I am an emotional person and leaving my home to go to America was a very hard step for me. Some au pairs are happy to leave their home. Not necessarily because it’s a bad place, maybe just because going to America is a big opportunity and maybe because they are just bored with their lives at home and ready to experience something new and different.
For me, leaving my home was hard. And I’m going to be honest. For me, sometimes even being an au pair is hard. I have an amazing host family. But starting a new life thousands of miles away from home is not something that comes naturally to me.
I knew that there would be hard times, even when I signed up to become an au pair. I knew there would most likely be times were I would just want to go home. I knew that I would experience homesickness at some point. But no one prepared me for the flood of emotions and feelings and thoughts that were really going to come. And to me it feels like no one ever talks about it either!
The elephant in the room
Everyone talks about the traveling, the families and the work. Yes, we do talk about the hard times too. We talk about how sometimes our families suck, sometimes our work sucks and we talk about homesickness. But do we ever talk about the big, obvious things?
Au pairs are fucking badass. Leaving your home country, everything and everyone you have ever known, to go build a new life in a country you don’t know, with people you don’t know, takes some serious guts. Au pairs are brave to do that.
But I feel, that in our year(s) as au pairs, we all change. For me, I also started to question a lot of things. Who was I before I came to the states? Who am I now? Who am I going to be when I go back home? What kind of life am I going to lead when I get back home? What am I going to do when I go back home? School? Work? Are my friends still going to be my friends? What if we don’t get on well anymore because everything has changed so much, because I have changed so much?
I know that things are never going to be the same and sometimes that scares me. I am dreading the moment I have to leave my host family. I love them so much. Especially my kids. But I also miss my home. But will home ever be the same? It feels like it won’t. It feels like now, no matter where I am, I will never be whole again.
Living here, I miss my family and friends, but going home I am certain to miss my family here and the friends I have made here. My whole life here. It’s just so different from my life at home. It’s like I have two lives now. How can I ever live my “normal” life at home again? Now that I’ve been here and been to the big cities like New York and have seen how amazing and exciting life can be. Will my life at home seem boring to me? Too boring? Will it be enough?
In a Facebook group I’ve seen a post where one au pair said she had gone home a few weeks ago and that she felt depressed. She was wondering if anyone else had felt that way and what they did about it. Only then, many, many au pairs responded, saying they felt the same. That they were depressed and just wanted to go back to their host country. That their life at home was boring. That they missed their host family and their friends. Until I saw that post, I thought I was alone with those feelings. And I’m wondering, why do we never talk about this kind of stuff?
Sharing helps, knowing we’re not alone in what we’re feeling helps. So I’ll start. I’m fucking terrified of going home. At the same time I can’t wait. Sometimes it feels like I’m being torn apart. It’s scary. But I think in the end it will have been worth it. For all the friends we’ve made, all the adventures that we experienced and the new family that we found. It’s one hell of a ride.