If you had asked me 6 months ago if I would be in Europe taking care of a two year old, I would have said you were insane.
In May of 2011, I graduated from the University of Illinois with a double degree and after months of searching, little to no prospects of a new job. I became discouraged because I thought that life after college would be so exciting and filled with all the possibilities, but it seems I had so little. Boy, was I wrong.
My sister, who is pregnant, joked with me that I could just take care of her baby when it arrived in a few months for a job. This got me to thinking: I love kids, why not do that for work? She laughed at my conclusion, but after seriously considering it suggested looking into being an au pair. "You've always wanted to live abroad - this is the perfect opportunity". And that's exactly what it has been!
I've been in Munich for three months now taking care of a 2 year old boy, for a single mom. My host mother is gracious, considerate, and very fun! She's taken me with her to Austria on her vacation, as well as showing me around Munich.
Her little son is quite the handful, and I would be lying if I said it was easy, but it is also very rewarding. I love hearing him learn new English phrases - he's like a little sponge.
My biggest fear was that I wouldn't make friends. At first, it was very lonely and I mostly hung out with my host mom. Then, through the internet, I came to meet other au pairs and make many friends. Play time with „my little brother“ is fantastic with another au pair and their kids.
Though I like my job very much, there is another reason I am here - and that is to travel! It is so easy to get from one country to another. I have only been in Munich 3 months and I have already been to Austria, Netherlands, and Czech Republic. I'm planning a trip with my friends to Rome next month!
I'm not going to say it was easy leaving my friends and a culture I knew so well (I still miss mexican food!), but if the next 9 months are anything like the first three, I know this is a year of my life. I will never regret and look back on as the most brave, most enriching, and most exciting part of my life.