So after a long long hiatus, I can finally get back into blogging! Why? Because I’m now officially in the US of A!
Yes, that is right. I woke up this morning at 5 AM, Amsterdam time (GTM +1) and left for Schiphol. I met up with another Dutch girl/au pair to be named Karin who was flying with me to Newark, NJ. We checked in at the airport because we couldn’t check in online because we didn’t have a return date listed. Oh you Americans.. always so paranoid. Anyway, I went up to the lady at the desk and said “Good morning, yes, the machine said my details need special handling?” which was received with the biggest eye roll in history and I was like .. look lady it’s 6 am for all of us, Okay? Chill yourself. But after that everything went smoothly. My suitcase couldn’t weigh more than 23 kg and it was 22.4, so I was extremely happy about that. We went to the gate, got asked a couple of mild security questions and then got ready for boarding. It was all flawless.
The flight itself was fine. It was very long: almost 9 hours, but we did get our own entertainment system to watch movies on. It surprised me that they had like the newest movies available like The Heat, Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters, Lone Ranger, Olympus Falls, and another couple of new ones. Since I had nothing else to do I watched The Lone Ranger (which I thought was a bit Meh and actually fell asleep during the last bit), The Call (which was better), a couple of episodes of Who’s Line is it Anyway, Monster’s University and a bit of Stupid Crazy Love. I may have forgotten something in there. Basically I was in and out of sleeping. Probably 20 – 30 minutes at a time, I kept dozing off. But as I was in a middle seat and didn’t feel comfortable leaning back my chair into the lap of the person behind me, I didn’t sleep very well or very comfortably. By the end my knees and neck hurt pretty badly.
Other than that it was all good. There was this weird lady in front of me though. She started drinking wine at like 10.30 and I thought she was pretty slammed pretty fast. She kept restarting the same movie (the Lone Ranger) and ended up watching it from the beginning 6 times, only to fall asleep and to have it start over all over again. It was so weird.
My arrival in Newark was pretty standard. I was drenched in sweat because I had to carry my heavy bags for miles through Newark Airport and to security. Security was pretty standard. Stamped my visa, scanned my prints, asked me what I was doing there. Then I got to move on and get my bags. Which came ’round pretty fast as well. Then we had to go through customs but even that was a breeze. No bag checks, no prying questions. It was like the US isn’t suspicious of everyone, ever.
After we went through customs we found the lady holding up the ‘Au Pair in America’ sign. She asked us to go sit in some chairs and wait for another au pair girl to arrive while she went to the other side of the airport to pick up a fourth one. Deze girls are German and Swedish and really nice. The four of us sort of founded this little group and it’s been great so far.
When everyone was there, we went to the hotel by minivan. I think that this is where the homesickness first set in because let me tell you, Newark is not a ‘this is where your dreams come true’ kind of place. It’s industrial and dreary and gray and dull. For you British people, it reminded me a lot of the outskirts of Birmingham; a lot of old, decaying buildings. A lot of big, ugly buildings. It wasn’t the Welcome to America that I had had in mind, let me tell you that. It gave me a bit of the ‘what the hell was I thinking’ feelings.
The hotel is pretty sweet though. The lobby is really cozy and pretty, with a lot of Christmas lights and my room is simply brilliant. As of yet I only have one roommate, a German girl named Isabel, but there should be another one coming.
There weren’t any orientation activities scheduled today so the four of us just had a chat, a bit to eat and then went for a walk through Tarrytown, which was really good. And now it’s 8:20 pm and I’m dead tired. I’m going to have a shower in a little bit and then get into bed with Doctor Who and wait till a good time to go to sleep.
Tomorrow is a very busy day. This is the schedule:
06:30 am – Wake Up Call
07:00 – 07:45 am – Breakfast
08:00 – 12:00 – Introduction to the United States and Au Pair: the three ‘nos’ & the role of the community counselor
12:00 – 01:00 – Lunch
01:00 – 04:00 – Living in America: Cultural Adaption & Au Pair in America; my family and me
04:00 – 10:00 – NYC TOUR!!!! (extremely excited for this)
And then I’ll probably crash into bed and sleep like a baby. Well, here’s hoping anyway. I’m also really hoping that I’ll be able to sleep tonight and that I won’t be racked by homesick thoughts too much.
It was the weirdest thing (or not really actually) I was sat in the airplane and suddenly I realized that I wouldn’t be coming home for a full year and it was suddenly very daunting and overwhelming and I kinda wanted to just go home. But, I won’t do that. I’m going to go to Chicago in a couple of days and everything will be fine once I settle into a routine. Besides, I will be so busy these next few days that I won’t even have the time to be homesick.
Well then. Time for shower and bed. Goodnight my lovelies and I’ll be back tomorrow to share NYC pictures and tell you about my day.