In 2009, I left Sweden to move to America for a year as an Au pair.
Before then I had only traveled in Europe for short visits so going to America by myself was a gigantic step for me, but little did I know how much this roller coaster adventure was going to change my life or where it was going to take me in the end.
My first weeks in America started out on a very bumpy path after I realised that I’d chosen the “wrong” host family for me, and was going to have to find a new one, in two weeks, unless I wanted to get the boot out of the country.
I gathered all my powers to go find a new family to spend my year with but as time past and no family felt quite right I was starting to panic. I even went on “final” goodbye trips to New York City because I thought I was going to have to go home.
It was heart breaking.
Two days before booking my ticket back to Sweden I got a call from a woman named Kimberley. I still remember the conversation clearly. She told me about her son Tyler who was into snowboarding, skating and dancing and her daughter Ally who loved being creative, was a true clown and played soccer on her time off. After speaking to Kim on the phone my hopes went through the roofs.
I arrived at Kim and Rob’s gorgeous white house located in Montclair, New Jersey.
Kim opened the front door showing me into a massive bright foyer and Ally and Tyler came bouncing down the curved stairs in front of me into my arms. They pulled my arms up the stairs, so excited to show me their rooms and the house they’ve grown up in and Manning (the house cat named after the New York Giants Eli Manning). Tyler showed me tricks with his mini hand skateboards and Ally proudly showed off her massive collection of stuffed animals.
I knew in that moment that this was the family I was supposed to spend my year with, it was a perfect fit for me and it seemed meant to be. It was.
The day after I was picked up by Kim and the kids in the van and welcomed into what was going to be my new home.
I spent my year working as an Au Pair with this family, living in their house and caring for Ty, Ally and Manning as if they were my own siblings. We had an amazing year together filled with love, dancing in the kitchen, snowboarding, singing in the car, beaching in Florida, and cycling in Nantucket. We shared everything, which, of course, also ended up in sibling like arguments but that always ended in compromise, hugs and laughter.
It was a true pleasure living with these guys and coming with them for family vacations, road trips and family dinners.
I really felt like part of their family.
I spent my time off exploring New Jersey’s suburbs and New York City with my Swedish, English and American friends. We had nights out in New York City, we went to concerts, had house parties everywhere. We danced in the rain & went on road trips. We had traditional nights at the local pub Just Jakes with “Someone Say Something” playing their catchy tunes for their NJ fans, and traveled in the bands van to close by suburbs and cities as true groupies getting the crowd jumping, haha.
We survived road trips to Atlantic City and bachelor parties at New Jerseys beaches (well, barely). We had nights outside by the fireplace and ended up on the news on National TV as “The now famous swedish girls” when we spent the sunrise on a beach the morning following 4th of July.
I had my mom and her best friend for a visit, and two of my closest friends showing up both planned and as a great surprise. I’ll post the epic surprise video once I’ve located it!
It was a year built up on adventures and fun and it was, in true honesty, one of the best years of my life so far.
I spent my last month road tripping from New York City – Los Angeles covering the southern part of the USA. That’s however an adventure that needs it’s own post (if not 5) and I will get onto that as soon as I’ve finished this one! 😉
During my time in America I met people who are still some of my closest friends, and got attached and became a part of a family that was not mine. I grew roots in a country that was nothing like my own, but that is now a big part of me.
A part of my soul was attached to a part of a new country and this is how it all started, my life as an international citizen.
Have you been to America or worked as an Au Pair? Please tell me about your adventure in the comments below!