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 Italy (submitted 25/03/20)
In contrast to lot of au pairs, my experience with the corona virus hasn’t been affected as much by my host family, but by my home country instead. Being from Italy, I started hearing about it earlier than anyone else and I had the chance to see how things evolved back at home. I saw people ignoring it all, young people not caring cause “it’s not dangerous for us”, saw it spreading, bars, clubs, events all closing. Then schools, shops, businesses, then entire cities barricaded themselves. While the number of cases grew, people got a little more aware. Definitely not enough, looking back at it. The worst was yet to come though. The lockdown started, they introduced a paper permission needed in order to get out. The hospitals are so full, they need to choose who to give a chance to be cured and who not. After almost 3 weeks of lockdown, we are finally starting to have less infections and less deaths but we’re still far from solving the whole problem. My family is luckily fine, but that’s just because they started taking it seriously from the very start. In fact, to preserve my grandmother’s health, my mom decided to wear mask and gloves all the time and she disinfects herself with alcohol anytime she gets home from work.
All this being said, I’m an au pair in Florida, one of the places more affected by the virus. They closed pretty much everything I listed above, but we’re not on lockdown like other states are right now. Which has pros and cons: on one hand I’m still pretty free, I have the chance to spend time with my friends but on the other hand I fear that this is just the start and we’ll be subjected to all the phases Italy went through already. People don’t take me seriously when I tell them this is just the start of it, but it actually is. I wonder how long it is gonna last, cause America is huge so the process will take way longer than Italy. At the end of each day I find myself reflecting if it’s worth it to stay.
My friends back in Italy tell me to stay here cause there’s nothing waiting for me there, which is true cause of course it’s hard already to keep a job there, to find a new one is basically impossible. Plus going back would mean locking down in a house, not being able to go out even just for a walk, which I’m totally free to do here. I probably have talked about my safety more with my mom. She’s concerned that if I got sick I wouldn’t receive the cure I deserve, as health care is universal in Italy, while here it depends on your insurance (not considering how hard it is to get tested for the virus). She’s also concerned about how they are handling shopping here. For example here they allow each person to get 2 of the thing he/she’s buying: my host mom could get just 2 gallons of milk, but we’re 6 people, 4 host kids who drink more milk than water and 2 adults who do drink it in the morning, but at the same time she can go there as many times as she wants. So they run out of things and who gets there later is just unlucky. Last thing she’s scared about is that they won’t let me go back when I decide it’s my time to.
Do you feel inspired and want to share your story with us? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us about your situation.