Fuck my life – Au Pair Adventures

So remember how in my last blog I was like super happy to be in San Diego and that I  was really happy here? Well it’s like the universe was like ‘Psh we can’t let this happen. Let’s screw this up’.

Today I dislocated my shoulder again. I dislocated it back in November and it was a bitch. However, this time it is slightly more problematic. First of all there’s the fact that I care for 3 kids and you need 2 fully functional arms for that. I can’t drive, I can’t lift things, I can’t do anything. So that’s issue number one. The second issue is that this is the second dislocation in 5 months and my shoulder joint has some serious grooves in it which makes it dislocate more easily. To fix these grooves, I will need surgery. I don’t need to have surgery tomorrow but until I do my shoulder could dislocate while brushing my hair if I make the wrong move – no exaggeration, this is the example that the nurse used – and do I want to take that risk when working with kids? What if it happens when I’m alone with the kids. What if – God forbid – it happens when I’m holding the baby and I drop her or something. I don’t feel like it’s the responsible thing to do.

Basically there are 3 options for me right now: 1. I stick it out till my time here is up and basically spend the next 8 months afraid of every move I make, 2. I cut my year short and head home and basically cut my losses, find something else to do, or 3. I go home, get the surgery, get rehab and then come back to the states. This last option seems like the best one to me. But there are some things that make this problematic. I will probably have to pay for my own ticket home for example. Where am I gonna find that kind of money. Still, this is what I would go for if I had the choice I think.

I’m gonna have to make an appointment with the orthopedic surgeon to see how damaged and bad the situation exactly is. But still, the last time the surgeon told me that the first 3 months is going to be high risk for re-dislocation, and I wasn’t lifting 20 pound babies then every day.

In any case, my life sucks. The pain is okay at the moment, US hospitals give good drugs. Keep your fingers crossed for me, please.

Me at 10 am and 1 pm. Yay me.
Me at 10 am and 1 pm. Yay me.

Au Pair Adventures: Visit on American Soil

american-flag-backgrounds

 

So last Monday I had my official VISA interview. Because I’ll be working in the US for a year I need an official piece of paper that says I’m there for the right reasons. In order to get that I had to go to the American consulate where they would conduct an interview and they would determine if I was worth issuing that VISA.

I had my appointment at 2 pm. Of course, being the stresshead that I am, I was already restless from worrying about being on time and finding the place. I needn’t have worried because as soon as I stepped out of the tram, I saw a big building, surrounded by high gates, several security cameras and (if that weren’t enough indicators) the American flag proudly waving in the wind.

Well, call me crazy but if I have an appointment somewhere, I presume that I would be able to enter the building upon arrival. I was wrong. There was a small tent outside where you could get shelter from the rain. Seeing as the door was closed and barred, I asked the people standing there what we were supposed to be doing. “You just have to wait till they come and get you”, the answer was. So I just stood there in the cold and rain, waiting for some sign of life from inside. After a while a security guard came outside, asked us for our names, scanned us with the fancy ‘bad things finder’ and ushered us inside. There we had to give them all our non-necessary stuff like bags and what not, move through the airport-style body scanner, have our necessary stuff by an airport-style bag scanner, and moved into the next room. Here I encountered my first obstacle.

I retrieved my stuff from the scanner and tried to open the door leading into the next room but found it wouldn’t budge. I tried it again a couple of times but it stayed shut, so I turned back to the security guard who frowned at me and said ‘you can move on’, and I was like ‘.. ehm…’ so I tried it again and found that it was only the heaviest door in the history of doors. My right arm is ripped now. So much muscle. I felt so embarrassed.

Anyway, I moved to the waiting area where I would sit till my number (number 7) was called and I could proceed to window 1 or 2 where they would sign me in. I was only just sitting when I saw a girl on the other side of the door having the same problem as I had. I motioned to her to pull really hard and when she got through she sat next to me and we got to talking. Turns out she is also going to be an Au Pair but in New Jersey, so we had a couple of things in common. It was nice to have someone to share my nervousness with.

When they called my number I almost tripped on the way to the window and my hands were shaking when I pulled out the papers that he needed to have. I gave him my passport (which they keep there because they need to put the VISA in there, so they mail it back to you), signed a form in the wrong place (*facepalm*) scanned my finger prints and went back to my seat to get called to window 3 or 4. This wait took a lot longer but when I finally did get called up, I was glad to see that my voice had stopped shaking. This was the interview part; this man would decide whether or not I was an opportunist fraud.

The conversation went something like this:

Him: So Emma, you’re becoming an au pair?

Me: Yes, I am.

Him: Are you qualified to take care of infants?

Me: Yes, I have a degree in pedagogy, a Masters in Educational Science and three years of work experience in several childcare facilities.

Him: Where are you going?

Me: Chicago, more specifically ********** (privacy, you understand)

Him: How many kids will you be taking care of?

Me: Three

Him: How old are they?

Me: 8 months, three and nearly five. Two girls and a boy.

Him: Okay. Do you know what the parents do for a living?

Me: I think they work at an ****** firm.

Him: Got any family in the US?

Me: No.

Him: Got a boyfriend or girlfriend in the US? (Which I thought was very inclusive and politically correct. Yay government officer)

Me: Nope.

Him: Okay that’s it, thank you.

Me: That’s it? Really?

Him: Yep. We’ll send you your passport with the VISA in 3 -4 working days.

Me: Okay.. thank you!

 

You have to understand, this was a rapid fire Q&A. It took maybe all of 2 minutes if that. I didn’t even have to show him my placement letter or my letter of intent to return to the Dutchland. I was stunned. But anywho, it was kinda fun. It was definitely a lot less of an interrogation than I had anticipated.

So now I just have to wait till I get my passport back in the mail and I’ll officially be all set to go. I just took out travel insurance for the whole year (€400.. *cries*) and that was the last bit of paperwork that needed done, I think. I’m officially all set to go!  Weeheee.