The Frankfurt skyline. Sachsenhausen is a part of the banking capital. Photo (cc) flickr user Moe_
This is part 18 in a series about the year I spent au pairing in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. If you’d like to catch up on the rest of the series, check out the index here. Cross published on Click Clack Gorilla.
Frankfurt’s Sachsenhausen is a curious place. Though the moniker technically applies to an entire city section—residents, shopping, and everything in between—when you hear people talking about Frankfurt Sachsenhausen, they’re usually talking about the pub district, a concentrated city block of often touristy bars and clubs, a micro city with no permanent residents. It is a place full of trays of bright green shots and hair gel and fake tan, full of spilled apple wine and loud conversation and lost earrings. It is the kind of place you go knowing you’re going to be doing the walk of shame home later/aren’t going to remember most of the evening.
This is a preview of the au pair chronicles: frankfurt’s sachsenhausen.
Sometimes being an expat makes you feel a bit isolated. But expats tend to swarm. Photo (cc) flickr user Patrick Mayon
This is part seventeen in a series about the year that I spent au pairing in Germany. To catch up on the rest of the series, click here.
Expats tend to swarm. It’s a survival tactic really. If somebody were to drop you in the middle of the ocean, you’d swim for shore. Except that “shore” in expat terms is “a place where I can meet other people who speak my native language so I don’t have to be so god damned alone all the time.” Our hive those first few months was an Australian sports bar. Hard to imagine now. Sports bars aren’t really my scene.
This is a preview of Au Pair Chronicles: The Swarm.
The first au pair test: can you get along with the kids? Photo (cc) flickr user GerryT
For the first week I wasn’t expected to work. Instead Janet drove me to the Ausländers- behorde (alien’s office) to fill out visa paperwork, to the central train station to find a photo machine that took passport-sized photos, to a language school to take placement tests, and to another office where I was issued the Frankfurt Pass that would get me discounts at museums and a free membership at the library.
The paperwork was easy, that first time. Health insurance, visa application, address registration—Janet was organized and experienced because every year there had been a new au pair to lead through the bureaucratic gauntlet.
This is a preview of Au Pair Chronicles: The First Weeks.
Frankfurt am Main was the setting for my year as an au pair in Germany. Photo copyright Nicolette Stewart
Cracked out on plane sleep and bad movies, I watched the twins babble at me across the back seat of the car. I was disconnected and strung out: a shadow watching myself watching them from somewhere over my shoulder. I’ve heard that moving forward and backward through time zones shortens your life expectancy. Then again, so does every minute you are alive.
A lot of my blog readers and people I meet ask me how it happened that I decided to move to Germany. Well, the short answer is that I got a job au pairing in Frankfurt. But the long answer I’m addressing in a serial. This is part three. You can read one segment each Friday on Click Clack Gorilla about how I decided to move to Germany and become an au pair, or catch up on the segments already published here.
Touch down in Germany! Photo (cc) flickr user Axel Schwenke
A lot of my blog readers and people I meet ask me how it happened that I decided to move to Germany. Well, the short answer is that I got a job au pairing in Frankfurt. But the long answer I’m addressing in a serial. This is part two. You can read one segment each Friday on Click Clack Gorilla about how I decided to move to Germany and become an au pair, or catch up on the segments already published here.
Frankfurt am Main. Photo copyright Nicolette Stewart
My first visa—that is the “you’re legally allowed to stay in this foreign country kind,” not the platinum kind—in Germany was so easy, I barely noticed it was happening.
Janet, my host mother, and my boss when it came to au pairing, drove me around the city so that we could collect all the paperwork we needed. She’d already arranged for my health insurance, the paperwork for which we filled out at home and mailed off. Once the company confirmed that I was insured, we had the first bit of paper that we’d need to convince the German government that I was legit.
This is a preview of Getting my first visa for Germany.