COVID-19 stories #3: ‘I wasn’t panicking, until I saw a graph by the New York Times’

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During these scary COVID-19 times we have to stay strong, however difficult it may be. Some of us are dealing with homesickness, some feel scared and others try to make the best out of the situation. We are all dealing with this situation in a different way, but we want to let you know that you are NOT (!) alone. We will share COVID-19 stories from au pairs to show you that you are not the only one who is dealing with this.

Au pair from Austria

When I first heard about COVID-19, the general knowledge was, that it’s basically like the flu, only a little bit worse. So, at first, I wasn’t panicking. I was pretty calm about it. 

Then, on Wednesday March 11, I was eating dinner with my host family and watching Trump’s speech. He announced the 30-day-travel-ban from Europe. That made me shiver. After his speech was over, my host mum and host dad wanted to talk about what we should buy. They are very reasonable and sensible people, so there was absolutely no panicking. They just thought it would be smart to stock up on canned and dried goods – food that can last for a longer time. We also decided to not take our two little girls anywhere anymore. School had already been canceled. No more ballet or going to playgrounds either. Us adults were all still allowed to leave the house and go places, but had to wash our hands immediately upon returning home. 

Because I never really go out during the week, nothing really changed for me. That weekend, I decided to stay at home. There wasn’t a lot to do anyways. I’d just have a nice and relaxed weekend in. 

As the news got more and more, I grew more and more worried. When I heard that an au pair in my group returned home, I started to think. I talked to my mum and we were wondering, if I should go home as well. My year ends in July, so I’d be missing quite a bit of my au pair year. But wasn’t I safer at home? I then saw a graph online by the New York times. It showed how bad the outbreak would be by July, if nothing would be done about it. I am supposed to go home in July. I was panicking. I talked to all of my friends, my family and other au pairs. 

In the end, I decided to stay. But it was an incredibly hard decision. One that took a lot of time to make. My host family supported me, no matter what I would have chosen to do. They wouldn’t have been mad or upset, if I would have gone home.

As I am writing this I haven’t left our house in 17 days, apart from going in the yard or taking a walk in our neighborhood. I can’t complain though, because in reality, my life hasn’t changed much. I have two smaller kids, one of whom used to go to school only two mornings a week. So yes, I work a few hours more now. And we can’t go to the playground, library or ballet class anymore. My life as an au pair is a bit more exhausting now, trying to keep the kids busy. 

My host dad works from home now and my host mum is home too – but she was home even before the coronavirus outbreak. So, like I said, for me, not a lot has changed. I don’t go to New York city anymore on the weekends. But all in all, it’s still manageable right now. 

I hope many others choose to stay inside too. Not only for themselves, but for all the people who are at a higher risk. And if most people avoid going out and practice social distancing, this virus will be over so much faster. If we keep going out, there won’t even be an end in July. Stay safe everyone!

Do you feel inspired and want to share your story with us? Send an email to and tell us about your situation.

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