Friday, September 27, 2013

How to become an au pair and what you can expect!

Let me start again by saying that I am SO SO lucky to have each and every one of you as a reader, follower, and sharer of my blog. I never could have dreamed of having so much support from people all over the world that I have never even met. With that being said...

I'm trying my best to respond to each and every email, and so far I believe I've responded to all of them (correct me if I'm wrong). However, It's becoming quite difficult for me to keep up with my actual job, because somehow I've found myself in this dream situation of receiving hundreds of amazing emails/comments/responses each day <3. Many of you have shared your stories, hopes and dreams with me and I will desperately try to make those emails my first priority, because I so much appreciate your sincerity and willingness to share your life with a me, a complete stranger. Thank you for giving me the realization that there are in fact a world full of people out there with the same big and crazy aspirations that I have. And really, it's scary how much many of you and I have in common.

Others of you are simply interested in how I landed myself this dream job, so I'll give you a short play by play for you to refer to if you're seriously interested in becoming an au pair.

I've referred to this in other entries, but incase you missed it, I started with going to www.aupair.com. It's not an agency but rather a site where you deal directly with families, instead of going through a third party. I'd highly recommend this approach.
- First you choose your top 3 countries. You can always look for families in other countries, and families from other countries can contact you as well. Picking your top 3 simply helps you to narrow down the number of profiles you will see initially, and help give you an idea about what kind of families exist in the places that you really see yourself living.
- Next, you will make a profile about yourself. Here's your chance to outshine all of the others. If you have a college degree (and you definitely don't need one), mention it. Talk about your experience with children (again, you don't necessarily need it, but it is highly preferred). Offer "References available upon request" and only give out reference information to families you are truly considering (I only gave mine to the family I'm working for). Talk about your love for travel and experiencing new cultures. Talk about your independence! And be sure to discuss any other talents you have that make you more favorable than the next (cooking, arts and crafts, sports, etc.). There are thousandsssss of au pairs looking for a job, so be unique! And definitely include a profile picture-- families are more willing to look at your profile that way.

THEN: 
- You will start getting emails that you have been "hotlisted". This is the somewhat weird way of saying, "Our family likes you". Check out their profile and see if you like them back.
- You will also get emails from families directly trying to contact you, after they've seen your amazing profile and think you could potentially be a good candidate. Respond to them even if you're not interested. It's polite.
- Once you find a good match, ask a lot of questions. "What will my job entail?" "What is the pay?" "How long are you looking for an au pair for?" (some may be looking for 3 months, some will be looking for a year or more) "Can I see pictures of the house?" "Will I have a car to use?" etc. etc. etc. ask, ask, ask! Remember, you will be living with these people! You want to make sure you know exactly what you're getting yourself into, and that you can see yourself being comfortable there.

My family provided me with 6 pages full of information and pictures before we talked on skype, so I had a pretty good idea about the kind of situation I'd be committing myself to. After reading, I knew they were the family for me. They checked my references and we did a pretty lenient skype "interview". And that was that. I was offered the job a couple days later! Luckily for me, my family was everything and more than I expected! Like love. Trust your gut. You'll know when you've found the right one :)!

So, what is au pair life like? 

Au pair life is a much more glorified version of moving back in with your parents, so if you can't get past living in someone else's house, this probably isn't for you. It's not for everyone, and that's okay, but realize that early on before you invest a lot of time into the whole grand idea. I don't have a problem sharing space with people, so it ended up being the perfect way for me to be able to live in another country for a year. The freedom of having no bills, while simultaneously making enough money to shop, travel and experience my new surroundings sounded like the perfect year in my eyes. Plus it's nice to be completely immersed in the culture by way of the closest people to you on the entire continent.

So as far as my weekly life, it goes a little something like this:
- breakfast with the girls
- packing lunches
- bringing my oldest to school
- sport
- swimming lessons
- playdates with fellow au pairs and their kids
- nap times
- playing in the ocean
- going to the park
- coloring
- dress up
- and dancing, lots and lots of dancing :)

Dress up :)

I work 4 days a week from 7-4, with the two most beautiful girls on the planet. I like to say that I have all of the perks of being a stay at home mom except with pay and without the lifetime commitment. It's such an ideal situation for someone looking to travel the world while simultaneously making money by putting their childcare skills to use!

For those of you who are desperately wanting to au pair, but have been asking for any encouraging advice I can offer, it is this: You are young, vibrant, independent and you have the entire world at your fingertips. If you're offered your dream opportunity, I'd hate for you to let it pass you by simply due to fear. Remember, you have your wholeeee life to figure out what you want to do for the rest of your life. You have your wholeeee life to work 9 to 5's and pay bills. Your opportunity is now. Be strong. Be brave. AND TAKE IT! You'll thank me later.

My earlier posts, starting with "The Inevitable Travel Bug", will give you a pretty good sense of my feelings before I ended up here. Check them out to see how and why I gave up my "normal" life for a life of freedom and adventure, and how terrifying that whole process was. Let's just say, If I can do it, you can do it too :).

BEST OF LUCK to each and every one of you!

As always, dream big my friends.

*P.s. the big vacay starts in two days!!! nothing but me, the sun, and the Great Barrier Reef <3. blog entry to follow in a week from Tuesday. stay tuned! xoxo!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

THANKFUL. this one is dedicated to you!

Where do I even begin?

It's the 34th day in a row now that I've woken up and said to myself, "I'm the luckiest person in the world". Maybe it's because I am, or maybe it's because I've finally discovered the difference between simply being awake and truly feeling alive. Either way it's safe to say that I am without a doubt the happiest I have ever been.

Just one year ago, I lived a life in which I struggled daily with who I was, where I was going, and what purpose I had on this earth. Sure I was good at taking care of kids, but so are a lot of people. Sure I was a pretty good daughter, girlfriend and friend, but I wanted to be even more than that. At the time, I had a confidence that had been completely shattered by years of allowing undeserving people the right to majorly influence my life. The constant battle of wanting somebody to love somehow overshadowed my voice of reason, and believe me, I was paying the price. And so... by putting my big girl pants on, being brave, and letting go of those who no longer served a positive purpose in my life, I somehow ended up here. An entire world away, and living in the greatest year of my life.

I've been told numerous times by family members, friends and professors that I have quite the way with words when I write. I, of course, never really thought anything of it back then. All of those A's on papers weren't even enough to convince me that my writing could be translated into something really useful one dayAnd somehow, a few years later and 10,000 miles from home, I think I've found my calling if you will-- my purpose.

I started blogging as a way for me to keep an online memorial of my journey as an au pair (glorified live-in nanny for any of you who are confused about why I keep throwing this french word around). Additionally, it made it really easy for family and friends to keep tabs on me every step of the way. It appears though, that overnight, my blog has become somewhat of a real success (a pretty big success in a new blogger's eyes anyway). I've received hundreds (literally hundreds) of emails, comments and friend requests and my blog has gained over 10,000 viewers in just a few hours! I am shaken with the support and love from all of you who have somehow joined me on this crazy journey I like to call life.

I've heard the word "inspiring" thrown around about me just short of 178 times today, but the truth is, that YOU inspire me. You have given me a sense of purpose that I have never had before and make me feel that my writing somehow translates into something others find valuable. Whether you are a fellow au pair, a person who feels lost, a person seeking comfort, a person looking for the light at the end of that dark, dark tunnel, a person in need of some direction, a person searching for their place in this crazy world, a family member, a traveler, a friend, or simply another person with a big time dream, I can't thank you enough for supporting me throughout this amazing adventure, and for so bravely sharing your stories with me. If there's any way that I can help you, please don't hesitate to ask. Whether I've known you for 25 years or 25 minutes, that's exactly what I'm here for, and I will get back to you as soon as I can :).

With that being said I'd like to compile a list of a few of the many things I am thankful for:
1. being alive. you'd think that one is a given, but sadly many of us don't appreciate the moment we wake up everyday enough. hearing that annoying alarm at 6 am is weirdly the best part of my day.
2. being given the chance to live and work abroad, which has always been a pretty distant dream until now.
3. having the basic necessities like food, water, clothing and shelter... and lucky enough to enjoy the luxuries of having a pool, internet, tv, a car, and many other pretty meaningless possessions.
4. for being healthy physically, mentally (arguably ;)), and emotionally
5. and most recent of all, for having a entire army of supporters from all around the world. you make me feel like my dream of becoming a full time travel writer could really come true <3.

Remember. You don't always have to know where you're going, you just have to keep moving forward. Believe:

1. that hard work and perseverance will pay off
2. in never giving up
3. in finding beauty in every single day
4. in stepping out of your comfort zone
5. in love
6. in the goodness of mankind
7. in meaningfulness of opening your mind to new ideas
8. in continuing to better yourself
9. and in turn, creating the absolute best version of yourself
10. in traveling the world
11. that experiences will bring you far greater joy than an overabundance of things
12. and mostly, in doing the things that make you happy-- whatever crazy thing that may be

Thank you all again for the love and support. You reading, commenting and sharing my story, only reiterates my desire to keep writing.

Also, it's www.aupair.com for those of you who have so kindly asked for the website I used to land this dream life. It's pretty self-explanatory, but questions are welcomed if you have them. Trust your gut. You'll know when you've found the right family.

AND keep your eyes open for a blog documenting my weekly life as an au pair, complete with tips, tricks, joys, and pictures of my beautiful girls and new friends! Followed by a blog about my expense free trip to Cairns, Queensland with the family, where I will be discovering the beautiful rainforest and snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef. See... I wasn't kidding... luckiest person on earth.

DREAM BIG FRIENDS. THE WORLD IS YOURS <3.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Why being "too busy" will kill you

The one phrase that absolutely kills me: "I'm too busy". 

Wait a minute.. you're too busy? too busy for what? friendship? love? family? traveling? oh.. well that's pretty sad in my opinion. Next time you move 10,000 miles away and don't know a soul, I will keep that in mind when you're seeking a little comfort and love from home. Please tell me again how difficult your life is. 

Now now.. I know what you're thinking. But I AM too busy. And this may be true for most, if not all of you. I get that. I've been there. But I'd like to think that I ALWAYS made time for the things and the ones I loved no matter how busy I was with other useless things. No, school and work aren't useless. Of course not. I'd be nowhere without those two things. BUT in the grand scheme of things, they mean nothing when not accompanied too by people, things, and experiences you love. The sad reality is that busy schedules will NEVER go away. In fact, as many of you know, they just get worse as you get older. So stop letting that be your reality and instead choose to: 

- Make an effort for the ones you love. You HAVE to find a way to do it. Even if it means delaying your addiction to "The Bachelor" or whatever other embarrassing ABC guilty pleasure you may have. Trust me. I suffer from it too. But I never choose it over spending time seeing or talking to real people.
-  A 10 minute phone conversation or a 20 minute chat on facebook can go a long way. Especially when you've just moved across the world. hint hint.
- Technology makes it farrrr too easy to keep in contact with people. So... I'm calling bullshit on your "too busy" excuse. facebook, twitter, email, texting, snapchat, whatsapp, skype, facetime. Need I say more?
- Find the time to really connect with the people you're with. What does this mean? It starts with putting away your damn phone when we're having a face to face conversation. Believe it or not kids.. there was a time when those beloved text messages could wait. Focus on the ones in front of you. Unless you're getting a 911 emergency text from your overly concerned mother, your best friend in labor, or your babysitter, the person in front of you should be your only concern in that given moment. 
- Call your friends. For no reason. Just to see how they're doing. And listen. Really, truly listen. 
- Make plans to see each other and follow through with them. Never EVER say "Let's get together soon" if you have no intention of doing so. 
- Don't let one friend always be the one who makes the plans (I'm that friend.. and I'm burnt out from it). Have some initiative and take the lead from time to time. No one likes a follower.
- Let go of those who have let go of you. 
- Hold on like hell to those who haven't.
- Find your sense of purpose. Mindless tv watching after work does nothing for you aside from providing entertainment, and that's okay sometimes. However, a better alternative would be to:  
   - go for a walk
   - read
   - write
   - catch up with friends
   - plan a trip
   - volunteer

In the end it's all about balance. Being "too busy" will not only kill your body, but will also kill your spirit. Give yourself enough fulfilling things to do without letting mildly important things like school and work crush, consume and control your life. Those things have no personality, no soul, and give you absolutely no love or consideration in return. Friends do that. Families do that. PEOPLE do that. Remember the key to living a happy and fulfilled life is having time and people to spend it with. Don't forget it!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Where I've been and where I'm going

Where I've been:


  • USA- born and raised. Lived in Montana, Colorado, Wyoming and Wisconsin. traveled to 35 states with full intent on hitting all 50. 
  • Canada 
  • Ireland 
  • United Kingdom 
  • France 
  • Spain 
  • Italy 
  • Germany 
  • Netherlands 
  • Australia
Where I'm going soon:

  • New Zealand 
  • Indonesia 
  • Malaysia 
  • Singapore 
  • Thailand 
  • Cambodia (maybe) 
  • Vietnam (maybe) 
  • China 
  • Fiji (hopefully) 
 Where I intend to go before 30:

  • Greece 
  • Turkey 
  • Back to Spain (Ibiza) 
  • Denmark 
  • Portugal 
  • Poland 
  • Iceland
  • Switzerland
  • Egypt 
  • South Africa 
  • other places in Africa (any tips here would be great) 
  • Mexico (easy one) 
  • a handful of South American countries (any tips on this would be fab) 
Life dream would be to hit all 50 US states, all 7 continents, and 50 plus countries! big years ahead of me. Making it happen

Saturday, September 14, 2013

In 25 years....

What have I figured out in my 25 wonderfully, beautiful years of life on this earth? A whole lot of nothing really. And a whole lot of everything at the same time. There's a lot of pressure put on all of us in our twenties to make good decisions, to be successful, and to build a happy and prosperous life. What this means to most people? Having our lives put together with the perfect job, the perfect partner, the perfect kids, inside of the perfect house, with the perfectly positioned white picket fence. What does this mean to me? I don't know yet. I'm still figuring it out.

We have so many outrageous expectations of ourselves and what we should be doing at every given point in our lives. Typically, myself would be included. In fact, on my 25th birthday I remember thinking, "I'm sooo old", "How did this happen?", "What am I going to do with my life?","I should really have this figured out by now". And at this point, I would say that I felt very sad, alone, discouraged, and trapped. It's safe to say that I was having a real life, full fledged, quarter life crisis. Yes, they do exist. Maybe not for everyone, but definitely for me. And why? Because I felt that I wasn't living up to the expectations that other people had for me and other people my age. And I felt that I wasn't doing enough of the things that a "normal" 25 year old should be doing.

So what changed exactly? I did. I stopped letting what a "normal" 25 year old life should look like define me, and started defining happiness by my own terms. I let go of the negativity that was consuming my life, and this is what happened.

Well here's the bad news. I still haven't figured out what I want to be or what I want to do exactly, and maybe I never will. For the time being though, I know that I love taking care of kids and that I love traveling, so that's what I've decided to do for now. And really that's half the fun. Maybe the real key here is not having it all figured out. Now. Or ever. Because at 25, I have none of those things, and I can assure you that I'm happier than I've ever been and arguably happier than the majority of people that I know. Maybe we need to stop looking at life as a race to get things done, or as a competition as to who has their shit together the most by the time they hit 30. And instead, start enjoying the crazy mess you call your life and live happily by standards you and only YOU set for yourself.

If like me, you don't have it quite all figured out, but are looking for a little something uplifting, I urge you to start with this:

- Be different. Be unique. And shatter the norm. Do what makes you happy even when it doesn't fit into societal standards.
- Your life is your journey. No one else needs to understand it. Be okay with that and keep going.
- Learn from other people. People will undoubtedly hurt you and make you question whether good people still exist. They do. Let go of the bad apples and let them only make you stronger.
- Quality over quantity. Always.
- Surround yourself only with people and experiences that make you feel alive. Leave everything else behind.
- Things will never make you as happy as good people and amazing experiences will. Let that be your drive forward in the right direction.
- And Travel. And not just around the country. Around the WORLD. If there's one thing you learn from me... please let it be this.

"The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page." Saint Augustine

This quote couldn't be more true and I've learned more from traveling than I have from any single person, class, or experience in my life. So here's some things I've taken away:

- Traveling has given me a love for something bigger than myself.
- It has taught me to be compassionate, to be intelligent, to be interesting, and to be understanding of people different than myself.
- It has given me 90% of the best days of my life.
- It's given me the opportunity to stand there and say, "This is the single best moment of my life" over and over again. And given me the constant desire to find a better moment than the previous one.
- It's given me a chance to see and discover the world and all of its beauty.
- It's made me realize that I'd never want to live my life in any other way.
- It's made me want to make a difference.
- I've learned different ways of eating, drinking and speaking. And I have thoroughly enjoyed doing so.
- I've learned how to drive on the opposite side of the road.. and quite successfully :)
- I've learned that as Americans, we could learn a lot by adopting the ideals of other countries.
- I've learned that traveling will bring you to tears. Happy tears. The kind of tears I cry every single time I watch the x factor (embarrassing), and every time I see a marriage proposal. The kind of tears I cry when I watch other people's dreams come true. Except better. Because they're your dreams coming true.
- It gives you a kind of passion and love for something that few, if any, other experiences will give you. Eating, drinking, tv watching, working, sleeping, and the normalcy that we typically call life, will NOT give you this. Travel does that. Beauty does that. Really experiencing life and all it has to offer does that.

I'll never forget the many of days we struggled through Europe trying to make our way while uttering the phrases, "I don't get it" and "fuck if I know" daily.

- Like the time we realized we were spending double our money because the American dollar was worth shit.
- Like watching my sister order fish and fries in Ireland instead of chips. Only to in reality get fish and potato chips, while we all ended up with fries she wanted so desperately. Pays to know what you're asking for in whatever country you're in ;). sorry Steph.
- Like the time we took the 'hop on hop off' tour in London, only to realize we spent a buttload of money and wasted a whole lot of time seeing nothing.
- Like the time we wanted to cry in France because only after we got there did we realize that we severely underestimated the difficulty of the language barrier. Turns out french wasn't that easy to catch on to.
- Like sitting in our hotel room for hours in Paris drinking cheap wine and eating grocery store sandwiches while watching french soap operas and music videos because everything that could go wrong that day did. We may or may not have said, "I hate this place" 75 times in the 5 days we were there.
- Like the time we couldn't read spanish and decided to order cuttlefish because we thought it couldn't be "that bad". And it was that bad.
- Like the time we spent $8 on a can of diet coke because we were so hungover and desperate for something to drink.
- Like getting lost in every single place we went to because we couldn't read directions and we were very bad guessers.
- Like looking incredibly ugly because someeee places decided not to have outlets for our beloved hair straighteners.
- Like getting stalked by everyone in Venice because we were 3 young, blonde haired, blue eyed girls. Screaming and pictures were taken wherever we went. It was a small taste of what being famous would be like... and although good for the ego... I hated it.
- Like spending a couple hundred dollars because you had to pay to use the restroom EVERYWHERE in the 30 some days you were in Europe. Including every bar during the pub crawl in Amsterdam.
- Like going to the worlds worst ice bar after having been sooo excited all trip about it.
- AND like forgetting that the drinking age is 18 and dancing with boys in the pub only to be violently shoved away once they found out that you were 23.

And looking back, I wouldn't change any of those "bad" experiences for the world. They were the things we complained about then, and laugh uncontrollably about now. Things we thought were annoying and troublesome in the moment, in the end, gave me the single best experience of my entire life. And here's why:

- Meeting an amazing family in Dublin our first night there. Eating, talking, and drinking my first Guinness in a traditional Irish pub with live Irish music. "Galway Girl" still gives me the chills every time I hear it.
- Traveling to the Cliffs of Moher and being in complete awe that places that beautiful really exist.
- Watching "Wicked" in London and being moved to the point of tears.
- Eating cheap sandwiches at our secret cafe every single day and scoring free chocolate just for being "pretty".
- Seeing the Eiffel Tower and climbing the hundreds of stairs just to write "Amy + Jerrica = Soulmates" on it. And realizing that despite disliking mostly everything else about Paris, that this single event, made it all worth it.
- Drinking Sangria in Spain.
- Pub crawling in Barcelona with our veryyyy good looking Australian hostel mates before Alli arrived and being far too intoxicated by the time she actually got there.
- Realizing 5 pm is wayyyy too early to start drinking in Spain. By time you make it to the club at 2 am, you will turn right around and go home.
- Meeting amazing girls from Arkansas who we swear would be our best friends if we lived in the same city.
- Like standing in the Mediterranean Sea and saying to your friends, "Remember when we said how happy we would be if we made it through this year and to this very moment? Well.. We did it!!"
- Watching the massive gay pride parade in Berlin with some very ignorant, naive and impressionable young boys. And seeing how open minded and fun they were being.
- Telling those same boys that Amy's brother proposed to me on the 50 yard line during a packer game while Aaron Rodgers put the ring on my finger. And them believing it.
- Touring the Sigmund Freud museum like a true psychology freak :) and buying a Freud puppet to prove it.
- Eating pizza, pasta, and gelato in Italy.
- Sitting with my arms around my best friends watching the sunset.
- Shopping in Venice and buying real Italian leather handbags. And shoes. So many shoes.
- Taking a gondola ride down the canal and saying "I've been waiting my whole life for this" and realizing that you are in fact living in the single best moment of your life thus far.
- Riding bikes in the streets of Amsterdam.
- Seeing all of the hype about the red light district first hand.. and boy was it interesting.
- Meeting hundreds of amazingly awesome people along the way.
- And best of all? I got to live out the biggest dream of my life up until that point.

So my point is... traveling will teach you things about yourself, the world, and about the crazy kinds of awesome people in it. Don't be the person who saves every penny you make in hopes that you'll do it someday. Want to know what happened to the last person I know who waited for someday? She had a stroke the day after her retirement. And was then only able to live out her dreams of traveling the world through MY pictures and MY stories. Don't let this be you.

And if you simply don't like traveling, my guess would be that you've driven in a car across a few states, or have maybe flown once to an overly touristy destination and had a bad experience. And I'd strongly urge you to reconsider. You have no idea the beauty that you're missing out on. And you'll never regret a day you've traveled. I promise you.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

It's simple: Act like a Man

There are many characteristics we inherently possess simply by being born as one sex or the other. There are also many that form from the way we've been conditioned throughout our lives. A lot of who we are is the result of how we were raised of course, but in the even bigger picture, who we are results from the way we've been molded by society. See, society expects things from us from birth based solely on our sex. So much so in fact, that our first question after a baby is born? "Is it a boy or a girl?!?!" Not... "Is the baby healthy?" "How is mom doing?" etc. Don't worry though, everybody does it. And once we find out, we subconsciously assign gender roles accordingly. As one of the many examples, crying little boys are often taught to toughen up, while little girls are usually coddled and told "everything will be okay". And how does this affect our adult lives, you ask? Men become assholes, and women become emotional hot messes.

Pretty bold statement eh? (pun very much intended). But just hear me out. In my 25 years of life, I have learned many important things, many unimportant things, and many life changing things. Now, aside from 17 years of school lessons, 10 years of relationship lessons, and a stream of random life lessons along the way, I've learned that the key to getting ahead in work, relationships, and life is simple. Act like a lady man, think like a man.

Believe me, as a woman, I hate to admit this too. BUT the majority of men really do have some (key word here) things right simply by being an asshole, emotionless, rational, selfish, condescending and/or disrespectful. And the special place for all of you who don't fall into that category? Either married, because you're the catch of the lifetime, or living in that special place no single guy ever wants to be: In the friendzone. Does this make me sound bitter? Probably. But really men. I get it now. I understand why you are the way you are. Being that way assures that you live life relatively unscathed, and I think we could all benefit from less pain and more happiness, don't you?

Yes, I realize I'm making A TON of assumptions here and that MANY people don't fall into either category. So before I get hundreds of replies about how you're not a total jerk, or you're not an emotional crazy, let's pretend for the sake of this blog entry, that you are. And if we're being totally honest... I'm sure there's at least a part of 90% of you who fit quite perfectly into your given gender role. BUT before I start any more trouble, here's how acting like a man has benefitted me and here's how it can benefit you:

- Be an asshole sometimes. You won't get anywhere by letting people walk all over you.
- Keep your emotions and feelings in check at all times. Better yet... don't have emotions or feelings at all.
- Never EVER love somebody that doesn't love you. Move across the world if you have to ;).
- Keep your walls up until somebody proves they deserve you and all that you have to offer.
- Be on guard. At all times. People will bullshit you as a way to get something they so selfishly want.   Don't fall for it.
- Be realistic. Optimism and pessimism will truly get you nowhere. Life isn't always rainbows and butterflies, but it's no hell on earth either. Accept the ups and downs as a normal part of life and move on.
- Be selfish. It's up to YOU to make things happen. Don't let anything or anyone get in your way.
- Never rely on anyone to fuel your own happiness. People can take it away at any time, and you need to learn to handle life on your own.
- Be in control of everything that you can control. Your time, your money, your body, your relationships, etc.
- Don't stress over things you can't change. Women are worriers by nature. Men are not. And men definitely have it right in this case. 
- Be very clear in stating how you feel. Keep in mind that like the rest of us, men aren't mind readers. And frankly, most of them are idiots. Ever notice how when a man first tells you he loves you, he simply says, "I love you".  If you're a smart woman, you would wait for those words before making any move, and before falling in love in general (see above). But if you're a hopeless romantic and ehem.. an emotional crazy.. your grand scheme of a 5 page well written letter will undoubtedly fail horribly. Say it with me ladies. "I love you". "I L-O-V-E Y-O-U". That's how you speak like a man (and that's definitely how you speak TO a man). Spell everything out for them. letter. by. letter. Keep everything as simple and as mindless as possible. They might actually catch on if you choose that route.

Now ladies, of course I love that you put your heart and soul into everything you do. I love that you're inherently nurturing, selfless, and that you just spent over $150 and 3 hours of your life at the salon just to be told, "No, I don't notice anything different babe... what is it?" But the harsh reality is that we should all be used to people letting us down, feeding us bullshit, walking all over us, and being reckless with our feelings. The way we handle those situations is the only difference here. Acting like a lady will leave you crushed, devastated, and alone. Acting like a man will leave you happy, independent, and ready conquer the world. Who do you want to be?

Monday, September 2, 2013

Being Saved

I think it's rare that you recognize yourself as living in the single best extended moment of your life. Often times I find myself looking back and saying, "I wish I could back to those days" when referencing the easiness of being a child, the craziness that was college, or my trip to Europe with my best friends. And at other times I'm looking forward to all of the future adventures I have yet to take. For the first time ever though, I'm feeling that THIS is the greatest time of my life, and I've never been happier or more at peace.

Sometimes taking yourself out of a bad situation is all you really need. Bells and whistles not necessary. It turns out that all I really needed was a change of scenery, a little sunshine, crystal clear blue water, and regaining my freedom. Suddenly, I morphed from a lonely, sad, and restless person, to a happy, and apparently really resilient one. It's funny that in a place where I literally know 4 people on the entire continent, I feel far less lonely than I was in the city where I had spent 7 years of my life and knew the majority of people my age.

It's also rare that I say that people have saved me. The hard ass in me would say that I can handle the world on my own and don't need saving. But truthfully, I had been in an unhappy slump for years and had no idea what to do or how to start over, or even if I had enough strength in me to do so. So, I just didn't. I had pretty much accepted my "fate". But this family offering me such an amazing opportunity really did save me from the hell that would have otherwise been my life for many more years to come, and I'm so so grateful for that.

So what have I been doing exactly? Friday and Monday were my first couple of days alone with the girls and everything went pretty smoothly aside from a few differences between words... Nappies/Diapers, Nickers/Undies, Rubbish/Garbage, Biscuits/Cookies, Whatever they call them/Braids, Whinging/Whining, etc. But aside from that, things have been great! My general tasks include: driving them to school and/or activities, making lunch, napping, coloring, and dancing, lots of dancing :)! I'm done at 4 daily and have Tuesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays free to do as I choose! This weekend, after so kindly being invited along as usual, I chose to tag along with the family, as I really had nothing better to do. They are the only people I know in this place, after all.  So, we went to Ben's friends house for Father's day. They warned me that there would be lots of people, lots of noise, and LOTS of eating. I assured them that I was used to the Italian way of life, but boy were they right.

I walked into the multi-million dollar home in complete awe. The layout and decor was flawless and the view of the city was breathtaking. I walked outside and was immediately offered a glass of wine and a beer. Not a bad start. I then scarfed down a whole lot of appetizers, including fried cheese. This place was starting to feel a whooole lot like home, and I loved it. I then finished my generous slab of lasagna and was so relieved to finally be done eating. Then Ben whispers to me, "You know this is just the beginning right?" I didn't. I looked over to see the grill being fired up again, with about 25 steaks, countless sausages, and lamb chops. Salads of every kind being brought to the table as well. I waited for everyone to make their way up and I slowly tried to blend in. Maybe I could eat a little potato salad and some sausage, I guess. And just as I was scurrying away thinking I got away free, I saw a huge steak being slammed on to my plate. It appeared that I had no choice. So of course, I ate it :). And just as I was thinking of sneaking off to find the kids and take a nap, I got called over to take shots. We opened two bottles of who knows what and they started pouring them up. "Cheers!" I said multiple times as the bottles made their rounds. I still have no clue what I was drinking, but it almost made me hit the floor. My chest was burning for at least 20 minutes afterwards. Then of course we had dessert, which was a selection of 10 amazing cakes, custards, and pies. And I tried just about a little of everything. And after all of that? We headed to Julie's moms house for chinese food and more Father's Day celebrations. So, there goes my plan of staying sober and getting stick thin this year. Oh well :).

Overall, it's been an amazing (almost) 2 weeks. I'd be lying if I said I felt anything less than comfortable here. Of course I thought I'd have a harder time adjusting, or would feel a bit awkward living in someone else's house, but that's the furthest thing from how I feel. In fact, I felt right at home by day two. When I'm done with work, I choose to spend my time with the family. We talk for hours like we've always been lifelong friends and have dinner together every night. It really has become my home away from home, and I couldn't be happier about my decision to be here. Thank y'all for your support. And we all LOVE visitors if you're ever in the area :). As always, peace and love.