You know what the first thing I did when I finished my first shift as an au pair? Cry. I went into my bedroom and cried for what felt like hours. I had a terrible day with my host family especially since host mom was thousands of miles away due to a last minute work conference. My host kids didn’t get along with me at all and my host dad was working all day. So as soon as I finished cleaning up after the kids dinner, I walked to my bedroom and cried myself to sleep. Never had I felt so lonely in my life.
Maybe it was the jet lag or the over-exhausting au pair preparation classes at training school. No. It was the fact that I was thousands of miles from my home, family and friends yet I was thrown into a 24/7 full time working au pair. I didn’t know anyone in my area so I had zero friends with very little communication outside of the home. Also, I didn’t have my own car. I couldn’t just finish my shift and head outside to have some time to myself. I felt alone, lonely and bored.
Thankfully English is my native language and I was au pairing in the US which meant I didn’t have language barrier problems with US citizens. It was fairly easy for me to communicate to other people once I learned to manage my social and working hours.
However, speaking English wasn’t enough for me to build the courage and confidence to make friends. I still felt alone because I was in a country that was entirely different to my way of understanding.
After I finished working, every day I would clean the kids mess whilst they were sleeping and I would head to my room and scroll through my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to see what my friends back home were doing. Immediately my social media thread comprised of pictures of married couples, babies, vacations abroad, etc. As I lay in my bed in the dark I regretted becoming an au pair. I felt more and more depressed each day as my host kids didn’t listen to me or didn’t enjoy the food I cooked for them.
Many people think that going abroad and traveling all over the world is a luxurious way of living (which it can be) but we often forget that there are downsides of being outside of your comfort zone. It’s hard to start a life abroad and be truly comfortable with yourself but the good thing about traveling solo is that it forces you to push your boundaries so you can learn to better improve yourself.
As time went on and my host kids grew comfortable with me, I developed a pro-active routine. I started to workout 3-5 times a week, I made friends during my LCC meetings and socialized with other au pairs in my area. And when I did feel lonely or bored, I refused to sulk in my room about it. I would catch a train to New York or find something entertaining to do in the house (swimming pool in my back yard always helped 😉 ) It was with this high level of confidence and independence that reminded me I should take every chance I get in life.
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I am an ambitious and dedicated writer. I have completed my BA in English Literature and Education Studies. Upon completing my degree, I traveled to New Jersey as an au pair where I met my fiance. Currently, I reside in England and work as a Copywriter whilst inspiring au pairs to experience a life-changing adventure!