The second post of the expedition – thoughts so far.

I really have been here for two continuous, whole weeks. It has absolutely flown by, and my feeling that the three or six months I’m posted with this family will fly by is still there. In light of this I think now is about time for another post on my thoughts so far.

Firstly, my organisation skills are being tested to their limits. A handful of hourly trains to Milan and even fewer back mean any expedition there must be planned with near military precision though, with this being Italy, I’m not too sure what their equivalent is. Luckily I have a nifty app or two and a keen sense of direction (or more accurately a keen sense of ‘shit, this isn’t the right direction!’) that has done me well so far.

I am also learning a lot about myself, which is always nice. One of the biggest reservations about coming to work in a non-major city (i.e. not Milan) was that I wouldn’t be where it’s ‘at’, where an overwhelming majority of the English speakers or non-Italians are based, and where life would be easiest as a non-Italian. However it’s now clear that living out in the sticks has its perks as well. Every time I’ve been ‘out’ with ‘the au pairs’, I’ve admittedly felt like one of the crowd. There are so many people to talk to, I’ve ended up talking to few beyond the obligatory au pair questions. Conversely I have found a grand total of one other au pair in the town I’m in, itself a miracle for such an obscure place so near to Milan, but we’ve already become regulars at the local coffee house, and have only the need to pick a day to meet through repetition of the time and location. I’ve also noticed how few people speak English outside of the major towns, which is a blessing in disguise as it forces you to speak Italian instead of hoping the cashier/randomer in the street/dog speaks some broken English to dig you out of a hole. I’ve already had to bridge the language chasm once or twice, and it felt equally rewarding both times.

I am also constantly considering my perseverance in these first few weeks. I have settled in well enough to not want immediately to go home, and now the question lies ahead as to whether or not I would leave three months in. I am unsure whether the onus is on me to want out, or my hosts to not want in for another three months, but presuming the former, I will have to weigh up the possibilities. Yes, I could probably earn a better wage in central Milan, and yes, access to friends, entertainment and the like is better, but it is my firm belief, possibly to my detriment, that I am staying with two of the nicest people in Italy. They have already offered to show me round the local town and take me to Switzerland, and let me go to Rome during the week for the sake of cheap transportation. Add to this that I’m neither living in the same apartment as them, nor their grandchildren, and that the latter are only on the premises weekday afternoons, and I’m well aware I may be one of the luckiest au pairs in existance, although I’m hesitant to label myself an au pair. I prefer au pair lite.

Jack out.

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About Jack
A small-time traveller in a big-time world

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