Monday, June 1, 2015

A little bit more about Mother's Day and busy Alicia. | My thoughts about being an au pair.

Hey there!

Alicia made me laugh yesterday a lot. She was with Fang and Nate sent her a message on WeChat (a Chinese app) and said:
I'd like to spend some time with you today when you're available.
Alicia responded after several hours:
Ohh, it's so nice of you! Unfortunately, I'm not available today because I have a very important meeting with my friend.
Too bad I can't show you a tone of her voice but I must say I laughed hard!
What's more, have I showed you what Alicia gave me for Mother's Day? I think I just said it but I didn't show you any pictures so let me show you one now. A card and flowers... Fake because real ones would die fast and she wanted to give me something that would stay with me forever :)

As you already know, there's a lot of animals around and when you drive a car especially on smaller roads you should have eyes around your head. Especially at night. It's cool that you sometimes can take a look outside and see some of them hanging out ;) As long as they're not coyotes. I'm showing you two pics I took yesterday.


I'll tell you three random stories I heard lately.

There was a girl who found her perfect match and she couldn't wait to go and meet this family in real life. Not a long time ago after her matching process, she found out things which turned her view of the family completely. Almost everything she knew about them was a lie.
Second story is about a girl who received a message from a family which was in an agency (supported by Department of State! the full list is available HERE; she had pictures and even information about one of children's school, etc. Everything was worked out (almost) perfectly and this girl was in touch with Area Director even. But there was something that made her wonder and so she sent a message to someone else from that agency and yes - a person with the same name actually works out there but she doesn't talk with any of them. She also found out that host mom, Area Director and previous au pair were the same person who only tried to get thousand dollars from her.
The last story is about a girl who was pushed by someone from an agency to stop being "picky" because otherwise they'll block her profile (by the way, I did a little research on it and I found out it happens often). She decided to go to a family who she didn't really have many positive feelings with because, for example, she wouldn't be able to use a car for personal purposes or that family has four children and she knew it was too much for her. When she got there, she found out that a woman was 4 months pregnant what she didn't say anything about on their profile.

In my opinion there's plenty of good stories, tons of happy au pairs and thousands of really cool families. Whereas, the Internet is full of negative ones because people don't share any good stories. So I'm not writing this because I want to discourage any of you to become an au pair! I'm writing it because lately I've seen so many things about rematches and, honestly, I get irritated by some of comments I read. And, as you already know, I like talking about what irritates me ;)

I believe that host families are more important for agencies than au pairs because families are the ones who pay BUT au pair has a right to decide where she'll go; to refuse people she doesn't trust; to make her own independent decisions; to set her boundaries! If a woman from an agency threatens that she'll block your profile if you keep being "picky" then explain her what you mean and don't go to a family you don't want to go under any circumstances. YOU'll be with a family for a year so you need to be sure you want to go there. If you have any negative feelings, talk them through with family; tell them what you feel and think. Don't put a location as the most important factor because even this dreamed by many California won't do any good if a family will be terrible and nothing will work for you. It's supposed to be your year to remember well later and not time when you get nervous all the time, when you cry that it's not what you wanted and you want to go home. Another important thing to me is not forgetting about yourself. Of course, during your Skype meeting with a family questions about children are very welcome but don't forget that you're important as well. So if you want to eat dinners with family, you want to be treated as a member of their family but you're afraid it won't happen - share your concerns. Because later people are surprised how many au pairs go to rematch and usually everything is put on family's side but from all the stories I've heard so far I can tell you that a blame is usually NOT on one side only (if we want to blame anyone... I don't like it but I don't know how to explain it in any other way). One more thing I thought about is that it's important to be conscious while agreeing for au pair program conditions which means reading and understanding agreements with agency, family and also conditions regarding a health insurance and agreeing on it or not agreeing and not taking a part in au pair program. If someone expects to come to the US, rest all the time and that he'll get everything not having to do a thing... he'll be disappointed.

I have some doubts and I've been thinking about them for a long time now. I wasn't sure if I wanted to talk about them but I decided to do it. I'm not attacking anyone and I'm not asking anyone specific! I just don't understand a few things and I'd like to look at them though someone else's eyes so if you have any opinions about what I'm going to talk about below and you want to share, feel free to do it.
1. There's a lot of girls who think that au pair is just a cheap worker and that their situation isn't fair because they have little money and in general everything isn't fair and they even have to pay for gas sometimes (taking a car for personal purposes) when ALL the conditions are written in agreements and are available to read before signing them. I don't understand why people with such opinions agree on everything and go to the USA despite their believes.
2. There are situations when host families require an au pair to do something that they're not allowed to require. They can ask to do their laundry and cook a dinner for a whole family and then clean it but they're not allowed to require that. I don't understand why au pairs who don't want to do things like that, agree to do them anyway. 
3. I don't understand why in so many situations rematch is the only and the first option to end a problematic situation, forgetting about conversation even.
4. Tons of au pairs necessarily want to go to California. Even though they've never been to the US before - California is their dream! A lot of people pick a family regarding their location only and it happens that they go to people they don't really like already but who are in a place they wanted to live. I don't understand what's in California and I don't understand why it's put above a good family. (Yes, I wanted to go to California as well. In my case it was caused because of one person living there who wanted me to come.) 
5. Unfortunately it happens that host families do something they really shouldn't do. For example, they don't buy food for au pair, they don't let au pair take her vacation, they require her to work 60hrs per week... I don't understand why au pairs agree for that by pretending everything is fine.
6. There's a lot of girls and boys who simply don't like children, get annoyed because of everything children do, say, etc. I don't understand why they decide to be an au pair and sacrifice kids just to make their dreams come true.

OK, that's all. I'm glad I have this blog and I can talk about whatever's on my mind ;)

Talk to you next time!

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