Carrie’s back with an update on the last month and what sounds like the BEST vacation with her host family! We’re talking S’mores, swimming in lakes and camp fires!
“Travelling with your host family can be intense for some; I’ve heard a lot of mixed emotions from other girls on this topic! For me, I didn’t find it difficult at all… it gave us a chance to bond as a family together and if you have the chance to go away with your host family, definitely TAKE IT! You learn a lot about them, yourself and how you all gel as a working team away from your usual environment.”
I have just passed the second month mark of being in America and I’m like WHAT IS GOING ON!! Two months might not seem like a long time but I feel like I’ve been here forever… and not in a bad way. I have done SO much in my first two months, well I feel like I have, so when I reflect on my time so far, I feel like I’ve been here for a year already!
This past month, July has been the BEST, for the simple fact that I went on my second holiday (vacation) with my host family and it was the most amazing week! This trip was oh so very American, we packed up the car and took a road trip. The drive took around 8 hours in total to get to upper Saranac Lake in the Adirondacks. We stayed in a really cute cabin with the view of the lake right outside our door!
While we were here we had the chance to take part in a lot of different water activities. We were able to take boats out to venture around the lake, we had access to canoes, kayaks, paddle boards, paddle boats, we went swimming in the lake everyday… it was a dream! Then every day after lunch we had the opportunity to go tubing, water skiing or wakeboarding. It turns out my host mum is a pretty great at water skiing & my host dad is a total clown when he goes tubing… pretending he’s tired and they weren’t going fast enough whilst being dragged on the tube through the water… my host family are pretty darn hilarious.
I went out on a paddle board for the first time and actually surprised myself by not falling off it once and not having to kneel before standing. There was a point everyone thought I was going to fall and they were yelling at me from a distance but, I held my balance and bobbed with the ripples from passing speedboats.
Everything was great… the camp that we stayed at was beautiful, the food was even better than we expected and it was impossible to get hungry, the staff were all so pleasant and you were never really bored. I was still on duty as an au pair for this week away, but really it did not feel like it at all. When I arrived, I thought it was going to be very quiet in the evenings and the first couple of nights were pretty relaxed. I skyped with my family and then went to bed. However, I ended up joining another family who were there for the week in the evenings for games of Pictionary, a ping pong blowing game, a ‘pick up the paddle, hit the ball and move on’ game of ping pong… I can’t really describe it any better than that but it was hilarious. I thought I might have been the only young-ish person there (in their 20s anyway). I wasn’t sure of what the age range would have been or if I would have anyone else to socialize with but the people who worked there were in their early 20s so I hung out with them a lot too.
Being there with my host family was so nice. I had been on holiday with them before, in Florida, but not everyone was there as my host dad had to stay in Jersey for work. This time everyone came! In the evening, I had my first s’more making experience with my host family. I did enjoy them but the only thing I would change would be the chocolate, I’m sure a lot of you will feel the same but I’m not a Hershey’s fan, I definitely wished for some good ol’ British Dairy Milk chocolate at that point.
Also, this month the babies turned FIVE MONTHS. I can’t believe it! They’re five months old already… where has the time gone! They’re growing so much and their personalities are so different and shining brighter every single day. Seeing them grow is absolutely amazing, I have no words for it! My older host kid, he’s 2 years old soon to be three, is just the sweetest little person, ever. We’re always getting stopped by people complimenting us on how beautiful he is! Our relationship has definitely grown stronger from being on vacation and us all spending so much time together. As well as getting involved in different activities which we wouldn’t usually do like swimming in the lake, going out on the boats, watching him fishing…and he actually caught a fish! It was his first night fishing and he caught one, everyone was so excited! It was so cute!
To sum up this post for you guys – holidays/vacations with your host families can be intense for some; I’ve heard a lot of mixed emotions from other girls surrounding this topic! For me, I didn’t find it difficult at all… it gives you a chance to bond as a family together and if you have the chance to go away with your host family, definitely TAKE IT! You learn a lot about them, yourself and how you all gel as a working team away from your usual environment. I am lucky with my family as they made sure I had plenty of time for myself because as great as it was to be there with them, it was also nice to have some time to myself whether it be to skype my family or simply sit and take in our beautiful surroundings.
I am still adapting to my new surroundings and things at times can still be intense. I still miss my family and friends terribly, I am starting to miss some of the foods from home and I do still get moments of ‘Wow, I’m here, in America, by myself’. When I think of this I think of how much stronger I am as a person and how I’ll continue to grow every single day from embarking on this adventure alone. I thank my lucky stars to have been blessed with the host family I have been given.
It’s not all fun and games and yes, it can get lonely and it can be a bit difficult. If you are experiencing these feelings, my advice would be to definitely go to your cluster meetings. We had one this month, my second since being here and it was brilliant, our local Community Counsellor hosted a BBQ for us in her backyard. I planned on going for only one hour and ended up staying for almost three! I met new friends, girls I wouldn’t be able to call friends if I’d decided to stay at home. So, do not hesitate… just go! It’s the best way to network and with each new friend you make, the easier it becomes and your family here in America continues to grow!
SO, as you might be able to tell from this post I had THE BEST time at this camp. It fulfilled all of my expectations of what an American camp would be; S’mores, swimming in lakes, camp fires and good old fashioned family games!