Who we are
I am Kirsten, 50 years old and my husband Rainer is 61. Since more than 10 years we are a very happy patchwork family with two older kids (31 and 29) and two younger ones (19 and 16).
Martina and Daniel, Rainer`s kids have both finished their studies and live in the south of Germany where they got nice jobs. Jil and Lesley are my daughters and their father died 14 years ago, when they were very young.
Jil is 19 and just moved to Vienna to study medicine and Lesley is 16 and has 1,5 years to go until she is doing her International Baccalaureat at the International School of Düsseldorf.
Moreover I should mention our two dogs, Lilly a dalmation and Merlin a Jack Russel. They are like real family members for us. We love animals.
Lilly is a sweat little girl, full of life and very demanding. She needs a lot of walk and a lot of attention. Merlin is a little old men, a funny little thing. He protects us and also every Au pair living with us. He cannot walk that much anymore, which is why we walk him separately.
I have studied economics and have mainly been working for Coca-Cola in Switzerland and The Netherlands. When my husband died I stopped working and took care of the girls and started again about three years later until I met Rainer. The fact that he was located in the south of Germany and I was living in Düsseldorf, but working in Switzerland didn`t make it easy for us.
So we decided that I should stop working and focus on our little family “project”. We sold our houses and bought a new one in Meerbusch (which is really close to Düsseldorf) and created a “cosy nest” for all of us.
Rainer was born and raised in the south of Germany, near Stuttgart (not far from Munich). He is a mechanical engineer, was in the US for a couple of years and is currently the CEO of a company producing printing machines, unfortunately still in the south.
Consequently our family life is focused entirely on the weekends and even Jil comes regularly from Vienna to join us.
We are all fluent in English, speak some French and I speak some Dutch as well.
I would say we are a sporty family, love skiing, diving, art, having fun with our friends, traveling and last but not least having fun with our dogs very much.
Jil was born in January 1999 in The Netherlands. She is a wonderful person, very mature (due to the sad circumstances she had to overcome) and very happy with a good sense of humor. She has always been very inquisitive and always loved the natural sciences. Her study seems to inspire her. Besides that she is a great singer and sings whenever she can….:)
Lesley was born in July 2001 in Düsseldorf. She has always been our little clown…a funny little girl. The girls have been very close to each other, almost like really good friends. Yet is Lesley completely different. She loves art and fashion and is very creative. She paints and recently she has sewn her own clothes. She loves to read and plays the piano.
Her last year in school urges her a lot and means a lot of work.
Lesley is very ambitious and positive but I believe she feels sometimes lonely as she misses Jil a lot.
Jil and Lesley laugh a lot when they see eachother, they sing and love baking cakes….hmm!!
Why an Au Pair
We had already 5 Au pairs over the past couple of years and have had great experiences. Our family became bigger and bigger and it is nice to see how close the contact still is.
Our last Au Pair Alecia (from Michigan) left about a year ago. She was a good friend and an older sister for both girls and we had a wonderful time with her the entire year and now see her regurlarly. We even took her with us on holiday last year.
Our first Au Pair came from Ukraine and stayed with us for 3 years. She now lives in The Netherlands with her husband and her two girls and I always have the feeling she is a copy of myself. She adapted a lot from us and that always makes me smile. It is so nice to see.
Lauren was from Australia and now studies veterinary medicine in Germany. She will soon visit us and I am so much looking forward to this.
I believe that you could fill the gap Jil created when she left and as our experience was so wonderful..why not having this again? 🙂
Where we live
Düsseldorf lies on the east bank of the river Rhine. It is the capital of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. Düsseldorf has about 600,000 inhabitants in an agglomeration of about 1.3 million people. The city has 1 international airport, a university and is the seat of a lot of international companies. Düsseldorf is one of the most important commercial centres in Germany. It has a regional stock exchange. More than 170 national financial institutions and 130 insurances work in Düsseldorf. Düsseldorf is one of the European centres of the fashion industry and has one of the most important trading shows. The TV channels CNN and NBC Giga have their German centres in Düsseldorf. There is a lot of manufacturing industry too – like the chemical company Henkel. Düsseldorf is the most important seat for Japanese companies in Europe.
Meerbusch, where we live, offers everything you want – many shops (easy to walk or take the bike), language school, etc.. We live close to the forrest, a golf course and also close to a train station (very nice):)) To go to Düsseldorf is very easy by train and takes you about 15 minutes.
We have a big house (so lot`s of room for you – incl. your own room, bathroom and toilet) and your room is located in the first floor and offers you the opportunity to be undisturbed if you wanted. We have a nice garden and lot`s of species of birds which is nice around spring and summer time.
During summer we enjoy our swimming pool and you are always welcome to also use our exercise room the entire year.
You are always welcome to be part of our family life!!
Everyday Life in our family – your support
Lesley and I wake up at 6.50/7.00 AM and have breakfast at 7.15AM.
We either have a milkshake with oatmeal and a banana or cereal and chat and/or watch the news. You can of course have a toast or bread in the morning, if you like:)
15-20 minutes later Lesley get`s ready and I let the dogs in the garden.
We have a carpool and so Lesley get`s picked up by 8 AM.
You could help me preparing and clearing away breakfast (not on your days off). When Lesley is gone you should walk the dogs. Lilly needs longer walks, so you should take her to the nearby forest. Alecia sometimes ran with Lilly, it was her sports program. After she took Merlin on a very short walk, i.e. 15 minutes.
After you should help me a little bit in the house and mainly Lesley`s room and her bathroom. It is not much, as I have been training the girls to keep everything tidy and clean. But it would be nice if you assist us during the week with some tasks in the household. Never during the weekends or on your time off.
Laundry could be one of these tasks, but only here and there as I am mainly doing it. Sometimes I might ask you to fold a few pieces and put them back into Lesley`s cupboard. Our cleaning lady is ironing Rainer`s shirts but maybe you can iron some of Lesley´s t-shirts once in a while.
As mentioned we have a cleaning lady who cleans the entire house. Once or twice a week I also vacuum the floor in the kitchen and the living room because of the dog`s hair. I might ask you to help me but it takes me only 30 minutes to do this.
Around 2 PM the dogs need to be walked again. Lilly is happy to go back to the forest and Merlin just loves his little walk of 15 minutes. On some days I do this and some days this would be your task.
Most of the time I do the cooking, but whenever one of our Au Pair`s wanted to cook, they were welcome to do so. When I am not home, I would ask you to cook something for Lesley.
She only comes home by 4.15 PM, which is a long day for her. I always need to leave the house by 3.15Pm to pick her up from school and ideally you could go and get her with the car:)
So we have lunch at 4.30PM and this is when we spend some time at the table, eating, talking and laughing.
After Lesley goes into her room to do homework. She studies a lot and her days are extremely long. There is time for you and her to chat and/or do some sports, but she needs to be very focused on school as her grades already count for her International Baccalaureat.
In the evenings Lesley most of the time doesn`t want to eat again, so you could either join me for a little snack or prepare something for yourself.
The dogs need to be walked again for a short walk around 6/7PM. Ideally you help me with two walks per day (morning and evening or morning and lunch).
Believe me, if you love dogs this can be so much fun and there are nice people in the forest and lot`s of other dogs. I remember Alecia always stayed there for a longer time, as she met so many nice people…
The weekends are different, as sometimes my oldest daughter joins us from Vienna and my husband comes each Friday night.
We have lot`s of friends and there is always a “programme” for the weekend. You are always welcome to join or do something on your own.
The Sundays are free for you and depending on the schedule you and me set up you could support me on Saturdays with the dogs.
If you want to travel or see friends we can plan around this, which means having a long weekend off is of course also possible. There is a lot to see…The Netherlands are very close from here (30 minutes drive) and Paris is not far either (4 hours drive), etc…..
We will ensure that you enjoy your time and see as much as possible…if you like.
We have an apartment in the mountains (where we go skiing…but there are other things to do, if you don`t like skiing) and one in Spain.
We took or Au pairs to both places but we would also ask you stay with the dogs, especially when we go to Spain. We do one longer holiday, i.e. 2 weeks in Spain and a few longer weekends.
You will also have holidays to fly home to your family or make other trips. Please just coordinate these dates with us so we can plan around that.
What we need/expect
As mentioned before, I would love to have an older sister for my daughter (16) a mature girl who could be a role model for her.
If you are a sportive person and love to have a healthy lifestyle than you would be perfect. There is not much to do for you, as my daughter is very busy with school but I am sure she enjoys to have a good friend in the house.
It is important that you like dogs and ideally you have experience with them. We love our dogs and have a lot of fun with them. They give so much back once they feel they are loved…..
As my husband is not here during the week, there are things in the household where you could support me – even though we do have a cleaning lady coming each week.
You should also have a drivers licence to be able to pick up my daughter from school or bring her somewhere. Don`t worry we will help you to get used to drive here in Germany. We will offer you a lesson with a driving teacher for one or two hours, if you like.
I would very much appreciate to gain a little independence with your support:)
Our support for you
You will be “one of us” and join us as much as possible/as much as you want:)
We are fluent in English and speak German (of course) within our family.
If you feel better, we can speak English until you are comfortable to speak some German….whatever you prefer.
You get a mobile phone from us with a German contract.
We book you on a language course, if you want.
…and of course pay for your health insurance,
all besides your monthly pocket money.
All our Au Pairs met other Au Pairs and had friends here after a while.
In case you want to get in contact with our former Au Pair`s I could give you the contact details of Inna (who stayed with us for three years – from Urkraine), Lauren (one year – from Austrailia) and Alecia (one year – from USA).
We will ensure that you don`t have to support us longer than 5 hours per day. There is not much to do, believe me….usually it is less than that.
We look forward to hear from you:)