As of this week, I am no longer an au pair.
Five months on the job and my contracted period is over – as planned, the new au pair is here and handover from myself to her is complete. My bus pass, my phone, and my beautiful room with a view of the city are just a few luxuries I have had to give up, but I have left on extremely good terms with the family and have no doubt that I’ll be visiting often.
So then, Chez, ‘when are you going home?’
Well, I’m not. Due to an ever-strengthening love of this city and this country, and my ever-improving-but-not-quite-there-yet German, I see no reason to return to England. I am not;
– getting married or staying here for love. I’m surprised how many people asked that.
– anti-England; I don’t hate the homeland, or my family and friends, for that matter.
– thinking in the long term. Right now, I want to stay in Salzburg, but there’s no saying how I’ll feel in a few months.
So ‘what are you doing then?’
Well I’ve been very fortunate actually. To continue with this ‘trio of facts’ theme, here are 3 ways I am funding my stay here;
– 20 hours a week in the office at a big hotel. Working language: German, though my native English is a huge benefit and will be put to regular use. This ‘safe’ role will provide a steady income somewhere just above minimum wage and the company have sorted out my medical insurance and staying-in-Salzburg paperwork, which has been extremely useful. My first ever job interview in German was horrifically nerve-wracking, and I can’t wait for my language to excel so much faster now.
– I have managed to get a job in, undeniably, Salzburg’s finest Irish bar. Never did I think I’d have a job as awesome as my bar job at my university’s Students’ Union, but this has definitely beaten it. I work a couple of shifts a week, earn extremely well, drink for free and am meeting new people all the time. Fookin’ sweet.
– I tutor English a few hours each week, by which I mean that I read, play and do homework with children much of the same age as the ones I au paired. Times like this I am forever thankful to be an English native speaker, and am annoyed that I didn’t offer my tutoring services earlier. It’s irregular and unreliable, but good fun. And I’m a rent- and taxpayer now – every little helps.
And, while we’re at it, 3 things about my living situation;
– as far as location is concerned, the word ‘perfect’ is the only one that I could possibly use. I live paces from the famous Linzer Gasse, a minute or so from the Salzach river, above a bar in the heart of the Altstadt. From my window I can see the following; the Festung, the Untersberg summit, the church on the Kapuzinerberg, the grand church at Universitaetsplatz.
– I am sub-letting from a girl who’s in England until June. This means that I am not committed long-term, nor do I have to worry about finding a new tenant when I leave. She’s left her furniture, bedding, bike, and kitchen stuff, all of which I am welcome to use at no extra cost. I pay €300 a month including all bills and internet.
– I live with 3 others in their early twenties, all seem very relaxed and friendly. We speak a mix of German and English. (i.e. German, and when it’s an important discussion about rent or bills, in English, ha.)
Considering location, the student-y feel of the place (nostaligia!) and the ease of which I could move in and make myself at home without having to buy anything at all, I snapped it up on the spot and do not regret that decision at all.
It has to be said that, though I am completely skint right now, I could not be happier. Being able to stay in this city and continue to improve my German, while working and earning, meeting new people every day, and looking forward to my first Salzburg summer, there is no where I’d rather be.
And, to end on, here are 3 ‘next chapter resolutions’ that I look forward to succeeding in;
– health and fitness, weight loss beach body blahhh. Basically, indulge less in the Austrian cuisine and go for the odd jog.
– now is my time to give back to couchsurfing; I have a couch and my hours of work allow me a lot of free afternoons and evenings. I want to help other people in the same way that I have been helped so many times. This is something I am extremely excited about.
– save money! Couchsurf hosting will quench my travel thirst for a little while, but there’s only so long I can stay in one place. I need to get back on the road.