Sunday, 3 November 2019

Totally scared and really excited | Aurora

I’m Aurora from Italy and I’ve been living in China for two months.
So many people just talk about other countries knowing nothing but stereotypes. Actually, I kinda did the same when I talked about China before the experience I just had. I won’t ever forget the day I took my plane from Italy to Hangzhou and how I felt (a mix between totally scared and really excited) and I will always remember the culture shock I got right when I met my host family - I gave them my hand for a handshake and they just ignored me and went over.

Me and my 2 host girls. Did I tell you we had our private driver?

This experience in China made me much richer: I literally discovered a new world.

This experience in China made me much richer: I literally discovered a new world! I must say that China is a two faces country: one shows you the roots of this country proud of his own ancient culture and history, the other totally open mind and willing to develop. During these months I experienced so many things that not even a book would be enough to tell them all but I would really recommend everyone to live it!

My host family took me to eat Italian food. Chinese people love it.

Now my experience is over but the bond I made with my friends (they have been more than “just” a host family) and my “two little sisters” will last forever, thank you all.


Sunday, 27 October 2019

My First Time Meeting My Host Family

Hey Guys! Answering a few questions today about meeting my host family and sharing my experience! If you have more questions or want to hear more about China leave a comment!!

xoxo, HAM

Sunday, 20 October 2019

20 steps of packing | Danielle

Ready, steady, go!
2 weeks ago my Aupair life changed I was six months into my year-long contract. Then school started for my 2nd-grade host kid and her schedule got busy. So out of the blue, I was told I needed to find a new family. I was obviously very upset, I loved my host kid. But all good things must come to an end and in just a few days I will be moving to a new city with a new family!!

Ready for a new start, oh yeah!
I am very excited for a fresh start and look forward to blogging all about my new life! But for today I want to discuss packing. I had 2 weeks to pack 6 months of my life into 3 bags. It was no easy task that's for sure! So here is a quick checklist of you are in the same boat!

  1. Put your room back how it was when you arrived. Be kind to your family, help them as much as possible with your room. 
  2. Get rid of the clothes. You don't wear all the clothes in your closet. Get rid of them. Extra points if you can part with knick-knacks and other things!
  3. Invest in vacuum seal bags for your clothes. It takes out all the air and compresses your clothes making it a lot easier to pack in. 
  4. Check out travel options before you pack. If you want a quick trip on a plane you're going to have to get creative if you're on a budget! I opted to keep all my bags and take a train instead.
  5. Realize that you still have to much junk and freak out that you'll have nowhere to keep it. 
  6. Throw out more clothes and stuff.
  7. Repack.
  8. Realize you forgot something and unpack.
  9. Repack.
  10. Repack again after doing laundry.
  11. Sit in bed eating instead of packing. 
  12. …..
  13. Someone help…..
  14. .. I have no clue what I'm doing….
  15. For real…
  16. Pack bags inside of bags inside of bags. I currently have a purse inside a backpack inside a suitcase. 
  17. Be sure you can carry everything yourself.
  18. Give your host kid things you couldn't fit, they will love it.
  19. Resist the urge to unpack and repack again… 
  20. Have a wonderful trip because you packed early and it was SO easy😍


Sunday, 6 October 2019

Jenna's summer of 2019 in China

Summer in China

It’s me Jenna from Michigan again, it was a great but fast summer! It was and is so hot, temperatures are still climbing, and AC is blasting. As an au pair, it’s hard to think of ideas to do with kids when you just want to sit in a cool room with a cold drink. Well, this post will be all about how to have fun and stay safe in this Chinese heat.

One year ago…
Let’s take it back to Hangzhou for a minute. I was always involved with the kids and their summers in Hangzhou were almost as hot as Shenzhen. It's a dry heat. Shenzhen is more humid. A little information for my Hangzhou friends!  

Bakeries are popular place to visit during the weekends ( and not only during the summer break, haha)
Me & my host girl :)

Parks, SPF and sunsets
Anyway, something an au pair can do with a lot of kids in the summertime is finding a nice park. Whether that be close to the water, or in a shaded area covered by trees so the kids don’t get sunburnt! (Always remember SPF). Going to the park is a fun, easy way to burn some energy, and they can have fun with their friends, all while getting outside and enjoying the nice sunny day. If it is too hot, you could always go in the evening before or after dinner, right around sunset, everything is nice and cool, but don’t forget the bug spray! I did that a lot with the kids in Hangzhou…

Time to read "Leaf Hunt"
Another fun thing (educational of course) find a comfortable spot and take your reading time outside with the kids! It’s a different change of scenery and the kids love it! A good book to read outside with your kids is “Leaf Hunt” then go on a leaf hunt yourself. When you collect the leaves and acorns you paint with them and glue them on paper. It’s a great cognitive activity and fun too!

My tip? Do water balloon fights- for those really hot days!

We have had so much fun!
Smile, please :)
My mini-vacation - surprise from my host mum
Being an au pair each day brings a new surprise! Over the summer,  my host mom (Lea) surprised my boyfriend and me to an overnight stay at one of the most expensive hotels in Shenzhen! (Sometimes, in life you have to brag). Then following that day, I would meet the kids down at the luxurious pool and we would spend the day there.

It was my mini-vacation! 
Ice cream, anyone?
When my boyfriend and I arrived, Lea continued to surprise us. She said: “come have dinner with me, I’m buying!” She wanted to tell me thanks for the first couple of months of being with her family. I love working with kids because we as au pairs are caregivers, and teachers. We are changing their little lives one step at a time!  After an amazing dinner, my boyfriend-Jake and I explored the gorgeous hotel, got some dessert and headed back to the huge room for some room service and movies! 


Sunday, 29 September 2019

6 things to ask your future host family

Food is my #1 question I would suggest you ask about..

When it comes to interviewing for your host family there are certain questions you should always ask. The answers that you get can tell you all you need to know about your family and whether you should sign that contract or not! Trust me I've had two families in my time here! 

1. What foods does your family eat? 
This seems silly but trust me. If you think you're okay with any food just know your not. Most families have the same 5 meals and if they only eat bland foods and you like spicy, you're in for a long stay. 

 2. When travelling how far in advance will I be notified?
 This question is important for 2 reasons. Number one because you need to know how quickly you can throw a bag together. Number two. It will show if the family is going to take into consideration your cultural norms. It's just Chinese custom to plan very last minute trips and if you get 1 or 2 days notice it's amazing.

3. What does your average day look like both for the family and for the child you will be with. 

Obviously this needs to be asked. Because that is your life from now on. It also shows that you do in fact have an interest in the family and their life. It just looks better to your potential family. 

4. What exactly are my duties?
ASK THIS NO MATTER WHAT. Aupair means many different things. My first family used me as a teacher and that's what I did. Some au pairs do pick up and drop-offs from school help feed and shower the kids and are more of a caregiver role. Do not go into a job expecting it to be a certain way. Always ask.

Ask about your free time and whether or not are you allowed to go out. 

5. If any (behaviour) problems arise with the child what should I do? 
This is probably the most important question but most difficult to ask. You are not going to have a perfect job. It doesn't matter how good your kid is, they will have an attitude. Some kids can get physical and some just cry yell and scream. You have to know the appropriate ways to handle them. This also will show you how the family views their child and will view you. I'd the parents say oh absolutely nothing my child never acts up! Don't sign. They don't care.  If they give you an answer that you think is fair and that you are comfortable with going through with then great!! 

6. Religion. 
This obviously only goes to some. For me, religion is a deal-breaker. If a family does not have religion then that is okay, I'm not one of those types. But if the family says you're not allowed to practice your religion then you need to find someone who is okay with it. You're agreeing to change your entire life for a family and so you need to be honest about your needs. 

As you can see, there is no "wrong" question to ask. Quite the opposite - the more you ask, the better for you and your future host family :) Let me know how you interview went,


Sunday, 22 September 2019

Halfway there: my 6 months in CHINA

Jenna & Me
It is FINALLY here! My glorious halfway mark! I have survived 6 months in China. To celebrate thought it would be fun to compare my first month to my sixth month, so for your entertainment purposes I present to:

See you soon,


Sunday, 15 September 2019

Dear host family | Lucia from Spain

Lucia & Max
Dear Mom, Dad and Max. In the words of Gabriel Garcia Marquez (a Columbian writer), "Don't cry because itś ver, smile because it happened". I am sad to leave Hangzhou, but I am so thankful for this experience. The thing I am going to miss the most is you, my family and bubble tea, haha. Since day one, you made me feel at home....

Lucia came to China mainly to practise Chinese & experience the Chinese culture.
My dear host family, thanks for treating me so good. I am really grateful for you and all that you did for me including the delicious food, milk tea orders and making an amazing birthday party. Max, you became a little brother to me which I never had but always wanted. I  love your sense of humour and how clever boy you are. I am going to miss having a little brother when I am back home to Spain, but you will always be in my heart. Lucia  

Helping kids with homework is one of the Au Pair's responsibility.

Smile, please.
Lucia successfully completed the 2 months reciprocate Au Pair program in Hangzhou in August 2019. Before returning home to Spain, she decided to explore the beauty of Thailand. We wish her to have a great time there 

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