When I really think about, I guess the idea popped into my head the summer after my freshman year of college when I was working as a nanny. I was living in San Francisco four days a week and getting paid to go to the zoo, swimming, and out to eat. I was making enough money to not be over draft every five seconds and best of all, I had a boyfriend who came out at least once a week so that we could spend fabulous nights out in the city by the bay. What could be better? Then one day, I took the kids across the street for a play date and was greeted by a tall blonde bombshell with a Swedish accent. She was doing everything I was…accept she was 5000 miles away from her home country. While I was complaining about the 45-minute commute over the bay bridge one day a week, she was attempting to figure out how to buy a ticket for a 25-hour flight home. I watched her attempt to pack her life back into two suitcases (and after she couldn’t, graciously accepted a pair of really cool diesels in order for her to make room) and for some reason I was hooked.
Fast forward three and a half years later. Sitting in a theater during the second twelve-hour day of tech in which I was doing jack shit. While facebook stalking (like I do) I began looking at a friend’s profile who was off teaching English to little French kids while living it up in the city of love. Commence google search: aupair. After an hour of looking at families in France, Spain, and Italy, I was called to actually do something at tech hell and my aupair dreams were set aside.
Spring Break 2009 – A moment that fills most students with excitement as well as their inner party animal. For me there was just one thing hindering that rush of adrenaline – I was about to graduate from a four year university, (having already taken five years,) and still had no idea what I was doing with my life. As a drama major I had decided that moving to New York, living in LA, or even attempting to make a living as a “working actor,” was not for me. And as they say: those who can’t, teach. Enter my eight year plan – not, five, and not ten, but eight.
My eight-year plan was simple and included all the basics. Graduate, take a year off, get a teaching credential, go to grad school, get a career, get a husband, have a kid or two, get a dog and be happy for the rest of my life. Only problem (yes I truly believed there was only one) – what was I going to do in that year off? The beginning of the plan to solve my life was completely...well...unplanned!
I decided to sit down with my dad and discuss what I had told no one about before – how would he feel if I left for a year and traveled 5000 miles away to live with a family I had never met? Reason #582 why I love my dad - “Do it. You’ve got nothing to hold you back and you’ll regret it if you don’t.”
I got serious about finding a family, registering with an AuPair sites, and actually researching visas. And soon I found a family. It’s weird to think that four years ago, without knowing it at the time, my year off was decided by a Swedish girl whose name I don’t remember, but whose shoes I still have.