Nothing seemed too out of place for me. No culture shock. I found myself unknowingly at peace here. I could live here. The key word could. It seems like I’m in a dream now that I’m returning home. It almost seems like if here is my home and I’m excited to go on my next journey. I’m still in disbeliefI. I also can’t believe that I’ve finally made it to Japan after years of dreaming and wishing that I could come
What was my favorite part?
My favorite part was the people. People are respectful here, the majority, and helpful. The children who walked home from school would all say hello. The mothers at the kindergarten smiled and said hello to me as well. Everyone who I encountered was always willing to help me one way or another. People weren’t loud on the subway or train, which easily can be extremely loud if I was in my hometown.
My second favorite part was thrifting in japan. The clothes are great quality and the prices were so low. Some sections were priced at 300 yen, which is less than $3 US dollars.
What was the most challenging?
The children I had to take care of. I came out this experience still loving the children, but at some moments I wanted to pull my hair out. It was extremely frustrating for me because I wasn’t their mother and I couldn’t add discipline to their lives when they misbehaved even though I was with them for the majority of the time. I was bitten, and bled, I was kicked, and I had shoes thrown at me while I was driving. I am used to kids misbehaving because I am a substitute teacher, but as a substitute I can discipline the children, but as an au pair, I had to do what the mother desired.
I’m not sure if it was just my family that I was with, but the children were spoiled. They didn’t have to pick up after themselves, and when they cried and wanted something, most of the time they got what they wanted.
The children though may misbehave because they have people who come in and out of their lives easily and each au pair is different. Some may be loving and teach the children good behaviors while others may not. I tried my best to teach them to say please and thank you. I also tried to explain to them that they needed to keep their area clean. For instance, they loved to throw their trash in the car, but after I spoke to them, one child always made sure to throw her trash in the trash bag than on the floor.
So, this was also the most rewarding part. It was challenging, but also the most fulfilling.
How about living with the rest of the family, how was that?
My host family was so helpful and sweet. I loved my host mother. She was always great to talk to. She always held interest in asking about how I was doing and about my life. I, too, found interest in her life as well. Her mother was also a sweet woman. She didn’t speak English, but she loved to speak to me about my hometown and my work back at home. My host mother’s husband was around only once a week, but he was nice too, awkward, but nice. So, I had a wonderful host family.
Would I au pair again?
Yes! I definitely would. I was worried that I would feel overwhelmed by the chores or that I didn’t have time, but even though my schedule was packed. It was nice to be busy, and I still had the mornings to myself, which allowed me to have my sanity. When I was a girl scout camp unit leader, it was much more difficult because I never had time to self. This was much easier.
I would make sure though to have two children or less, and to ask about how the children are raised to make sure that I agree with the way they are raised. Also, what parents expect of an au pair when it comes to discipline or something of the like.