If you’ve been keeping up with my posts about my experience as an Au Pair in America, you probably get the feeling that I’m ready to move on. I was just reading over a few of my posts, and it’s obvious how disillusioned I am with this entire program.
Don’t get me wrong-I’ve had an amazing time living in the states, but I sometimes think that it’s in spite of doing the Au Pair America program and not because of it. I guess it all comes down to what you expect to get out of this program, and your reasons for doing it. Let’s be honest for a second here; no one is doing this program because they thought to themselves “I’d like to live with complete strangers and look after their kids all day long.” Most Au Pairs apply for the program because it’s really hard to get a long term visa for the United States, especially if you haven’t been to college or can’t get transferred/sponsored through a job.
For me, the problem lies in the different expectations that we all have. Host families expect Mary Poppins, yet only want to pay below minimum wage. Au Pairs expect to be living in a family where they’ll be best friends with the host mum, joke around with the host dad, and love looking after the perfect, cherubic children.
The reality is pretty far from that. It’s a job like any other, with good points and bad, and I’ve been extremely lucky to have had such a good experience with my family, and the friends I’ve made here.
I’m definitely ready to leave now. I left my office job because I was sick of the SSDD (same shit-different day) and now it’s getting to be the same here, only instead of having adult conversations, most of the talk is about poop and farts. I wouldn’t change the experiences I’ve had here for anything, and the people I’ve met and friends I’ve made make it worth every single temper tantrum I have to deal with, but like any job, it gets old after awhile.
As one of my friends said-feeling like this is a good thing. It makes it easier to leave.I’m going to miss my host kids like crazy, and I know I’m going to bawl when I have to say goodbye, but because I’m so ready to move on and travel, work with adults, and have new experiences, it will be with some relief that my year is over and I can do some traveling here before moving to Australia.
Sometimes I wonder what my problem is that I can’t just stay in one place, work in one job, and be content with that instead of getting bored every six months. Other people can do it so why not me? It’s frustrating that I feel the need to constantly be planning the Next Big Thing. So for now I’m going to focus on making the most of the next three months. I’m saving like crazy for my travel month, but I also want to continue to explore San Diego, and meet new people. It’s almost summer in California and it’s going to be a good one!