Tag Archives: Au Pair

My Bittersweet Love Affair with Switzerland

My Bittersweet Love Affair with Switzerland

I’ve fallen in love with Switzerland and now it’s time for me to go. I first laid eyes on the country three years ago and it was love at first sight. The snow-capped mountains, lush hills, and cities full of rich history captivated me. Though I only spent a few days in this beautiful land, I knew I had to return.

In August, I took my one-way ticket and came back to see if the initial thrill could turn into something more. Without a visa, I knew I would only have three months here, but figured that would have to do. I quickly settled into life in my little, Swiss village.

Every week that passed brought more experiences, more people, and more love into my life. Now that I’m preparing to leave this wonderful country, I feel myself wishing I had more time here. While I savored each vibrant sunrise, person I met, cuisine I tasted, wine I sipped, and laughter I shared…I want more! There are so many views I didn’t see, forests I didn’t explore, city streets I didn’t walk, and people I didn’t get to meet.

Just as when one wants to prolong time with a new lover, my mind has been filled with ways I could return here and continue my stunted romance. When I first arrived I was more reserved. It took time for me to open up, but now I want to explore this country fully. I want to know its flaws, strengths, nuances, and secrets. I want to learn its languages and memorize the city streets and mountain trails. But sometimes things aren’t meant to continue, at least for right now. Sometimes, the shortness of an experience is what makes it so sweet.

I’m sure when I’ve gone I’ll experience the common signs of romantic loss. I’ll sigh wistfully when my love is mentioned, I see a photo, or any random thing that reminds me of bygone times. I’ll long to hear the familiar lull of French-speaking voices (even though I rarely knew what anyone was saying), smell the scent of freshly roasted chestnuts wafting through the streets, and have my breath taken away by the beauty of the sun setting over Lake Geneva. But I know what will overpower this longing is the appreciation for having experienced all these things in the first place.

My romance with Switzerland so recently begun and now it’s quickly coming to a close. But as with all love affairs, if it’s meant to be, it will be…

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Five Things Adults Can Learn From Children

Five Things Adults Can Learn From Children

Years of babysitting and nannying have allowed me to spend a lot of time around children. Although I’ve changed my fair share of diapers, sat through many temper tantrums, and wiped away thousands of tears, I’m always left in awe of these little beings. Whenever I have a chance to really evaluate my interaction with children, I always come back to the same thought; adults can learn so much from children!

Somewhere along the line, we lose touch with our childish nature. While many people see “growing up” as a necessity, I see much of it as a loss. While some maturation is inevitable, I really think there are (at least) five areas that it can serve us to remain childish in.

1. Seeing the world as our oyster   

As children, we see the world as a place of endless possibilities! When asking a child what he or she want to “become,” a whole spectrum of answers are given. Often, the adult asking will quietly laugh and think to himself, “That’s so sweet, but one day she’ll realize that becoming a ______ isn’t really likely.”

Sure, there are some things that are a bit harder to bring to fruition (my life experience tells me I will probably not become a professional pole-vaulter within this lifetime), but I feel that most adults live in a world full of limiting beliefs. Sometime during the growing up process, “I can be anything,” turns into, “I can sit at a desk for eight hours a day and stare a computer screen.”

Be realistic, but let go of those limiting beliefs! If you are truly in alignment with something, it will happen.

2. Experiencing emotions fully

Children are such good examples of this. While their emotions may not always come at ideal times (e.g. a tantrum at a supermarket), they’re completely comfortable experiencing them. When a child is upset, you will know it. When a child is happy, she expresses it (side note: I can’t think of many things that are as beautiful as a children’s laughter). It’s not until adults start expressing disapproval that a children begin to suppress their emotions.

Awhile back, I made a video called It’s Okay to Not Be Okay. I made it because I had been struggling with a “need” to be always up-beat, positive, and happy. While I am a strong believer in the power of positivity, I also think it’s important to experience one’s emotions and not refuse them. If you’re feeling sad, give yourself permission to cry. If you’re feeling angry, really feel that emotion. If you’re feeling giddy, dance and twirl and laugh! Accept the flow of life and don’t condemn yourself or others for experiencing the full spectrum of emotions.

3. Releasing emotions

In the same vein, most children are good at allowing their emotions to flow and releasing them. If you’ve noticed, children don’t really hold grudges the same way adults do. If a child feels the emotion of sadness, he cries. But as soon as that emotion is gone, he’s back to neutral. As adults, many of us have a tendency to hold onto our emotions. We get caught up in them. Sometimes, we even become so identified with being sad, or angry, or happy, that we link ourselves with that specific emotion. When this happens, people can get trapped and revert to this emotion…even when there’s not a real reason to feel it.

One of my good friends has a quote, “You are the sky and your thoughts are the clouds.” For adults, most emotions are simply reactions to thoughts. When we view ourselves as a clear sky and our thoughts/emotions as clouds, it allows them to flow freely and be released.

4. Viewing life as a playground / feeling child-energy 

One of the most fascinating things about children is their ability to play anywhere! While some of this ability is being hindered by constant exposure to technology, children are naturally content to play with anything. Life is their playground and they are full of abundant child-energy.

As we get older, it seems like we develop a constant need for new/different stimulus. We’re no longer content to just sit and “be.” Similarly, we lose the element of play in our daily lives and get caught up in the routine of things. When we really tap into that pure child-energy and allow whatever we’re doing to be a form of play, life becomes blissful!

5. Respecting our desires / needs

Another one of my favorite things about children is how in tune they are with their desires and needs. When a baby is hungry, she cries. When she is happy, she coos. When she is tired, she sleeps. But when that same baby starts to grow up, adults gradually remove her natural instincts. Even if she’s not hungry, she has to sit at the table until she finishes dinner. Although she feels a strong need to get up and play and move, she has to sit at a desk all day.

While routine can be beneficial, I feel sometimes we’re doing ourselves a disservice by relying on it. Why eat if you’re not hungry? Why force yourself to stay awake if your body needs sleep? Why stay in an environment you feel uneasy in? Almost always, our first instinct is the correct one. Instead of shutting out your natural intuition, try tapping into it and see how much more in alignment you’ll feel!

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Steps to Become an Au Pair in Europe!

Steps to Become an Au Pair in Europe!

1. Explore websites
-www.greataupair.com
-www.aupair.com
-www.aupair-world.net

2. Determine personal stipulations
- What country/countries do you want to work in?
- What length of time do you want to be in Europe?
- Do you want to live in a city or the country?
- Is it important for you to have the weekends available?
- Are you willing to work weekends?
- Do you want to live-in or live-out?
- What is the minimum amount of money you are willing to accept per month?
- Are you willing to do (light) housework?
- How many hours are you willing to work per week?
- Will you work with single parents?

3. Make detailed online profiles
- Many pictures
- General letter to potential host families
- What sets you apart from other au pairs
- Ideal weekly schedule
- Ideal pay rate
- Other relevant qualifications

4. Reach out
- Mark profiles as “interests” or “favorites”
- Send families messages expressing your interest
- Create a blanket message to send out and cater it to each family

5. Skype with serious interests
- Discuss expectations
- Express concerns
- Clear up any confusion
- Meet the children
- Get a virtual tour of the home (specially, your bedroom)
- Figure out about the surroundings of the family’s home
- Decide on a length of stay

6. Finalize
-After deciding which family you will be an au pair for, confirm that plans are in order
- Research visa options (if necessary, visit a consulate)

10 Reasons Why Becoming an Au-Pair is Exactly Like Online Dating

10 Reasons Why Becoming an Au-Pair is Exactly Like Online Dating
  1. Obviously, to get the best results, you need to actually make an online profile.
  2. Said profile contains descriptions, photos, and general qualifications, all meant to portray yourself as the ideal candidate. If you’re lacking detail in one of these facets, you become substantially less appealing and the same goes for the other party. You stare at your profile, trying imagine how viewers of it will perceive you. You also start wondering if you’ll ever find an ideal match.
  3. There’s an intricate balance between being fully authentic and showcasing your finer attributes (Obviously, you don’t want to mention that you can belch loudly, before you’ve even met them…). This all is occurring within both parties. Sometimes, you’re left wondering about the validity of certain profiles (e.g. “Is this host family really able to pay me €500 per week?” or “Can this au pair actually fluently speak/read nine languages, including ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics?”).
  4. You spend hours sifting through hundreds of profiles, marking “interests” or “favorites” along the way. These people get notified and there’s a moment of elation whenever they send back that they’re also interested in you. Unfortunately, you can’t help but feel a bit of rejection, whenever you get a notification that the party you were very interested does not reciprocate.
  5. If both parties are interested, one reaches out to the other and a message chain is started. Likes, dislikes, mutual interests, and what each party is looking for in the other are discussed.
  6. After realizing that the other party is everything you dreamed of, the excitement sets in. You find yourself talking about them to friends, many of whom will think it’s odd, seeing as you’ve yet to meet them. You have pictures of them on your cell phone. You have your friends sit with you and pour over their online profile. Overall, you’re just so thrilled that you found your ultimate match online, that you’re willing to tell anyone and everyone who will listen.
  7. There may a time when you haven’t heard from them in a week or so. You get very worried. You wonder if you’ve done something wrong and look back through old messages to see if you missed anything. The same people who you gushed about them to now get to hear how concerned you are. You realize you may have to accept that they’re not really “the one” and move on. Right when you’ve been about to give up, you get a message from them apologizing for the delay and explaining what had happened. You’re so relieved!
  8. Around this time is when you think it’s serious enough to tell your parents. You’re excited and nervous about what the future may hold. You gush about how great they are to your parents and show them an exorbitant amount of pictures.
  9. After much online communication, you decide upon a time to meet.
  10. Finally, you’ve realized they’re the one for you and decide to move in.
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    This is the face you make when you finally find your host family!

Vlog: Travel Update

Vlog: Travel Update

Hi, lovelies! A lot of people have been inquiring as to my current game plan for Europe. Here’s a quick update on my plans!

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  • During late July and early August a few girlfriends and I are trying to arrange it so we can travel around together! The biggest hinderance is finances! Any tips on ways to make/save money on the road? We’ll be using www.helpx.net, www.couchsurfing.com, and staying in hostels to travel as cheaply as possible. 
  • At the end of August, I will move to Lausanne, Switzerland to be an au pair for a spectacular Spanish family! This is a great opportunity, because I adore Switzerland and would love to brush up on my Spanish. Although I will be doing some traveling on the weekends, I will be saving a lot of the money I make to put it toward further travels. Additionally, I’ll have to be putting a portion of it toward student loans.
  • The last week of November will mark the end of my Swiss living. That means I have December to travel around and hang out with friends…
  • If you are around wherever I am, I’d love to meet up! There’s a small possibility that my parents will try and come over and visit during this time. That would be great, seeing as I have no idea if I’ll be spending Christmas alone in a hostel (I doubt that would happen, though, as I have a knack for randomly meeting new friends!)…
  • In January, I will move to Torino, Italy to become an au pair for another beautiful family. I am thrilled!  I will stay here for a least six months.
  • After Italy, I will hopefully return to Switzerland for another three months.
  • Then…who knows!

Vlog 1: I need your travel advice!

Vlog 1: I need your travel advice!

I’m planning my trip and I’d love your help!

What do you guys know about…

  • Travel tips (especially on being a solo female)
  • Trip preparation (visas, packing, work permits, travelers insurance, etc.)
  • Money saving ideas
  • Best places to exchange money
  • Cheap places to visit
  • Navigating public transport systems
  • Interacting with locals (Poland, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Czech, Greece, and Croatia)
  • Getting a cell phone that works across various countries
  • Avoiding theft
  • Shipping and receiving mail
  • Random tidbits of information