How I became an au pair in the US… and how I survived it all (part 2)
In the first part I was writing why I decided to go to the US, what is required if you want to become an au pair and how do first days in the US look like. If you haven´t read it yet, you can find the blog here.
Today I will focus on events that happened straight before I left Slovakia and after I came to the US. When I was writing these lines I was sitting in the airplane and I had two hours before landing at the JFK. I was thinking about everything that happened just few hours ago and I told myself: “these are just a bad signs that I shouldn´t go anywhere.” Eleven months later I am still here, alive and healthy and I am telling myself that this au pair thing isn´t anything easy to handle but it worth it. But let´s see what can happen to anyone just few hours before leaving for your great one year adventure!
Wednesday, September 5th 2018
Last weeks I was dealing with gingival infection and antibiotics didn´t work, as soon as I woke up in the morning I grabbed my phone and dialed my dentist. I asked him if he can extract my 8th tooth today because I couldn´t imagine dealing with such problems in the US (and now I know that I´d probably had to leave to Slovakia because it´s sooooo expensive here). An hour later I was already sitting in his chair and after analyzing my teeth he came to a following conclusion: we will extract one of them and the other one we will just open the tooth ridge. Sounds good.
Another hour later I was leaving his office, little bit high from all the drugs he gave me and with a hole on one side of my mouth and destroyed another side of my mouth I came home. Amazing! By the evening I got a sore throat and so I started healing myself by garlic, ginger tea and lemons. Final effect never came and the teeth pain was even stronger than my sore throat.
To complicate my situation even more, suddenly my brother called me telling me that a book and plants shell felt off the wall and all the mess ended up on my clothes… What I didn´t know on Wednesday was a fact that Saturday morning will be even worse…
Friday, September 7th 2018
Today I was supposed to have a goodbye party. I had to cancel it completely because I was laying sick in my bed…
Saturday, September 8th 2018
Good morning. After I woke up, I grabbed my phone to scroll Facebook… And then it happened. I realized that I needed to blow out my nose and I did so. And then I saw a blood on the tissue. And more and more blood. It was 7am, me, completely scared to death, was running to the bathroom and the blood was keep on going on and on and I couldn´t stop it. When I lost way too much blood and was already coughing it as well, I ran to mom´s room to wake her up, then I woke up my little brother and he just sadly said that he has never done first aid for stopping the nose bleeding… So you can imagine how happy we were when finally after an hour we finally successfully stopped the bleeding! Then we went to the hospital and doctor gave me an electrocoagulation which was supposed to prevent any further bleeding (it was really an unpleasant treatment). Then the doctor said that there was a big probability that the bleeding will start again once I will be in the airplane because of the pressure. Great! I got two nose tampons for any future first aid and around lunchtime we left home. After we came home I could barely pack my luggage and around 4pm I crawled into my bed because I felt like a trash… I eat several Tylenols, drank lot of teas and was crying to mom that all this America´s idea was a stupid idea and I am not going anywhere… Do you know what did she respond to me? “It was your idea, you are already packed you will handle it!” End of discussion.
Sunday, September 9th 2018
At 5am my alarm clock rang and I still felt like a trash. Unfortunately (or luckily?) nobody felt sorry for me and so 2hours later we arrived to Vienna´s Schwechat airport. I made the flight. I was suffering during the whole 9 hours thinking what to do if I start nose bleeding and I was checking my nose frequently. I was so surprised that this didn´t happen. But then I started feeling sick (maybe I was way too nervous) but luckily this problem was temporarily solved by a travel gum. I was thinking about all the possible and impossible scenarios and I was imagining me all covered by blood because a flight attendant will prohibit me to leave my chair… Of course nothing like this happened and after this exhausting flight I finally came to my hotel room in hotel Hilton where I typed down my first impressions: “I am in the hotel room. And I feel much better. Those Americans are crazy. I am sitting on my bed and shaking because it´s so cold here. I was also hoping that it will be a perfect 30°C outside but it is raining and it´s 16°C only. That sucks. A heat from the outside will not come and my cold is killing me… yes!” It was just a perfect beginning of my adventure!
Arrival to a new family – Seattle (September 12th 2018 – December 7th 2018)
I came to Seattle in the late evening (flight lasted about 5 hours) and at Sea-Tac airport there was waiting for me my future host mom (HM). Host dad (HD) and kids: a 5 years old B and 8 years old A stayed at home and we met on the other day in the morning. How were my first feelings? After few moments of an embarrassing silence in the car I got shocked when I saw my small little room in the basement where I was supposed to spend my following year. It didn´t take a long until I got familiar with all the noises of the floor cracking and other sounds coming out from the boiler which was straight next to my room. I had my own bathroom and I was separated from the whole family. On the following day my host family (HF) took me for a dinner to get know each other better. HD showed me around and gave me a lot of tips for my free time. Since both of the kids go to school (the school was just across the street) I was working during the mornings and after school.
My day looked like this:
I prepared breakfast and lunches for kids (sandwiches, fruit, vegetable, candies or chips). The older boy got ready by himself and so I was helping only the younger one. We tried to poop, brushed teeth, brush hair and at 8:10am we were running to school. After I came back home I took the trash out and unloaded the dishwasher.
Free time… I used to go to the gym and came back home around the lunchtime, I was calling with my family and friends, watching TV shows or walking around Seattle streets…
Kids came back home from school. With the younger one we used to play with LEGO or we organized a play date – his friends came over and they played together. The older boy used to stay in his room and read books all the afternoon…
That doesn´t sound bad at all, right?
So, in reality it looked like this:
Since the summer came A used to beat B without any particular reason. So it was pretty difficult to have both of them safely in the same room. Moreover, since my arrival A didn´t have any interest in hanging out with me – I tried to talk about his favorite PC games, books, jump on the trampoline, play basketball, soccer, build LEGO etc… He wanted to do everything on his own. Usually he joined me and B when we came back from school while we were watching TV. I contacted the previous au pair asking her what to do about it but she just told me to push him to join us. But that was before he was beating and kicking a ball into his brother, right… That evening when my HF announced me that they have been thinking about rematch, which means changing a family for me, I think A heard our conversation because suddenly – on the next day he wanted to spend with me the whole afternoon by playing, we played foosball, soccer, we talked, he was so nice and we had so much fun… On the third day after this change I was off and then my HF left for vacation. When they came back I spent one last nice afternoon with my host kids and then my HF told me that they don´t like me and that I was going into a rematch…
B was an amazing kid. He just wanted to play – build LEGO or read books all the time. We used to make a slide out of the staircase or his friends came over and they had a play date. Both of the boys loved to cuddle with their dog. Awww, their dog…
This family, such as the most of American families had a dog – a seven months old Black Labrador, Nina. She was very moody but she was pretty intelligent dog. One day when I was walking her she started being sulky because she didn´t want to go home (I have never observed that my HF would walk her for an hour twice a day as I did while they were on vacation…). When suddenly she stopped in the middle of the road (as usual) and she didn´t want to move. Since my HD was asking me to not push her (I looked at him if he was thinking that I was a torturer) I told myself: “Okay girl, let the car ran over you.” Of course not. I started pushing her but what happened was that she unleashed herself and runaway into a park. Through another road. I was so happy that nothing ran over her. Then I was chasing her for about 10 more minutes around the park, some of the dog walkers were yelling at me saying why she was not leashed, some of them tried to help me and catch her but then she runaway again. She was such a weird dog, she always looked at me as I was torturing her. I was so glad that she wasn´t ran over by a car because as my HD told me: “She is like our own daughter…” It was such a shame that he couldn´t create at least a small relationship with me as he had with Nina. One beautiful day I just got a message from him saying: “I can´t stand her, wanna rematch.”
I was terrified when I saw this on the screen of my phone telling myself that this is not reality. After getting some courage I walked upstairs into a kitchen where was a lot of smoke… HD burnt something. I told him that he had sent me a message which was not supposed to be for me but his wife I was assuming. He didn´t even look at me and completely ignored me. So I went back to my room. I called to my friend trying to explain her what just happened when suddenly I saw that my HD was trying to call me. I was staring at the phone, dropped off the call with my friend and went back to the stairs. I met my HD there and he was so upset saying me that he wanted only one thing from me – to watch A while he will go to the swimming class with B. My eyeballs almost fell out from their place as he was saying this and then I just told him that I had no idea what he was talking about since he never asked me for anything. Then he said that he is not going to talk to me without HM´s presence and he left. 30 minutes later I received a text message from my HM who was making sure that I was all right and that we should meet in the evening and talk. And this was the first day when my HF told me that they have been thinking about rematch…
And what happened next you can read in the following episode.