in

What being an au pair in NYC taught me about chasing my dreams

“If you can dream it, you can do it.”

I guess we all know this quote by Walt Disney. Let me tell you why it’s important.

I guess it all started with my time in America.

After high school, I decided to work as an au pair overseas and it was the best decision of my life.

So here we go: I had the idea, decided that this is what I wanted and applied to the program. Some people told me going away would be scary, America is too far away and what if my host family turns out to be mean?

Yes, being on my own and moving to another continent at 19 years old was a little scary at times.

Yes, America is indeed far away from Germany.

nyc taught me

 

Yes, my host mum turned out to be a very unhappy person.

BUT…

I learned that I am capable of traveling the world by myself.

I learned that homesickness sometimes only exists in your thoughts.

I learned to say no and act to get what I want.

The host family I started out with lived on Long Island so I had the chance to drive into New York City a couple of times. That’s a good thing as Manhattan became a place where my heart felt at home. I found out that what you think about and expect of the future is not always the truth and that things can turn out way better than you had imagined. So after about two months I asked for a rematch and moved to Bainbridge Island, WA. And there I got to meet the most wonderful people because I did not settle for something that clearly wasn’t good for me.

It was my host mum Bethany, who opened my eyes. We spent 10 months together and talked about everything. We had such deep talks and she is “one of those people”, you know? I started to see things more clearly, to think on another level and was surprised that I had not seen what was inside me for all these years. I think I can say that I found myself. It was the best feeling in the world, and probably one of the most important as this made me who I am today and who I want to become in the coming years.

NYC Taught Me

Now you might be thinking “Okay great, cool, nice experience…”, but let me tell you why all of this mattered.

My au pair time came to an end and I had to decide: Do I want to stay or go back home to Germany? No way! I wanted to stay – in Manhattan. And again, I had certain people telling me that I shouldn’t be so focused on the place but more on the people, that many au pairs want to be placed with a family in NYC and that it’s very unlikely that this will work out. Weeks went by and in the end I turned down a really nice family from Connecticut who offered me my own apartment, a higher salary and my own car. Because Connecticut wasn’t Manhattan. I did not even want Brooklyn, New Jersey or Queens. Manhattan was my dream, my goal. It was risky. They made me this really generous offer, what if I wasted this chance?

nyc taught me

 

A couple of days later I got the call: Family from NY, NY. And not just Manhattan but Central Park West. 1 kid. A house in the Hamptons and one on the Bahamas. Mercedes, Restoration Hardware and Whole Foods. And they asked me to be their au pair. Umm, yes?!?!?! I am telling you, this was another world for me! But apart from all those nice little extras, I would get to spend a year in the city of my dreams! It wasn’t about the houses and cars, but the city. I made it! It happened. I still can’t believe that it actually worked out.  All I have left to say is: you should have seen the people’s faces who had told me Manhattan was impossible.

This au pair experience has been the biggest proof to me that you can make your dreams come true.

If you really want something, you can make it work. It is all about having a goal, determination, staying true to yourself, believing in yourself and ignoring negative influences. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for people’s opinion and hearing their perspectives. But we don’t need people telling us things won’t work out. How do they know? They don’t. It is hard enough to hold on to a goal for a long period of time, sometimes you might question yourself or be afraid things won’t work out in the end. I’m sure we’ve all been there. It takes a lot of patience, strength and motivation to achieve the milestones you set for yourself. Keep it up, if you don’t try, you´ll never know what it’s like to make that dream come true!

This new generation of entrepreneurs, independent and driven people is so exciting! I love that people go for what they want and don’t settle for a life they don’t enjoy. We all have only so much time and I personally want to spend my time with things that matter in my opinion. Value is very important to me.

nyc taught me

 

Can I contribute to make the life of others better in some way? Help them? Make them happy? Inspire them?

I hope I will find a “job” that combines all of this because I would love to work my ass of knowing what I do makes a positive difference. I am still studying and won´t be done until next year, but I try to spend a lot of my free time on things that inspire me: blogs like PRSUIT, art and painting, spending quality time with friends, reading books about psychology and inspirational and spiritual topics, writing my own posts. I guess that’s the best I can do to prepare myself for the next steps. Sometimes I get impatient with myself though. I see what others have accomplished already and I feel behind and wonder how I´ll ever make it this far.

But then I remind myself that all these people started somewhere, and that it took time for them to get where they are today. Another aspect is, that they are doing a great job. THEY are. That doesn’t mean you have to do the exact same thing. And you probably couldn’t because you are you. Which is your advantage. They could also never do what you can. So be proud. Be proud of who you are, proud of your skills, proud of your character. As Ed Sheeran mentioned in an interview once: “No one can be you better than you can.” And he is so right!

Living a, let’s say, conscious life has changed me and the way I see and handle life completely. I constantly read quotes about these kind of things and wonder: When will I realize that these messages are true for my own life?

To be honest, I realized it right now. I would not be writing this post if I didn’t change my thinking years ago. I would not be following inspirational people like Case Kenny on the web or Instagram with my own account that belongs to an inspirational blog. I wouldn’t be as happy as I am now and I wouldn’t know half as many interesting people as I do today.

It was not really a decision I made, but rather the circumstances that made me realize there is more. There is more than ordinary, more than socially acceptable, more than limits. More than the you others tell you to be. So be you and live the life of your dreams!

Written by Caroline Busch

Caroline is 24 years old and lives in Düsseldorf, Germany. She spent 2 years abroad after school (2011-2013; Bainbridge Island, WA and Manhattan, NY). She runs thingaboutlife.com and enjoys art/painting, photography, people in general but of course especially my close friends, finding out and learning about life, traveling.

The Ultimate Survival Guide to Not Fitting In

How to know when to quit and when to stick