11 months ago, I was packing my suitcase. On July 30th I threw a goodbye party. I said goodbye to my friends and family. And two days later, Monday, august 1st, early in the morning, I said goodbye to my house, to my town and to my country.
I had left, I was doing it, I was in the airplane, on my way to a new adventure. Today, I have a little over a month left and it’s time to look back at the past 11 months.
The first week
My year started off with “orientation days”. After we (Vera, Daphne and me) landed in New York, we were picked up and brought to a hotel close to NYC. We would stay here for the first couple of days and learn about childcare, traffic rules and about the au pair life. There were around 150 au pairs there and we were split up in two groups: East coast and the rest of America. I was in the East coast group, because I was going to Scarsdale, New York, what was 25 minutes away from the training school.
The days were long and not that interesting, but I got to meet a lot of other au pairs. I still see some of them.
On Thursday, I got picked up by my hostmom and that night I slept in my new bed, in my new house. The first two weeks were relaxing, because the kids were still in summercamp. But it wasn’t easy at all. I needed a few weeks to get used to this country, to be speaking English all the time and to live with another family. Several times a week, I’d call my mom and just cried. In the beginning it was because of homesickness, later because of the “problems” with my host family. After two months, I realized that the reason I was so sad, wasn’t because I was homesick. Going home was the last thing I wanted. The reason was my “home”. To make a long story short: it just didn’t work out well between my first host family and me.
So, I decided to do a rematch. The two weeks that I was in rematch I had a lot of mixed feelings.
I was nervous: what if I didn’t find a new and nice host family? I was excited for being in the matching process again and for meeting new families. I was a little annoyed when I had found my new host family, but I still had a week left in my old host family. But I felt relieved, excited and happy when I matched with my current host family.
And then I moved to Weston, Connecticut. The first months there were great. I worked a lot more and that was what I wanted and needed. (I didn’t work a lot or hard in my first host family).
The whole family was (and still is) so nice, smart and interesting. I’m learning a lot in this family: about America and the culture and things like history and geography. I learn English sayings and words that they don’t teach you in school. And I learn about parenting and teenagers. I recognize a lot of my own behavior in the kids’ behavior (and realized how tough it has been for my parents to raise me and to live with me).
And then winter arrived. After my mom and Hennie in December and my dad and Pauline in January visited me I started feeling less happy. I’ve never liked winter: it’s cold, dark and boring. Snow is nice for a day, maybe two. But then it’s enough for me. February and March were really cold and snowy. And I didn’t like it at all. As quick as the first six months passed by, so slow did those two go. And that’s all I’ll say about it.
In April I went to the Niagara Falls and in May to Montreal. May and June were nice, fun and busy. My host family left on the 17th of June and I was left with the cats. I really enjoy having some time off. I get to sleep more, can do whatever and whenever I want (as long as I take care of the cats of course) and I feel much more energetic.
But I miss the family and I’m excited for the last month here. I won’t have to get up at 6 anymore (YAY), since the kids are not in school anymore. The idea that I have only one month left is so weird… It makes me sad and nervous. But I’m also looking forward to seeing my friends and family again, to be in The Netherlands and to go back to school. But it’ll be hard to say goodbye…
So, a reflection of my year as an au pair: it was fun, instructive, difficult, exhausting, interesting, surprising, courageous and amazing! It was a great year and I’d recommend to everyone.
Leaving your home for a year really does something with you. You have to start over from zero. You have to settle in, make friends, get used to another culture etc. You’ll learn so much about other people, another country and about yourself.
I definitely changed. I grew up, I became independent. I found more out about myself and what I want. What kind of person I am and want to be.
In the 11 months that I’ve been here I’ve seen New York City, , New Hampshire, Boston, Washington DC, Philadelphia, Chicago, Amish County, Montreal, Toronto & the Niagara Falls. There are so many other places I’d love to visit in the United States: Miami, New Orleans, Texas, Alaska and many more. But hey, I’m 19 years old (yes, almost 20) and I’m sure I’ll have enough time to see those places. I’ll spend my money on studying now and I’ll wait a few years (till I’m 21 hehe) to see go visit the other places.
And what about my blog? My life as au pair is going to be over in a month and that was the main reason for starting this blog.
The answer is: I’m not sure yet. I want to keep it, but I want to start writing in Dutch. I can continue writing about my life. I still love cooking, so I’d love to focus more on recipes and informative articles about nutrition. But first I’m gonna enjoy every second of the last weeks here and the first weeks back in the Netherlands.
Thank you for reading this! Have a wonderful day 😊