02 September, 2011

The New Job: Jeune Fille Au Pair

St. Urs Cathedral in Solothurn
It's been quite a while since I last posted anything, and for good reason. I've been enjoying the heck out of my summer here in Switzerland!

Most of my summer was spent studying French, exploring the city, enjoying long weekends in Solothurn, and mostly getting accustomed to my new Swiss life. Some of the highlights included Firenze, Italy (already reviewed here), quick day trips to Bern and Basel, relaxing in Solothurn with Aron and his parents, riding on the Vespa to go and pick cherries at the base of the Weissenstein, my slightly "illegal" birthday camping trip on the French-Swiss border, visiting my sister Tarah and my niece Jezebel in Germany where I ended up breaking my toe (more on that later), and running. Lots and lots of running! Well, that is, lots of it BEFORE the toe thing happened.

This past week I moved in with my new "host family," and started up my job as an au-pair, or "nanny" of sorts. An au pair's responsibility is to not only take care of the children, but to also act as their mentor, helping to guide them through the trials of, in their case, preteen and teenage life. I was lucky enough to find my "family" on an au-pair networking site called Great Au Pair where I posted a profile and was then contacted by different families who were interested in hiring me. I spoke with a few (one of which had 6 boys under the age of 10!!!), but when Virginie (my new "host mom") contacted me, I knew right away I had found a good match. The three children are all a bit older (15, and twins at 12), which really appealed to me not only because older kids are easier to look after, but I liked the idea of being a mentor during what can be a pretty difficult time in a child's life. Each has their own unique personality that I'm discovering the more time I spend with them and get to know them. On top of the cool kids, the entire family is highly active in all sorts of activities: running, biking, ping-pong, horseback riding, piano playing, gardening, and so much more.
Vineyards and the Salève
And, of course there's the huge bonus that I now have my own room, and bathroom (with a huge bathtub!!!). The house is beautiful and is situated in a small town on the outskirts of Geneva, surrounded by miles and miles of vineyards and stunning views of the nearby Salève mountains. Once this toe heals up I'm highly looking forward to some early morning and evening runs! Though it's only been one week, I can already tell that I've been given an incredible opportunity, and I am really looking forward to how the next year will unfold with my new family!

***For all the girls in my family: If you're interested in traveling abroad, au pairing is an excellent opportunity!


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