Getting out

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Getting out

I was 13 years old when I decided I wanted more out of life. Don’t get me wrong, I love my parents, and they will forever be my superheroes, but the older I got, the more I realized how they got caught up in their own lives.

Their 9 to 5 jobs consumed them and they had no one to share it with besides me. They had estranged from any further family when I was still a baby and they never seemed to have time to catch up with their “friends”. I’m pretty sure those relationships were all one-sided.

It’s not that my folks are mean or introverted, they can small talk with anyone. They just like to stay out of other people’s business, a little trait I have inherited from them. That way conversation never runs really deep. Because that is what friendship is all about, right, the drama that we can create together and then complain about. How screwed up is that?

Coming back to me leading a different life, a non-drama seeking teenager, some might call that a unicorn, who cannot go anywhere yet because she is too old to not have a job but too young to have any work experience. Funny how that works, isn’t it? I vowed to myself that I would get out of my tiny little town the moment I graduated.

And so I did. Six years later, me, the undisciplined one, the lazy one, I got off my behind for once and actually made a plan to move away as far as I could. You see, when you get rolled up into the easy life (eat, sleep, school, repeat) it seems hard to get out. For some reason, my mum actually gave me the help I needed to leave the life she was already leading. She would always say, ‘it might look like a giant mountain right now, but try dividing that mountain in small piles. All you have to do then is start cleaning up and before you know it, that mountain is not as big anymore.’ That’s some mum wisdom for you.

I chose a country that was as far away as possible and started researching. How wild and exciting the spontaneity of packing up everything and moving to a different country might be, it will most definitely lead you to your doom.

Australia is notorious for backpackers. It could provide me with the adrenaline rush I needed to spice up my life. Look at me, talking like I’m in my mid-life crisis. Yet to live that life, one needs money, and money for traveling for months at a time is only earned by hard labour.

Now the job that I found that was going to pay for my travels might not be the job you would have in mind with the words “hard labour”, but trust me, it far exceeded my worst expectations.

If you want to work long hours and be taunted by no (and I mean not ever) moment of rest, then I suggest working with little devils, I mean kids. I found a job to work as an au pair. This is not a job for the faint of heart, and for this work you can’t just like kids, you have to really really love them. If you don’t, big chance you will quit in the first two weeks.

Kids constantly need to be watched, they constantly need to be taught morals and manners, and they constantly need to be cared for. Having a 2 year old running around commando with poo dripping down his legs does not give your host parents the idea of having employed a capable and responsible young female. Trust me, I know from experience... I have total respect for all stay-at-home moms and dads out there.

That’s the downsides of being au pair, but fortunately there are also upsides. Accommodation and food is all paid for, and the pocket money might not be even close to minimum wage, but you will not be spending a lot. It is a good way to see a different way of life in a different culture, which is good for personal development and all that hoo-ha.

My time as an au pair is almost over and then the travelling will start. Now why did I write this article? Honestly, I also have no clue. I started writing and this is what came out. I’m still deciding what the moral of the story is. Am I telling you that you can change your life if you want it? Am I telling you that there is more than just a 9 to 5 life? Or am I just telling you how much it sucks to watch over someone else’s kids constantly?

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Marit Rozendaal
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