It’s been 9 months, 2 weeks and 3 days since I left the good life in New Jersey. I remember waking up and rolling off my queen size bed to make my way to the kitchen to make my host kids their oatmeal breakfast that they’ll soon refuse to eat.
I remember bribing my kids with left over cookies and brownies to get them ready for school and anticipating my 3 hour nap as soon as my host kids left for school. All those hours spent napping went to waste and I regret every single moment of it. I wish I spent those hours doing something more valuable.
Whether it was taking classes, studying to pass my NJ driving test or cooking food my host kids actually enjoy eating, I just wish I was doing something other than sleeping. I often think about those times and realize it’s too little too late to think of those times as precious moments. What I wouldn’t give to go back in time to relive those happy days of jumping into the pool after finishing up a long day of looking after my host kids, or looking forward to dinner in Princeton in the evening. I miss it more than I was enjoying every moment of it.
After 18 months of living the American Dream, coming back to my ordinary life in Britain is as dull as the unpredictable weather. Now I realize I took my numerous vacations in America for granted.
I long for the cool summer breeze brushing past my face at Point Pleasant beach. What I wouldn’t give to enjoy walking down Fifth Avenue window shopping at all the famous brands I could never afford in Manhattan. Like all of us, I became accustomed to my daily routines of cooking, cleaning, and preparing craft activities for my host kids. I remember doing these mundane tasks on a daily basis and at the end of the week I was rewarded with an exciting weekend away (all to myself, of course) to visit NY, Atlantic City or wherever my weekly wage of $195.75 could take me!
Life back then seemed so simple, so carefree, so much more adventurous and full of freedom and open opportunities. It’s so different from my life right now. As I sit here in a black office chair in my tiny bedroom sharing a small apartment with a roommate I dislike, my mind often wonders to my past life as an au pair. Where would I be right now had it not been for my au pair journey? Would I be studying for my Masters or PHD? Or would I be stuck in a dead end job? Both of these options seem most likely, but I bet I would secretly be pursuing an internship or exchange program in America. As much as I love thinking about my fond memories of America, there comes a time where you have to push those moments aside and start living, actually really living, whether it be living to work, to travel, to visit loved ones across the world. From what I’ve learned since I’ve been away from my luxurious life in New Jersey, is that you need to have a goal in life, a purpose, something to look forward to. For me, I hope to return to America one day (only if a certain blond hair fascist doesn’t become President) and taste its freedom once more.
But as much as I love and miss every bit of my American adventure, my host kids, my awesome host parents, the breathtaking 8 feet deep swimming pool just meters away from my bedroom, the unnecessary large portions of American food, I don’t miss being an au pair.