in the French language. I tend to pick up languages rather quickly, which is definitely helpful in this circumstance, but it still doesn't help me when I have no idea what a word is or how to conjugate it. While I know a few verbs, I have mostly been picking up on the nouns. The title of this blog is an accurate depiction of what my kids hear everyday from me. I nod and say "Yes!" "Oh Okay" "Sure, the trash, yeah..." And then of course I VERY quickly picked up on the vital commands of "Stop" "Be careful" "Wait" and "No!". Then there's, "What are you doing!?" I ask this of the kids all the time, and I almost never understand their response anyway.
I don't think that I've given you much information about the family, so I thought I'd give you a little profile about each of the kids.
Claire is 6 years old and is in the equivalent of first grade. She reminds me a lot of myself as the oldest child and big sister to a little brother and sister. Strangely enough, she also has darker coloring than the other two like me and my siblings! Every week, she takes a guitar lesson and an English lesson. I think out of all three that she likes me the most right now. It frustrates her that we can't have full conversations, but she is also very patient and helpful. I think she's at that stage where she's struggling to become a "big girl" but still wants to be babied like her younger siblings, so that will be my biggest challenge with her.
Axel will be 4 years old in February and is your average little boy. He goes to a Pre-K and according to his parents has two girlfriends that are enamored with him. (I've met one and she always squeals his name when she sees him.) He loves doing puzzles with me just as much as he loves picking on his sisters. Recently, he's been a bit of a drama king, but his parents say it's not how he usually acts. Hopefully, it's just a phase!
Raphaelle is an adorable little girl who will be 3 in either March or April. She is a little chubby and has blonde bouncy curls, so she's somewhat irresistible when it comes to getting her way. I don't really take care of her as much as the others because she stays at the daycare all day, but I think she's warming up to me. She has a kitchenette in her room and loves to play server while I'm her customer. We've began a daily ritual of looking at pictures on my phone or computer, and she'll sometimes snuggle next to me on the couch. But within an instant she can decide that she no longer wants anything to do with me and that I am the last person she wants to see! It's a bit of a struggle, but hopefully she'll be more comfortable with me over the next few weeks.
Overall, my first week has been a definite learning experience. I still feel a little out of place, but everyday I am beginning to feel more and more at home. In the next few weeks, I will hopefully establish more of a regular schedule and be able to explore more of the area and Paris. I love hearing from all of you, so keep the comments and messages coming!