Trip Start Jan 01, 2014
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of France  , Île-de-France,
Sunday, January 12, 2014

I know that I promised a blog after my first day, but I have been absolutely exhausted every night this past week. Going from working off of my own schedule to pulling late nights and early mornings has been quite interesting! The basic schedule of a family in France differs in a few ways from what I am used to in the States. I wake up a little before 7:00 AM and help the kids get dressed and downstairs for breakfast. Since I don't usually eat much for breakfast, I use this time to finish getting myself ready. By the time they are done and ready to head out the door, it is about 8:00. Right now, I am only dropping off two of the kids.So by the time I get them each at their respective schools and back home, it is around 9:00. Then, I have to leave the house by 4:00 PM, at the latest, to pick them up and bring them home. We have snack, do homework, play games, and take baths until the parents come home between 7:00 and 7:30. That means we usually don't even start dinner until after 8:00, and the kids tend to go to bed around 9:30 or so. 

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!
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Maria Parsley on

What an insane schedule! I could probably get used to two hour lunches pretty quickly ;) have you come across any potential friends yet? That's probably hard with the language and limited time but I'll be praying for you!

pardonmyfrance on

I don't really experience the extended lunch since I'm either in class or at home, but I bet it's nice!

I've met a few other au pairs through my language course and some others that live in my town. We've been able to hang out a bit, but hopefully I will be able to get more involved once we all settle into our schedules! I do want to meet some French people though, so I'm going to have to figure out how.

Cindy Hunter on

So between 9:00 am and 4:00 pm you have class right? Of course, I guess there is a two hour lunch in the middle of it, so guess it can't be too bad huh?
How do you take the kids to school - walk, transit? I'm sure in another few weeks the kids will be completely smitten with you and the communication will improve.

Perle on

Talking to kids in a foreign language is the hardest thing!!! I babysat once in Texas and it was not easy!

I also remember eating pretty early sometimes back in Texas :D

OMG if you come in Belgium, we'll cook a Belgian meal (with my roommates I hope!), it's so delicious, I can't wait... With Belgian fries (not those disgusting "French fries" you get in France ^^)

Isis on

The little girl sounds adorable!!! Bouncy curls = my favorite ;) I'm sure in just a few short weeks you'll feel completely comfortable and at home! The language barrier will seem smaller and smaller! Also your day sounds BUSY!!!! But you gotta love the European lifestyle -- two hour lunches sound heavenly to me!

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