Friday, June 2, 2023

21-year-old Emilia left Finland and jumped into the unknown: the new home shook her – then the bitter truth came to the fore


From Turku, Emilia went as an au pair, even though she did not particularly like children. The experience was an eye opener.

12.5. 7:50

In the new season of Yale’s hugely popular au pairing series, we travel to South Africa, where four young people, Ada, Emilia, Amy-Lotta and Sebastian, move to live with local families for two months .

In the series, 21-year-old Emilia from Turku comes into the family of mother Estelle and father Nuno, who have four children – 10-year-old daughter Chloe, 7-year-old Ben, 5-year-old Nuni and 3-year-old Luca. The family also has its own nanny to help.

Family work was a whole new thing for Emilia, as she says she started out mainly as an adjunct for everything but child care. In the early episodes of the series, Emilia says straight out, she doesn’t really know anything about kids, and she doesn’t love kids. She has no experience in childcare.

So why did she want to be an au pair?

– Well, yes, it may sound a bit contradictory! The experience and abroad were tempting, but I also wanted to know if I really didn’t like children, or if it was just that I had no experience with children, Emilia told IS.

– I don’t have younger brothers and sisters, I never grew up with kids. I don’t know how to change diapers. I already expected the children to scream and run in circles, which was partly true.

She says that at first she wished she would end up in a family with slightly older children, with whom she could play an older sister role. Emilia says that in the beginning she was apprehensive about how she would raise four young children.

– There were three more boys in my host family and I didn’t know what to play with the boys. They were so wild and scary before. What if I am seeing another child?

The South Africa series follows au pairs Ada (left), Emilia, Emmi-Lotta and Sebastian.

The South Africa series follows au pairs Ada (left), Emilia, Emmi-Lotta and Sebastian. Photo: Jori Heikkinen

Their host family lives in the lush surroundings of the Plettenberg Bay Golf Resort. The area is fully fenced and has 24/7 surveillance. Emilia says at first she couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw where she would be living for two months.

– In my view this area was full of villas. There were security guards at the gate and you had to put your stamp on the area. The area had its own cafe, tennis courts and a swimming pool. It was like a hotel. My own bedroom was as big as my room in Finland, he says.

Emilia says that movement in the fenced area was being closely monitored.

– If I wanted to invite, for example, Emmy-Lotta to visit, the mother of the family had to call at the gate that such a person was now coming to the village. It was the same thing if I, for example, went to visit him. The guards knew what kind of car we drove and who was in the family. Actually no outsider came there.

Emilia describes that the protected luxury residential area feels like a world of its own. Outside the gate, the situation was very different in a country plagued by violence and crime. The rich lived in abundance and the poor lived in extreme poverty.

– You noticed it as soon as you went outside the gate. On the other side of the street, they say, may be the complete opposite compared to my own residential area.

He says that the mother of the host family told about crime in South Africa and how you have to be careful when you go out.

– I got yelled at a lot on the street and faced some unpleasant situations. If you pass by a construction site during the day, construction workers working the brakes come chasing you. They followed me and it was really difficult to get rid of them. This happened immediately the first few days and I wondered what would come of it.

Emilia was able to live in a sophisticated area.

Emilia was able to live in a sophisticated area. Photo: Teri Yilimenen

South Africa is known for its unrest and Emilia had previously read about the country’s unrest and crime statistics, which are among the highest in the world.

Mother was very much afraid that I would be able to take care of myself and would not be able to go out after four. If you Google South Africa, you immediately get news of someone being stabbed. Yes, it created a sense of insecurity. South Africa is just the opposite of Finland.

He says that many things in the country are in poor condition, but the wonderful nature and attitude of the people towards life made a great impression on the Au Jodi.

– The people were really friendly and happy. In the store, everyone came up to chat and asked what language I speak. I enjoy the openness and the feeling that everyone is one big family. It’s completely different from what we have in Finland.

AU pairs up in South Africa at Yale Arena on Wednesday 17.5. At 20:00. The series will be shown on Yale TV 2 on May 17. Play starts at 21:00 each evening in double periods.

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