In case you curious, here’s the lowdown on my current situation/location. I’m living in a suburb of Rotterdam, Holland, as an au pair (nanny) for the next year. I’ve already been here a month, and there’s 11 more to go. This is my story of the first week or so.
The travel time from Bangkok to Amsterdam was somewhere around 20 hours. With all the layovers and time changes its hard to keep track. (On a side-note, I had a 4 hour layover in the Kuala Lumpur airport and if you have to have a layover somewhere this place really isn’t bad. There’s a jungle garden that you can walk through, comfy seating everywhere, free sports/movie watching areas, and enough internet stations to make up for the lack of free wifi. Definitely made the long travel much more manageable.)
After traveling half way across the world and making my way through customs I was greeted by my au pair host family. I can’t say how great it was to have somebody waiting for me at the airport. I didn’t have to worry about where I was going to stay, how I was going to get there, and if I was going to get ripped off along the way. My family took me to my new home and helped me to settle in. After staying in primitive/basic hotels for the last 5 weeks I was thrilled to be in a nice home again. There were hot showers, flushing toilets, laundry facilities, and a REAL BED.
The girl that I was replacing was still around for my first week. It was great having someone show me the ropes of everyone’s daily routine and how to get around town. After she left, I was on my own with the kids during the day. We had a couple rough spots as the kids were in the process of testing my limits, and figuring out who this person was that was still in the house after 2 weeks. We get along great now, and have some fun times together.
My family has 4 kids, 2yr, (almost) 4yr, 5yr, and 8yr. Quite a change from growing up as an only child, but things aren’t nearly as crazy as it would seem. I don’t take care of all four kids on most days, the older two go to school then its my job to hang with the younger 2 until the big kids get home. We go to the park or zoo, draw, make cookies, watch Barbarpapa, and read stories. Its a great time.
The area I live in is 20 minutes by train from Hague and Rotterdam. However the town feels more like a country town; similar to Broomfield, CO. My family lives in a great new house, in a development that’s so new the trees are still tied to stakes for support. Just a km or so away from are farms, sheep, and windmills. While not the most happening place its great for running and cycling. I am much more likely to go running in the country roads than around the city. Its easy enough to get to either city by the metro train, so I don’t think I could ask for a better location.
Things are coming together nicely. I’ve met a few other au pairs in the neighboring cities, and have gotten to explore the area fairly well. I’ll be going on a summer vacation in mid July, and starting dutch classes in mid september. I’m waiting so long to start classes because I have to wait for the new session to start. Not a bad adjustment to a new home, town, and country if I do say so myself.