Au Pairing in Bordeaux Led to Finding New Sisters

Monday, July 28, 2014

Family is something close to my heart. I knew coming to France that I had Mathieu's family to be there for me, but I would have never expected to find myself a part of someone else's. It wasn't until February of this year that I was so welcomed into the home of three beautiful girls and their amazing parents.

My friend Nicole shot me a Facebook message one day from a friend of a friend looking for a babysitter. By the following week I was at the door of a family of complete strangers, whom four months later had become such a big part of my life.
It was enlightening to see how they went about preserving the culture they left behind. The family is French but had spent the last 10 years living in England. The only way to keep up with English was to keep Wednesdays as "English Day." Hence the point of me being there. The youngest, Soline, is 9 and still needed help with the language, being that the other girls, Elise and Lorette are older and have had far more practice.
Soline and I did her homework together, read in English, taught each other hand games, cooked, shared stories, pretty much everything we could do in our short 6 hours a week together. What was more special than anything, is how I kept watching her grow and become closer with me each visit. I was never raised with younger siblings or cousins, so having that bond was such a great experience. I learned how to be a kid again, and I truly needed it.
Watching the parents raise these three girls was a good dose of French culture. Just as Mathieu's family does, they have healthy, cooked, sit-down lunch together with genuine conversation, no cellphones, and respect. The first day they said to me "we are fair here, everyone takes their own plate to be washed, and every one helps clean up." All I could picture is my Mom cleaning up by herself after so many meals when I was a kid.
Not only this, but reading was huge in their home. The girls had limited time on the computer and in front of the TV, so they did the next best things--play or read. Instead of sitting on Facebook for 5 hours like most of the population, they played games together. It has also been a while since I've seen girls that age excited over a new book. I loved it!

By far the one of the coolest things about these girls? They're not bilingual, nor trilingual, but they are well on their way to being multi-lingual. French and English have been accomplished, but Elise and Lorette are in the midst of learning Spanish and Chinese as well. Their parents really encourage them to be smart, independent girls. These sisters are going to rock the world and they don't even know it yet.
Not only did Elise, Lorette, and Soline become like friends, but they became like the little sisters I never had. I felt like I had a family in a city I barely knew, and I think to this day it is a big part of why I loved Bordeaux so much.

It's good to see how other cultures live. I'm so grateful to have experienced it through the eyes of an adult as well as a child. I encourage anyone to venture out of the bubble and really learn what other people in the world have to offer. I was blessed to have stumbled upon such a wonderful family. Love you guys!

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