Paris, the city of lights, the city of love, the city of passion… I will see you soon.
Today, I may have just made the biggest decision of my life so far. I applied for a program which would send me to Paris for a year to be an au pair. “An au pair?” you may ask… Au Pair is French for “as equal”. The concept meaning, I will be going to Paris for a year to be a live-in nanny.
It is a scary thought. I am dropping everything I have built in this small town in Indiana, which I have grown to enjoy (maybe it’s the close friends I made here, definitely nothing to do with the corn) and going to the other side of the world by myself. It’s not like I haven’t been far from home before. I grew up going to Madrid (where my mother is from) for three months out of the year. When I was 10, my parents sent me to spend the summer with my Spanish family by myself. Even though I have been away from home by myself, I have never truly been “alone”. I have known people in the places I have been. Even move after move, I had my family to spend time with. I felt safe.
There are so many things that could go wrong. But then again, there are so many things that could GO RIGHT. This could potentially be the first thing this adventure can teach me, to think positively. Though I may be nervous, my excitement to feel the rush of a foreign culture I have never experienced before overshadows it.
My love for the French language has been strong ever since I was little. My mom tells me that I would put on movies in French. She tells me she would change it to Spanish to make sure I learned Spanish thoroughly (trust me, I did), but she also tells me she regrets not letting me watch those movies in French. By now, my French could have a stronger foundation.
The thought of being a nanny never crossed my mind until the summer before my senior year of high school, when some Spanish friends, Jeff and Begoña, came to visit us. They live in San Sebastian, a city on the border between Spain and France. Jeff speaks French and has helped my love for the French language and culture thrive. I had told him how I wanted to take a year off and travel to France to learn the language, I just did not know how to do it. I wouldn’t be going through any school program or anything. He recommended the au pair program, and I agreed. Yet, the fear of going and falling too deeply in love with the city was and still is probably my greatest fear, hence why I put it off for a while and went to school.
But I have hit a point in my life where I must do something, something for myself. I need to take time to re-analyze what I want to do with my life, to connect with my passions again and be able to come back and fight for what I truly want (my education). Traveling has been a passion, and though my fear is falling in love with the city and never leaving, I have done it countless times before. I have loved Madrid too fondly and have had to say goodbye to it multiple times. Portland, Oregon was my favorite place I have lived in and I have had to let go of that city as well, long before I was ready to. Saying goodbye to France may or may not be easy (depending on how the year goes) but I am ready for an experience in which I must face things alone and learn from them, in which I must challenge myself daily and educating myself on a daily basis in a natural setting.
It’s time to spread my wings.