It was 2010, I was finishing my Bachelor’s degree in International Relations, and since I was 16 or so I had my mind set into living abroad. Everybody knew it, it was my goal, I knew I was going to leave sooner or later.
I had signed up for the Au Pair interchange program, where you live with a host family, you care for their children and you go to school. It was the cheapest way for me to just go somewhere and that’s what I did! I graduated in August of 2010, and by the end of September I was gone! Alone in New York, no family, no friends, just jumped into this crazy adventure that has been my life since.
A little background story, my last years in college were the best years (probably of my life) I made lifelong friends, best friends who I love and will never let go. I had (still have) a great relationship with my family, my parents, my brothers and all my extended family. So why would I ever want to leave?
I never felt like I was meant to be there.
I enjoyed as much time as I could with my friends, with my parents and with the rest of my family, but my plan was to leave for good! I had NO idea what the future had in store for me, but I just did it! I literally packed everything I could into two suitcases, gave the rest away and my room was left empty, no clothes, no trinkets, I wasn’t coming back. Now I think I was a little crazy hahaha but I felt like the world was mine, I could do ANYTHING. It was scary, it was so exciting, and it was a roller coaster once I left!
Long story short, I was an Au Pair for a year, I switched families because the first one was NOT a good match, I had a good friend from my hometown who lived nearby (40 minutes away) and two friends who made my whole time in NY a thousand times better! I lived in New York for 7 months and in Maryland for about 5 months and those stories will come later!
But it was all worth it, I learned so much! Things about myself, things about other people, I traveled, I discovered things, I stood up for myself, I met wonderful people, I made new friends, I wandered in NYC, I cruised on the Hudson River, I went to the Top of the Rock, I ice skated in Central Park, I traveled by train, I saw one of my favorite bands play live (CAKE), I learned to read maps, I learned (mostly) to take directions, I got lost in Paris (that is a good one!), I met AND married a stranger, I gained a second (and third) family, I saw waterfalls, I saw castles, I attended the Baltimore Grand Prix, I got REALLY tan for once in my adult life, I stabbed my own hand on accident, I laughed, I cried and I loved well.
It seems crazy that it has been almost seven years, but it has! Living away from family is not easy, I can’t just hug my mom when I feel like, or grab a beer with my dad or teach photography to my niece. We do the best we can to stay in touch, to visit, and we take what we can get. But I wouldn't have stayed if I knew all the good and the bad that would come of it.
Adulting is boring, but having brownies for breakfast is one of the perks! So, let’s make the best of it! I am an adventurer at heart, travel feeds my soul and we just never know what's around the corner so, love people well, travel often, get out of your comfort zone and do things that make you happy.
These are some of my amateur images from my time as an Au Pair :)