French proud Mum and wife, restless explorer and doer freshly landed in Hanoi. One Attila in each arm, I am exploring the “kids friendly” corners of the region, while trying to keep some room for Me.
When I first met Steffy, I had to ask her twice about her job. Although her English is perfect, I thought she couldn’t pronounce “nanny” correctly as she kept on saying “No, it is GRAN-NY. I am a granny au pair”.
To my knowledge, au pair were only young students, sometimes hardly older than the kids they were supposed to look after. Seems that I had been living under a rock for years, as I had missed the new Granny au Pair trend. I had to come all the way to Hanoi to meet one in the flesh!
Meet Steffy, Granny au Pair newbie
“Retirement to me is only the end of the working life. But the beginning of many new experiences”, states the young German granny.
I remember watching this ad on TV about Grannies au Pair and telling my husband “ this is for me!”
He first couldn’t believe I could spend months far from home, let alone in a country I never lived in. But hey, here I am, working for a wonderful family in Hanoi. I am so grateful for the experience, it is the best move I’ve done in a long time!” she says in a big smile.
Listen to your elder’s advices, not because they are always right (but because they have more experience of being wrong)
Steffy’s energy is contagious and I can totally understand why her foster family chose her. The Dad is working abroad and spends weeks away from his family. The Mum’s work takes her to frequent trips in the neighbouring countries and they obviously needed someone they could really trust to live with her and take care of their 12 years old son.
I can totally see why they settled for a granny (and this one!). She has raised 2 big boys and knows more than a thing or two about parenting! Icing on the cake, she comes from the same country as the Mum, so the son can practice his German also with her. How reassuring when you spend lots of time away from your husband to live with a granny who actually sounds more like a caring Aunt.
How about the cultural clash?
“ I visited Hanoi a few years ago with my husband so I had a first glimpse of the place. Yes, it is super hot and humid, very polluted too, acknowledges Steffy
But I chose to focus on other things: I am so privileged for the chance to discover another culture for months, not just like the short term tourist I have always been!
I am making a point of exploring something new every day. Would it be food, a place, meeting up like minded people, exercising .. I spend every weekend with the family but I have free time to explore on weekdays. The family has an helper, a super sweet young Vietnamese girl who is turning me into a Street Food expert”.
Steffy is cycling her way in Tay Ho district and she rides the bus like a local. While I am still frantically learning how to navigate the overcrowded roads of the city, she shows me the apps she has installed on her phone “It tells me exactly where I am”.
– But what if you get lost in the crowd?
– What if I call Uber then?” she laughs.
Spot on! I too want to recruit her !!! Talk about adaptability skills …
Home sick maybe? A little bit?
“Those few months au pair are harder to endure for my husband” she admits.
We’ve been so used to do everything together. But I know this parenthesis is making our couple stronger. We become more independent, and challenge ourselves out of our comfort zone. It’s healthy, at any stage of a relationship but especially when you are both retired.
Is he planning to visit ? There is a big sparkle in her eyes when she answers “Yes! Next month! And we will travel around together when my foster family will travel out of the country. And when they are back, he’ll explore more of the country on his own”.
I guess you can’t retire from being an explorer at heart!
How about the kids?
“My boys are grown up and don’t live with us any more. Since I have landed in Hanoi, they have upgraded my status to “Cool Mum”. You bet!
Care for more info?
Like all the other grannies recruited via the site, Steffy does not receive any salary nor per diem. Her foster family paid for her plane ticket, she is provided with accomodation and meals are free of charge.
More about Grannies au pair, click here. There website is collecting applications of families and grannies. Fill the forms, scroll the profiles, get in contact, and .. See you around!
#Expat, #Traveling, #Hanoi, #Vietnam, #Experience
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