At the beginning of freshman year I had an almost kind of stalker. Let’s call him Randy. Randy and I met during orientation week. We were both mingling around our department table, which was history at the time because I started as an international studies major (funny, I know). So Randy approached me and extended his dead fish hand, which I shook politely. His eyes also reminded me of a dead fish. I’m not even being mean, he was just an all around dead fish guy. He said he was a transfer and blah blah I don’t remember what else. I said bye and peaced out, not thinking about him again. Until we had a class together.
I decided to sit in the back of class and he saw me and came over to join me. We didn’t really talk that much, we just sat next to each other in the back row. He was EXTREMELY awkward, almost painfully so, so I never made plans to hang out with him outside of class. But he kept hinting at me eating lunch with him. Somehow we ended up seeing each other at the club fair during one of the first weeks of school. He came over and kind of followed me while I tried to avoid him. When I was leaving he followed me and my roommate and invited me to eat lunch with him at the school cafe. I said something lame like, “Oh darn, I have to eat my mac n cheese.” He then said something like “You probably don’t, but do you want my number?” and obviously I couldn’t say no without looking like a jerk.
You’re probably thinking, “Celina, just don’t text him.” But I thought I was being nice to the awkward transfer student. So I made the mistake of texting him “hey it’s Celina.” He proceeded to text me non stop with 3 paragraph long texts. He told me about boxing and his brother and I reply with “that’s cool.” But let’s get real, there was no way he was actually boxing. Anyways, he kept inviting me to things and was consistent in the non-stop texts. The text that finally made me take action was one that mentioned our school’s Christmas ball. RED FLAG! He was trying to ask me to the CHRISTMAS Ball in AUGUST.
So the logical thing to do was ignore him all weekend while I was at home and work on a plan. This was literally the third weekend of school, I had known him for less than a month and he wanted to date me (or maybe just follow me?). On Monday I had a plan – a fake boyfriend! So when he texted on Monday I simply replied, “Sorry, can’t talk right now I’m Skyping my boyfriend in California.” And it worked! We didn’t say one word to each other after that and I began to sit next to a new friend in class.
So if you have a freshmen kind of stalker just tell him you have to Skype your fake boyfriend. Mine is named Jean-Luc and currently lives in Montreal. Moral of the story: get a fake boyfriend and don’t let dead fish guys follow you.
I don’t usually do “how to” posts, but I have seen a definite lack of useful how to posts regarding au pairing (specifically in Paris). Obviously I don’t know everything, but hopefully this will help make your search easier. Here’s what I’ve learned since starting my search a few days after Christmas to saying yes to my family on January 10th.
- Either pick an agency of your choice or join aupairworld.com. You don’t need any other sites. I wasted my time joining probably 6 other sites, none of which were necessary or led to any results other than spam emails. I didn’t use an agency, but Au Pair Paris seems to have good reviews if you’re looking to go with an agency, which I think is unnecessary unless you really want to use an agency. Aupairworld.com is free (to the au pair) and amazing.
- Put ALL of your experience on your profile; babysitting. retail jobs, language skills, hobbies/talents, education, certifications, etc. Make it easily accessible to the family.
- Add good quality photos. No selfies. Use a school photo or headshot. Add pictures of you with the children you have babysat. Add photos of you and your family.
- Be specific with location. If you want to work in Paris, put that on your profile. The suburbs can be nice, but the Paris metro closes at night, and if you end up living an hour subway trip away, that could mean you leaving the city at 10pm on your night off.
- Don’t be afraid to reach out to families first. Make a basic first message and personalize it a bit for each family.
- Know your profile weaknesses. If you’re under 21, not from the EU, and can’t drive, your options may be slightly more limited (from my experience). Play up your strengths. Also utilize the search option under the “for au pairs” tab – it allows you to search by country without limiting families by driving requirement, age requirement, and date/length of stay. If you are about to turn 20, use this search to find people looking for a 20 year old, as they currently can’t see your profile.
- Don’t get discouraged. I got a lot of rejections and few positive messages. It all depends on when you’re searching, when you’re available, etc.
- DO NOT GIVE UP. I am a very impatient person and was quick to get discouraged after a few days without responses. Just be patient, I promise someone will message you!
- After messaging with families, SKYPE! This is how you make sure they are, in fact, real people. You can also see how you click with the parents and children. Treat this like a job interview; fix your hair, wear a nice shirt, make sure your room is clean, wear pearls. That last one is optional, but I actually wore pearls when Skyping with my family, and I think they appreciated that I took care with my appearance. Families in Paris want to make sure their au pair is not only classy, but that they will be able to fit in in Paris.
- Continue messaging families no matter how your Skype conversation went. Keep your options open and get your mind off the perfect (or maybe not-so-perfect) family you Skyped with. Skype with some other families if you so desire.
- Send the family(familes) with whom you Skype your references. It’ll show that you have chutzpah.
- Skype again. Yep, Skype again before/when you say yes.
- Skype while you work out contract details. Make sure you read the entire contract and both parties are aware of everything.
- Get to work on your visa! I might write another post about the visa process, so let me know if you’d be interested in that!
Hopefully this helps you with your search! If you find an au pair position in Paris, let me know so we can meet up! Also feel free to ask questions in the comments, au revoir!