I was all set to write a blog about dealing with Culture Shock at Christmas, but received such a lovely, happy email from one of our au pairs that I thought I’d share it! Culture Shock can wait…
Keighley arrived in the USA about three months ago and is clearly having a whale of a time. She is living with a family in Princeton, New Jersey – the family she is with have had a number of au pairs over the years, and clearly love having someone live with them and take really good care of their au pairs, as all our host families do! This is how they describe themselves and their experiences with au pairs in the past:
“We have had an au pair help our family raise our children since our son was 3! It has been a great experience for our family and we have enjoyed having different cultural experiences. We are also accustomed to having someone else live in our home. We are a very relaxed and friendly family who value the importance of good healthy relationships. We work hard to build a happy home and our children are the focus”.
So Keighley knew she was going to get a really warm welcome when she arrived in New Jersey to look after the family’s children. Here’s what she told me about her experiences so far…
Hey Nicola, it’s all going really well! I am absolutely loving it here! My family are lovely, they are so supportive! I should also say that my local co-ordinator Debbie is brilliant too! So, yes I have been really busy and so many brilliant things have happened since I arrived. A few days ago I went to my host Mom’s sister’s house, it’s a huge mansion on Washington Crossing with a swimming pool, movie room etc. It was incredible! I’d never seen a house like it. They really looked after me. I ate so much food I couldn’t move for a week!
Arriving in NYC for orientation was amazing. I got to see all the landmarks: the Empire State Building (it was SO high,apparently 1453 foot tall), I also got to see Times Square, Broadway, the Statue of Liberty, Rockefeller Centre, the 9/11 Memorial, Central Park and I was there at just the right time to see the the Halloween parade in NYC!
I have also visited Philadelphia and went to the Rocky statue, Ben Franklin Museum, Natural History Museum, the LOVE statue, Chinatown Friendship Bridge, and the Liberty Bell. How about this claim to fame, I ate in the same restaurant in Philly that President Barack Obama once stopped at to eat!
This might sound weird, but I can now say I have been in two places at once! I walked along the border of Pennsylvania and New Jersey you see, so which state was I in?! I went to a small town called Lambertville in Pennsylvania which is a little old vintage town on the Delaware River. People have been there since the 18th century and stagecoaches used to stop there travelling between New York and Philadelphia. I bought an old comic from the 60s, they had original Barrie’s, it was a really fun place to see, like going back in time.
We had snow for a few days last week, so there were lots of snowball fights and hot chocolate! When it was snowing we went to the Christmas tree farm to go and cut down our tree, it was so much fun! The day after Thanksgiving, on Black Friday I also went to the Jersey Mall Gardens, a huge shopping centre… it was CRAZY, worse than the Boxing Day sales in England for sure!!
We had the Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Princeton last week so I went along to that with the family. Princeton is so pretty, in many ways it is much like an English town. So after the culture shock of New York, where I felt a bit like I was on the set of a film, it’s nice to be somewhere that feels familiar but different at the same time!
Well, that’s about it for now, I hope you enjoyed reading this very long email of all the fun things I have done!
Love from Keighley
Thanks for sharing all the exciting things you have been doing Keighley. I love it when au pairs get in touch with their news. It really sounds like you’re living the American dream! Be sure to keep us up to date with how things are going.