I want to tell you how amazing this experience was for me .When i finished my university degree I decided to be an au pair in Spain for a year. I ended up au pairing for Cristina’s children in Valencia, and the main reason I was initially attracted to the family was the living arrangements offered by them: Cristina and her husband rented out a flat in their neighbourhood to Erasmus students and they offered me a room in it for the duration of my stay. It struck me as ideal as I would be able to enjoy the au pair experience without feeling like I had to work 24/7, and having the chance to separate working life from ‘real’ life.
I arrived in Valencia and instantly knew I had made the right decision, I fell in love with the children immediately, and the family came to feel like my own second family
Loads of people ask me about what I did day to day so here it is: On Monday to Friday I started work at 7.30
When I arrived I woke the kids up, helped them get dressed and wash their faces (they were only little) and then made them and myself breakfast. After that we brushed our teeth and set off to school, and dropped them off at around 8.30/8.45 depending on how slow we were that morning. I was then completely free during the day until 4:45pm where I then picked them up from school. We would then walk to a park where their whole extended family were, and we all chatted while we watched them play. After about an hour we’d walk home, do homework together, bath time, pjs, and then it was tea time (or dinner time for all you southerners…). I would eat with the children and we normally had typically Spanish meals such as fresh fish with lots of vegetables. Then we’d have around 20 mins relaxing time, and I’d then read them a story before bed time. I was always back home by 9pm, except for Wednesday’s where I would stay late to chat to the parents and practice my Spanish and have a catch up. So realistically I had the entire day free to be productive…but I always ended up on the beach all day instead.
One of the biggest perks of living away from the family, in my opinion, is the ability to receive visitors. This was particularly i mportant to me as I had a boyfriend in England that I wanted to visit me as much as possible: something which I imagine could end up causing a bit of friction if you lived in (strangers coming into their house all the time etc). I also had friends visit me and they were able to relax, and feel like they were at home rather than feeling like an awkward visitor. Living out also allowed me to experiment in Spanish cooking and the Spanish restaurant culture: eating out in Valencia is ridiculouslyyy cheap and the supermarkets are even cheaper: and everything is so so fresh. I found myself coming back to England and complaining about how bland all the fruit & vegetables were…you can’t beat Spanish food! If I’d lived with the family I’m not sure I would’ve cooked and explored the food culture as much as I did!
On then weekends I was then free to explore Valencia and its surroundings with my flat mates! We visited loads of different places from Barcelona to a tiny town 45 minutes away by metro that we’d heard had a shop called Spainsburys! I’d heard from other girls living with the families that if they didn’t make plans, they felt like they were still at work because they lived with the kids and then had to look after them. I never felt this pressure so even when we just wanted to chill out and watch a movie, it was still fab having our own space. I wouldn’t be working for this company if I didn’t truly believe that living and working in Valencia, and living with other people your age rather than the family, will be the best decision you’ve made in your life so far. It’s definitely my best decision in life, and I still feel proud of myself for being brave enough to go ahead and book my flights! Hope to hear from you soon, Daisy Singleton