Those were my thoughts before I flew for the first time in my life – to spend a year as a Professional Au Pair in NYC. I was quite nervous as you can tell, not because I was afraid of the actual flight or being away from home. I was scared because the airport was humongous and I was in an unfamiliar city.
Saying goodbye was almost simple because I had bigger worries!
With a big excited smile, a nervous prickling in my stomach, and a feeling that I was about to start a new life, I slowly began to calm down after taking leave from my family.
I realized very fast that I felt pretty comfortable in an airport. There were signs everywhere that helped me find my way and my hope (that everybody would be nice) came true!
Top 6 Things in my Luggage
I was excited to start my new life from scratch with almost nothing in my bag. New York also turned out to be the perfect place to fill up my wardrobe without any problem – who would have thought?!
“Wow, where should I look first? Why is there a rat in the street… and another one… and another one? Hey, those people are crossing the street during a red light – that’s not allowed! The buildings are so tall; I feel like I’m falling backwards when I look up. Why is it so hot? I can’t breathe! People are everywhere. Is it just me or is everyone running from place to place? Help! Slow down, please!”
The first days in NYC were super exciting and also very exhausting for me. I had to deal with the jetlag and “understanding” the New Yorker way of life, which is not only very stressful but also in ENGLISH! I have never had to go about my daily routine and deal with a different language being used before. Although my host mother is German, I was still overwhelmed.
Surprisingly, I didn’t miss my family that much. It was just new to not have them around, but I was used to that because I moved out of my family’s house when I was 16 years old. I hung up the pictures of everyone back home and that seemed to solve to my problem.
It definitely helps that my host family has a phone contract that allows me to call my family in Germany which I really enjoy. I really LOVE Skype too! It’s the perfect way to stay in touch with those who are far away. It makes it wonderfully easy to connect the six hours that separate me from my home country now.
“Where are the cups? Could you help me figure out the subway system? I forgot the way to the playground, could you maybe write it down for me? Are there any new diapers? I like what you just cooked – yes, it’s new to me and I’ve never had that before but I like it!“
I felt like a child, having questions about EVERYTHING. Plus being tired all the time because of the jetlag and so much going on at once. But I realized fast that it only gets easier with time. My host family was really supportive and I became more confident with everything.
Working and living with a new family is challenging. It is not only a new and big adjustment for the Au Pair, but also for the host family!
Ask as many questions as you need to (I often asked twice or more times because I couldn’t keep everything in my head at once!). Also try to speak openly with your host family and express your thoughts.
Being a (Pro) Au Pair in NYC is new and a little difficult at the beginning but also very exciting. It will turn your life as you knew it, upside down (in such a nice way) and you will have lot of fun!
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