Well, it’s been almost two weeks since I’ve moved to Spain to be an AuPair! The journey so far has been quite the experience, so let me catch you up to speed:
My host family is great and I love them dearly. Raul and Cristina are such sweet people. They have welcomed me into their family since the first day and tried to make me feel at home & as comfortable as possible. The boys, Joan (7yrs) and Sergi (5yrs) are also sweet, wild, and a bit crazy…typical little boys.
I live in a tiny village called Santa Oliva, in the Tarragona region. This has been quite the culture shock to me, since I am used to large cities and a lot of independence. Here, there is only one of everything: one school (elementary school), one bakery, one bread shop, one cafe (maybe two..?), one post office, etc. You get the point, it’s super small! There are roughly 3000 people living here, and I went to a high school that had over 2000 kids haha, see what I mean with my culture shock?
However, it’s actually really cool living in such a small village. I enjoy that everyone says hello to each other when you pass by on the streets and I don’t have to worry too much about the boys when we ride our bikes around the city because there isn’t much car traffic. Due to the small size, yes, I do stick out like a sore thumb. But everyone is so friendly! They greet me with a smile and a kind “Hola”.
The relaxed Spanish lifestyle and siestas are totally real, and I’m really enjoying this! No, I don’t actually take a nap in the middle of the day, but with as much food as they try to stuff into me I definitely could. During the week, Raul’s parents usually come by for lunch and his mom always makes great food. And I enjoy getting to practice my Spanish with them!
I’ve been immersed into the Spanish culture with my family through the food, language, and their traditions with all their fiestas–and it hasn’t even been two weeks yet!
Language barrier is REAL. Here, everyone speaks Catalon, and they will switch to Spanish if you don’t speak Catalon. And here I am, lil white girl speaking English. I have picked up quite a bit of Spanish, though I have so much more to learn! In Santa Oliva I’ve only met 3 people who also speak English, including Raul; however, this is really good for me to learn Spanish.
Independence. I have always been so accustomed to get around town by myself and not have to rely on someone to drive me places. I think there is a bus system here, but I’ve never seen a bus. Thankfully, Raul and Cristina are so great about being so willing to take me wherever I need to go. The other village we typically go that is bigger is called El Vendrell. It’s a fun little city that I haven’t been able to explore much, but from what I’ve seen its great! El Vendrell also has more transportation to other cities including Barcelona.
Taking care of boys. It never occurred to me that in all my childcare experience, I’ve never had to take care of little boys for an extended amount of time. Usually they’ve always had sisters! This might not sound like a big difference, but when you only have boys, they don’t know how to be gentle or nice with each other. There is an ongoing wrestling match from the moment they wake up until they go to bed, and I’m learning how to adapt to this.
Blessings & other fun things:
Orientating myself. I now know my way around the village so I don’t get lost! Lots of tiny streets and turns, but I always know the general direction.
When out in public at festivals or community events, Sergi will hold my hand or ask me to pick him up so he can see better.
Joan is great at explaining things to me. Always in Spanish (sometimes he mixes his Spanish with Catalan) but I can usually get the general idea of what he’s saying.
When I go to church I am the youngest in there by about 40years, and they all love to see/stare at me. Yesterday one of the old ladies even brought me to the front row with her and the priest had a short little conversation with me while I was praying…I have no idea what he said (haha) but they’re all very sweet.
Exploring other villages and cities! It’s really typical here to take part in all the festivities going on in other villages near by. I’ve been to quite a lot of places already! I even had the opportunity to go with them to Tarragona to celebrate the national day of Catalonia..so many people, like a parade, but we all just stood celebrating and shouting for independence from España.
Most used words: cuidado, mira, por que, & por favor/gracias
Stay tuned for more adventure stories 🙂