Saturday, August 8, 2015

placement secured!

Yesterday I had my Skype interview with the family that was interested in me. People have asked me how that process works, so in a nutshell, my company sent my completed file to their partner company in France. The French company represents the host family, and after reading my file, thought that I would be a good match with one particular family. They sent them my file, the family agreed to get in touch with me, then their information was sent to me. I was told to contact the family via email. Now let me stop here. My first thought was "I don't speak French, how am I supposed to contact them?" Well, say what you will about Google Translate, but that's pretty much how me and the family communicated over a few days. Which brings me to the Skype interview.

First off, I have to say a big thank you a friend at work, Mark, because without him, I have no idea how this would have gone. Mark speak French, and after being told I didn't need a translator for this Skype interview, I'm happy I ignored that advice and brought him along anyway. I seriously don't know how I would have said more than a few words without someone translating. So kudos to Mark. The family loved him too, and invited him to come visit haha.

So about the "interview" itself. The family is SO NICE. The son Gaspard is 8 and is adorable. I will be his 5th au pair, but the first English speaking one. But the family told me he is very sweet, mature for his age, and used to being looked after by au pairs. The parents are so sweet, and gave me a tour of their house, including my room, which overlooks their lovely garden. They are all about me visiting Paris as often as I can. I have every weekend off, and only "work" 30 hours a week. But I am free to eat my meals with them, or go out if I want. They told me there are a lot of au pairs in Paris, so I can connect with them and they all hang out together a lot. I also found an English-speaking church 4 miles from their house that I will be checking out the first week I'm there.

I also asked the family about the RER/Metro and if I should get monthly passes or weekly passes, and how that worked. They told me that they would be taking care of that so I could visit the city as much as I want. Amazing! I had been researching the Metro pass prices, and a monthly pass could easily run €160 a month, and since what I will be making as an au pair is only double that amount ( heard me correctly) I was wondering how on earth I'd be able to travel everywhere. But I don't have to worry about that! My little stipend doesn't go toward room, board, or transportation, so in reality, I only have to worry about expenses when I choose to eat out or visit the sites. I'm determined to live as frugally as possible and not tap into my savings, just to see how far I can stretch that little amount of pocket money.

I had a hunch that the family was pretty much ready to choose me already, but my company told me that nothing is final until after the Skype interview and the family telling their company that they officially want me. Right after the Skype meeting, they emailed their company and copied me in, saying that they were ready to move forward with me and want me as early in September as possible!

Yesterday, I did find out from my company's contact that once the placement is secured (done!), they will help me choose a language school where I will be taking French classes. After that happens, then I have to apply for the French student visa. Apparently, that involves actually going to the French consulate in DC, so I have no idea what to expect with that. The family would like me to come early September, but my contact Jodi told me that it will probably be a little bit later than that just because of the visa application process. That might be a blessing in disguise though, because I still need to secure renters for my house, and about a hundred other things. But I'm confident it will all fall into place when it is supposed to. My renewed passport arrived yesterday, so all of my original documents I needed are complete! Now, it's just the visa and an apostille for my birth certificate once I get the visa.

Thank you for all the prayers about finding a great family! I'll post more updates as I move along in this process!