LIZ HARROD

Archive for the ‘Au Pair’ Category

Happy with 2011 and Happy for 2012 to be here

In Au Pair, Travel 2011, Writing on January 1, 2012 at 3:25 am

Arriving back from Paris has been a bit of a whirlwind.  With all the holiday travel and preparing for the launch of the we.are.america2012 website tonight, I will admit that I have been a bit of a blog slacker; but, if there is one thing I’ve learned this year,it is that. . .

things don’t always go as planned, and that’s part of the fun.

Reading that sentence a year and a half ago probably would have made me cringe.  At that time, I knew that I was going to quit my job, and I knew that I was going to spend 2011 traveling; but my way of preparing involved excel spreadsheets, lots of notes from travel guides, and a very detailed calendar of where I thought I would go and when.

Thank goodness things got too busy, and I wasn’t ever able to set those plans into stone. Read the rest of this entry »

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Changing Plans and Unhappy People

In Au Pair, France on November 4, 2011 at 7:54 pm

Here we are again. I’ve planned one thing. I’m doing another, and yes, some people have been hurt along the way.

So I ask you this: If we’re supposed to do the things that make us happy (not smiley faces and sunshine all the time, but truly blissful), what do you do when there are other people involved, and they simply can’t understand?

For the past two and a half months I have reveled in parts of my life here. Despite the hiccups that come with any transition, there have been so many good things to enjoy: living with a French family, studying the language, museum going, the fabulous other au pairs… and Paris. But all that aside, reality has caught up with me. Little did I know it was so close behind. Read the rest of this entry »

Update from Porto

In Au Pair, Portugal on October 30, 2011 at 7:11 am

My goodness I’ve slacked in the blog writing department lately. Can’t promise this one will be much of a creative masterpiece, not that my other posts are, but it will certainly be an update since I’ve got the time while in Porto, on my way back to Paris.

First of all, luckily for me, though not bouncing around from place to place, living in Europe still offers the convenience of quick and cheap travel. I headed over to London at the beginning of October to celebrate my best friend, Kelsey’s, birthday. Loads of fun with her, her loving boyfriend and a bunch of other friends, the majority of who all lived in Paris last year.

This week, I had the fabulous opportunity to head back to Portugal to visit some beloved friends from my previous travel adventures. I volunteered on their farm back in March, and they’re now accepting yoga students for retreat. I had the privilege of studying with Vonny for the week: such an enjoyable and enlightening experience. Also, as typically goes with retreats, I had lots of time to reflect and write. Read the rest of this entry »

An Unexpected Visit from an Old Pastime

In Au Pair, France on September 21, 2011 at 10:04 pm

Ah – wednesday….

For most of the working world, Wednesday means hump day – halfway through the week, over the hump, and well on your way to the weekend.  Though it most certainly still means that for me, Wednesday has another important significance to au pairs in france, especially those with kids in primary school.  Wednesday is their day off.

Now, I love kids, but a full day of activity can be daunting – especially with a language barrier involved.  Even if I could explain some of the games I know how to play, many of them don’t make sense in French.

So it was with a little reservation this morning, that I started my day.  We did a bit of homework, which finally seems to be moving along swimmingly (Thanks google translate for teaching me geography in French) and had a bit of reading time.

Then came the lull.

One of my main obstacles at this point is getting them off the Wii.  I mean, I love Mario Kart as much as the next 90s child, but spending an entire day in front of the Wii is simply not acceptable.  So I set out in search of alternatives.

First of all, lunch was a smash hit with what was, apparently, the debut of grilled cheese sandwiches.  Seriously, you’d think a country so obsessed with cheese would be all over this, but no, it was their first, and they had me make them seconds. So I’m taking that as a good sign.

After lunch we had a little review of homework, and then came the moment of truth.  I was prepared for protests.  I was prepared for arguments.  So I said it carefully.  “No Wii until 3:30pm.” Read the rest of this entry »

Moving Along

In Au Pair, France on September 17, 2011 at 8:59 pm

So I’ve realized, as I’ve tried to think about how to start writing about my life here, that there are basically three important categories that I deal with each day:

1. the family I’m living with

2. my personal life – friends, dating, personal projects

3. the french language

So, there you go.  It seems as though I’m keeping it pretty simple as far as balls in the air, or at least trying to.

These first couple weeks have been a bit, interesting.  There have been ups and downs and kinks to work out, but I’m happy to say that with each day, overall, I’m feeling a bit more settled in and comfortable in my new environment.

The first thing I have to keep in mind is that this is my life.  Having moved around quite a bit since graduating Boston University, I’ve found comfort in the revelation that the things I am doing are my choices.  In fact, that was probably the biggest lesson that I practiced continuously while at Tao’s in Greece, and it’s something I continue to remind myself each day.

When I find myself in a situation that is trying my patience or throwing me for a loop, I try to remember to breathe and recall the fact that it is my choice to be in that situation.  If it is too much for me, I can decide to leave, but as long as I’m facing it, I’m choosing to be there.

This idea, by itself, is liberating.  Remember that you are in charge of your life, the things you choose to experience, and the things you choose to walk away from is empowering, not to mention a powerful aid when starting a new kind of life in a new kinds of place.

So here we go, my situations and how I’m choosing to face them: Read the rest of this entry »

A Return to Paris and a Return to the Blog

In Au Pair, France on September 2, 2011 at 11:21 pm

Oi – well I guess it’s time to get back in the blog. Obviously, I slacked a bit while home in Indiana. Time just went a bit quickly, and there was lots to be done.

I’ll cover it all eventually, as some of it is a bit interesting – thanks to immigration – but for now, I’ll jump into the present day.

So, after just over a month of time in the states, I was back on a plane – willingly of course – to Paris. For those who have forgotten, when I was in Paris a few months ago, I simply fell in love with the city all over again and started to look for opportunities to move here for the next year.

After some fairly desperate research, I found one, and, with a little effort and speedy paperwork, I was able to get everything together in time to accept a position as an au pair.

Long story short: a friend of mine, one of the infamous tripod members, was an au pair last year. She had an overall positive experience, and seeing as I like working with kids, I figured it could be a good fit for me. Read the rest of this entry »