Last Friday I arrived at my Host Familys house and has since then been settling in.

All of this is very different to anything I have done before. Not only do you move to a different country, you are also moving in to another familys house and getting adjusted to their house hold rules and the house in general.

People keep asking me how I'm doing, and I am doing really good. It's a lot of new things to take in, but this also keeps you busy at all times.

The woman who helped me with the library card started talking to me about how the public schools got these for free and what not, after she'd asked me if I was in the local public school and I said no. After a while she asks me how old I am, and when I said 19 her jaw more or less dropped and she said the following;
"Really? Wow. I would have thought you were younger. Like 14 or 15"
Thanks? I know I can look quite young, but 14? Really?

The previous Au Pair of my Host Family was also here over the weekend before she left on Monday, which I found rather nice actually. She could help me with certain things and I got to see bits of what to expect.

The first time I went driving here was an experience. First off I'm used to driving a Manual car, whereas the one I'll be driving here is an automatic one so that took a little getting used to. The roads here are also bigger than what I am used to, but I actually thought I'd have more problems with that than I have, which is good. The main problem I feel is that I don't really know my way around yet.

I've also been working this week, which means it has been just me and the children at home getting to know each other and I've spent a lot of time with especially the younger one. We've been in the pool and played with her dolls amongst other things. We also went and got some Frozen Yoghurt the other day when we were waiting to pick up the older one.

Today I also met two other Au Pairs from the area, and we went to the mall and ate some good Thai food for lunch.

Hanna

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Today has been very different to the previous days here. We were no longer in Breslin 029 (in the basement) with Jackie. We were instead on the second floor with some guy who I can't even remember the name of. There was also a major difference in what we were doing. Previously it's all been about general Au Pair life, but today we got trained in CPR and first aid.

I have done the CPR before through school, but honestly this is something really good and sensible to know anyhow, and this was the first time I've been taught how to use an AED (defribilator). We also put a lot of weight on how to deal with these problems with a child, which has never before been the focus.

There was a lot of obvious things that was covered in the videos the guy had to show (If a child is burning, make sure to stop the burning) but he had no choice and we got us some good laughs at some of the things.

After lunch we finished a bit early and got to leave a little earlier as well. We then went to get ready for our trip to New York.

Once again I found myself having to search for things I didn't think I would need last minute (a thing it turned out that I didn't need either) and ended up going down to the buses later than wanted. This meant I had to sit at the far back of the bus, all alone. Had I not been surrounded by germans (I've heard way too much german in the last few days, I have nothing against them as people), had a not full size window and maybe not sat alone this would have been all fine, but that wasn't the case and that part of the trip was a bit boring.

However when the actual tour started it wasn't too bad, I had other things to think about anyways. We stopped at the fountain from friends, drove passed both Central Park and Times square, and the guided tour stopped at Top of the Rock where many of us had tickets to go. Being up there, looking out over New York was such an incredible experience. It all felt so calm and peaceful and it was extremely beautiful. I felt so small and yet so big.

Me and Olivia stayed for quite some time up there and after that there wasn't a lot of time for other things, but we walked the streets a little, got some (dry) sandwiches and made our way towards the buses.

We then went back to he School, and I have since tried to pack up everything again to prepare as much as possible for tomorrow, when I will be moving to my host family!

Hanna

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If I thought Tuesday was jamm packed, Wednesday was even fuller. We did an equal amount of the Workbook, but also had a lecture on safety after dinner, when we on Tuesday had some time off. We learnt even more about childcare, with a lot of focus on safety and communication.

One of the exercises we did was outside, where we sat back to back with another person and one should explain to the other how to paint something using the instructions on a card. Some people managed quite good, whereas there was one girls drawing that the teacher even took a photo of because it was so bad.

Another thing we did was that everyone got a post-it on there back and the others were supposed to write something about you on it. Very unexpectedly a lot of people came to me and wanted to write on my note, which made me really curious as to what I had done to leave an impression. When we later got to see the notes I was surprised to see that mine said I talk a lot and always smile, as that is not true to the picture I have of myself, however it is a new picture and when I actually think about it it has started to become reality as well.

I spent most of the day with my new German friend, Verena, and sat with some germans during meals, which basically means I'm fluent in German now from all the listening to it (not).

There's so many amazing persons and personalities in the class I've been in, and the teacher we had was amazing. Loads of fun stories, learning about cultural differences, random break outs of singing songs from High School Musical, to name a few things, have made these two days pass by extremely fast. It's weird to think that you have only known some of these people for two days and it feels like you've known them for so much longer.

After the lecture on safety there was karaoke. There was some people who had some reeeeally nice voices, and there were people who shouted instead of sang. Some people sang songs from High School Musical to which everyone could tune in, whilst others only did songs in their native language, which was mostly fun for those who knew the language. As opposed to what I believed about myself, I got up there and sang as well, though with three other persons. Dancing Queen - Abba. One of the songs that more or less everyone tuned in to!

After karaoke it was more or less off to the room and go to sleep, as it had once again been a very long day full of activities.

See you soon
Hanna

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Today is day 2 at the training school and it feels like the day has gone on forever, even though it's "only" 10pm-ish. But then again I've been up since 5.30 so that might be part of the explanation.

The food here is actually over expectation, and the breakfast had a great variety of things to pick. Lunch also had a great variety, though it was tacos so that might have been expected. When dinner actually came around I wasn't very hungry at all, but what I ate was really good.

Classes started at 9am and we had one long class until lunch at 12.30 where we talked about the complexities of an Au Pair as well as childhood nutrition. After lunch we talked about health as well as safety and further about connecting with the children.

Though it has been a long day of classes (9-7.30) it hasn't felt like we were specifically in school as there is a lot of discussions and generally a lot of encouraging stories. The fact that we all know that we will have use of most of the things we learn also helps the classes feel actually interesting. And speaking of interesting, it is really cool to hear about all the cultural differences there is in the group in our room. For instance in South Africa they tend not to eat dinner together with their family, whereas in England it is way mire common and you usually have to excuse yourself to leave the table.

I've also made friends with the two germans who were sat behind me and the other Swedish girl in my group, and me and one of them went to the candy picnic together and tried some of the candy from across the world.

Another fun thing we did today was that three classroom groups got together and were divided into the countries we come from, and were then told to come up with a game we played as children that we thought to be typical from our country. We debated a lot back and forth and realised we played some different games in different parts of Sweden, but eventually decided to the the "små grodorna"-dance (small frogs), which we then did infront of what was likely about a hundred people. We also borrowed a Czech republican as out midsummerpole (poor girl).

When we arrived last night some of us were given notes from out Host families, and on mine it said that they had paid my New York tour fir Thursday as well as the visit to Top of the Rock that CC offers. On this note it also said that I had a gift from my Host family to go and get today, which I did. It was a CC-bag with a Training School Hoody, a I <3 NY T-shirt (perfect for sleeping in), a water-bottle and to gift cards to Starbucks and to Panera. This was to me very unexpected, but very appreciated and I am really thankful for the gifts.

Tomorrow another full day of activities awaits, and truthfully this is better than I thought it was going to be.

See you soon
Hanna

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Finally!

Yesterday I left the house at 4.30am (CEST) and we arrived about 4am CEST/ 10pm (in whatever timezone New York is in).

I was on three different planes, one from Skellefteå to Stockholm, one from Stockholm to London and then the last one from London to New York, where we are staying until Friday. We were 8 Swedish Au Pairs travelling together from Stockholm which really eased a lot of the nerves and made the trip a lot more fun than it would have been if I travelled alone.

The first two flights ran quite smoothly with no bigger mishaps, but when we then arrived in London and went through security there one of us got stopped and had her bags searched thoroughly. Once we had made it passed that we went to get some food and once we were done we sort of realised that we were in a bigger hurry than we originally thought and even ran a bit to get to the gate on time since we also had to take a short transfer train. Half of us got there before the other and for us it was no problem, however, the other half made it to the gate right before it closed and two of them got stopped for an extra control of their bags, and the rest of us didn't know why they had been stopped. They did make it to the plane safely, though rather stressed eventually.

Apart from the take off being an hour late the flight from London to the US was very smooth. We had TVscreens and I watched Moana, Fantastic Beasts and three episodes of Friends during the flight. There was also blankets and pillows on every seat, which was a life saver because the plane was quite cold a big part of the flight.
When we landed me and the two girls I sat with were all surprised that we had actually landed. We knew that we were close to landing, but didn't think we had actually gotten that close to the ground yet, and it was the smoothest landing I've ever done.

Security in the US was a lot easier than I thought it would have been and went very smoothly for us.

We then had about an hour on a bus to get to the actual Training School, where we were given some papers, keys to our rooms and was told to put away our big bags in some sort of container. We then walked to the building in which we were to sleep and went to our rooms, and I don't think I've ever encountered a colder room. The Air Con was on when I got in there and I immediately turned it off. After getting our bags into the rooms we went to the top floor for some pizza and spoke briefly to some Colombians. I've slept in a hoodie tonight and woke up in the middle of the night from freezing.

Another interesting and weird thing is the height of the bed. I actually have to do a little jump to get on it, and if I were to fall I'm sure I'd have a concussion.

I woke up a good few times this night and gave up sleep at 5.30 even though I had only slept five hours. Half an hour later I decided to shower, and that was the beat decision I've made in a long time. My body temperature returned to normal and I feel human again now.

The time is currently 8am and I'm just about to head off to breakfast with another one of the Swedes!

Until next time
/Hanna

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Today has been a very eventful day in many ways.

First off last night was the last night I will spend at my dads house before leaving, which means that today we completely emptied the room of everything as the room is to be redecorated before my sister moves in there. Dad also asked me how I felt about all of this, which ended with him being rather emotional and even crying. I should add that I only remember one other occasion where he has cried, and that was when my grandfather died.

We then went to Vischan to get some lunch, and I said goodbye to my cousin who works there. It's so strange to actually say goodbye to people knowing that it is at least a year until I will meet them again.

A while after lunch I packed the last of my things and headed off to moms, only to be met by a room that can only be described by the word chaos. There are bags and boxes and things everywhere as I am both trying to finish packing and trying to pack up my room. This far I've managed to pack the last of my books and a bag full of gym clothes and such. I have also more or less finished packing the things I am actually bringing, the things that I have yet to pack are mostly things that only can be packed on Monday morning.
I also tried weighing my bags, and the smaller one is fine, however, I am a bit nervous about the bigger one as it is more or less on the limit so I tried moving some heavier things to the smaller bag so hopefully it's fine now but we will see.

In all of the chaos created in my room, I also lost my flight itinerary as well as a goodbye card I was given from my co-workers and I just couldn't find it no matter where I looked and I even called my dad to see if I had forgotten them at his. After probably thirty minutes of (not so actively but still) searching for these papers I gave up and took out my computer to write down some contact information. Which is when I both saw and realized that I had put the papers in the computer to protect them from wrinkling (10/10 would recommend this, as long as you remember that this is what you did)


4 more days now!
/Hanna

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Hi!

In just one week now I'll be leaving Sweden to go to the United States, and more specifically Maryland to become an Au Pair. My journey properly started right before Christmas, and I matched with the family I am going to in the beginning of January and said yes in mid-March.

It is insane to me how fast the time has gone by since then as well. It feels like yesterday I started my application, and here I am, only a week before I go, trying to figure out what to bring and how to pack as well as I am trying to spend as much time as possible with those I will not meet for at least another year.

I leave on Monday 7th, at eeeeaaarly in the morning from my house to get on the first of three flights on that day, which leaves at 7 am local time, and I fly from there to Stockholm, from Stockholm to London and then from London to New York.

I then have Au Pair Training School in New York until the Friday, which is when I will be going to the family!

During my year I will take care of two girls who currently are 13 and 10 and both are involved in many activities!

The plan is to try and document as much of my year as possible here, and I also have plans on catching up on the things that have happened this far as I will want to remember that as well as it might be interesting to some of you as well.

Until next time,
Hanna

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