Ever since I realized how big the world actually was (high school), Italy has always been on my must-go list. But there were so many other countries that seemed more appropriate for the time. I was obsessed with Korea in college, and when the opportunity presented itself for me to be PAID to live there, of course I took it!
After a couple years, I needed a break from all-things-Korea, and headed to Spain for a year. It seemed pretty obvious; I needed to start making moves to professionalize my resumè and I had decided California would be where I wanted to reside once I settled back in the States. Being able to speak Spanish was a must! Once I got to Spain, I made plans to travel Europe (Italy included), but another opportunity presented itself: Egypt! I couldn’t afford to do both, so I chose pyramids over pasta and headed to Cairo.
After my year in Europe, I found myself back in Korea. Though it was at an academy that was slightly less-than-satisfying, I was glad to be back nonetheless. Korea had become like a second home to me, and it was nice being in a position where I didn’t have to worry about much financially. But again, after 2 years had passed, I had the itch to travel again; or at least change my job. I wan’t sure where to go, or what to do; only that I was ready to see the world again.
I looked everywhere… Korea, Japan, Spain, Saudi Arabia, even Antarctica! But nothing came through. Either I wasn’t qualified enough, or the job wan’t paying enough. I eventually ended up back in Korea at another academy. But it didn’t feel right. It wasn’t just that I wasn’t happy with my job; it felt as if I was occupying a space that wasn’t reserved for me. Everyday, I thought about getting away. But there was never a time that seemed professionally or financially opportune. I waited as long as I could; made as many plans as I could; saved as much money as I could. Eventually, I said “Good-bye” to what made sense, and invited myself to dream and be bold again.
I had read about being an au pair here and there on the internet, but never considered myself the type to do it, especially after age 25. After a while, I realized that this was the kind of environment I always sought when traveling. An environment where one could really experience a culture, unfiltered. Although Spain would have been more beneficial for my career goals, I decided on Italy.
I chose a family that had one kid, an older kid. That way I could adjust slowly and more comfortably, without the burden of having to care for toddlers. And now that I’m here, I feel I’ve made the right decision. It may not make sense professionally or financially, especially considering my age. But I feel as if I will learn a lot about life, about my dreams, my aspirations, and more importantly, about Italian culture! I look forward to learning what this family, and this experience, has to teach me.