Looking back

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.

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Daphne, Babette, Vera

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…

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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 😊

54 days left..

Hello there!

It’s been a while since the last time I wrote something on my blog. So, let me tell you what happened in the last few months. I’m also working on another blog, that will be up soon as well.

I just checked: my last blog was on April 1st (no joke) and was about extending or not. I told you that I’m not going to extend. I want to thank everyone who sent me messages after that blog. That was really nice! I’m happy with the choice I made and I’m sure it was the right one. I love this family and like the US a lot, but I’m done for now.
Although I’m excited to see my friends and family again, I’m not looking forward to leaving my American family. My little brothers and sisters, the cats and host parents. I’ll miss America, my home, my friends and the food.

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I cooked an orange dinner on King’s day (April 27th)

But, I have 54 days left, and I’m going to enjoy every one of them.

The last couple of weeks went pretty fast. I made some trips, we swam in the pool at home and the weather got better. Although, right now, the weather is not great for June. It’s raining (not as much as it does in The Netherlands) and it’s not as hot as June usually is here.

 

 

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The pooooooool

In April, I went to the Niagara Falls with Richella. We took the bus in New York and sat in the bus for 12 hours (?) (with stops). But it was so worth it! The first night we saw the falls from the NY side in daylight, and from the Canada side in the dark. The next morning, we went back and had the same view again, but in daylight. Later that day we arrived in Toronto where we spent the afternoon & night. The next day we went home and stopped by at the Thousand Islands, on the border of Canada to the US.
We had a loooot of fun and the Niagara Falls were amazing to see.

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Niagara Falls at night (Canadian side)
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Niagara Falls (on the boat)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Me ruining the nice view form the New York side of the Falls.
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Thousand Islands with Richellaaaa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A few weeks later, I went on another trip. This was the trip to Montreal, the finale of the great classes (18 hours) I took about the city. The weather during this trip wasn’t great, but Montreal was pretty cool! 19073795_1411130992309774_330610887_n

 

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Besides those two trips I hung out with my friends, went to the gym 4/5 times a week and of course workworkwork. Last week, Ilka, the au pair of my host family before me, came here to visit us. It was soo good to see her again. The last time we saw each other was in October 2016, but it felt like it was just a week ago.
Also, the last weekend of May was Memorial day weekend, and there was a fair, here in Weston. That was cool.

It’s June 8th now. In 9 days, my hostfamily is going to Italy!! They’ll come back on my birthday, July 1st. I’ll stay home and have pool parties with the cats.

From June 28th, till July 6st, two of my brothers will be here to visit me. They’re going to stay at the house and I get to celebrate my birthday and the fourth of July with them YAY. If they want to celebrate if with me..

Yeah.. And then a few more weeks and then it’s over… Then I’m going home. Back to the Netherlands. Back to school. To a new school.

I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to move to Wageningen as soon as I start school, or if I’ll travel every day for the first months… (But all tips for rooms in Wageningen are welcome!)
It depends. I must do an internship on Monday’s and Tuesdays. Then Wednesday till Friday, I’ll have to go to school in Wageningen. So, if my internship is close to home, it’s not worth the money to rent a room. So, maybe I should find a place for my internship first. Or not.

Als iemand tips heeft voor een stagebedrijf, laat het me weten! Ik ben opzoek naar een bedrijf waar operationele processen plaatsvinden. Ik ga voeding en communicatie studeren, dus het moet daarop aansluiten. Bij voorkeur in de achterhoek of rondom Wageningen. 

 

Toedeloeeeeeeeeeee

Heeeelloooo

Helloo there!

Yes! I’m still alive! It took me a while to write this blog,  but here it is!  I’m six weeks in a new host family now and I’m really excited to tell you about it.

 

As you know, I moved from New York to Connecticut. From Scarsdale to Weston. Weston is just a little bit smaller than Scarsdale, but they’re different. Weston has a lot of big houses and great backyards. Scarsdale has that too, but there are normal and smaller houses as well. I haven’t find normal houses in Weston yet.. The nature is beautiful, especially now in the Fall.
Weston has about 10.000 inhabitants. What  is almost the same as the village I come from (Lichtenvoorde has 13.000 inhabitants). South of Weston are Westport and Norwalk, what are bigger city’s with more stores and stuff to do.ccccccct

In my first week here, I was working with the old au pair, Ilk
a. She showed me the routine and told me everything I needed to know. The week went fast and we had a lot of fun. Ilka stayed until the next Thursday and then she went back to Germany 😦 In 1,5 week we became good friends and it was weird to be alone after that.

I’m 5 weeks in this family now, and it went so fast.  The kids are really nice, smart and polite and my host parents are great. Everyone helps me with learning the language and the country.
My day usually starts at 6. That’s when I wake up and I start working at 6.30. I eat breakfast with the kids, clean the kitchen after that and do some laundry. The kids are going to three different schools. The youngest girl goes to Intermediate school and the youngest boy goes to High school. The schools are in Weston and are all in the same place, but they start and end at different times.
The other two kids are going to a private school in Stamford. I bring them there basically every day. In the morning it takes an hour to get there, because there is a lot of traffic. After that I’m off and then I usually go to the gym.
Around 2 I start working again. I do the laundry and pick up the kids from school. Sometimes one of the parents get some of the kids from school and sometimes I pick all of them up.

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My hostkid is learning Chinese =D

If the kids don’t need to go to a doctor, dentist, orthodontist or whatever, we’re home and they do their homework, are watching videos or we do something.
I prepare dinner from Monday till Thursday. On Friday night we have a bigger dinner what my hostdad makes .
Usually on Saturday I work for a few hours, usually around dinner hours. Then I’ll eat dinner with the kids and we watch a movie or we do something fun.

When I was in Scarsdale I never stayed at home in the evening when I was off. Now I stay home more often. Because I work more now (what I really like), what’s exhausting of course. But also because I love it to be home here. Sometimes we watch a show all together, and if we don’t I also like it to be alone and watch Goede Tijden, Slechte Tijden (a dutch tv show) , watch something on Netflix, read a book or go to bed early.

 

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Some people asked me when I’ll  start school. I came in Weston in the second week of
October, right after the Fall Semester started. I have no idea yet what I’ll do, but I’ll probably start school in January. I’m thinking of doing one normal course at Fairfield University or Norwalk Community College. And then I would like to do one weekend class ( a weekend full of classes where I get half of the credits I need) or a travel class.  For a travel class you meet three Saturdays or Sundays to learn about the place where you going to. (I can choose Washington DC, Boston, The Niagara Falls, New Orleans, Lancaster or Montreal). After the classes you’re going to the city or place for a weekend.  If I’m doing a travel class I’ll probably do New Orleans or Montreal.

These 6 weeks flew away, thanks to this amazing family and the other au pairs here. I went to Yale University in New Haven, I went to NYC, saw some amazing sights of Connecticut and had fun with other au pairs. The fall here is sooo beautiful. cttttttt
I get the feeling that I’m welcome now. My host family is interested in me and in The Netherlands and that means a lot for me. I really appreciate what my hostfamily does for me and I feel so lucky that I found them.

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Yale University

My mom and Hennie will come here to visit me at December 23th. That’s in five weeks! They’ll stay here at my home for the first two nights. On Christmas day I’ll go with them to New York City and we’ll sleep there, because the next day we’ll go to Washington DC by train. We’re going to stay there for a few days, then we go to Philadelphia for 2 days. On December 31st we’ll be back in NYC and in the evening we’re going to do boat tour through the Hudson River. My mom and Hennie will stay until January 4th. We’re also going to do a Gospel Tour and we’re going to The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway. I’m really excited to see them again!

Thank you all for your sweet messages and for reading this blog. 
My next blog is going to be really cool. While I’m writing this I’m in CHICAGOOO! I’ll stay here with my hostfamily until Wednesday. Aaaand Thursday is Thanksgiving!

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I moved!

Yesterday I moved from New York to Connecticut.
And why?  Because I did a rematch. Rematch? Yes rematch.  It means that I had to find a new to host family and my host family  another au pair.
My friends and family know the reason for the rematch.  Overall because I wasn’t happy in my family and I didn’t want to stay there for 10 more months. knipsel

I told my host family about the rematch two weeks ago. From then I had two weeks to find a new family.  Or well actually,  I couldn’t look for myself.  A counselor of Aupairinamerica (my agency)  made a profile for me. This profile is  sent to all the counselors in the US. They checked my profile and then they looked if they have a family who was in rematch and would fit with me.  If they had one,  they contacted me or they gave the host family my email. Then I could talk and Skype with them and see if it’s really a good fit.
I was really afraid to go in rematch.  I thought two weeks would be really short and what if I couldn’t find a good family? If I hadn’t found a new family after two weeks I had to go home.  And that’s the last thing I want to do now.

In the first days I got 4 interested families. I talked with two of them. Two of them were living in New York, one in the Texas and the other family in Connecticut.   From the beginning I had a really good feeling about the family in Connecticut. First I called with the mom and she was so sweet. I’ve Skyped with the current Au pair,  I emailed with the host mom and on Friday we talked on Skype and I “met”  the whole family.  The good thing about being already in the US: I was able to go there and meet them in real. So,  last Sunday I went there by train.  I was pretty nervous. I was so enthusiastic about this family and if they didn’t want me,  I wasn’t sure if there would be another family who  was as good as this family.
But everything went well. I had a really good day there and I was really happy when they asked me if I wanted to match with them.

The last two weeks weren’t easy. In the first week I was so stressed about finding a new host family. And I still had to work in my old host family, which was hard sometimes. In the second week I wasn’t stressed for finding a new family anymore, but I was really excited to go there.
But yesterday I finally moved. I’m happy to be here and I’m sure I’ll enjoy the next 10 months.

Yes 10 more months..  I’m here for 2 months already! Even though I wasn’t always happy, the time flew by so fast. I did so many cool things: went several times to NYC,  I went to Boston,  ate way too much Frozen Yogurt, learned about other cultures and religions and met amazing people. I’ve made some really good friends. Even though I live further away from them now,  I could see them in the weekends.

In my new family I’m going to take care off two girls who are 9 and 11 years old and two boys who are 13 and 15 years old.

I’m really excited and I’ll keep you updated!