We had already introduced Granny Aupair in an article on our platform for professional expat women, and we are back today with a new article and the testimonial of a German granny, Sybille, who spent three months in beautiful Spain. What an amazing way to get to know new lifestyles!
Grandparents can normally be relied on as staple in childcare for busy parents: But for many expat families real life means that the grandparents live too far away or cannot be on hand for other reasons.
It is one the great ironies of our times that on the one hand there are so many young families trying to balance job and children every day without grandparents nearby, and on the other hand there are many older women whose children have flown the nest and whose working life has come to an end, who have loads of time on their hands they would like to use. Granny Aupair , founded in 2010 by Granpreneur Michaela Hansen (55) is a bridge between these two parties and functions as a platform where busy families abroad can find their Granny Aupair and vice versa. Meanwhile over 1,000 Grannies have been placed in over 50 countries, with France, Spain, and Italy proving to be some of the most popular countries. And as Granny Aupair originates from Hamburg, Germany, there are naturally quite a few Grannies travelling within and to the country in the heart of Europe.
Both sides profit from the placement: The Granny Aupair helps look after the kids, for instance by taking and fetching them from nursery or school. The Granny cooks if the parents are busy and helps the kids with homework.. “Our Grannies have a lot of advantages over young au pairs: They are experienced in life, most of the women have raised their own children, they know about housekeeping, they know their strong points and their limits, they are responsible and reliable.”, says Granny Aupair founder Michaela Hansen.
The Granny also profits from the visit: Very often she did not have the opportunity to travel as an au pair when young and now wants to discover a different culture first hand. Or she had a great experience as a young au pair and now wants to repeat this. Many also enjoy visiting a language course.
“Our Grannies are experienced women who used to work or still work as teachers, flight attendants, child care workers, secretaries, nurses etc. They are between 45 and 75 years old, they are active and curious. They love doing useful and interesting things, they are eager to find out about other cultures and customs and they want to improve their language skills. They would like to be integrated into a family because they may not have grandchildren of their own or their grandkids live far away,” adds Michaela Hansen.
Many Granny Aupair families choose a Granny Aupair again and again, with some families already having their 5th or 6th Granny an d with many of their Grannies spending repeated times with the families.
One of the over 1.000 Grannies, who have dared to go on the adventure, is Sibylle S., who quickly found what she wanted on the Granny Aupair website. In a village in La Rioja, a family of four was looking for a Granny, who could speak English. Sibylle reached an agreement with the family. She would help look after the girls and would have the mornings free to visit a language course in the nearby town of Logrono.
Between daily life and leisure time
For three months, Granny Sibylle supported the parents Esther and Luis in the supervision of the daughters Angela and Marina. On the first weekend a large gathering of friends was held to duly introduce the Granny. After hiking, talking, laughing and cooking, “lunch” was held at 16:00.
“On that day I received my first lesson in Spanish lifestyle:
1. Lunch has nothing to do with lunchtime
2.Everything must not be perfectly prepared for an invitation. The main thing is to meet and have fun together. “
Sibylle’s first week was marked by the annual festival “San Mateo”: The children were off school, many adults also took days off. The days are filled with events and attractions, and the nights belong to lively gatherings in the tapas bars. Shortly afterwards came the Arnedo Festival, and Sibylle was able to intensify her acquaintance with all her new friends.
Everyday life with the girls
After the holidays Angela and Marina went back to school, where they were often fetched by Sibylle. She brought them to their grandmother, who also liked cooking for the Granny and supervised their homework. A bit of English was also learned but often the girls were tired after their long day at school. Im the evening Sibylle drove them to their first communion class and back again.
Inspired by the Spanish soul
Sibylle took part in a multi-day pilgrimage through the autumnal magnificent Rioja region and had many points of contact with the warm and celebration happy population of the region.
“I never experienced so much joy-de-vivre at one place. Just wonderful!!”
She just loved the joyful and hospitable nature of the Spaniards: “If the family was invited, then the au pair was naturally invited as well. They took me everywhere and I witnessed so much of the Spanish lifestyle. One weekend we turned up at a friend and her family in Zaragoza with five (!!!) people to stay for the night. I never experienced so much natural hospitality in Germany. The Spanish people I got to know, were all very very open and loving. Always striving to make me feel comfortable…and they just have a sunny disposition and are non-demanding!”
The stay has given Sibylle new perspectives: “In retrospect, I can only say that nothing better could have happened to me than the three months in Spain. It was a great experience to just leave the beaten track for a time and to take a step sideways from the familiar road.”
Families wanting to find out more about Granny Aupair are invited to take a look at the website (in Spanish) at www. Granny-aupair.com/es.
Photo credit ©Granny Aupair