I don’t really need to say how I took a year off; you can read my previous blogs, if you need some content. But at the start of my year off, getting on the plane to Ireland to be an Au Pair I had no expectations, no idea what I wanted, or what I was going to do. I had minded kids before, but nothing quite like this.
I can tell you right now it was the best decision I have ever made.
Being an Au Pair was nothing like I thought it was going to be. I had heard other’s stories, listened to other Au Pairs talk. I was lucky, I had a lovely, understanding family who I adore, and two great kids. It was an organized mess, which after being in college and having schedules, lists, and post-its all over the place, it was nice to have something more go with the flow. But, at the same time it was super hard at first, because I wasn’t use to it.
I truly believe to be an Au Pair living 8,000 miles away from your home-home you really need to be open minded, patient, and you can’t just sit around. You need hug the kids, and play with them (sometimes it’s okay to just sit on the side lines because let’s face it you’re old and you can’t keep up). You also have to realize they’re kids. Some days are harder than others, but they are also so sweet and just want you to be honest with them. They like that because, I am pretty sure I have said this before, they see and understand things that we don’t think they do. They might not comprehend it, but if you just explain to them, they will get it.
This year was a real challenge for me personally, also and NOT just because I didn’t have a schedule. I do not need to go into the details, but because I am someone who struggles with an active mind, being alone was hard. Yet, I got through it.
Most importantly, I wanted a different experience than I had the first time in Ireland. Then I was in college; I was being a college student. This time around I wanted to be emerge myself into the Irish culture, and community I was living in; I wanted to do what the Irish do. Of course, I also wanted to travel and see places, but I wanted to go to GAA matches, I wanted to go to the local events, I wanted to just sit in the car and spin around. I wanted to put on 5 inch heels and go to town with all my friends. And I did all of that. Plus, I got to meet some great people, form friendships that I know will continue. I got to be known by my name at the local pub, shop, and even the butcher knew who I was. Although I protested, I even went to BINGO, and I got to join in the car line into the village after the GAA girls won the championship, and I ran for Queen.
I have had moments that will become stories and will always make me smile. And others that I will smile for as well, knowing that even if it was only a moment in time, it made a difference and the moment will always make me chuckle with “yeah that did happen.”
I came to Ireland not knowing what Au Pairing would be like, who would be my friends, or what I wanted. I discovered this was a once in a life time opportunity I really enjoyed. I made a little ruckus and created some stories that I will leave in Ballinspittle and take with me.
And this isn’t the end, there is more to come (check Sunday blog)