05 February 2013

A Typical Day as an English Speaking au pair...

....in Rome with wealthy Italians who have multiple maids/servants/housekeepers (whatever's the norm these days) Oh, wait! This isn't a "normal" way of living.

Then there's me. The English speaking girl who's supposed to do something. I can't seem to remember what it is. Certainly not teach. These kids clearly aren't bothered to learn from me. My role: juggling full-on-entertaining along with being a constant punching bag and a puppy who "must" follow where said kids lead.

I wake up in my own peaceful little apartment that the family has graciously provided for me. I make myself some breakfast and lounge around in my pjs for a bit (especially when the Roman winter rains come and hover over the city for the full day)

Breakfast in bed has become a daily habit for me, excessive, I know. But I am LOVING having free mornings to do whatever I want. Next week, however, I'll be trucking my butt out of bed to get to Italian classes 3 times a week. 

Some photo shoots during my lazy mornings. This is me trying to get my creative juices flowing before I sit for hours on end to play Barbies or sword fight. 

Before I work at 1pm I try to get out and see at least some part of the city (or have a coffee and attempt to find wi-fi). Seriously, this country is lacking in technology and advancement...but it's okay. I'm slowing adjusting my expectations.

I've been missing having a "professional" job, though at this point I'm not sure I ever had one. I'm not exactly sure how to dress the part of "au pair" as the teacher still in me wants to dress like I'm going somewhere other than a living room for eight hours. 

And....the next 6-8 hours of my afternoon are spent playing with these kiddos. They really can be angels, but usually at least one of them is a little menace or a crying basket-case. But, in those rare, quiet moments when they decide that they do actually like me, we play together, paint eggs, color, read, play with Barbies and trains and plastic weapons. (Italy still trains children with very stereotypical gender specific toys) Ha!

The little boy, Enrico, who loves yelling at me, "Sei cattiva! Sei brutta!" (which translates, you're mean! You're ugly!) Of which I hope I am neither. But below was a good moment. He's starting to warm up to me after almost four weeks of constant play and petition. 

Some interesting portrayals of the female figure. Not exactly sure these are appropriate for kid's eyes, but their parents don't seem to mind that they're constantly surrounded by nudity. Must be a cultural thing. However, all their art in the home shows the female in a weak, servitude, almost death-like state. I wonder what they're trying to say?

Dinner time with the family (well, with the kids and their maid usually). Fridays are seafood days with the grandparents. This country really is traditional and Catholic (at least culturally). 

After leaving the house around 7:30pm I sometimes go out with other au pairs and English teachers to be surrounded by support, laughter, in-depth English conversations with people my height, and just all around fun and tantrum-free.  

My long and lonely bus ride home late at night. (Rome's transport system is lacking compared to the rest of Europe)

I hope you enjoyed a glimpse into my typical Monday-Friday! Just to note, I really am enjoying my time here, only sometimes I feel the stress of cultural differences or child-rearing differences. Please don't think that I'm ungrateful for this experience. I am loving it! The good with the bad! And learning a ton...

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