Like most people, I remember exactly where I was on the morning of September 11, 2001. I was at my parents home in Georgia and had just woken up. The news was on in the kitchen of our old country farmhouse. By the time I made it out of my room, the first of the Twin Towers had already been hit, and we drank coffee from my dad’s French press and watched in shock as the second tower was hit. Of course, the shock factor increased when the towers later crumbled to the ground.
The event was horrible beyond imagination, and the entire occurrence had a surreal effect. For me, it seemed even more unreal, as I had just returned to America after having lived for a year and a half in Germany working as an au pair. I had only been back home for a couple of weeks and was experiencing reverse-culture shock, trying to get used to small-town Georgia after having gotten very used to Europe, which is oh-so-different. Life already felt strange.
I remember being thankful to be home safe and sound, because knowing my country as I do, revenge was going to happen, and I was happy to be on the “right” side of the ocean. But I also remember deeply missing some of my close friends back in Germany, and wishing I could have been home in America and with them at the same time. You get very close to the people you become friends with when living abroad, don’t you?
Being between worlds is a strange thing, especially when tragedies happen. But in the end, life goes on. You survive the oddities and learn to deal with things like massive tragedies, and you learn to value the people around you as well as those who are not.
(photo courtesy of dreamstime – free stock photos)
So, what is bad news for me may or may not be good news for you: I am extending my the sale of my eBook, The Girl’s Guide to Being an Au Pair, through September 1. So if you have been wanting to get it, it will stil be on sale for five bucks for the next few weeks.
Why the wait? Well, it isn’t by choice, believe me! But what was expected to be a calm summer with time to write while my children played in the sun has turned into a rainy season with my kids cooped up inside our little Berlin apartment. Seriously – today was the first bit of blue sky we have seen in weeks!
So yes, I am still working on the updated version of The Girl’s Guide, and I will have it completed by September, so that we can all move on with our lives. 😉 In the meantime, enjoy the rest of the summer, especially if it is warm and sunny where you are!
I’d love to hear about your summer – have you traveled, with our without your host family? Is anyone heading out to start au-pairing soon?
In celebration of Easter Weekend, we are putting our eBook on sale! Take advantage of this holiday special and get The Girl’s Guide to Being an Au Pair for $7.00. This is a discount of over 50% – so be sure to get it now! This Easter pricing will last through the Tuesday following Easter (April 26, 2011).
Sex trafficking is now the fastest growing criminal industry in the world. According to the U.S. State Department, roughly 700,000 people are trafficked across international borders each year. Most of these people are young women and children who have been lured from their homes with the promise of a better future in a foreign country. Once they reach their ‘destination,’ they are forced to work as prostitutes (for more on this issue, visit the human trafficking project ).
So what does this have to do with anyone interested in being an au pair? That all depends, but not much if you are careful. Young women are most often tricked into forced prostitution by being offered a job overseas as waitresses, models, house cleaners, au pairs, and other positions. Yes, au pairs was on the list … But before you freak and throw out the idea of working as an au pair, you can rest assured that the potential for danger is virtually ZERO for au pairs who are placed by legitimate au pair agencies.
Agencies carefully screen their host families with interviews and background checks, to be sure that they are 100% for real and a safe place for au pairs to live and work. The only real threat exists when au pairs bypass an agency and find families on their own, or they do not check into whether the ‘agency’ they are dealing with is the real deal.
And for the record – this information is not meant to scare anyone away from being an au pair (or to keep parents from letting their daughters or sons try the job!). But in a world where the threat of human trafficking is very real, it would be irresponsible to not warn of the potential risk involved. Moving abroad alone as a young adult is a big thing, and it is vitally important to be as informed and safe as possible!
My friend Brianna at www.hearthmanagement.com is doing a giveaway this week for an adorably cute, custom made apron from Marie-Madeline Studio. She mentions that aprons are in, and she is soooo right. And since most au pairs do their fare share of cooking for kids (and their host parents too, especially those who cook well!), a sweet apron would be fun to wear and a definite pick-me-up on days when you’d rather not be cooking.
For a chance to win an apron and be the most stylish au pair around, visit