I’ve just returned from sixteen blissful days in Costa Rica. My friend and I met in San Jose and then took a journey to Manuel Antonio, Montezuma, Sámara, Nosara, and Arenal. I kept a record of the highlights of each day and now have added pictures! Read the rest of this entry
For me, the year of 2012 was one of monumental changes…
Shortly before ringing in the new year of twenty-twelve, I spent a weekend with someone who was quickly progressing in the realm of self-development. Little did I know that our time together would begin an inner process – one that would eventually alter how I saw reality. In a matter of days, he helped me recognize how out of touch I really was with the Now. He introduced me to the work of Eckhart Tolle – if you don’t know him, I heartily recommend looking him up – and sparked my interest in really delving into the process of self-discovery. Although the time we spent together was comparatively short, his impact was lasting.
The months following were filled with transformational self-exploration. Formerly strongly tied to the future, it was not easy for me to begin rooting myself in the Present. Although I still struggle with letting myself succumb to worry, months of practice have helped me stay more consistently grounded. It was during this time that I reconnected with an old acquaintance. We had met a few times in years past, but had never really gotten to know each other. Through social media, I realized that years passing had lead to us having similar interests! Although we barely knew each other, I invited her to travel from Ohio to my home in Tennessee. Though she didn’t have enough money to get here, fate was in our favor. Things were in alignment and the financial means presented themselves to her. It was at this time that I got to know one of the beautiful, soulful, kind, genuine people I have ever met. She helped me become even more in touch with my inner light and the beauty of life.
On a mid-summer’s day, I was speaking with a close friend about my plans for graduate school. I was frustrated, because I was unsure if my chosen path was really “right.” Despite this, I had been emailing back and forth with various programs, studying copious amounts for the GRE, and trying to make a decision that would dictate the next four years of my life. It was then that she asked me what would happen if I invested this time and money into a program, only to graduate and realize it wasn’t really what I wanted to do. For the first time in my academic career, I considered altering my plan. Previously, I had not really considered any other option beside continuing my education. Being a psychology major doesn’t really lend to many post-grad opportunities. After this conversation, I realized I didn’t need to be tied to this specific path. Previously, I had found validation through my academic standing. My self-exploration lead me to realize that nothing I will ever achieve academically, monetarily, or relationally will ever determine my intrinsic value. With that, I decided to use my youth to its fullest extent and postpone graduate school to travel Europe!
The past year has been a highly transitional time. I strengthened old relationships and made new ones. I shifted my focal point to the Now and started to make constant, conscious effort to stay positive. I realized fully that Present moment is all we really have and we need to take full advantage of it. I became introduced to people that have such a wealth of knowledge to share (you’ll do yourself a big favor to check out Eckhart Tolle, Abraham Hicks, Katie Freiling, Kyle Cease, and Mike Dooley). It’s not always easy to internalize, but I now know that my value and worth is not contingent upon anything I can ever achieve. I am so excited to see what 2013 holds and I plan to live it – and every year after I am blessed with – to its fullest extent! I wish all of you the very best!
Stay positive, be Present, and set your intentions!
Highlights of 2012
- Decided to move to Europe
- Went skydiving
- Participated in a yoga flashmob
- Grew my own (little) garden
- Fully recognized the power of synchronicity
- Went bridge swinging
- Saw my baby sister graduate high school
- Went to a couple music festivals
- Attended my first APA conference
- Flew to Ohio for less than 24 hours to be a wedding date
- Realized my value isn’t contingent upon my actions
- Maintained a vegan diet for seven months
- Became introduced to raw foodism
- Saw my grandparents celebrate 50 years of marriage
- Watched Back to the Future with friends, on the side of an abandoned building, laying on a gravel parking lot
- Sporadically attended the World Yo-Yo Championship
- Did barrel rolls in a plane
- Made my first YouTube video
- Finally visited Disney World
- Adopted a kitten and named him Ug
- Went off-roading
- Started a blog
- Started living in the Present and not for the future
- Randomly moved into a house and realized it was perfect!
- Got a cabin in the mountains with friends and made a ton of guacamole!
- Went on a girls’ road trip to Chicago
1. Explore websites
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
-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)
- Obviously, to get the best results, you need to actually make an online profile.
- 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.
- 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?”).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- After much online communication, you decide upon a time to meet.
- Finally, you’ve realized they’re the one for you and decide to move in.
Wow, I cannot thank you guys enough for being such involved followers! I’m about half way to having 1,000 “followers,” so you’ll see another excited post when that happens!
Since starting this blog in September, I have been ever impressed by the amount of interaction there has been on my posts.
Not only do I intend to keep blogging, but I will become increasingly involved! On that note, I’m very curious as to whether you prefer my vlogs or blogs more. Thoughts?
I sincerely appreciate every single one of you!