Tag Archives: France

Growing Pains

17 Jun

Kids are a pain in the ass.

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that twice. So why is it that I can’t stop spending all my time with them ?

Is it the good money ? Sure, I guess that’s part of it.

Is it the lack of realistic ‘work skills’ ? No definitely not that, I DO have those (thank goodness, I mean at least I think I do ?)

Could I actually really love working with kids ? Must be.

I have 7 kids.

No not real biological children that I painstakingly birthed myself, no. I have 7 kids who I’ve worked with and who I’ve shared life experiences with which now make them my ‘kids’.

2 years ago, if you would have told me that I was going to be a nanny and love it, I’d have laughed in your face. And when I began my first nanny job in Paris with Aimé and Ange, I still thought I hated it. But then something amazing happened. The kids and I started bonding. I know for a fact it all started when out of the blue I just decided to buy some gummy worms as a snack for Aimé on the way home from school. Before this time, we got along, but not too well. He didn’t want me there and I didn’t fully want to be there. I loved the family but Aimé and I just hadn’t clicked. He criticized my French, wouldn’t talk much to me on the way home from school and would just hide behind a book so that he didn’t have to really deal with me. That was fine, I didn’t care. I’d bring my own book. But that day I just thought, ‘you know what ? I’ll just buy these because I’d really like some and I’ll share them with Aimé, maybe he’ll like them too. He was so surprised when I opened up my bag and pulled out the candy. Astonished, he said thank you and we ate the whole bag while chatting the entire way home about all types of nerdy things. From that day on we talked all the time, and would play games and would indulge in sweets every once in awhile (we both are giants sweet-tooth people). We started bonding and by the end he was telling me how great I spoke French and how wonderful of a teacher he thought I would be one day. I really grew to love coming to pick him up from school because we had formed such a wonderful bond and he was such a great friend even though he was only 9.

When I was getting ready to leave Paris, I was already devastated, but during a conversation with Aimé’s parents, they told me about how upset he was that I was leaving. Aimé is a very special child, kind and caring, but didn’t get along well with a lot of his classmates. His parents told me that they saw how much he had grown under my care and friendship, and that Aimé had said that he was especially sad that I was leaving because I was the first person who had ever listened to him. That struck a deep chord in me. I never thought I was doing much, but to him it was the world. A few days after that conversation, Aimé asked me a very interesting question. He said: Mikayla, when we are old, do you think our paths will cross again ? (Makes me tear up every time I think about it) I replied: Aimé ! I’m moving back in a year ! He responded: Yes, I know, but when we’re old ?

I miss that kid everyday. Luckily we have kept in touch through letters, gifts and Whatsapp and come September I’ll get to see him again ! I learned so much about having a bond with someone who you don’t always get to choose. We were so lucky to find each other and have each other as friends for life.

Aimé was so easy to ‘nanny’. I wouldn’t even say I was his nanny but more his friend who brought him home from school and hung out with him. However, some of my other children I’d say I had a harder time. I’ve had to learn to parent and establish boundaries and deal with crying children. Some days, its too much, all the screaming and fussing of a 2 year old going through the terrible times, or when one of my older kids does NOT want to go to bed and has a fit on the couch and I just wait for her to deal with it and go to bed. But then, there are those moments that remind you why you still care. They turn around and do the most amazing things. The 2 year old will be the happiest child the next day and run around in circles and make you laugh so hard that your cheeks hurt. Or your 7 year old pulls out her own tooth and dances around with such a joy after you’ve consoled them because they were afraid of the blood, only to come up to you before you leave and say ‘Thank you for showing me how to lose my tooth!”

It’s so worth it and I love these kids so much, it’s always so hard to say goodbye to people you’ve shared such experiences with. Experiences that a 23 year old me would never think I’d have to deal with. I’ve learned to think on my toes, how to console, how to say no, and how to be a friend and guide. That’s how I know I made the right choice to continue nannying: because at the end of the day I walk away knowing that I helped someone learn something, and better yet, they’ve taught me even more.

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Aimé and I

Nîmoise c’est moi ?

15 Jun

It has finally arrived ! My assignment placement city and school for this next year of teaching in France ! Since April I’ve known I’d be in the Languedoc-Roussillion region, but I was anxious in not knowing exactly where I’d be and always thinking I’d be sent to the middle of nowhere. Happily that is not the case.

So with a roll of a drum, j’ai l’honneur de vous annoncer que j’habiterai à Nîmes ! Aka I have the pleasure of announcing that I will be living in Nîmes !

Right there, in the south ! THANK GOD I’LL HAVE SUN AND A BE (SOMEWHAT) NEAR A BEACH STILL

Located in Southern France between Marseille and Montpellier, is this awesome city called Nîmes ! While I had originally asked to be placed in Lyon, I think this is a much better outcome for someone who loves the sun and who has to leave behind beautiful San Diego.

While I’ve never been there myself, let me tell you, I have been doing quite a bit of research.

There were questions I was always thinking about when moving back to France:

1. How much is rent going to cost/ How little is my apartment going to be ?

2. Will there be anyone there my age ?

3. Is there a Jewish community I can get involved with ?

My research has left me with these answers:

1. OMG RENT IS SO MUCH CHEAPER THAN PARIS I CAN HAVE A 4 ROOM, 75m² APARTMENT FOR LESS THAN MY 16m² PARISIAN ONE ?

2. There is a university there. Young people… CHECK !

3. There is a Jewish community but I think I’ll have to wait and see when I get there if it’s what I’m looking for. What I’m seeing so far doesn’t give me enough information.

Needless to say, I cannot wait. OH and did I mention that it looks beautiful ?! Nîmes at one time was a Roman city, and even better than the Colosseum in Rome, Nîmes has a complete amphitheater itself ! Not to mention ancient Roman buildings and aqueducts ! Definitely a different France than what I experienced in Paris.

Arènes de Nîmes… sorry Mom, they do bullfights here

Aqueduct

 

So I think I’m one lucky girl… now I just need to figure out where in Nîmes I should live so if anyone has suggestions please let me know !