Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Au Pairing: Where in the world.

One of the most important things you should decide first is where you are hoping to au pair.  Your application/profile will most likely ask you to narrow down your choices- and it's best you do so specifically. 

Rather than just putting Europe, list the countries you are specifically interested in. Also, specify what type of location you would live in. For instance, I put "big to medium sized cities." This is important while "village" and "rural town" mean just that- you and one other family within two hours of a larger city. (specifics are key.)

Note: If you suggest you would like to live in a big city, do not assume you will live in cities like Paris, Berlin, London.  Most likely, you will live in a city outside of the big cities (which is awesome in its own self.) 

However, don't limit yourself.  If you are contacted by a family outside of a city you were hoping to work in, check out google maps and investigate commute times and stay open-minded. I live in a beautiful ocean-side city and I love being 30 minutes outside of the big city. It's always nice returning to our little seaside city for daily life after a weekend out in the busy hub-bub of the bigger city.

If there is another thing you definitely need to do before choosing a place to call home for a year, it's do your research. I personally had studied German since junior high and had taken many courses on intercultural communication in college, so I felt pretty confident about what to expect.  However, I have learned a lot of new things since being here and find myself google-ing certain cultural mannerisms frequently.

Dive into anything and everything you can get your hands on about a country/culture you are interested in. As soon as you think you're pretty literate about most of the cultural norms you find yourself in many everyday situations you hadn't even thought about being different and thinking: "Holy moly. what am I supposed to do!" (but hey, moments like that keep you on your toes & adventures around every corner.)

Take the following things into consideration, for instance:
family life
weather
school
expectations of children
holidays
daily life
food
Of course, I'm not suggesting you generalize a culture altogether- rather, encouraging you to get an overall sense of the cultural differences.
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Monday, August 29, 2011

{Quote of the Week.}

{via: flickr.}
It is always the simple things that change our lives. And these things never happen when you are looking for them to happen. Life will reveal answers at the pace life wishes to do so. You feel like running, life is on a stroll.” 
 -donald miller
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Friday, August 26, 2011

The Leap.

The Leap.

by: illana burk of makeness.

You stand there… looking at the divide that stands between what you have and what you want.

The chasm is where all the things you’re afraid of lie – waiting in the quiet shadows. They don’t even notice you. They share their quiet existence only with themselves – creeping softly in the dark.
But you feel them – whispering at you to back off of the ledge, and head back to safety.
But you’re ready.
You WANT what’s on the other side.
You NEED what’s on the other side.
So you stand there. Firmly planted. And think about how you got here.
A lifetime of tiny choices – missteps – failures – triumphs.
A career of excellence and shortcomings.
A thousand encouraging words – and even more that stung to the core.
You stand here because you were meant to.
You were driven to.
You have to.
And now, here you stand, firmly planted.
Hoping the the path rises up to meet your fearful feet.
Hoping that this last test is one you can pass.
Hoping that what’s on the other side is worth it.
Hoping that you have enough faith to unearth one foot, and then the other to take that first step – eyes closed – into the dark.
The only sound you hear is the quickening thump in your chest.
Thump Thump
Thump Thump
Thump Thump
Your palms ache from being squeezed beneath you nervous fingers.
You wish, more than anything that someone would just give you a push.
The voice in your head is telling you all the reasons why this is a bad idea.
You could go back to the job you hate.
You could tell your friends and family the same thousand excuses you’ve used before when you failed in this moment.
They will love you anyway.
You could turn around right now and no one would judge you.
And that voice is right.
You could do any of those things, and it would all be ok.
But you know something that little voice in your head doesn’t.
You are ready.
This time IS different.
You’re ready to have the life you’ve always wanted.
You’re ready to risk it all.
You’re ready to be the exception, not the rule.
You have that fire inside you that tells you that no matter what, all roads lead here.
To this very spot.
Firmly planted.
Terrified.
But Brave.
Ready.
Calm.
The voice in your head quiets.
And all you hear is the sound of One. Long. Slow. Breath.
In…
and Out…..
Any you’re not hoping anymore.
Now, you know.
You know that this is it.
You know that the money will come.
You know that you are brilliant.
You know that the road will rise up to meet you.
You know that this path – is the only path, and the one you traveled to get here is gone.
And you CAN do this.
And you are not afraid anymore.
And you are certain.
And you know that It. Will. Be. Flipping. Amazing.
You know this.
Right now.
You know this.
And the earth around your feet begins to soften.
And your fingers tingle with excitement.
And your heartbeat begins to slow.
There is only one think left to do.
You open your eyes.

And you leap.

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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Au Pairing: Where to Start.

After receiving many emails interested in how I landed myself this scary, invigorating, surreal, brilliant, once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity au pairing abroad, I decided to write a series on the ABCs of Au Pairing. I, by absolutely no means, am an expert on au pairing. However, I would love to share some advice from my own personal experiences and help others in joining the au pair adventure. Feel free to ask any questions you may have in the post's comments.

Important note: your country, as well as the country you wish to au pair in, have requirements and regulations that you should read before beginning your process. Also, some countries may require that you use a specific agency or site. This is a great list of countries and their regulations

I did my search from the perspective of:  
An American au pair looking for a family in Europe.

When I started looking for potential families to au pair for, I signed up at three different sites.  I wanted to get my name out there and was, quite honestly,  not sure of which sites were most promising.  I found the most luck with the sites Aupair World and GreatAupair.com. Both offer a plethora a participants and have a relatively simple setup.
Also, both sites have basic and premium memberships. I used the basic membership (because i was am sans credit/debit card and poor college student) and it worked well.

If you can manage to build a facebook profile, filling out your profile information on either of the aforementioned websites should be fairly easy.  However, unlike your facebook profile on which you may withhold various information like your "activities" and "hobbies," take the time to fill out your au pair profile thoroughly and be extremely honest. It is important that the family gets a real, very personal sense of you as a person.

The questions usually range from everything like your height to your life 'ultimate' goals. Don't write anything you don't feel comfortable including, but put yourself in the position of the families: they are trying to find out as much as they can about a complete stranger they are considering bringing into their family's lives for a year. Also, you want to know as much as you can about potential families.  You'll be more drawn to completed family profiles, as will they.

Tip: include many photos of yourself (face) in your profile.

Upcoming post: Where in the world.
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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Freunde von Freunden: Sarah Illenberger.

Freunde von Freunden's tour of illustrator Sarah Illenberger's apartment is brilliant. The beautiful hardwood floors & crisp white walls, accented with pops of color, create such a divine living space. Check out the whole tour of Sarah's space here.
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{Quote of the Week.}

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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

a cool site, a new about page & a few questions.

because that is exactly how i would respond to such occasions.
my big seester (that's how we prefer to say it) sent me the link to this rad site.
needless to say, i've spent far too much time today engrossed in its archives.

but i did, however, manage to get my new about page finished.
(is the about page in too small of print?)

i'm thinking of a question & answer page... 
thoughts? questions? does asking you that make me sound like a brat?
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Monday, August 15, 2011

{Quote of the Week.}

 
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Friday, August 12, 2011

nearer you.

[Kansas, August 2010.]

most days, it's the littlest of things that make me miss home. 
a good 'ole summertime thunderstorm. ice cubes. small talk in line at the grocery store. rapping in my car. "that's what she said" jokes.

but sometimes, like today, skype just doesn't cut it.
i want to sit on the patio with my friends & complain about the heat together. i want to swim with my nieces & nephews & scoop them when we have to run across that darn hot cement. i want to snuggle my very favorite poodle.  i want to laugh with my siblings, even if it's at my own expense. i want to eat bar-b-que with my parents & catch them up on all of the adventures i've been dying to tell them in person.

but really, i miss all of those things everyday. 
(oh! and SYRUP drizzled on eggo waffles...)

and that's okay. 

because a year isn't so long & it'll make home that much sweeter.

& after all, i'm going to miss a whole lot about this place, too.

a whole lot.


The years went by and never knew
That each one brought me nearer you

-The Years, Sara Teasdale 
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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

"more moments of heaven, and less locking of the knees."


Unclench your fists, unlock your knees and also the door to your heart, take a deep breath, and begin to swim. Begin to let the waves do their work in you.
-shauna niequist

Recommended reading: 
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Monday, August 8, 2011

dancing & french fries.

{via: blogdylan.}

any fella that dances to "party in the usa" with me 
& then buys me french fries after said dancing is quite a find, 
if ya ask me.
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{Quote of the Week.}

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Friday, August 5, 2011

your day in the sun.

 
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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Sending all my love across the big blue pond.

[me & noah. thanksgiving 2010.]

happy 4th birthday, mr. noah
oh how i wish i was there to give you a big old smooch.

i am your aunt-- it's kind of in the job description.
Love you to infinity & beyond-
Aunt Anna

 p.s. holy canoli, i miss these little ones.
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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

I can't wait to show you.

 [dubrovnik, crotia. july 2011.]

i don't know where in the world my true love is at the moment.
quite literally.
i don't know what his favorite book is.
i don't know if he wears glasses or whether or not he has freckles.
i don't even know his name.

but. 

i do know that whenever we honeymoon,
 we're going to dubrovnik.

we're going to swim in the crystal blue water 
& sneak a few kisses in the coves.
& i'll tell him about when i went in the summer of 2011.
how i knew i had to bring him there.

how even though i didn't know him yet, 
(or what on earth was taking him so long)
i knew he would have the same idea when he saw those coves. 

& i know just where to find the best pizza.
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Monday, August 1, 2011

{Quote of the Week.}

{via: tumblr.}
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