The fourth post of the expedition – the remastered anniversary edition.

So, the boys’ dad is at home today, giving me an unexpected afternoon off. I was fully intending to post on Sunday, the end of my first month in Italy, but never got round to it, so what’s two days between friends? Or enemies? Or the totally indifferent.

In short, things are going well. I was warned a few days ago by another au pair that the first month was the honeymoon period for au pairs and their families that would end abruptly, however two days past it I am yet to experience the hospitality cliff, and my host grandparents still manage to surprise me with their generosity, hospitality and easy going nature.

The children have taken to me wonderfully well, and I feel like a hybrid of tutor and older brother, in that they respect my purpose of helping with their English, but also treat me like a sibling when they’re not working, which is a great position to be in. Just yesterday the eldest came home from school with an assignment to write a piece on Kangaroos in English, and promptly copied the article from simplified English version of Wikipedia. I pointed out that he didn’t understand what was written, but he insisted that he didn’t need to study it, just produce it for a class display. I persevered and created some questions to test his understanding which, to my surprise, and after some stern words from his grandmother, he actually completed with some seriousness and focus.

I have devised some sort of study routine. Having the mornings free gives time for enough study that it doesn’t become tiresome, and the afternoons provide opportunity to try my new knowledge on some unsuspecting participants. I have considered having structured lessons, but as I have said previously, learning out of necessity tends to be more amicable than that born out of structure and dictation. The other English au pair in the town and I are about to start giving each other lessons too, as that’s another great way to cement our knowledge.

Apparently the town I’m in is in desperate need of English teachers so that may be an avenue I will be exploring in the not too distant future, and there is an English language summer camp that is a couple of teachers short, which I will hopefully be helping at. All this without any formal qualifications, and only a month off the plane, but with the advantage of being English mother tongue.

Jack out.


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

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