Everyone knows, or eventually learns, that life doesn’t exactly happen the way you plan it in your head. For the last two years of high school, I had a picture perfect life plan, up until college anyways. First, I would graduate, then immediately hop on a plane and start studying at a brand new high school in Ecuador. Once there, I would perfect my spanish, become an Honorary Ecuadorian, and graduate from that high school in March. Then with my perfected spanish tongue, I’d head home to work and save up before attending SUNY Geneseo in the Fall.
Obviously it didn’t happen like that since I’m currently sitting in a beautiful apartment in Rome. And how exactly did all this happen? First life happened. Things didn’t work out the way I’d planned for two years. Ecuador was an amazing experience, but not all butterflies and rainbows. So I made the difficult decision to leave early. When I arrived home after being gone for almost 5 months, I breathed a sigh of relief. New adventures are great, but sometimes hometowns and your own bed are even better. I felt at ease, back in my familiar routines and all my built up stress began to dissipate. But then after a few weeks my mother thought it a good idea for me to leave again. Mother bird pushing her chick out of the nest… again.
Of course it wasn’t because I was a burden! I’m an angel. But she knows me better than I know myself. Working until August was not going to be enough for me. I would be bored and unhappy with life in Potsdam. Plus, I can’t stand the North Country winters and she knew that all too well. So she suggested something, offered me a worm of sorts (haha). And that “worm” happened to be working as an au pair. Au pairing is basically like working as a nanny. But in another country. So it’s perfect for a travel hungry young girl who’s good with kids. Perfect for me.
As soon as she said it I knew that this was what I was going to do. I found a website, made a profile, and within an hour I found the family that I’m now living with. Of course it didn’t all become final that day, but within two weeks I had confirmation that I could start working and living in Rome in January. For three whole months. I was ecstatic. Over the moon with excitement. And in utter disbelief. And now I’m here, sitting in my family’s apartment after a day of walking around the Roman forum and reading in Piazza Navona. Everyday I can’t believe I have the opportunity to live amongst all this history and beauty. It’s truly incredible.
I do have responsibilities though, not that I mind too much. As an au pair I live with a mother and her two children, Giacomo (age five) and Eleonora (age seven). They’re wonderful kids, and it’s been fun to have an adopted family while I’m here. Each morning I get up, help them get ready, and walk them to school. From then on, I’m free, until I pick them up at the end of the day. In the afternoons we play games together, Giacomo loves foosball (he has a mini version) and Eleonora prefers impromptu dance parties in the living room. They keep me very entertained.
And while they’re in school, I keep myself busy. I’ve taken full advantage of all that daily free time. I have a bus pass, and each morning after showering I head out into the city. I’ve seen so much already, although not everything. Rome is huge! And there’s so many hidden gems. But I’m happy to just wander, exploring new tiny streets, and revisiting my favorite places, like the daily market in Campo de Fiori.
In just three short weeks, this has proven to be the experience of a lifetime. It’s given me a new sense of independence and freedom. Everyday I feel a little more “grown up”, as tacky as that sounds. And everyday I am reassured that I made the right choice in taking a year off. I’m learning so much about the world and about myself in the best way I could imagine possible. I’m so so soooo happy my mother was so quick to shoo me out again. Thanks mom, you’re truly the best.
P.S. I strongly recommend that anybody who is interested in doing something like this visit the website I used, aupair-world.net
pictured above: Campo de Fiori in its transition between daytime market and crazy nightlife scene.