Jo, the au pair

We’re all very excited — later this month, my sister, Jo, is coming to stay with us. It was supposed to be this week, but dealing with visa issues (including maddening parts of the Austrian bureaucracy which remind us so much of our first month here) has pushed the date back.

She’s coming for a few reasons — to visit us, to check out how great Vienna is, to get a taste of living abroad, and to help us out with the kids. So, she’s going to kind of be our au pair (but without the inevitable stress and weirdness of having a stranger stay in your house). I’m excited. For me, it’s pretty much all up side — I get to hang out with Jo, have some regular conversation with another adult, and have an extra set of hands when wrangling the kids . . . and maybe even have a little bit of free time sometimes. Maybe even DURING THE DAY. Sounds AWESOME.

I’m hoping that it’ll be fun for her, too. We’re pretty good company, the kids are super wonderful, and we’ll give her a safe base from which to explore a bit. (And, if she’s ever wondered how tedious yet fantastic it is to be a stay-at-home mom, she’ll have an idea. It’ll be like a parenting internship and mental birth control, all rolled up in one!) She’ll get to be here for Halloween and Christmas, too, and Christmas is really special in Vienna.

I imagine, though, that there will also be days where we both wonder what we were thinking when we came up with this plan. But, hopefully those will be rare, and we’ll all get a lot out of sharing this part our adventure together. Her visa, once acquired, will allow her to stay for up to 6 months (but my feelings won’t be hurt if she decides to go home sooner than that).  She’ll have to go through homesickness, culture shock and a bossy older sister, but I think she’ll be ok. It’s actually pretty great here.

I’m impressed with her. I wouldn’t have been brave enough to try this at 21 (I almost wasn’t brave enough to try it at 34). I’m looking forward to her arrival, and to getting to share this experience with her.

4 thoughts on “Jo, the au pair

  1. My mother’s the oldest of seven, and when we were growing up we had two of her sisters seperately stay with us for a while (siblings #5 and 6, so there was a large age gap — in fact the age gap between the younger of the two aunts is the same between me and her as it is between her and my mother), and it was a wonderful experience for everyone involved. We loved having each of our aunts stay with us, they got to live somewhere very different, and my parents had built-in help. Hopefully it’ll be just as great an experience for you and Jo!

  2. Glad to hear it, Greg! Very similar — I’m the oldest of 6, and Jo is #5. There’s 15 years between she & I, and 17 years between her and Benjamin. Hopefully it’ll go just as well for us, and create many good memories, too. 🙂

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