Au Pair #3: The bittersweet.

The weather is lovely, the beaches are wonderful. I’m now on my way back to their hometown from the lovely La Manga. I’m slightly tanned, a bit pink, but the tanning is going quite well. (It is obviously very important haha). I’ve been to Cartagena for a day. We went on a tourist boat trip around the port and just outside of it too. I saw my first Roman Theatre which was cool. But it hasn’t completely been all smiles and laughs.Cartgena

Unfortunately, it’s not the paradise it was. I’m having a really hard time with the kids. I’ve only been here for seventeen days and I’m struggling. And I don’t want to give up and walk away because I feel it’s too soon and the idea of leaving the family in the lurch is horrible. I have a contract (that doesn’t say anything leaving but the parents are really understanding so I think they would accept it.) the kids… Are interesting. There are three boys, one is 9 and the other two are twins and are 8. My purpose here is to teach them English, however, most of the time I try talk to them to have a conversation, bond with them, I am completely ignored 97% of the times I try. Unless I ask again and again until they realise I’m not leaving until I have an answer or I ask in Spanish. And I don’t want to have a relationship with them where they fear to talk to me because that means they have to talk in English.

They can be lovely, incredibly energetic and happy kids. But they can also be rude and really disrespectful. Their parents and grandparents do have to shout at them quite a lot so it’s very uncomfortable to be in the centre of the situation. I can’t explain this to the parents because I fear they’ll just think I’m not trying hard enough. I’m so tired and have a headache constantly, but I do want this to work. The last time I spoke to the mum (two days ago) I did express that they don’t pay attention half the time and complain about what they’ve got to do. And her response basically was: English is meant to fun so games games games. But I’m only one person who has a pad of paper and a pen against three loud, competitive boys. I’ve come up with games, but they prefer the TV. So, the mum’s advice is a bit redundant.. in short, I really am at the end of my tether on what to do. I’ll try just speaking to the kids in only English. No Spanish. But I’m sceptical on its success rate with these kids. We have good days and bad days.

We had a good morning yesterday, went to the beach and played in the sea a lot. Doing English with Pablo was really good. The other two not so much. But then in the late afternoon, one, we were playing the go fish game I adapted and Pablo completely spoke over me even when I told him to be quiet about six times. So when he’d finished, the others thought they knew the rules. So they repeatedly said “we know we know!” but as we started playing it, it was obvious they didn’t know everything. So I had to raise my voice to get their attention and make a point that it was rude to ignore me. Then we went to another beach with one of those inflatable things on the water like a bouncy castle and the boys went on it. The dad was unsuccessful catching their attention when we had to go, so I did the selfless thing and got in the water to get them.

But they completely ignored me, at first it probably was a joke but then they just weren’t being obedient. Only when I decided to give up, had a mouthful of really salty water, and their dad shouted from the shore (now they were aware) that they started to come in. I was furious. Soaked. Hadn’t wanted to get in the sea. I think the dad told them off, but they didn’t say sorry. They didn’t even look my way. And I really expected the parents to tell them to say sorry to me. But nothing. Rodrigo is stroppier than the twins which doesn’t help. And he’s not used to doing English so it’s like being back at square on with him. They haven’t spoken to me really today. I know we’re on a journey but meh. I’m meant to be interesting them in me, you know what, nah, I don’t want to anymore. So yes, they are the Devils incarnate and I dread tomorrow as I’ll be alone with them until about two. Sorry for the essay, it’s easy to get carried away!! I don’t speak much here so when I get a chance to yap I don’t stop!!

I hope it improves. I am returning to England next Friday, and I’ve never been so excited to step on home turf. I wish it was tomorrow. Today even. But if I did go home, I feel like I should go with a tail between my legs for not sticking this ‘au pair job’ out. So here’s to sticking it out (holding up an imaginary drink and talking to myself)… Buena suerte.