This summer I decided to do something a bit different in preparation for my year abroad to Mexico in October, so instead of staying in England, I’ll be working in sunny Spain for two months as an au-pair! Ahhh… So I thought I’d keep a record of everything I’m doing for the handful of people who might actually want to read it, and to give me something to do when the rest of Spain has a siesta.
So today marks the beginning of my third week in Majadahonda, a fairly big town just outside Madrid, and I’m finally getting into the swing of life in Spain. Needless to say, the ridiculous heat, bizarre mealtimes and severe lack of tea haven’t made this a particularly quick process! The family I’m living with are absolutely ADORABLE and have really made me feel welcome in their home. They live in an apartment with a shared swimming pool and gardens so most of my days are spent playing outside with the children (and most of my friends are about 10..). The two girls I’m looking after are 5 and 9 and extremely cute, making au-pairing a lot easier than I had anticipated. They are constantly wanting me to play games with them (especially uno, for some reason everyone here LOVES uno), although I often suspect that they’re using my less than impressive Spanish skills to their advantage…
The parents are so thoughtful and have introduced me to lots of people my own age, such as a friend of the family who is working as a babysitter in the same apartment block. One of the most striking characteristics I’ve noticed about the Spanish is their extreme openness, friendliness and willingness to include anyone and everyone in whatever they’re doing. Through this one introduction I’ve been introduced to her friendship group and invited to lots of different things with them. I’ve even joined a dance class! (Anyone who knows me will be familiar with my complete lack of coordination or sense of direction). In spite of this it is actually really fun, and has enabled me to meet even more Spanish people (even if the majority of them are fluent in English) and do some much needed Spanish practise!
I’m not going to lie, there are aspects of au-pairing that I have found much more challenging than I expected. Even ridiculously simple things like knowing what to do in my free-time (of which I have a lot more than I’d expected) and that making conversation with random strangers is made even more difficult by the fact that it takes me a good few minutes to figure out how to express what I want to say in Spanish.
One of the highlights of these last two weeks was going to Madrid with the family, to the Parque del Retiro, even if it was only because I was so happy to finally see something green! It was absolutely beautiful. Another positive aspect has been the amazing food. Literally EVERYTHING I’ve eaten has been delicious, excepting a dish involving a lot of large prawns… Whilst it wasn’t exactly disgusting I certainly wouldn’t have chosen it voluntarily. However I am resolved to try EVERYTHING once! Something surprising has been discovering that beer is actually nice! Whoever knew..!?
Hasta luego amigos 🙂