If like me you have been an au pair (no matter how long) and you had an amazing experience (no matter where), the idea of coming home is not always appealing. For me, it was super scary. Months before moving back home, I had several breakdowns in which I started to cry and an aura of sadness surrounded my body, but most of all, my mind. I felt like there was nothing waiting for me at home. If I left there was a reason and I didn’t want to go back. Since I knew there were just 5 months left in my second year as an au pair, my brain started to freak out. I wrote a post about that, it’s called “I don’t hate home but…“:
For almost two years I lived in this bubble that’s the au pair program: I had my own car, my room, my independence and a job. If you find a good host family all those things come pretty easily and I’ve been really lucky. I’ve traveled, I had fun. Now, looking at my future and seeing my move back to Italy come closer I panicked.
Panicked. That’s the right word. I felt like the world was going to end. I thought that I’ve never had, not even in my darkest moments. I really wanted to stay there, most of all because my heart belonged to someone and I imagined a future with that someone. The idea of leaving, of leaving him behind numbed my mind into thoughts that I’ve never had. Once we broke up, three months prior to my departure, I crumbled but I had been lucky enough to have amazing friends that helped me collect my pieces, slowly, understanding my needs.
After you touch rock bottom you can just go back up. That’s what I did. I recollected my pieces, I stopped commiserate myself and took my life back in my hands. I left Madison with a heart full of love and I’ve arrived home. I was less scared, ready to hit my new life chapter. Now it’s two weeks that I’m home. I would like to hug the past Elena and tell her that there’s no need to be scared because home is still home but you have changed. Sleeping in your old bed in your old room doesn’t mean you are back to the person you were two years ago. It is just part of the transition.
I’ve been home and I have been surrounded by love since day one. I had a couple of obstacles along the way. First, one of my suitcases has been lost somewhere between Madison, Minneapolis, and Amsterdam. I wouldn’t worry that much if it wasn’t the suitcase with all my clothes, ALL, and my ukulele in it. I’m glad I didn’t put my yoga mat in there. Besides that, everything was going pretty good. I had lunch with my father side of the family, I met almost all the people that I had still a relationship with, I was ready to leave for Barcelona for my yoga teacher training but I got sick. Yep, not that lucky. I was looking so forward to it but I had to give up on it when Friday night I went to the ER. I’m glad I got this sick at home, I didn’t have to handle all the pain by myself like when I was in Madison but I could rely on my parents. I went to the ER because my head was hurting really bad. They didn’t find anything wrong, just a headache and flu. I spent the next four days throwing up. Plus, my neck and shoulders got so tense I could barely stay without a painkiller.
What I take from all this? My body needed a break. All the stress that comes from packing two years of your life in three suitcases, saying goodbye in tears to people that you love, three flights taken, a suitcase lost somewhere, meeting all the family and friends that you haven’t seen in two years, face the grave of your grandpa, never really rest. All of that, exploded in my body with a terrible headache, muscle pain and a stomach that couldn’t handle food for four days straight. I got sick when I was in the States, but not since June and my body never really rested in the past month because, between holidays and packing, I needed always to be ready to do something.
Now I’m back on track, not sick anymore and with a possibility of an internship at a yoga studio in my hometown on the way. My body needed more than a week to recover and rest properly like it needed to expel all the bad thoughts and set a new mindset for the next chapter. If you are afraid to go home, I totally understand. What I suggest? Have something to look forward: a degree, a job, new adventures. Make plans. Don’t live in the past memories. As good as they are, they are memories and you can’t go back to them. But you can create new ones, exciting ones. That’s what you have to look forward to. That’s what I’m looking forward to.