I arrived in Spain in January 2018, ready to start work with the family that I had found from my searches in America. They looked nice and had three little girls, and I was excited to start work with them. I had worked with both the agency in America and Au Pair In Spain to find what was hopefully the perfect fit. Unfortunately, skipping forward through the first two weeks of work, I discovered little by little that things wouldn’t be nearly as easy as I had hoped. The family wasn’t the right choice for me. They knew it and I knew it. We had different ideas about the run of the house, my responsibilities, the way that the children should spend the day, and millions of other small things that mean the world in a small space and an intense contract. The family and I had a talk, and it was agreed that I should find another placement. On the surface, it seemed like an easy and relatively common situation. No problem, right? Plenty of people end up changing families or situations, and the contract stipulated that I would get two weeks to live there before having to move out.

The problems showed up the next day, when I found out that, despite the contract, the family expected me to leave almost immediately, without any time to find a new placement or a new place to live. Within 36 hours, I was suddenly faced with being homeless in a new country or choosing a new family in a hurry simply to have a place to live, without having any time to decide if they would be a good family for me or not. Thankfully, there are people in the world like Aida Tosar. Being new in the country, not knowing Aida, and knowing that she had worked with the family before, I was worried that she would take the family’s side against me. I was worried that she wouldn’t be able to help. But after a call from me and one from the mother of the family, Aida sent me an email. Suddenly, I didn’t have to worry about paying for a hotel or bringing all of my things to a hostel. Knowing how important and urgent the situation was, she picked me and my suitcases up that day and offered me a room in her own home.

To be honest, when first considering coming to Spain, I debated for a very long time whether the agency fee was worth it, and debated taking my chances with a website instead. Every day since then, I’ve thought about how thankful I am that I paid the extra and went with an agency. For that week that I would have otherwise been homeless in a foreign country, my original fee paid to the agency essentially served as rent and insurance for a lovely, calm living situation, and helped carry me through four more interviews with families Aida connected me to. That whole week, I left the house each day to explore the city and to interview with a new family, and would debate each potential new situation with Aida when I arrived home that evening. Six days after I had moved in, I moved out again, to the home of the second family I had interviewed with. Unlike the first one, this house was exactly what I wanted and needed, and probably changed me forever. Talking with my other au pair friends over the next few months, I learned that no one I talked to had been with a family as bad as my first one. On the other hand, none of them had a family as amazing and perfect as my second one. Or more likely, no one else talked about their situations as positively and as often as I did. I’m back in America now, but I still talk to that family, sending pictures back and forth, practicing my Spanish, and telling them about my progress on saving to move to Spain after this.
From a living situation so uncomfortable I couldn’t wait to leave, to one I want to model my own home after someday, Spain was a whirlwind. But ultimately, I wouldn’t have been nearly so successful and lucky if I hadn’t gone with Aida’s agency and met her. If I had any worries or issues at all, from the biggest (literal homelessness) to the smallest («why do potential families ask this particular question?”), she and the agency were always there for me.

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