I applied to become an au pair in February 2013, and it started off bumpy. There was a long journey from emails, to interviews, to finally finding a family that wanted me, but when it was over I was so excited, I was on my way.
I moved to England, London, W10 on 12th of August 2013. I arrived to Victoria Station and was picked up by the father of the family who drove us to their house, my new home. The rest of the family was not at home, I would be seeing them the next day.
I didn’t sleep at all that first night, I was so nervous. I had left my family home, my safe island, my friends, my life, for something I didn’t know anything about. The excitement suddenly felt far away. The only thing I knew was that I liked the language, the pub life, and the football. And there I was, terrified.
The next day I took a train, I think from Paddington Station, up to Lincolnshire where I would meet the mother and the two boys that I was supposed to take care of. They were staying with Granny knit knit and Gumpy, grandparents that I would spend a lot of time with over the years.
After being picked up by the mother and master John King we arrived to this:
I was in shock, I could not believe that people actually lived in this house. I got a room, my own bathroom and was encouraged to take long baths. This was a lifestyle I was completely unfamiliar with.
We spend a week or so in the country; I was getting to know the boys, had long chats with the grandparents, went swimming in the pool (pictures below) and wandered around the grounds. There were a lot of cows in Lincolnshire.
My first day there Hesther, the host mother, said “Don’t you think we should have tea by the pool house”. “Sure”, I said thinking that we would have a cup of tea before dinner. Can you imagine my, discrete, surprise when she came down with several trays of food? I was then enlightened with the fact that ‘tea’ in English also is food.
Here we have Bobby.
And here is John.
Then we went back to London. Everything was big, and slightly scary.
I got myself an A to Z for London which I studied carefully. I went for walks, tiny ones, but step by step I started to explore London, my new home.
One day I met up with a big group of au pairs who all had come to London through the same organisation as me: Swedish Connection. We met up down by the Thames to go on a boat tour, and I knew I was in the right place straight away, wow there was a lot of blondes.
I had already started to navigate myself in the masses of au pairs and had found group that I thought seemed cool enough to hang out with, I was right.
The boat took us down the river towards Greenwich where we would spend the main part of the day. Greenwich seemed so far away for a W10 girl.
New friends! (Who now are old friends.) Agnes, Jenny Lilja, Mikael, Linn, Jenny, Clara and Sophie.
We arrived and I thought everything was so pretty. We walked around Cutty Sark, went through Greenwich University and enjoyed the late summer sun. I talked to Jenny about tennis and feminism, Gustav and I pretended that we had known each other for ever (which it felt like we had) and Linn let me borrow her camera.
The view. This was my first ever London profile picture, it got over a hundred likes. I noticed I was more popular after I left Sweden.
After that day in Greenwich I started to hang out with a little group of au pairs who I did almost everything with. We organised taco nights, went to markets, and spend a lot a lot of time in the pub. We became a little family. A few of these wonderful people are still my best friends, and I am so happy that we moved to London the same year.
We celebrated Linn’s birthday in September and spent the day in Primrose Hill where our birthday girl got chocolate cake and picnic served.
Here they are! Agnes, Erika, Anna-Karin, Styffe, Gustav, Mikael, Linn och Jenny.
I went and admired Emirates Stadium for the first time, this was before I became an Arsenal fan. I didn’t have a favourite team when I first moved here, I always said “I support football”, but as months passed I, and people around me, realised that I actually liked Arsenal more than any other team. Now I am a dedicated Gunner.
We had a period when we made pancakes all the time, I would say that I am a great pancake maker.
There was also a lot of head scratching going on.
I lived in W, but most of my friends lived in NW, so we spent a lot of time in West Hampstead where we discovered some of our favourite places. That’s where we found our favourite pub, The Railway, and this place called Art for fun where we have spent many hours designing cups and other pretty pottery.
Winter slowly approached and I got to come with the boys and Hesther, the mother, to Winter Wonderland. I loved it. Me and the boys ran around the massive fun park and went on every ride. It felt like my childhood days at Liseberg.
My boys. They used to be so little.
Back in Sweden I played this sport called floorball, and it was basically my life. We trained twice a week, had games and I also did floorball high school. It was a huge thing, but when I moved to England, I did not think I would ever play it again. But it learned that London has 3 floorball teams and that there is a league, so I had to join. My team was, and is still, called London Sharks.
I called this team my fucked up multi cultural family, because all players were from all over the world; Australia, England, Switzerland, Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, Italy, Sweden and Latvia. Most of them were also a bit fucked up. I spent many weekends in Clapham where we trained on Saturdays, and more often than not this training led to the pub.
I have gotten to know so many people through this sport and I am truly grateful that I joined a floorball team here in London. Thank you Gustav for bringing me.
Picture from our Christmas Tournament.
I went back to Sweden for Christmas and woopidoo it was 2014.