Au pair life: how coronavirus changed my plans (part 2)
In the first part of this five-series long blogs I started writing my story how I left the US. I also mentioned that I was kicked out by my host family again. Or not? Oh, yes I was. In this part I will tell you what happened after I received the text message saying not to come back home again…
March 18th 2020
It was a new beautiful day. Californian sun was shining since the early morning and I with my swollen eyes and triple bags under the eyes at 8am texted my host mom a message: “Hey, can I come back?” Within five minutes I got the response: “Yes, you can. When you come, you´ll have 2 hours to pack your things and then leave. I will need your phone and car keys back.” And this was exactly the moment when my day full of phone calls and arrangements started. Of course after another breakdown when I put my sh*ts back together. Then I resigned and if at this moment anyone would have asked me what my name was, I wouldn´t be able to answer. Fortunately my friends were thinking for me and told me what to do: call your coordinator (LCC)! LCC is a person who takes care of a certain group of au pairs from the certain area. Their phone is supposed to be turned on 24/7 and so if in the middle of the night you can´t sleep because you are homesick missing mom and you have no one to talk to, she is here for you. Well, it should work like this. My previous LCC was amazing and I really didn´t like this new one from the very first moment we got her. I remember the day when she was texting and calling me and she was obviously upset about something. She asked me to finally answer her emails. I called her immediately back saying I had no idea what she was talking about because as long as I was aware, she sent me about four emails, some of them were literally the same but I replied to all of them. Turned out that she misled me with another Lucia… So, let´s get back to my story. I tried to reach out my LCC but of course she wasn´t picking up. So I texted our previous LCC who replied ASAP and she sent me an emergency number for au pairs. In the same time I was calling home and my mom forbid me to get back to that house and pack my things unless this situation won´t cool down a little bit because I can´t be without a phone. Scared as hell I dialed the emergency number and after I told the lady on the other side my story she said: “WHAT??!!” Then she promised me to get me a flight ticket back to Slovakia and asked me if I had a place to stay. Accidentally I changed plans to my friends and at the end we were saying goodbye until Sunday… But you know the saying: “A friend in need is a friend indeed.” And I was so happy that those ones didn´t turn their back on me.
Two hours later my LCC finally woke up and called me. After I picked up the phone I got a five minutes long lecture how irresponsible I was, how dared I and what was I thinking. When she calmed down, she asked me to tell her what exactly happened. She said she wanted to hear my story first. She also said that she wasn´t talking to my host mom yet, she just read her email. When I got my word and explained her what actually happened last night, suddenly she changed her voice and apologized me for being so mean at me first and she said she understood the reason of my actions. I wonder what my host mom texted her in that email but I don´t think I will ever find out. I also told her that since I couldn´t reach her up during the whole morning, I called to the emergency number and they had been already working on getting me a flight ticket back home. LCC was a little bit surprised about this information but soon she called me again asking me to go and pack my things as soon as possible because there was a small chance that I could have flown home even today. I was packed in 30 minutes. My flight home was at the end booked on Sunday which was actually a good thing because as I was in a rush packing, I forgot to pack all the important documents I was hiding in a drawer. I picked them up on the following day: there was a plastic bag waiting for me in front of my ex-home… In the evening I received my itinerary for Sunday´s flights: San Francisco – Los Angeles – London – Schwechat but in the same time we looked up that Schwechat has started canceling flights from London and London´ s airport started cancelling flights as well…
March 19th 2020
In the morning I texted my LCC asking her if she can check on my flight since it was showing us that my flight to London had been canceled. I didn´t hear back from her until the evening. In the same time I texted to Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak republic where I described my situation and sent them a request to enroll me to a repatriation process by a special flight for Slovaks in the US that was supposed to be on Wednesday, March 25th from Washington DC. Just in case. And I also texted to my Slovak health insurance because I knew that after coming to Slovakia I had to go to a two-weeks long quarantine and since I spent the past 18 months out of Slovakia, I wasn´t in their agency anymore. And if I got coronavirus on a way home, I wouldn´t know what to do…
Are you wondering how I spent the rest of the day? Well, as I was leaving my ex-home, I brought here two huge suitcases, one fully-packed carry-on, backpack and big XXL paper bag. All my stuff were packed by style “just throw it all in here as soon as you can but at least try to separate cosmetics from all those shirts, sweatshirts, dresses, shoes, jackets, drugs and pants you have.” So I brought here one massive mess that I was organizing for two hours trying to create two piles: what I need during my quarantine in Slovakia and what my friends will send me to Slovakia once this is over. It will be like a small Christmas to me!
And then there was a time for mission impossible: to buy a respirator/ face mask, gloves and disinfection for my way home. Once we couldn´t get it even in Home Depot I remembered, that in American Red Cross where I was volunteering we had such a supplies! And of course they gave me the full pack. Sadly I told them goodbye (at least I had time to do so) and for the first time I started feeling nervous about my journey home. My hypochondria´s thoughts started taking over and I came to a conclusion that this journey won´t be just mentally or physically difficult but if I don´t get sick, it will be a miracle.
At the end of the day as I was watching Titanic sinking to the ocean I realized one important thing: as bad as my situation seemed to be (my mental health was completely screwed up), there was one amazing thing that happened: I wasn´t an au pair anymore! Finally this day came… Well, it came a little bit earlier than I expected and in a different way I thought it would be but those who already know me for a while/ read my blogs, already know that I like to do things… differently.