Many of you have followed along my journey over the last year or so. And the time has come that my au pair experience is over. It’s a bitter-sweet feeling. On one hand, I’m excited to start my new chapter as a married woman and begin my new life, yet on the other hand it’s the end of an era…
I have spent 3 years of my life in the last decade as an au pair. One year in Chicago, and two years in Pittsburgh. It’s sad to think I won’t be able to have this experience again. I’ll miss the host family interviews, the matching process, the anticipation of moving to America and then the feeling of finally touching down in the USA.
It’s funny now, looking back on the whole experience, I have learnt so much about myself and grown up a lot along the way. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for the journey. It dates all the way back to my first au pair experience in Chicago… Actually, to orientation in NYC. Let’s just say if I hadn’t of met my friend Lara at orientation and then subsequently her host family, I wouldn’t of been introduced to or met my host mom, I wouldn’t be in Pittsburgh, I wouldn’t have met Justin, and I wouldn’t be married… But that’s a long story, and a story for another day… (Sorry for the cliff hanger) Which brings me to…
MY WEDDING DAY. I’m a married woman Y’ALL!
It was the best day ever! We planned a wedding in 3 months, and it was the craziest 3 months of my life. Such an emotional roller coaster. I don’t think I have ever felt so stressed in my life. But it was totally worth it. Every small detail coming together. I got to marry my best friend.
I love him more & more each day and we have grown closer than ever… It just feels right. When people first asked me if it feels different to be married, initially I said ‘not really’, but each passing day, I can 100% say yes. Each day is a new journey. A new day that I get to find out something new about him and grow in our love. There is a new level of comfort, unlike before. It’s about knowing that you have a best friend for life. A forever cheer leader. A forever date to weddings, dinners, and hikes in the national park. Someone to do nothing with, and someone to do everything with.
Being married is the BEST!
My host family were there for the entire ride. Dress shopping and all. My host mom, who indirectly introduced me to Justin, was my maid of honour. My handsome, cheeky host kids, whom I love with my whole heart were my ring bearers. They were sooo excited to be apart of “Stephy’s wedding”. We had been talking about it for months.
The host family farm, where I lived for my first 6 months, was where we got married. It was so special to me that they allowed us to have our ceremony there. It was where my first memories of being an au pair (second time round) began. It was where we spent hours talking, laughing, playing jokes on one another and getting to know my host family.
Those hours are where our life-long relationship began.
The farm is where I saw a female cow birth its baby. It was where I learnt how to ride a quad bike. It was where I learnt how to drive a tractor and bail hay. It was where I accidentally locked out my host granddad, aka “pap”, out of his own house… multiple times, lol! It was where I spent hours texting Justin when we first met and started dating. It was where I realised I was falling in love. They may technically not be my “host family” any more, but they are forever in my heart and will forever hold a special place in my life.
My wedding day was everything I thought it was going to be. And more. Blisters and all. Sure, my best friends from Australia weren’t here. My extended family wasn’t here. But at the end of the day, all that matters were that I married my best friend and the love of my life. My mum and dad flew all the way from Australia to be here. They both walked me down the aisle and both released me into my new life and new chapter with Justin in the USA.
I came to America having absolutely NO idea how my life was going to change. I had begun making all my “plans” of what I was going to do once I was back in Australia and deciding on the changes I was going to make in my life. Little did I know what was going to happen. Or how my life was about to be turned upside down.
My advice to all current AND future au pairs: Just enjoy the ride!
You have no idea how your life is going to change throughout this experience. You will grow, you will make lifelong friends, you will make a life-long American family, and you will have memories that will last a lifetime. You will have ups, and you will have downs. There will be moments where you don’t want to leave and can’t imagine how you will fit back into your life back home.
There will be moments that you feel like you just can’t do it anymore. My pastor on Sunday said, “when you go through the fire, you come out refined” and I think this is so true. And so applicable to being an au pair. In the moments where you feel like you’re in a fire and can’t escape, remember you just gotta keep walking and trudging through because the grass on the other side is so green and it’s going to shape you and change you. You will miss out on so many more experiences if you just give up. What if your experience is to fall in love and get married like me? We now have 4 girls from our Pittsburgh cluster that are married. There must be something in the water over here!
Hopefully this won’t be my last post for you all. Hopefully you made it to the end. I would love to continue writing and giving you my advice, that’s if you’ll have me. Hope you enjoyed the wedding spam (I LOVE my photographer). Talk soon ladies!