Molly Johnson took over the Au Pair Butrfly Instagram account two weeks ago. Here are a few of her best answers to your questions, if you missed it! Make sure you follow us on social media to keep up with the au pairs sharing their lives every week.
Molly’s Instagram Takeover
I’ve been in France for just over a month and I LOVE being an au pair. My reasons for being an au pair were slightly different to others in the sense that I had already studied and lived in France so the « discovering a new culture » wasn’t really what brought me here. This year, I finished my college degree (in Business & French) and I’m sure as we all know, Corona kind of messed up EVERYTHING in terms of graduate jobs, travel plans etc.
Since my arrival, my family has been super helpful and encouraging with me marking connections for finding a professional job and setting myself up in France (phone number, bank account etc.) For me, being an au pair meant that I got a head start with setting myself up in France.
- Family life in France
- A place to live
- A support system
- A routine
- Food in ma belly 😛
- Opportunity to learn how to drive on the right (lol it’s tough)
At a very little cost!
1. Is it easy to manage the time you’re out and the times you are working?
For me yes! I only work in the evenings so I don’t need to get up early and bring the kids to school! That way I am free until 17h30 most evenings. My family are also super chill about me coming and going which is great. It’s all about COMMUNICATION. I just say « hey I’m not coming home tonight » or « hey I’m going away this weekend » and they have no problems.
REMEMEBER: Your host parents are nOT your parents. They will also want you to have hobbies, friends… a life.
One thing that my host mom did is create a Google Agenda that is shared with me and also the Dad! This way we have a schedule of when I’m needed or not when the family is away (or me) and it works super well! It’s so easy to plan things like trips, nights out etc. With this, would 100% recommend.
2. Why do you want to move from Ireland?
Great question. Ireland is an amazing country and will always be my home. However, I read once that everyone should move away from their home town to « broaden their horizons »and to eliminate some toxicity.
Ireland is a TINY country and everyone knows everyone… REALLY! I’m a very extroverted, open-minded person and although I love Irish people, sometimes I felt like I was conforming to a « norm » that wasn’t me. I like to be creative with my style, my work, etc. And I love discussing different topics and appreciating other cultures and religions.
I lived in France two years ago and it was the first time I felt like I could really be « me ». Difficult to explain but for now, I’m happier here. (But I do miss my friends and fam!!)
What did your host family provide for you?
Basics: a bedroom, bathroom, towels, furniture, groceries, a car.
Money: I’m paid €90 a week
Life help: I’ve been to work with my host parents to meet people in HR (my major in college). They’ve set up meetings and phone calls for me to get advice about finding a job, contacts, interviews, etc.
Fun: My family have included me in lots of family activities, from eating in restaurants to rockclimbing, to hiking in the Pyrenees.
3. Are the French really not friendly to English speaking people?
This is a VERY important question and something that needs to be spoken about. French people are sometimes stereotyped as being « RUDE » or « COLD ». I have NEVER found this to be the case.
Think of it this way, if you were a waitress in your home country and a customer walks in and says Bonjour and then continues to order and speak in French, you would be like WTF? They could at least make the effort.
French people never expect you to speak fluent French. In fact, they are blown away when people can say a few words. But, they do find it disrespectful when people « expect » them to just speak English. It’s difficult for them too, remember.
Now, you don’t need French to live in France. I have friends here who don’t speak a word! But, they know phrases which help them in daily life.
4. First date ideas to do in France
Okay, this is such a good Q! As an Au Pair, you are a tourist – so take advantage of your French man and have him show you around!
- Look out Point
- Picnic in a park
- Ice cream by the sea/river
- Coffee outdoors on a terrasse
- A stroll in the city’s park
5. Is there a big language barrier [when you date French people?]
This depends hugely on your level of French and their level of English! I always had an « ok » level of French, so in my first relationship, it was never really a problem. If anything, it can make situations really funny when someone says something incorrectly or with a funny accent.
However, when conversations need to get serious, it can be a problem! Sometimes things are interpreted wrong and can cause more problems and sometimes you just can’t express yourself how you really want to!
So, my advice would be to maybe avoid dating a French guy if you have ZERO French and he speaks zero of your native language. However, I will say that you learn SO MUCH from each other! I swear that my French is only as good as it is from going out with French guys. They’re goof for something ladies.
6. This is V subjective, but what r ur thoughts on entering ur au pair year with a boyfriend?
I agree this is very subjective because long distance is different for everyone. I think if you’re very certain about this person and you’re both committed, well then go for it.
Communication is SO IMPORTANT. Communication and trust are the foundations of a relationship so if you have no doubts there, well then there’s a good chance it will work.
Personally, long distance is easier when there’s a definite end in sight. If you know you’ll be abroad for a few months/year and then be back with this person you can totally do it. But if you’re « finding yourself » or don’t have a definite plan, maybe reconsider is being in a relationship something you need right now <3
7. Tips for learning French
So many of you wanted to know tips on improving my French. Here’s one: I watch lots of series in French. Netflix have French series and movies (some are soooo good) and I also have a subscription to CanalPlus.
At first, I used English subtitles then I used French subtitles, and now I don’t need any! Netflix recommendations:
- Plan Coeur (rom/com series)
- La Mante (thriller series)
- Marseille (drama series)
- La Foret (thriller series)
CanalPlus: Validee… 100/10! If you guys like rap music, you will be obsessed with this! So many cameos of French rappers.
Speaking of music – listening to French songs is a great way to train your ear! If you like the song, Google the lyrics and learn them by heart. Without realising, you’ll start recognising and understandings words naturally.
French music consists of a lot of rap and then mainstream pop! (But I like that!) You can also listen to some old classics.
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