My life as an Au Pair with three kids (4,7,9) and a single-mum on the beautiful South Island of New Zealand…
Before my journey started here in New Zealand, I had a little bit of a hard time to decide what I want to do. So I decided against my Master study and for travelling abroad. But where do I want to go so short termed? Canada – nope, the visa application is just once a year and I missed it. Australia? Nah too many dangerous animals, big and hot. New Zealand – sounds good! So okay. I planned nothing so I had no idea about NZ. I read in those Facebook groups a bit and I thought about renting a flat in Auckland, getting a job for a few months and then travelling. But then I read that post from Rachel. She has three kids, runs her own business, need help with both. And I just thought okay, well give it a go. Give her two days of decision and if she says yes, I have a plan, if not I will spend some money in an organization.
So we texted a lot and we skyped though. I had a really good feeling and she asked me when I could come to Timaru. Next day I entered the STA Travel Agency Office and I just asked for help. I said I need everything, flight, insurance, information, a plan, some oxygen and maybe someone to calm me down. And I found her. Anne gave me some information about NZ, she also told me what type of insurance I need and what I don`t need. And best of it, she booked me a one way flight two weeks later. Back home I applied for my visa and just hoped that everybody in NZ will work quick and so that I get my visa in time. And I got it. It was more just-in-time but yes. Those two weeks were a little bit chaotic because I needed so much stuff, like a backpack. I started packing my backpack the day before I left Germany. So of course I packed too much bullshit with me. Don`t do that. Be better prepared than me haha.
After a couple of days flying and a lot of airplane food later I arrived in Christchurch, just thinking to myself: What the hell are you doing here?! No experiences with kids and now I have three on my own.
Rachel waited in front of the airport and it was a warm welcome and I felt like “home” from the beginning. We chatted the whole way down to Timaru so I was really good informed about everything – and really tired. At my new home the nana and the kids waited for me.
I always had the feeling, that I am more than a big sister, than being a stranger. I lived with my second family for more than 18 weeks. I learned a lot in those weeks. My English is way better than it was in the beginning. I learned a lot about life and gratitude. I got more patience – because well you need it with kids. I know that I will be a part of this family my whole life. I got three little siblings, a second mum, new aunties and uncles as well as another grandma and grandpa.
So my tasks were really relaxed. I helped the mum with everything. I dropped off the kids at school and kindi, helped with the household, picked up the kids and played with them until we had tea time. Not one day was like the other. I learned to love some new epic kids movies, I learned that Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles are now In again, I had to be the one who decided which boy (6-10) looks better, I tried to explain why teenager sometimes act weird, I learned a lot about souls and colours as well as having sensitive senses. But I also had to play the role as an arbiter, finding solutions how to end a war between siblings. I learned a lot how to engage kids. Walking to Hawaiian sounds so much better than going tramping. I read a lot of nighttime stories. I also had to sleep in the same room with the kids because of nightmares. I know that they felt safe with me and this is what I loved. They trusted me and gave me their little hearts. I know their secrets. I know which boy is the hottest in school. And which girl is the funniest in kindergarten.
I never had the feeling, that I don`t want to work there any longer. Originally I just wanted to stay for 3 months, but I stayed longer. Because this was my family – this is my kiwi-family. I got SMS when I was out late in the night, if I`m safe or not. I practiced Yoga and went to the gym with the nana. I learned a lot about the NZ weather from the grandpa. I had to challenge highs and deeps. I was on holidays with the whole family during Christmas time – which was incredible. I went camping with the family which was so awesome. Kids don`t need much to be happy. They just need the feeling of safety. My heart broke into pieces on the day when I left my kiwi family. I had the best time in my life, but I wanted to see more of New Zealand. I will miss everybody. The mum, the kids, the nana, the pop! But I will see them again in some stage of my life.
So for me it was an experience of a lifetime! Everybody should do this. You learn a lot. A lot about yourself, different cultures, different countries. You won`t regret it, I promise. You worship things you never worshiped before. You got the second chance to see the life through the eyes of a child! So what are you waiting for?