Sunday, May 29, 2011

New Blog!!!

It's that day!  The final post of aupairist...

Why? you ask... Well it's because I've started a NEW BLOG!!!! WAHHOOOO!!! (Yes... I'm excited).  You can check out my new blog, Countdown 2 Done HERE!  It's a blog about my life back home and projects / goals I am completing!  If you're a follower here I'd LOVE it if you'd follow my new blog, or if you're not a follower of this blog it would be awesome if you'd follow my new blog!  Can't wait to start blogging about things I've already done since I've been home!  Hope you'll join me!

So long Aupairist!  It's been real!
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Friday, May 13, 2011

1 month post Europe!

This might be one of the more difficult posts to begin...

I've been home for a little over a month now and honestly Europe is starting to feel like a dream.  When I first came home everything here was new but familiar, the stores, my old clothes, my friends, my room, but now it feels as if I never left.  The longer I'm back the farther the past year seems to be.  It's like I'm looking through a telescope back at my life and my year abroad is just a speck of dust on the lens.  I'm so glad that I made a photo book that I can look in to make sure that I remember those unbelievable "I can't believe I did that" moments.

Now that I'm job searching and back with "the rents" I often get a little down on myself when I look at my peers who have jobs and have left the nest.  I have to remember that they had an extra year to find a job and get ahead on the "American dream" lifestyle I'm so craving at this point in my life.  The hardest part is to remember that I took that time to see a bit of the world and am so much better for it!  I have to remember to look up and see those faces of my Europe friends smiling back at me from behind a picture frame or to see that girl in the beret who spoke French and could connect with people from any culture.  I have to remind myself that where I am in my life now might feel farther behind than I'd like but that I am truly years ahead in experience.

I have gone through a bit of culture shock upon my return.  When I first got back I was so unbelievably good at eavesdropping!!!  I could understand everyone and had to get used to skipping my usual step of ok... what language or accent is that.  I had a funny experience in Target when I was trying to figure out what language this one woman was speaking until I listened close enough to hear that it was just "ghetto" talk.  I've also noticed how much of a hurry everyone is in.  When you have to take public transportation you get into a I'll get there when I get there mentality.  I get so frustrated when people are tailgating me or someone ahead of me.  Honestly, tailgating only makes people nervous and anxious.  There is no point to it except to prove how much of a jerk you are.

Tomorrow I'm going on my first trip since I've been home!  I'm driving 10 - 11 hours down to the Outer Banks, North Carolina for a week at the beach!  I'm pretty excited about it, it will certainly be different though, not having a luggage restriction or having to lug things onto 3 different forms of transportation to get to the airport.  Also, the only language change might just be a bit of a southern accent.  I've also noticed how much more people say to cashiers or waiters when they can speak the same language.  No wonder I could never pass for fluent... :-(

So, that's a little update of the change!  I'm currently a nanny (go figure) until I find a real job.  There will be a blog to follow this one, but don't worry, I'll keep you informed! ;-)

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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Au Revoir Suisse

If someone had told me that by the time I was 24 I would be a single, unemployed, college graduate who still doesn’t quite know what she wants to do with her life and lives with her parents I would probably be pretty nervous about my future.  However, if you had told me that by the time I was 24 I would have met friends from literally all around the world, gone to 12 different countries, and lived in Switzerland for a year I would have more unbelief than the first prediction.  

Sure, moving to Europe has put off growth in certain aspects of my life, but I’m pretty sure that it has inspired growth in other possibly more important areas of my life.  I've grown in my ability to communicate with people, have travel skills that may have taken years to learn, and confidence in myself and my talents in many aspects of my life.  This year has truly been priceless and I still sit in disbelief that it's already over.  I feel like I have learned more in this year than any other year of my life and have more memories from it than the past 4 combined.  I've made great lifelong friends and truly gotten to know another culture.  If someone were to ask me if I'd do it again I would say absolutely with such certainty they themselves would sign up on an aupair website the next day!  

I'm so glad to have this experience in my life and it has truly shaped who I am now.  So, instead of getting depressed and overly upset about having to leave I am going to try to look to the positive because life is long and sweet.  So in my optimistic mood here are some quotes to leave you with. 

You never really leave a place or person you love, part of them you take with you ,leaving a part of yourself behind.
Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened.” - Dr. Seuss
Missing someone gets easier everyday. Because, even though it is one day further from the last time you saw each other, it is one day closer to the next time you will
You and I will meet again, When we're least expecting it, One day in some far off place, I will recognize your face, I won't say goodbye my friend, For you and I will meet again” - Tom Petty 
How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.  ~Carol Sobieski and Thomas Meehan, Annie

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Sunday, April 3, 2011

Packing and Postcards

So, very unlike my original post of packing here this time around I have not been organized or as thorough at all!  My room was in complete disarray for at least a week before I had to move my things out, my bathroom had products covering my double sink counter and I had suitcases and clothing covering couches.  It was so un-Brittany like and I don't know what may have brought it on.  Perhaps I was still in a dream-like state about anything actually getting done or happening.  But just like in "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" Somehow or other, it came just the same.  

Also, somehow or another I think I'll be able to fit all of my things into my suitcases.  My replacement Emer has a pretty good technique I think I'll post on once I do the actual packing.  Now everything is just thrown into my suitcases until I leave in 2 days and 21 hours... 

So I was able to collect postcards from EVERYWHERE that I went (At least all that sold postcards).  It's quite a collection that's for sure!  Looking back on them makes me smile from all of the crazy things that happened or things that went wrong or things that were so amazing!  I've also blogged about every place I've been to!  I think I might have to print out my blogs so that I can read them in the future.  Perhaps I'll make my own little book of it.  I'm currently putting together an Apple Photobook that is going to be beautiful.  It'll be a great way to show people what all I did.  Course, I could always just say, ya know?  I do have a pretty awesome blog you should check out.  ;-) 

So that's it for packing and postcards!  Look for a Goodbye post soon!

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Saturday, April 2, 2011


Well, my final voyage had arrived and what a great day trip it was!  My friends Jenna, Chelsie, Rachel and I went to Annecy for the day to enjoy the picturesque European town,beautiful lake and mountain backdrop.  The town was full of charming shops, flee markets, tourists and excellent photo ops!  It was absolutely beautiful and my friends and I couldn't help but exclaim every few minutes or so how glad we were to be there!   

 There was a bit of a fiasco at the toll where Jenna had to jump out of our car and run a few Euros back to Rachel before the French driver behind her got too irritated.  After that we followed the Autoroute to Annecy.  We parked the cars a bit outside the city and walked to the center.  Annecy is known as the Venice of France because it has many canals that flow through it.  My favorite part of the city was the large green field just off the lake where people seemed to flock to sit and enjoy the 70 degree weather.  We purchased some sandwiches and ate them while bathing in the gorgeous sunlight!  It was definitely a day to soak up the Vitamin D!  

 After we shopped for a bit we headed back to the cars and on to a medieval looking bridge to take some cute snapshots.  After that it was another hug from my friends to say goodbye.  
Soon I'll be hugging them for the last time in a very long time.  I've truly made great friends here who have been absolutely amazing and have made my time here extremely well worth it.  I am going to miss them more than a thousand trips to Paris, a view of the Alps or any gelato or chocolate.  I wish I could just pack them instead of my clothes or shoes or anything I've collected here because they are what make my world go round.  Chelsie, Annie, Rachel and Jenna you guys are amazing and I will miss you all so much.  A part of my heart will always be with you! 
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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

2 Weeks, wait, for serious?

Is it seriously possible that I only have a mere 2 weeks, 14 days until I grab my bags, throw them into the car and hop on a plane back to the US of A? ... I know right? Crazy town!

I feel like I'm already in a dream-like state. I've gotten past the holiday homesickness, the 50 more days (this is never going to happen) am I ever going to go home state, and am now into the 2 weeks, I am actually starting to pack up my things and move out reality of moving back home. I feel like (and I'm sure most can agree) that once I'm home this whole year will seem like a big dream. Almost like, did that actually happen? Oh wait, I have pictures to prove it!

Sometimes, I'll be walking or riding on the tram and will just think wow, this whole experience has been such an unbelievable adventure why do I want to go home so badly? Then I'll start to think wow I don't want to go home, I have amazing friends and a great job and the flexibility to travel and learn things that I never would have if I hadn't come here. But then I'll think, I miss my family and friends at home and can't believe that it's been almost 11 months that I haven't seen them! So yes, I certainly have some mixed feelings going on. Some days I feel like crying because I don't want to leave but other days I am so happy and feel like laughing about all the crazy things my friends and I have done. I suppose those feelings will probably come home with me too.

It's so strange to think that I've gone through all 4 seasons, every holiday (except Easter), and have gotten to learn so much about not only Swiss culture but about European culture as well. I was thinking last night that I probably know more about Swiss geography than all of my US friends now and probably a lot more about European geography as well. Before I came here I wouldn't have been able to tell you where Belgium or Denmark is and now I've been to both of those places! So, since I'm soOo worldly and knowledgable now ;-) I thought I'd write a bit about the differences between Americans and Europeans!

So the first thing that I'd say (Excluding the UK and Ireland) is how reserved Europeans are. Americans for the most part are pretty outgoing and after a few beers will talk to most anyone. Here however, I've discovered that Europeans usually stick to their own group of friends and will only talk to other people if someone else starts the conversation or if they have mutual friends. Although, my french professor did tell me that I am "trés calme" for an American. Probably because she hasn't seen me getting my English on hah.

Moving on, another HUGE difference is how much more casual Americans dress than Europeans. I mean it could be because I'm usually in the city but most people are dressed pretty fashionably. Even at the University my class is at I have yet to see more than 1 person in sweats. Also, the number of people with designer bags! Seriously, I must have just forgotten my Louis Vuitton at home.

Speaking of Louis Vuitton, Europeans are really into accessories, well, that and stripes. Nearly everyone (men included) wears a scarf (well, maybe not everyone... but most). However, if you have a striped scarf, now that is chic! Hah. Also, skinny jeans and boots! I mean during the winter it was as if that one trend just exploded in Geneva. Guys maybe not the boots, but skinny jeans, Cha. Good thing I read up on that trend before I came and invested some in the skinny jean category and I actually like them! To think, I used to believe I couldn't pull off a skinny jean, wrong. However, now that spring is poppin' up it's more skinny jeans with flats. Also, in an attempt to pull off a biker / bad ass / hard core look the leather jacket is insanely "in" right now. I even bought one and I'm pretty sure I'm in love. It's so soft and lightweight but warm and makes me feel like I'm too cool for school. Perhaps the Europeans are on to something?

So now that I've completely said way too much about fashion, onto something a bit more personal, PDA that is. Yes, Europeans love them some public displays of affection. From a couch in Starbucks, to the trams, everywhere there is a couple fully enclosed in some serious snogging. I don't know what it is, but so many people here think it's totally ok to have a full out make-out session within feet of another person. Umm excuse me while I relocate myself so that I don't have to gag at the sight of your apparent adoration for each other.

Ah so, one thing (among many) Europeans have so so right is transportation. I have never had much of a problem getting from one place to another without the use of a car. But, it doesn't just stop at trains, busses, trams, metros, planes, ect. It's also beyond common for people to ride scooters, smart cars, roller blades, bikes, skateboards or vespas arounds town. I love in the summer when the sidewalks by the lake are filled with people moving around one way or another getting exercise and transportation. So great!

So, after a year abroad those are just some of my observations. It has been so remarkable to get to see what goes on across the pond and to feel like I'm, at least in my head, an honorary European.

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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Versoix and the Red Cross Museum

I do believe that part of this whole going home / countdown / leaving current country of residence is trying to get to places that I feel like I should see before I leave. Two of these places was Versoix and the Red Cross Museum.
My friend Jenna and I had planned to go to Versoix on a Friday afternoon and walk around a bit before she had to pick up one of "her kids" from school. I had heard that it's a small village with a chocolate factory, one street and a train station. We took the time to walk near the lake, then up to the Chocolate Boutique where I found one of my favorite souvenirs to date, a small tin with a picture of Geneva, Lucern and Zermatt on the sides. These are all places that I've been to in Switzerland, that, plus the added chocolate inside was a big selling point for me! I can't wait to fill it with tea bags or other small packets once I get home (and my own place).

After our chocolate finds we headed back around the town before I went with Jenna to the International School to pick up her kid. Yes folks, that's it! Super exciting blog about Versoix. The only neat thing about it is that it's exactly across the lake from my house so I had been curious at to what was over there for a while.

Anyway, the next day I headed out with my friends Annie and Jenna to go to the Red Cross Museum. We got a little distracted by some shopping in Geneva (where I found the BEST brown leather jacket that I am absolutely in love with... just ask Jenna) but eventually we did make it to the museum. It was pretty interesting and we did get a sweet student discount of only 5 francs!

Afterwards we went to a Thai place for dinner and then an Irish pub where I pretty much re-solidified my love of beer (I had given it up for 6 months). I did beat this Irish guy at arm wrestling (although to be fair I did use two arms, and he may have let me win...) but I did get a free pint out of it! Mulligans may now be my favorite pub in all of Geneva, it's like a cross between Jake's bar and Kildare's for my West Chester readers (Both my favorite places in the Dub) that, combined with actual Irish people and it's certainly up there for being on my facebook "Things I will miss" countdown. We will absolutely be back for St. Patrick's Day. Perhaps will even dress up and pass out umm clovers like Valentine's Day (Watch that for a laugh)

Who knows?


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