Written by: Amber’Jade Friend, Au Pair Participant
While being an Au Pair you find yourself smiling at the most unexpected things.
You find that you experience joy in the most hidden corners of your heart.
You start to feel like the child is, in fact, your younger brother or sister and not just the children you are assigned to look after and teach for the duration of your exchange programme.
Things that you would never have previously done with anyone else or for anyone else.
You start wanting to do things that will mean putting a smile on their sweet little faces.
An example: I sit and read books with Ally while eating chocolate. I never share my chocolate.
Chocolate to me is your virtue. But when it comes to Ally, I would give her all the chocolate in the world if it meant she would go from crying to smiling.
Her birthday just passed and it happened to be on my one day off in the week. Now when you’re an Au Pair, your day off is your sanctuary. You live to get to your day off.
I was supposed to be meeting up with a friend of mine to go and have dinner and drinks at some cozy corner bar.
When I told Ally that I had previously made plans with a friend before I knew her birthday and party both fell on the day of my off day just seeing how her face fell, the only thing I could do was cancel on my friend.
I told her I would do this, and she immediately decided that my friend would be invited to her birthday, which was the very next day, as well.
She made me phone Lina on the spot and invite her to come and when Lina said yes Ally’s little face lit up brighter than the sun and I knew I would have given up a hundred off days to see her as happy as she was in that moment.
Ally’s Birthday Party!
To me, it didn’t come as a surprise that the biggest room in the restaurant was booked out for Allys birthday. Which was, in fact, Mongolian themed and very traditional.
There was the most beautiful Traditional dance show with singing and a traditional ritual where you drink wine out of a big horn and they put blue silky material around your neck.
It was nothing like had ever seen or experienced before.
I even got to enjoy a glass of champagne with the birthday girl, whom I only let take small sips at a time!
The birthday cake was a double chocolate ice cream cake with three different flavors of ice cream and two different flavors of ice cream sauce topping.
A cake which proved to be extremely difficult to cut!
By the end of the night, everybody was full of smiles, laughter, cake, food and a whole bucket load of unforgettable memories.
From a night that I thought would have been just like our western birthday parties, it turned out to be one of the biggest adventures I have had in a single day.
One lesson I have learned since I have been in China is that people can surprise you but places and situations can surprise you even more.
You might think that a night will be filled with boring moments spent staring at your phone and it will end up being the complete opposite.
My Friday night turned out being even better than a night spent eating pub food!
Amber’Jade Friend, a South African Au Pair from Au Pair China Programme, is placed in Beijing for 6 months.
To find out more about Au Pair China Program, please click ‘Au Pair China Program‘.
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