I Have Been An Au Pair For Eco-friendly Family

I am a Brazilian teacher, was an Au Pair in Germany for twins 11 years ago. That would not be strange, except for the fact that  I worked for an eco friendly family. Dry toilets, no deodorant and healthy food. After the experience, fast food is not in my life as much as it used to be anymore.

Here is an interview with me:

Cristiane, why did you choose this particular family?

In fact, I didn’t choose them. They chose me. I knew about the Steiner family from my sister-in-law. They were searching for a Latin Au Pair, preferably Brazilian, because they also wanted to become familiar with the language. Their intention was to move to the Azores a year after my stay there. I arranged the papers and went there! I did not know about their lifestyle, but I liked it.

How did you adapt to their lifestyle?

I am open to new things and did not complain much about the daily routine. I grew up eating everything and doing everything, so I had no problems with that.

What surprised you the most?

Well… I guess not using deodorants and perfumes and sleeping naked. Until I went to sleep the same way! It helps to heat the body faster in winter The fact that they used the catalogs of Greenpeace and WWF to buy clothes also surprised me!

What did you have to change in your life?

Nothing. I was not required to do the same as them, but liked to do and learn. I did not changed, I just adapted.


What is the best part about working in eco friendly family? And negative aspects?

The best was the quality of life.  They prepared the most of the food that you can easily find now in supermarkets (cheese, bread, flower honey, juices, jellies and others) which was very healthy. It was a pleasure to grind wheat to make bread and then see the result; it was so good! But coffee without sugar… Oh God! I really learned to like it. I just hated to eat bratwurst hidden on the street so the kids couldn’t see!


Did you have problems using dry toilet?

At first I thought it strange, as I did not understand how things worked. Especially since we didn’t have it at home (Germany)only in the Azores, when we visited their future home. They explained to me nicely and it was a laugh when I discovered just where we would go the number 2. They use it as fertilizer. I still wonder about the pear tree we planted. It’s probably lush and full of juicy fruits!

How did you manage to use deodorant or perfum with them?

They did not use it, but didn’t prevent me from using deodorants or perfumes. Sometimes after a good bath, the twins complained that I was stinking. I loved that part!

Do you still have contact with them?

Yes, they send one letter a year to all family and friends describing everything that happened during the year on the island. I call them when I can. We do not talk much by e-mail or other more modern system. Maximum by phone. But each time I returned to Germany (the last was about 2 months ago), I always looked for my dear “grandparents.”  This time I discovered that my older brothers had returned to Germany and were forming a family. It was great to see them after 11 years!

What you did you take  from this experience to your current life?

The famous phrase: “You are what you eat” seemed to follow me and has remained with me until today. As my family in Brazil follows a very similar diet, I always try to eat healthier food and prepare it myself if possible. Now I eat less fast food, use more cotton clothing and do not buy some specific brands (in the food or textile industry).

What is your advice to girls who are deciding whether to work for an eco-friendly family?

It is gratifying to live in a family that does things so differently than others. I know it was the best phase of my life and I know I  could be an Au Pair a thousand time over for the Steiner family. To me they were not different, but rather special! I would advise you to live intensely every day with the family, and absorb every tip and piece of wisdom that passes by you. They will never be forgotten and one day will be used.
It was a rewarding experience!

AuPairGarden AuPairGarden
May 21, 2012