As I was writing this – one of my last ever blog posts as an Au Pair in America ever – it really hit me: I would have to leave my beloved second home in the USA very, very soon. How? I genuinely didn’t know how and if I was going to be able to pull it off. To this day, I absolutely cannot put into words how incredibly proud, thankful and sad I am that my year as an au pair has officially come to an end…
The following was written a couple of months ago, and at the time, I knew that my USA journey was not completely over *just* yet. After all, I still had my travel month ahead of me! But knowing that I was going back to Germany rather sooner than later just seemed scary and unreal to me.
LIKE IT WAS YESTERDAY
This past year I’ve learned, traveled and experienced so much. I know that I’ve also changed as a person, and I can definitely say that this has been the best year of my life. I still remember the first weeks in the states like it was yesterday: How scared and insecure I was. I started ‘from the bottom’, but I got to leave with so many amazing memories, one my favorite ones being the fact that I have found a second family.
4th OF JULY
This particular month was one of the hardest and most challenging ones. I had a lot of ups and downs, and had many emotions going on. But one exciting thing that I got to experience was 4th of July. I went to a little parade with my friends and my host family. Afterwards we took the metro to Virginia to watch the fireworks at night. We were waiting for 5 hours to get a good spot. But it was 100% worth the wait! We had a view over all the memorials in Washington, D.C. It was incredible! The fireworks took up what seemed like the entire sky. Again, absolutely breathtaking, and I am glad I was able to spend Fourth of July in America.
A few days later I went to an Imagine Dragons concert. My first concert ever, by the way! And it just so happened that just a week later, I got to go to a Taylor Swift concert. I have to admit that I liked the Taylor Swift concert a little better. I’ve been a fan of her for a long time now! The feeling of sitting underneath the stars with thousands of people in that stadium, all wearing light up bracelets while listening to Taylor sing was incredible. I remember sitting there, crying during one of her songs called “New Year’s Day”, because of all the emotions and thoughts that were running through my head. Not only was I sad and unable to stop thinking about having to leave, but I also had to deal with some family issues on top of that.
THE DAY THE WORLD STOPPED SPINNING
As I’ve already mentioned at the beginning, that month I went through the most-likely-to-be hardest and most challenging time I’ve ever experienced this year. And here’s why: One afternoon, I got a call from my family back home saying that my grandma had passed away. Let me tell you, I was a mess. I was crying for days, lying in my bed not wanting to talk to anyone. I had trouble finding a way to properly grieve, since it was and still is really hard to comprehend that a loved one is not going to be there anymore, waiting for me to finally return home. I am especially grateful for my host family and friends, who were there for me this whole time, never failing to try and put a smile on my face.
But other than that, I can honestly say that all of a sudden, I got that feeling of “I don’t want to go back to Germany. I don’t want to leave my US-life behind and go back to my old one.” And that’s another reason why this month truly deserves the title of “Hardest Month Of The Year”, because I really did not want to leave my host family at all. There was nothing more I wanted than to stay with my host family for a couple more months. But of course it was already too late to change my mind and to extend my year. I talked to many people from APiA or friends about it, and I figured that it is completely normal to feel that way.
But other than feeling sad that my year was going to be over soon, I tried to enjoy the last weekends in D.C. with my friends. We had lots of barbecues, and one of my besties, Nele, turned 21. Then my last day as an au pair came along, and I was having a hard time trying not to cry (once again). It was such a weird feeling. I knew that it was my last day, but at the same time it felt like any other day. That night my host family took me out to dinner. We had a great time! We were talking about our favorite memories together, and so much more.
AND THEN THE DAY HAD FINALLY COME
The next day, I left early in the morning. My travel month had officially begun! Nele and I flew to Charleston, SC. But more on that in my next blog post, so make sure to check back in at this time next month. There are no words that can describe how I was feeling when it was time to say good-bye. I had never felt like that ever before. I had left my own family last year – and it was hard. But I knew that I would come back to my old life eventually. This time around, things were the same, but different. I was going to leave my second family, knowing that I would never return to this life ever again. Sorry to finish off on a low, but I’ll leave you with this:
“You build up a life for 20 years and leave it for one year. You build up a life for one year and leave it forever. Which one is harder?”