26 February 2013


Lately I've been struggling with the future. I've got so many questions roaming around in my head and no one to really answer them. The two children I play with hardly have any answers for me. Their parents, my employers, don't bother to ask me anything of worth. Most likely they're wondering why I'm in a job like this at my age. The average au pair is 19 or 20 years old. Older au pairs may be 21 or 22. I'm 25.

I've got a lot of options for autumn, but I'm just not sure which path to pursue. I love living abroad. That's a fact. But I also miss my family and the secure community of close friends with a shared history. One of the necessities of living the way I do is the ability to meet new people and accept one another as friend even if you never would be if you lived in your hometown. I am so grateful for all the amazing people I've met over the years, even if we only had a few moments together. Yet at the same time, I finally feel my old relationships are suffering badly with three years of constant separation between us. I miss the silent understandings, the genuine caring, the laughs of past memories.

As you can see, I am at odds with myself. To go on living abroad pursuing new paths and options as they present themselves or to move back home to feel comfort in the familiarity and acceptance of those around me. Even those options are too simple. If I moved back home, there is no guarantee I'll even be near to family and friends. I could move to another state or city in hopes of a good job. And this presents a new problem. I feel utterly unsure of what career path to choose and I feel I have no workplace experience. Of course, I do, but I always think of myself as a little girl in a grown man's world. I've lived abroad and worked in environments that were exceptional and welcoming to the "foreigner". I've been fortunate to have good workplace experiences  but with that I don't know if I have "professional" workplace skills.

Sometimes I even catch myself wondering if these desires to "have a career" are even mine or what I think society expects of me: "You're twenty-five Hannah, you should stop all this moving around and settle down somewhere. You should be saving for the future. You can't always live by your whims and desires. Your parents won't always be here to help you out in your times of need. You've got to be responsible. Besides, how will you ever meet someone if you're forever moving from one place to another just to "experience" it for a while, to feel the pulse of the culture? You have to live with some stability and longevity. Everything can't always be so temporary."

This is what I've been feeling lately. I just spilled my guts out to you and actually recognized my own insecurities as they write themselves out in finality.

Does anyone else out there battle with similar issues? How do you cope?

Pictures: reading material in bed / wanderings through the city / winter beach day with the kiddos / quiet evenings in my flat / cooking genuine Italian meals / mornings spent at museums 

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