Wednesday, 19 February 2020

5 months in China | Au Pair Paola

I’ll just start off by saying you don’t know the ride you’re in for. My name is Paola and I just spent the last 5 months of my life being a big sister to a 2-year-old girl in Dongguan, China. 

There are so many things I could tell you about my experience. There were up and downs along the way. There was good, bad and there was ugly, just like any other experience. And of course moving abroad to a place you don’t know much about, where you don’t speak one word of the language and where you will be living with complete strangers for the following months does sound scary and risky but isn’t that what life is about? 

If I hadn’t taken that risk I’m certain I wouldn’t be the person I am today. Because yes, China will change you for the better. It has changed me. It is like there’s a Paola before China and the one I become because of all that. 

In China, I found myself a second family, a second home and I also fell in love with a culture. All the same time. My hosts were a Cantonese family based in Dongguan, southern China. Whom today I can call my second family. 

Not only did I experience countless amazing things I wouldn’t have been able to without them. Trips, family gatherings, traditional Chinese weddings, the most delicious food I have ever tasted and even the end of the year-Chinese company dinner. But, also they made me experience what it’s like being part of a Chinese family.  

Don’t get me wrong, the trips were amazing too, but my favourite part definitely was being able to form a bond with the family. There was nothing more comforting than the little things such as sitting with your family eating tong sui (sweet soup. it’s delicious, I promise) on a Sunday afternoon.

Those moments where you’re not feeling great, maybe you’re kinda homesick, but your host family will talk to you to comfort you and cheer you up; or even the most simple thing like your host mom buying your favourite food or snack when she was at the store because she remembered you remembered you liked it...

Living abroad will always be a bumpy road, where you don’t really know what’s going to happen next, but you will never know until you take the risk. 

So, dear future au pair, pack your bags and get ready for the time of your life!

Paola :)

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