A reflection: I left a year ago

I always tell people that I’m doing things for me no matter what happens. And a year ago today I did just that. I got on a plane and moved myself to Ireland for a year of unknown adventures, people I will meet and being an Au Pair that I had no clue what would be like. What I got out of it was a place I could call home, people that I adore, look up to and I connected with. And personal impacts, as well.

It’s hard to tell and explain to people how things impacted you when it kind of just happen. So, when I went home-home for basically a little holiday, others made it be like I was coming home home and leaving again and they wanted to know why. But heres the thing, which actually made me feel good and not feel anxiety or stress, is the fact I wasn’t coming back then leaving again. This was a holiday home to see my fam fam, to see my big sister get married and spend time with them because I haven’t done it in awhile. Summer vacation back in Minnesota- and who would think that would been a holiday. Not me.

It makes me smile to think that a year ago I left and where I am going, because I have developed friendships, family, a little community that I became apart of and it was hard leaving them for the holiday back home home. Even though I am going back, I’m moving on from my job, I won’t be around as much. That I new. Change was and is in the future, but I am not letting go of the people I care about, something I never do. Because luckily, I am only a half hour away from the community I entered a year ago. And I kept telling myself even though I wasn’t going to be around, these people weren’t letting me go because they too were like she’s going on a holiday. And this time it was different, I was not packing up and leaving. I am excited and happy with the differences. Because for the first time in a long time, it doesn’t feel like its ending, it is just getting started.

So, when I was home home for this holiday, I began to explain people what was happening, because they are all wondering.  So I told them, but there were of course questions and statements that I was back and now I was leaving again (but i wasn’t leaving again). But all you want in life is to find a place you can call home. Yes you can always travel and see places, but that cost money and time, and traveling is so much different then calling somewhere home. Home home will always be a place I know I can go back to, live and know the roads and everything seems normal. But home, Ireland that is a place were I feel like I fit, I new when I study abroad there was something about it that I wanted and after this past year I figured it out.

I am lucky enough to have gotten into UCC for graduate school and it is a good oppurnity for me to be able to go there; but its not only the oppurnity but the pros to the list that I do not need to pack up and leave places again, because truthfully it gets a bit tiring and emotional draining.

Its very different from backpack around Europe or even traveling itself, something I still love to do, and will do.

I do not know the future, because I CAN NOT think that far a head, I’m not counting the days, I’m just going with the flow because that is best thing you can do.

So, a year ago was the start of a new book and the chapters are continuing.

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Thoughts on taking a year off….

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)

 

I ran for Queen of Ballinspittle

 

Summer is here, which brings summer festivals, even in Ireland. This week and weekend there is the Ballinspittle festival, with different activities throughout the week, and a major event on the weekend. The opening day is the Queen festival; 14 girls put on prom dresses, had their hair all done up, and were represented by local businesses. They get up on stage and talk about themselves, the business and do a talent (party piece is what they call it). And I was in it!
 
I know. T-shirt, messy hair, biting her nails, fidgety me was in it. 
 

I represnted Sam’s Pub, a newer pub in Kinsale, but the people live right around the corner from me; up the beach basically. It is a nice little pub, cozy and friendly, with a lovely beer garden in the back. I say if you want to get away from the tourist experience and just want to sit, socialize with drinks and do what the Irish do, this pub is for you, especially if you are staying in Kinsale.

 
The festival was quite interesting. I was not thinking about it up until Sunday, the day of the festival; then I was nervous. I kept telling myself okay don’t fall, speak clearly, talk SLOW, and for everyone’s sake do not fix your bra on stage! OR say something sarastic or worse swear.
 
I got to borrow my friend’s dress, which was lovely. I got my hair done in Ena’s (the local hairdresser in Ballinspittle), my friends came over and helped me with my tan and practice. They made me walk up and down the hall way (HEAD UP, SMILE, STOP FIDGETING), and helped me with what I should say. For Instance, why did you come here, getting lost is not the right answer! 
 
Once I got to the festival I was nervous. But I was in the 2nd half so I had to sit for awhile, it got boring, to be honest, sitting back there waiting. And since I was  nervous, the sarcasm was ready to come out. But as I waited back stage and watched the girl a head of me  (SPOILER she won it) I was like this is easy! So, I just went up there and did what I did best TALK.
 
I was asked the right questions and I kept going. She asked me what had I seen, I said the Zoo and I was on it, talking about my love for elephants, and how I could be an otter. Everyone was laughing. I even had a young girl come up to me after saying how she liked otters too and how I am really funny and that she liked me! (MY HEART) A women stopped me as I got into my car saying she was a fan, and there were boys yelling a bunch of positive things. 
 
The owners of Sam’s came up and thanked me for doing it, their son was so sweet and lovely as he thanked me as well.
 
Even if this is something I never thought I would do, I am so glad I did it, because honestly it was fun getting dressed up, being on stage, having the laughs, and being able to have people say nice things. It’s very rewarding. 
 
After I did go to Hurleys the local pub and I got to sit with a few of the lads; and it hit me how much I LOVE small villages. You can walk in and see people and just sit and chat, have the laughs; that is what Ireland is all about.
 
I am looking forward to the festval this coming week, and the things I will see, the experences I will have, and the pictures I will take.
 
This is something I wanted to experience while here, and I am so happy that I can. You never know when you will have some kind of impact on others, like that little girl and her love for otters too.

 

 
Happy days.

 

P.S I never know what to say when people come up to me, but it really is a lovely community that I have became apart of.

Au Pair: Life’s tough


While working as an au pair I have seen that no matter what your age life can be tough. We may forget this when we get older and wish to be kids again to avoid life’s tough situations (well I do). I decided to make another list of things that have come to my mind. I’ve paralleled them to the tough situations you may face when you are no longer a kid.
 
 
 
 
   Faced with failure: It’s hard when you are good at something and then are challenged by something new. When you are younger you are just starting to learn things, and things become easier but then you have to learn something new and its frustrating when you don’t get it. Even when you are older you could be really good at school and then suddenly at work you are not getting the A’s. It’s a reality check we keep getting at any age.
   Not getting what you want: It is a huge disappointment when you hear the word no or you don’t get what you thought you were going to get. No matter your age, when this happens you cannot help but be disappointed.
   Frustration: In any situation where you might have to struggle to do something you will get frustrated; you may choose to ‘give up’ and say ‘I’m not…’ or get really angry and go ERGGG (that’s mine). It happens and it’s okay.
 
Even though we experience life’s tough situations we do learn from them no matter our age.
While here I have seen Little One and Big Guy tackle many new things even though sometimes it’s hard.
They have learned how to handle them and know they just have to keep trying, like learning how to move their
legs so they can go higher on a swing.
We didn’t know it when we were young, but all those tough things we did were preparing us for when we are
faced with failure, disappointment, and frustration as adults. We know how to deal with what life throws at us
and know we are tough enough to handle them.