(photo from It’s A Wonderful Life)
Some au pairs have enough money set aside to fly home or family who will cover tickets to go home to visit for Christmas. Other super lucky au pairs have a generous host family who will fly them back to their home country for the holiday season to see friends and family – I was one of those.
When I was as an au pair, I had a fab host family who did just that – they flew me back to the States for a short surprise trip home over Christmas and it was SO. NICE! I was having too much fun as an au pair to ever get really homesick, but as soon as Thanksgiving came along in November during that year, I was ready to visit and catch up with friends and family.
But what if you don’t have the cash to travel back home or generous folks to cover the cost? As I am currently living outside my home country (I’m from the US and living in Germany), and I will not be traveling back this year, this is my plan – and maybe you’ll find this helpful.
Connect with family regularly – Thanks to Skype, FaceTime, and even free calls on Whatsapp, it’s easier and cheaper than ever to chat and talk with your loved ones. I try to connect with family at least once a week, and more if I’m feeling homesick. Staying connected regularly helps you not feel quite so isolated and lonely.
Plan a future trip – If you can’t afford to travel at the holidays, start saving for a trip at a later date, so that you know you won’t be missing everyone forever. Having something to look forward to makes the missing now much more bearable. For my family, we can’t do a Christmas trip this year, but we are making plans for a visit next fall, when travel is more affordable. Knowing that we’ll be back within a year keeps us from getting too sad about not seeing family now.
Enjoy where you are – Keep in mind that although you have moments of sadness and missing home, your time as an au pair is limited, so take advantage of the country you are in and the people you are with, even if they aren’t your “real” family. Take in the surroundings, celebrate with them, hang out with friends. Make the most of it! Family and friends back home will be there next Christmas. That’s how I think, anyway. 😉
Hope this helps as we move closer and closer to the most celebrated time of the year!