Monday, August 29, 2011

On why I'm here, the nature of blogging, and the annoyance of packing

          au pair [o pɛʀ] : a domestic assistant from a foreign country working for, and living
          as part of, a
host family. Typically, au pairs take on a share of the family's
          responsibility for childcare as well 
as some housework, and receive a small monetary
          allowance for personal use. 
The title comes from the French term au pair, meaning 

          "on a par" or "equal to," indicating that the relationship is intended to be one of 
          equals: the au pair is intended to become a member of the family, albeit a temporary 
          one, rather than a domestic servant.  (Thanks, Wikipedia!)
                  -->And see, I told you I wasn't a nanny. 

To jump right into some background for those who may have been unaware/uninformed/ignorant, this whole au pair thing basically came out of nowhere. A combination of having nothing better to do post-graduation and my boyfriend, Nate (visit his blog at (you're welcome, Nate)), getting a Fulbright scholarship to study in Bulgaria for the year (okay, the latter was what really pushed it!) led me to join, largely to see if it looked interesting, and with a very minimal degree of seriousness. About two weeks after I joined the website, a family in Munich asked me to come and be their au pair for the year. I stopped, blinked, wondered what the hell I was doing, contemplated actually letting my parents in on this intriguing and spontaneous plan of mine, and accepted.

Five months later, I'm T-33 hours from boarding a plane to Boston, and from there on to Munich, arriving at my final destination (hopefully) at around 9:45 AM Wednesday morning, local time. I suppose I should be posting this on my actual night-before-departure, but this is my last night at home (staying at a closer-to-airport location tomorrow with my aunt and uncle) and Tuesday's wake-up time of around 5 AM make tonight rather more optimal for frivolous pursuits like blog writing.  The family I'm headed to are an Irish-German family with two children, aged 2 and 5, who live in the Ramersdorf-Perlach district in the east of Munich.

I'm Laura, by the way. I trust if you're reading this, you'd know that, but I'm pretty sure I didn't make this Google-unsearchable, so just to be on the safe side...

I've never kept a blog before, and though the solipsist in me likes the idea, the rather more unassuming realist has always wondered why people would care to read about me? I hope I have some (positive) adventures to make your time worth while.  I don't promise this will be entirely on-topic, but we'll see how I do.

Okay, enough pondering the philosophy behind human selfishness. To stick to my above list of topics, I'm currently lying on my bed in my childhood room surrounded by drying clothing, random books, numerous cords and electronic devices, and a lot of pointless memorabilia. A large suitcase and duffel bag have finally made it out of the mess that is my bedroom and downstairs, weighing a cumulative 96 pounds (I'm praying that weight stays true until my bags are checked).  I love the neatness and order of packing for a trip, but when leaving for a year things become rather less cut-and-dry. How many books does one bring? Are 20 pairs of underwear sufficient? Are you positive I can't wear heels on cobblestones? More than anything I'm surprised at how efficiently I've managed to cram the important parts of my life into a suitcase. I even had room for less important things: the fake flowers in an iced tea bottle that followed me throughout every college abode, the drink coaster I bought at Salisbury Cathedral as a fifteen-year-old, a melted candle that brings back some of the happiest times in my recent life. Throw in a framed pictures and there you have it: the necessary ingredients to take a life across a continent, an ocean, and another continent.

I won't be able to tell until I post this if I sound sufficiently "blog-y." I should probably put something about the beauty of starting a new chapter of my life, the tragedy of leaving my home town, the anticipation of starting over...but really, I'm just ready to get this show on the road. Let's go have an adventure.

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