Adventures of an Au Pair: January 2010

paralysis to passport

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Once I realized that it's time to get this thing started, and once I forged my way out of momentary paralysis, I had the task of informing my parents. I knew they wouldn't be shocked- I'll admit that I've always been a dreamer and have had a myriad of random plans of things to do once I graduate. A sampling:

- work on a dude ranch
- be a camp counselor
- be a freelance web designer
- attend advertising portfolio school
- move to NYC
- get married and be a stay at home mom

I think I picked the right route, don't you?

So my mother, who has always been supportive of my fantastical plans, currently has two children on the other side of the world. Somewhere somehow both of my brothers decided to join the military, and then the military decided to ship them out. Although my mom didn't verbalize the huge pit in her stomach at the thought of all of her children being in different countries at the same time, I know it was there. Luckily I won't be gone for TOO long, a year max, and then she'll have her only daughter back at home. Cause you know and I know that I'm going to be broke beyond belief and moving back in with the parents. Ain't no question.

Back to the point. Once we all got used to this living in a foreign country idea, I had to make a plan. Good thing planning is my #1 hobby. First action? Get a passport!

FYI: passports are expensive. $100, to be exact. On top of the ten bucks you spend to go get a horrible picture of yourself taken in a drugstore with fluorescent lights wreaking havoc on your skin tone. What? That didn't happen to you? Guess you didn't go to cvs pharmacy. This passport picture is worse than my very first license picture, and that's saying something. For anyone needing a passport picture, the library recommended Kinko's, conveniently right after I had already got mine printed. Apparently Kinko's is more likely to match the requirements consistently? Here's hoping CVS didnt let me down. Again. So here's what I did:

- With a stroke of genius the government so rarely shows, the us passport website lets you download the application in pdf format and type in your information. Much more convenient. And, if you have horrible handwriting like me, it eliminates processing errors due to chicken scratch tendencies. It took all of about five minutes to fill it out and print. The end.
- Here's where I had to scrounge up an "evidence of us citizenship" and gov. issued ID. Luckily I had a certified copy of my birth certificate at my apartment, so that was easy enough. I didn't realize until the man at the library was taking my birth certificate that this document has to be sent in with your application. As in my birth certificate is floating around in a government office somewhere and will be mailed back to me at some arbitrary date in the future. Weirds me out a bit.
- Took some bloody awful passport photos. There are certain requirements for these, besides being bloody awful, so I was thorough enough to check out all of these deets so I didn't go screw things up.

Thankfully I aced reading comprehension on my SATs and... I submitted my application and should receive my US PASSPORT in a few weeks! Just getting that part done was such an exciting feeling, the kind that puts a ridiculous smile on your face until you realize how dumb you look. In a way that made all of this a reality in my life- the first step to being able to leave this country for the first time. Ever. And that was one step that felt really good to take.

sneak attack

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Have you ever woke up one day and wondered how on earth this day got here so quickly?

As I'm approaching the end of my collegiate career, I can't help but reflect upon the very beginning. The very first day. And how its about to be my very last.

But more so than graduating, I'm shocked that now it's time to put up or shut up. Find a job. Be an adult. Nine to five. As a severely independent (ask my mama) and motivated girl, I've often dreamt of the day when I'd land my first big girl job with the killer wardrobe and salary to match. (Oh thank you, crappy economy, for dashing those dreams. ) As much as I look forward to starting a career in a field I love and obsess about (event and wedding planning!), there are just some things more important to me.

The way i look at it, I have 40+ years ahead of me to work a job. 40. years. That's a long time until the measly institution of social security starts to pay me for putting in a lifetime of taxes. But in 40 years, when I don't have to work so much anymore, what will I really be able to do? Sit around and knit?

That's just not enough. That's not the age or time to do the things I've always wanted to do. So I've decided... the time is now.

I'm just going to do it. I'm going to work through each and every complication in order to do what I want to do while I still can.

I want to travel. See the world. Meet different types of people. And I've found the best way for me to do it... is to be an au pair.

au pair (plural: au pairs) is a foreign-national domestic assistant working for, and living as part of, a host family.

which basically means... families from Europe will hire me to come live with them and help them or their kids speak english. They pay for my room and board, pocket money, and a variety of other things, and in turn I do a little bit of housework and watch the kiddies. Basically they adopt me as a big sister and they're my temporary family. When I'm not working... I'll be jet setting all over Europe. :)

So. Excited.

I don't plan on crossing the pond until late summer, but in the meantime I've created this lil blog here to keep track of the process. I've discovered that there aren't a lot of great resources for us au pair wannabes, but there are plenty of scams and resources for au pair families. So I'll also be writing about what I'm doing and things I discover as I plan out this next crazy part in my life. Maybe hopefully possibly it'll stumble into the hands of someone who can find it useful.

So, if youre still reading this, I hope you enjoy the ride. Lord knows I will!