I think I mentioned it before, that I spend a year (2001/ 2002) in the US (Wisconsin) as an Au Pair. For those of you who have never heard of the term: an Au Pair is basically a Nanny from another country that comes to live with a family for one year and takes care of the Kids. I don’t even remember when I decided to take this „time off“ after graduating from high school, but I guess it was in 10th grade. At that point, a High School Year (as an exchange student) looked very exciting to me, but I realised pretty soon, that it was way to expensive and that I was not ready to leave home for a year. However, I knew I really wanted to spend a year in the USA and Au Pairs get payed.
So I started researching Au Pair Organisations and applied in spring of 2001. I was matched with a family (my family) on May 15th 2001 (just checked). The letter just said, that a family with a single Mom and three Kids, ages 11, 5 and 6 was interested in me and was going to call me in the next days. I was sooo excited. I can still remember the day: I got home from school and my Mom gave me the letter. First thing I had to do was look up the word „deceased“ in the dictionary (host Dad had died of cancer in 1999), then I frantically searched for a map to find out where the heck Wisconsin is (remember, that was way before they launched Google Earth). The matching sheet also said, that I must be „positive, enthusiastic, mature, like reading and have math skills, athletic, be a good swimmer and like sports“. Interesting, I thought, as I neither have math skills, nor am very athletic. But I was up for the challenge of the phone interview.
Three days later, my future host Mom called me and we really hit it off. I think we talked for about two hours and then again a couple of days later. I was still unsure, because I had realized, that living in a household with only one parent would be tough. The advantages on my list (yes, I actually made a pro/ con list and I still have it) outbalanced the disadvantages and said yes to Wisconsin. It is actually very funny to read that list now, after almost 5 years and having sooo much more knowledge about the Kids and the family and Wisconsin and the USA.
I will post more about my life as an Au Pair in the next days and weeks.