Nicole | Weathering the Storm(s)

written by Au Pair in America November 8, 2018

Welcome back to another blog post from this kiwi gal! We are now well into November which means we are also well into fall…

Sunset in Charlottesville, Virginia

Fall is definitely one of my favourite months.. it is so super pretty! There is just something about the leaves falling around me that is pure bliss. It is actually kind of crazy for myself: I am so used to associating the month of September as being the first month of Spring. New Zealand is located in the Southern Hemisphere which means that our seasons are opposite to those of the United States.

September also marks the historic event of 9/11. Although such a tragic event occurred on this date, it was very interesting and kind of really cool to see my entire neighbourhood support those who lost their lives by raising and displaying the American flag on the front porch of their homes.

A Church in the University of Virginia Grounds

HURRICANE FLORENCE

One thing I wanted to talk about in this blog post is Hurricane Florence. As I’m sure you’re all aware, Hurricane Florence hit the East Coast of the United States mid September. And boy was that an experience and a half! The emotions were very much like a roller coaster and almost as crazy as they were for me coming to America. Excited at first, then scared that things wouldn’t work out, but ultimately relieved when I survived.

When we first heard about the Hurricane, my first thought was “omg this is going to be fun! I’m so excited to live through an actual storm!” But the bigger the storm became, the more the panic started to set in. A few days before the storm hit was when my state declared a state of emergency in anticipation for the flash flooding they were predicting from the rain fall that Hurricane Florence was scheduled to bring to the East Coast.

This devastating hurricane left a path of pure destruction among both North and South Carolina’s. My home state of Virginia was predicted to wear the storm also as it began to fade out, meaning we would see more of the rain than the wind. However, as the hurricane grew closer to making landfall the predicted path changed and Charlottesville (my city) saw nothing more than a light shower or two.

As I’ve said, I was actually super excited for the hurricane – call me crazy! Storm chasing is definitely on my top 10 things to do whilst here in America. The thought of being right up there in the action, and seeing a real live tornado in front of me draws me in like a moth drawn to a lightbulb!

HOMESICKNESS 

Homesickness is a real thing that can pull you down during your time in America. I didn’t think I would get homesick, but alas I was not exempt from this feeling. It wasn’t so much my home country that I was missing but definitely more of my friends and family. I have lived out of home before for an extended period of time so I thought I would be ok. But the difference this time is that I cannot just phone my mom up and say “hey let’s go grab a coffee!” Well I mean technically I could…. but that would be one very, very expensive coffee!

Cluster Meeting: Tubing down the James River!

Some things that helped me to work through my homesickness was just getting out and about and distracting yourself! I have found that it makes me more upset if I sit around and dwell on it. Especially in the evenings when I am by myself after the kids have gone to bed.

Breakfast with all the au pairs in my cluster

GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE

I have been in America for a little over 4 months now, and I am just starting to really find my feet and go out to try new things. One thing in particular that I have discovered a love for is stand up comedy! Not me actually performing (hahaha, that would be a joke of its own!) but attending stand up comedy shows once a week with some friends. Normally these shows are free, or cost very little to get into, and the provide a night of laughs and good times. I actually have become friends with one of the comics who lets me know when and where shows are and I always try to attend if possible! I love seeing people step outside of their comfort zone to try something new and I can totally relate. Technically, I did also step out of my comfort zone MAJORLY by moving across the other side of the world!

My first American Football game at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia

Some other things that I use to distract myself is visiting friends, or going to Target or Walmart late at night. Even phoning my friends and family back home helps me. Anything to take your mind off missing home will help a lot.

“Travel is the healthiest addiction” – oh my goodness I could not agree more!

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