my exchange year in Ecuador – video

Hola chicos! My matriculation exams are just days away and I should totally be studying but instead, I’m here sharing this video that I finally finished with, about my exchange year in Ecuador. It’s about time, huh? And I still have a bunch of unfinished vlog and blog posts from that year, but one day, I’ve promised to myself, I will actually finish with them! It brings me so many happy memories again, and I hope that it’ll drive you a bit to the direction of buying flight tickets to Ecuador, better sooner than later! I hope you’re doing well, a tight hug from Finland and have a wonderful weekend! xx

Heipähei! Ylppäreihin on enää ihan muutama päivä, jotka tosiaan pitäisi käyttää vielä kertailuun, mutta sen sijaan olenkin täällä jakamassa vihdoin viimeistelemääni videota vaihto-oppilas vuodestani Ecuadorissa. Oli jo aikakin! Ja silti samaisen vuoden videoprojekteista on lähes kaikke kesken heh.. Noo, joku päivä! Tähän hätään tämä video piristää minua itseäni kovasti rakkaiden muistojeni kautta, ja toivottavasti se tsemppaa teitäkin ostamaan lentoliput Ecuadoriin asap!! Ihanaa viikonloppua! xx

Hola chicos! Por fin terminé haciendo un video sobre mi año de intercambio en Ecuador! Yo se que ya hace mucho tiempo desde que estuve en Ecuador (ya 2 años?! no lo puedo creer), pero aun lo pienso cada día y aun tengo muchos videos y fotos también para publicar – yyy el proximo juni tendré más!! Pero, por ahora aca lo tienen jaja, yo me voy seguir estudiando para mis pruebas de matriculation – lo que tenía que estar haciendo en cambio de estar usando mi compu.. Espero que estan super bien, un fuerte abrazo de la distancia! xx

a hello from the study corner

Moi!

Yes, I’m alive. And no, I haven’t stopped blogging even thought I’m back in boring Finland already. And it’s not boring really! But – at the moment it’s not too too pleasant here, because we’re under this major study stress for our matriculation exams. I’m one year behind on my studies because I did the exchange year in Ecuador, so I’ll be graduating from high school (hopefully!) next spring. The Finnish school system is a bit different, but to put in short these are the most important exams we’ve yet taken in our lives. It would be pretty well compared to the SATs and the A-levels, I guess. So that’s why I’ve been dead silent on the blog, even though I still have so much I want to share about Brussels, London, Amsterdam, Luxembour and also about my good old Finland! I promise I’ll be back though – whether you wanted it or not heh, it’s a few weeks before the exams of the fall are over and I’ll have a few weeks/months that will be a lot easier before I’ll have to start studying for the matriculation exams of next spring. Plus it’s time for me to start applying to universities as well, so there’s a lot of going on that has something to do with studying. We do have some free time and nice birthday parties and afternoon tea moments and all that, but I’ll share about those as well when I don’t get such a bad conscience from writing here instead of my biology notebook! I hope you’re all doing well and that you’re enjoying the beginning of the Fall (if you’re around the same season as we are), and I’ll be back for more soon! Take care until that xx

Moi! Elossa olen yhä ja en ole jättänyt bloggaamista vaikka olenkin takaisin tutussa ja turvallisessa Suomessa. Mulla olisi vielä kovasti kerrottavaa Brysselistä ja Amsterdamista ja Lontoosta ja Luxembourgista ja rakkaasta kotimaisista muistoista myös, mutta tällä hetkellä ylppärit painaa päälle! Tosiaan vaihto-oppilasvuoteni takia olen vuoden ikäisiäni jäljessä, ja saan (toivottavasti!) valkolakin vasta ensi keväänä. Tällä hetkellä bloggaamisesta tulee erittäin huono omatunto, joten palaan asiaan sitten kun ylppärit on ohi tai kun lukeminen ja yliopistohaut eivät stressaa ihan yhtä lailla! Onneksi tosin on vielä olljt vapaa-aikaa harrastuksille ja kavereillekkin, muutenhan tässä pimahtaisi ihan kokonaan. Toivottavasti teille kuuluu hyvää ja vietätte syksyn ekaa sunnuntai-iltaa viltin alla lukien kynttilän valossa, tai muissa mukavissa maisemissa mitkä itseänne miellyttää! Palaillaan xx

au pair chores

All this time and talk about being an au pair and a bunch of people don't even really know what it technically means! So I'll share some basic info about the chores that are under your responsibility as an au pair. The term au pair techinically means that you live with a family and take care of their kid/kids for a certain amount of hours every week. You're basically a part of the family (hopefully), so you obviously have to help around in the house too. But au pairs can have very different contracts, so be sure to talk about it throught outly before getting any surprises! We had an aupair when I was 13, and I was the only kid in the house (my sister was on exchange that year) so her chores didn't really include babysitting. So here you have 3 different au pair experiences as examples of what it could be like;

1. being a big sister, about 20h/week
– cooking dinner for the family
– cleaning the house weekly
– ironing
– driving the kid to the hobbies etc. daily/ a few times a week
– basic house hold chores
– grocery shopping

2. an extra pair of hands, about 20h/week
– picking the kids home from school
– making them some snack
– playing with the kids
– emptying the dishwasher etc. basic house hold chores (not cleaning/washing laundry)
– tidying up the kids' toys

3. a full time au pair, about 50h/week
– helping with the kids in the morning, giving breakfast
– keeping a kid active for the day with games, crafts, play dates etc.
– cooking the kid lunch & dinner
– doing the kids' laundry
– tidying up the kid's toys
– helping with cleaning the house
+ babysitting if included in the contract

All these au pair contracts had 5 days working, and two days off. But as you can see, the job of an au pair varies a lot, and these are only some examples! The most typical one is number too, which often is also a great option for a gap year because the 20h/week leaves you with a lot of free time for studying and traveling around. But all of these have their pluses and minuses, as everything really! After being the au pair of situation one & two I dare to recommend it, and at least as the host kid I really enjoyed the option number 1 too! It's just about what suites you and your host family the best.

FOLLOW WITH BLOGLOVIN

working as a short time au pair

So what is it like to be working as an au pair for only a period of about 3 weeks? As you might know if you've read my blog recently, I spent 3 weeks in Brussels working as an aupair for a 2-year-old and a 6-year-old, and now I'm doing my last week of the three in England taking care of a 4-year-old and helping around with a 1-year-old. When I first mention that I'm working as an aupair everyone assumes that I'm staying for a longer period of time, for about a year. That's why I decided to start using the term short time aupair, because it really is a lot different from being a year-long-working aupair.

First of all, you have to learn everything a bit faster. Which can be hard with kids, because you're supposed to know from the beginning how to act around them, what they need when they're not behaving well, what kind of food they eat and don't eat and so on. You have to find your way around the house really quickly, and be able to feel comfortable in a new home with a new family very quickly, or you'll just have a miserable time. Usually the first three-ish weeks is the time that you use to get used to things, but when you only stay for three weeks, you have to do it a lot faster.


And also, making friends is a whole different story. Aupairs usually have quite large groups of friends, since they rarely are the only aupairs in the area and they are adults so on their free time they can go out and do what they please (But, there is the fact that you live in someone else's house so it's still not quite the same! Especially if you start working with their kids the next morning at 7 am) and might meet friends that way. But when you're there only for 3 weeks that's a lot harder. You don't really have enough time to form a group of friends, or time to start a new hobby and meet people there or maybe not even to learn what to do on your free time. So even thought you live with a family, those 3 weeks can be quite lonely. I've been very lucky with both of my host families, they're lovely people and I truly enjoy spending time with them. They've been extremely kind to me even though it can't be too easy for them either to have a stranger living under their rpof for 3 whole weeks! But making friends of my own age has been a lot more complicated. Here in England I've gotten to spend more time with other nannies so that has been very nice, and both in Belgium and here in England I do have some friends who I got to meet, so I have had more than enough to do and people to hang out with on my free time. But it's still very,very different from being at home and having a list of friends who you can call whenever you feel like it. But it's a choice you make!

There are also lots of pluses about this kind of experiences, of which the biggest one really is getting great experiences in plural and getting to know new places and new people around the world. So being a short time au pair has really suited me actually. But I personally enjoy travelling alone and I've learned to feel like at home in new places really fast, AND I've had lots of studying to do so I haven't had that much free time really, so I've had lots of reasons to not to complain. You also get paid some salary obviously, it's very little compared to another type of job but the experience itself is a way better recompensation really. You learn a lot about yourself, about new cultures, about different ways of holding a household and working with kids, language (French and English in my case even thought in Brussels my host family was Finnish), and also about how beuautiful and interesting the whole wide world is. So – if you don't mind missing the summer vacation/what ever free period you have of your life in your home country with your family and friends (which I do mind actually a lot but I still don't regret my decision) and you're not about to work for saving money, I'd definitely recommend working as a short time aupair. I can't really tell what is it like to be an au pair for a longer period of time, but while you don't get to see different cultures in plural you do get to actually form a life somewhere else in a way, so I'd dare to say I recommend that too! And I'm more than happy to answer any questions someone might have xx

P.S. The one question I keep on getting, is how did I find my host families so here you go; my host kids in Brussels are my distant relatives so there I had a family connection, and my host family in England I found through a happy coincidence when my mother was chatting with a British friend of hers! But since coincidences like these don't always happen, go to aupairworld.com and make a profile, that's where I started my search too!