If you are an au pair and you don’t know the former au pair YouTube Agnes Fox… Well, you probably live in a cave. With more than
17 000 subscribers on YouTube, Agnes inspires with her videos thousands of au pairs from all around the world. That’s why I was really excited when she accepted to give us her impressions about her return home. If you want to know more, keep reading.
I’m currently sitting in a cozy coffee place right next to the main canal in Utrecht, Netherlands while staring at a blank page and a blinking cursor. 15 minutes and half of my chai latte later I’m still struggling on how to briefly introduce myself.
It used to be quite easy:
“Hi there, I’m Agnes born and raised in Austria. Period.”
Pretty boring, but efficient, right?
It started getting a bit more complicated about two years ago when I decided to become an Au Pair. In October 2014 I packed my stuff and hopped on a plane to San Antonio, Texas.
Back then I didn’t even consider the possibility of extending my year. That changed rather quickly as I started falling in love with the perks of being an Au Pair and I ended up extending for 9 more months on the east coast. After being abroad for almost two years the prospect of going back home intimidated me (a lot). I couldn’t quite picture my life back home anymore. Talking to some former Au Pairs who were dying to come back to the US didn’t help either. I was told I was bound to experience a severe reverse culture shock. Even more so I was told that everyone would have moved on with his or her lives and I would feel disconnected and I wouldn’t have anything to do so I would inevitably gonna crash.
Back then I ended up sitting down in front of the camera and I got a tiny bit too emotional right (once again). Even though I felt like I was done with being an Au Pair once and for all, I had such a hard time leaving behind my friends and family, my weekly paycheck, the cute guy at the grocery store and let’s not forget about the endless possibilities of spontaneous road trips and weekend getaways. Don’t get me wrong I was beyond excited to fly back home to Austria and see my loved ones again. I knew that there would be tons of reunion fun waiting for me right when I got home. But. Yes, you guessed right, there is a “but”. But what’s life going to be like after those first days of excitement? All I could picture was this big black hole of nothingness that I was bound to fall into. And that’s what I was genuinely scared about. I was scared about what would happen after those first days and weeks of reunion fun.
So when the first of August rolled around and I boarded my plane back to Vienna I was nowhere near ready, but I had no choice, so here I was sitting in my window seat, reading the letter I wrote to myself two years ago when I was on my way to the United States. (quick word of advice: write yourself a letter on the flight to the US.
Don’t open it until you are one year later on your way home. Trust me on this one.)
Anyway, as expected the first days were filled with popping champagne and welcoming hugs. Whoever turns out there was no time for me to fall into this big hole of nothingness.
I couldn’t just binge watch gossip girl while wishing I’d to be back in New York for a while because I had no time for that. I was busy figuring everything out as I was planning on moving to the Netherlands end of August to start studying.
That’s exactly the other word of advice I’d like to give Au Pairs out there: “Keep yourself busy. Get a job. Study. Travel. Whatever it is you want to do, just have some kind of plan before you go home.”
Because even though coming home and partying on for weeks can be beyond fun, you’ll have to have some kind of purpose or something meaningful to do otherwise you’re bound to fall into a big black hole of nothingness.
My idea of “having something meaningful to do” was to start studying International
Communication and Media in the Netherlands. Even though studying back home would have totally been an option for me, I couldn’t apply for any of the Austrian programs while being abroad. So right now I’m eating, biking, filming and studying my way through the Netherlands and I’m genuinely enjoying student life right now. (mainly because I just finished my exam week hehe) I don’t know much about life, but what I know for sure is I would have never (!!!) ended up studying in the Netherlands if it wasn’t for my Au Pair experience. I would have never started my YouTube channel if I hadn’t taken this opportunity. Becoming an Au Pair doesn’t only turn you into an expert in changing poopy diapers and dealing with moody teenagers, but it changes you in ways you never expected. You turn into a more competent, confident and culturally sensitive individual who is more than ready to rock whatever it is that comes your way.
I have to admit from time to time I do find myself watching YouTube videos from my time in Texas our I keep flipping through my old school photo album of New York City and I spend hours reminiscing about my Au Pair life. When you are back home, you forget about moody diapers (wow ha-ha my brain is officially mush) anyway, you forget about the crappy stuff that happened and you sometimes wish you would have enjoyed life a bit more and done a few more of those oh so glorious weekend trips.
I don’t want to go back to being an Au Pair as this chapter of my life is over, but I’m so freaking glad I did it in the first place.
Dear fellow Au Pair, do as many road trips as you possibly can, enjoy every slice of white chocolate raspberry cheesecake without the slightest feeling of guilt and have a beyond memorable time!
And here I am 996 words later and I still can’t stop thinking about how I could possibly introduce myself in a somewhat efficient way.
I guess for now we’ll have to work with something like this: “Hi, I’m Agnes, Austrian by blood. American by heart.
Dutch by bike! A pleasure to meet you, dear fellow Au Pair.
You want to know what my life as an Au Pair in Texas and
New Jersey looked like? Or you are curious what I’m up to now? Feel free to check out my YouTube channel Agnes Fox and let me know what your thoughts are about being an Au Pair. Would love
to see your face over there. 🙂