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au pair has arrived... have a few dilemmas.. can anybody advise?!

(25 Posts)
nvj Sat 16-Aug-08 16:43:54

so the au pair has arrived and has settled in nicely i think. The kids have taken to her and she seems very sweet and is easy to chat with.
First question... so today is her first day off after arriving (although to be fair she hasn't really done anything yet since arriving but i haven't pushed it as i wanted her to have an easy few days after arrival). She's been in her room all day apart from coming downstairs at 11.30 to get some breakfast. I've been up there once to ask whether she wants to eat with us tonight (yes), she's just been on her laptop all day. I asked if she was ok and she said yes but i was just wondering if this is normal?!
I thought with it being her first weekend here she might go off exploring?!my DH seems to think we should be doing more but i'm not sure what?! i had a long chat with last night and we get on well and she seems ok. I have got a few contacts around her age who i have told her about but she doesn't seem overly interested in pursuing them yet.

secondly we live about an hour away by train from London. Should we offer to take her there for the first time so she gets her bearings as she's never been to London, or England, before so might be a bit scared?! and if so do we pay for her to go and everything else associated with trip (ie lunch etc) she's only 19 or should i just let her do it herself?! not sure...

thirdly it's my birthday next weekend and we planned on going out with some friends. My parents are having the kids and we're also staying over at my parents house (nearer to the town). Do i invite au pair along??! feel a bit bad about leaving her in the house as she hasn't got any friends yet...

any advice greatly appreciated!

nvj Sat 16-Aug-08 16:45:58

forgot to say, would rather not invite au pair along to birthday celebrations as we're all couples and i don't want to feel as if i'm looking after her all night.
also if i do invite her and she comes do i have to pay for her food and drink??!

nannynick Sat 16-Aug-08 16:58:10

London trip: Could you perhaps arrange to take the children to a museum one day, inviting the au-pair along as an extra pair of hands, plus so that she gets to know the train route, where to get tickets, see a little of London. Lunch could be a picnic in Kensington Gardens, would help keep cost down and would also indicate to your au-pair that on trips out with the children (if she was ever to do that on her own) that lunch is expected to be low-cost, picnic type thing.
This trip would also enable you to pick up train timetable, tube map, London attractions map of some kind, details about travelcard/oyster card etc.

NormaStanleyBelcher Sat 16-Aug-08 17:02:23

Can you show her some of the other local stuff available rather than just london?

nvj Sat 16-Aug-08 17:17:02

nannynick - yes i had thought we might do that actually. the natural history musuem is free i think aswell isn't it so could incorporate that too. i have given her a train timetable, street map of London, tube map etc already but i think she would probably benefit from a trip with us. hmmm, just got to arrange a date now!!

norma - i have shown her around the local town already but we drove there (takes about 4mins in car) but she isn't insured on our car so i need to walk there with her to show her the way. I'm also going shopping in Cambridge next weekend so plan on asking if she wants to come and then she can just do her own thing and we can meet up at the end of the day.

what do you reckon about the birthday situation??
and is it normal for au pairs to hibernate in their rooms at weekends?!

littleducks Sat 16-Aug-08 17:26:58

how far has she travelled, could she just want to rest? or perhaps wants to wait till she gets paid before exploring too much?

imananny Sat 16-Aug-08 17:29:34

i personally would leave the ap behind for your birthday

you have planned it a while ago, and bringing her to disrupt the numbers,plus you would have to look after her

tbh she would prob prefer to stay at home, rather then go out with you and your firnds, who she wouldnt know

plus the fact, sure your meal would prob come to more than her weeks wages (if your going out is anything like my going out for my birthday) grin

she has a laptop, sky and sure she will be fine

NormaStanleyBelcher Sat 16-Aug-08 17:31:18

I had two au-pairs

One was MAD, and she did hybernate for a couple of weeks, but then found going out and getting drunk and shagging men a social life

The other one was lovely and sweet, and had a boyfriend from home in a city nearby so he came and saw her at weekends

For the birthday, I would offer her the option of going and staying with parents with your kids if there is room?

nvj Sat 16-Aug-08 17:33:54

littleducks - she's from Denmark so no not travelled far really and she's been here since Tuesday and not done much really so i'm sure she's not tired (and she slept til 11ish today - i'm not jealous honest!!)
maybe it is the money thing, not sure! she's not even been down to get another drink since breakfast though!

imananny - thanks for that. think i just needed another person's opinion!! i'm sure you're right, i doubt she'd want to be a gooseberry! yes the meal will be expensive!! grin
she'll be ok i'm sure.

i'm going to mention the london trip at dinner and see what she says!

nvj Sat 16-Aug-08 17:36:44

norma - yes maybe she will be ok when she starts meeting people! i'll probably be back on here complaining about her going out all the time soon! wink

yes might check with my parents if they would mind having her for dinner etc although i'm pretty sure au pair would rather stay here on her own tbh

NormaStanleyBelcher Sat 16-Aug-08 17:54:53

Oh yes - the mad one - she ended up not coming home until the next morning on a few occasions!

Then planned to do a midnight flip, which I found out about. Then did do a midnight flip on the next family she went too (owing me more than £400 in phone bills)

Millarkie Sat 16-Aug-08 23:03:36

nvj - Are you in the Cambridge area? I have an au pair who arrived yesterday and we live near Saffron Walden. If you think your ap would like my ap's details then CAT me. Mine has already found a local(ish) ap to meet up with by using the german equivalent of facebook - there was a 'au pairs currently in the uk' group.

For your other questions - I have offered to accompany my ap to London but she is very confident (is older than your ap) and feels ok to do it by herself. And we have taken her around local town today and paid for everything (for her and her boyfriend who is here until tomorrow) - but I see that as simply investing in what I hope will be a friendly relationship. On the other hand they spent a good couple of hours playing with the kids this pm (not 'on duty' time) with enormous amounts of patience at my children's daft games so I am very grateful for this!

nappyaddict Sat 16-Aug-08 23:19:26

what is a midnight flip?

Turniphead1 Sat 16-Aug-08 23:31:40

think she means "midnight flit" - legging it in the middle of the night.

catepilarr Sun 17-Aug-08 02:13:29

i always find that when i start with a new family in a new place, i dont tend to go very far on my first few days off. not sure why that is, probably want unconsiously get used to the place first. later on i go and explore a lot. she might not even be the exploring type of person. or she has lots of friends she needs to talk to on the internet and share the uk experience. as to the drinks, she is not british to need a cup of tea five times a day :D.
dont think she would enjoy going to your bday outing. i used to go with my families to all sorts of places which was nice to be included but also i didnt know what to do as i didnt know anyone to talk to apart from where are you from - ah, that's nice. these were all outings during the day with kids, not adults only evenings. i think she will be happy to 'be left behind'.
the london museum trip sounds a good idea, lots of the museum are free. she might like you to show her the way.but if you dont want to go just leave it, just show her around your town, you are not a tourist guide.

cheapskatemum Sun 17-Aug-08 15:49:16

These days, with laptops - Skype, Sky TV in their bedrooms, my APs seem happy to spend a lot of time there (it is a nice large room with a lovely view). My latest AP has also used the German "au pairs currently in UK" group to find friends locally - I wonder if there's a Danish equivalent? We are about an hour away from Cambridge, my AP took herself there by train and had a lovely day. It just so happened that 3 days after she'd arrived, I'd arranged to meet up with my Dad in London so we all went. It was a lovely day, so we spent several hours in Kensington Gardens, where DCs played at the playground there. It was a great introduction to the tube etc for our AP.

nvj Sun 17-Aug-08 19:00:26

thanks for all your advice...
Millarkie - we are about 20 miles from Cambridge but the other side from you and my au pair doesn't have access to the car (was going to be £600 to insure her and she won't need it for the kids)... do you think it's still worth getting in touch? i guess they could meet up in Cambridge couldn't they? i have told her about the facebook group tonight so maybe she will find someone on there.

she has one of her best friends coming to work as an au pair in London next week so she will probably go and visit her a bit aswell.

she's been out of her room a lot more today and joined us for a walk into town/the park earlier. She also joined us for Sunday dinner and is reading the girls a bedtime story even though it is her day off.

i've told her about next Sat and just asked if she was ok to stay here by herself and she seemed fine about it. i don't think she expected an invite!

Millarkie Sun 17-Aug-08 20:59:10

Glad she's coming out of her shell more!
Ours has spent a lot of time in her room on the internet but came with us to the supermarket for food shopping, and has played with the children very well when she has come downstairs.

I'm expecting my ap to go to language classes in Cambridge - although she is busy researching other options it is likely she'll be in Cambridge a couple of days or evenings a if yours can get to Cambridge without a car it's worth putting them in touch. I'll ask mine if she has an email or MSN or something (she is on UK facebook too I think), which I can pass on.
Is your ap doing an english course??? If so, do you mind telling me where - My ap has fantastic spoken English but she needs to improve her written english especially grammer so we are looking for a course with that in mind. (a cheap one hopefully!)

nvj Mon 18-Aug-08 13:38:30

hiya, yes she's going to be doing an English course at the local college (in St Neots) run as an ESOL course (english for speakers of other languanges). I think it is about £100 for a 10 week course and we have agreed to pay half the cost for her. she has got to go for an assessment next week to determine which group she will be in (beginner, intermediate, advanced). I think it is 2 or 3 hours a week in the evening.
i will ask my au pair if she minds me passing on her email address and maybe she can have a 'chat' with your au pair and they might be able to arrange to meet up somewhere.
we've been to open a bank account today so that is all set up now!

DadInsteadofMum Thu 21-Aug-08 21:18:03

New au pair starts in mid-September.

I am to the North East of Cambridge so a couple of things.

Is it worth starting some sort of meet up group for these au pairs, I've tried searching the net but can't find anything.

And could you tell me about the ESOL course in St Neots


SqueakyPop Thu 21-Aug-08 21:35:40

If you can create a group, then yes, it's a fab idea. Just one sympathetic person in the sane boat is what your aupair needs.

Over the last couple of years, we have been able to provide aupair contacts for our new aupairs. Our last aupair has left details of her local contacts, and our new aupair has been able to make use of these.

It is amazing what a difference it makes.

Millarkie Thu 21-Aug-08 21:56:59

DadinsteadofMum - there was some sort of au pair meet up organised via the cambridge gumtree website. My au pair has met others via 'facebook' and because I have been scouting about for local families with au pairs and begging for email addresses I think they also meet other au pairs on the language courses..but still haven't got mine signed up for one. (hoping that she'll go for a daytime course at one of the Cambridge schools). I'm contactable if you CAT me (press the envelope on the bar above this post) and will happily pass your au pairs details to mine if that's any help!
(Same offer goes to anyone with an au pair in the Cambridge area)

Tickle Thu 21-Aug-08 22:03:07

If she's danish try to get her a bike! Then she can pop to town more easily... cycling is much more common here than in the UK

Our AP (just left) used to spend each day off in her room mostly - otherwise on the computer - facebook type stuff, or on the phone. Pretty normal I guess.

Maybe have a proper sit down chat with her in a few days to see how it is all going. That should tell you a lot!

catepilarr Thu 21-Aug-08 22:36:19

other nations can cycle too!
for finding contacts try aupairbox forum

nvj Fri 22-Aug-08 16:33:31

dadinsteadofmum - yes probably good idea to swap emails etc if possible!
the ESOL course is run by Huntingdonshire Regional College and if you call them they will send you an information sheet. Course lasts for 10 weeks and costs around £100. Each lesson is 3 hrs long and they have to have a quick 10 min assessment first.
i think if you do a search on google you will find some info about it.

Tickle - yes we have got her a bike which she ventured out on on Wed night to the library! i'm sure she'll get plenty of use from it!

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