They asked me to come to their home in the evening to help with the children while they hosted a dinner. I was a little apprehensive to accept. As I knew very little about the culture. And worried I may say or do something wrong. But I agreed to the gig, as I was planning to use the money to buy plane tickets to fly to visit my own family over the holiday break.
When I arrived I was greeted warmly by the parents and they thanked me again and again for arriving on time. I was to look after 5 school aged children while the adults had a formal dinner in the next room. I asked them what they would like to do and they grabbed me by the hands and led me into the living room. There they pleaded with me to play a game with them called "Dreidel." We giggled for over an hour spinning the top with strange (to me) symbols and divided up the "Gelt" ( which I found out were chocolate coins wrapped in golden foil) amongst ourselves.
The parents brought plates of food in and set them on the coffee table. The children explained to me that one of the food items was called "Latkes" and was made with potatoes and onions. And the other food was a type of jelly filled donut (I can't remember the name) I tried both and found both dishes were delicious.
The children chatted about what they had received as gifts for the last 6 nights of the celebration and what they hoped to get as a gift on the 7th and 8th night.
We were eating our chocolate coins when the adults came in and began telling the children it was time to clean up and go home.
They offered me a plate of food to take home. An offer I couldn't refuse! Paid me the amount we had agreed upon and asked me if I would consider coming to babysit again as they hoped to have a date night soon. To which I replied, "I would love to!"
I must say, I feel rather foolish for ever worrying about taking the job. In reality I was fortunate to be allowed to be apart of their intimate gathering and get a glimpse of a different culture.
What other job do you get the privilege to be welcomed into peoples homes, learn about their family traditions, try different foods and enjoy good company?
Have you ever worked with a family with a different cultural background?