Tuesday, August 12, 2014

How it all began pt 2

Amidst my boredom I had a discussion with a good friend in which he divulged that he may be moving to California. Why does he get to go to California, and I don't? I whined to God that night. And God said, Where do you want to go? I looked at the posters of the Eiffel Tower and the world map hanging in my apartment and said, There. I want to go to Paris. And God said, Okay. Just like that, no big deal. And I didn't think anything about it.

Now I don't believe that God gives into whining any more than I believe He gives us everything we want. But what I did not know is that my little moment of insecurity tipped the scales into motion like a a rollercoaster cresting the first hill. God had been up to something this past year, while I was wallowing in self-pity and entitlement. While I was questioning His goodness, He was preparing my dream. Isn't that just like Him? To give something wholly wonderful to the undeserving.

A series of things happened very quickly:
1. I got the biggest tax return of my life. Miraculous.
2. I started the Rosetta Stone French learning software I had impulsively bought in the fall.
3. I realized my job was not going to ever satisfy the craving I had for adventure, at least not at this time.
4. I decided travel was for me, and I wanted to do it now rather than later.
5. I had my 5th potential roommate bail on me for the fall. Now I know I'm not the spick-n-span-iest of roommates, but I'm not a horrible person. Why couldn't I seem to land?

And just like that, I was researching ways to live abroad in Europe on the cheap. Just for fun, of course.
Then I found out au pairing took care of living expenses, and I decided to create a profile on greataupair.com to see what families were looking for out there. Just for fun, of course.
And then I had families contacting me. What? Was this really happening?
Then I started to tell people about this idea. Not as a decision, just something I was thinking about, to get their response. The response... was overwhelmingly affirmative. Coworkers, old friends, new friends, family members, my students loan customer service people (when I called about what to do with student loans when you don't have any expenses but also aren't really making any money), EVERYONE was telling me, "Ruth, you HAVE to go!"

One of the biggest decisions in choosing to be an au pair is agency vs no agency. An agency is a middle man institution that can help connect you to a family that fits your needs, and provides support during your trip abroad in case anything were to happen where you needed to leave early or switch families. An agency can cost you an extra $200-$800 depending on which one you choose. I sent in an application to one such agency, and even got a phone interview, when at the end of the conversation, the woman at the other end decided to test my French.

C'etait un grand ├ęchec. It was the biggest failure. I blanked, then started responding in Spanish, then I think I started making up words? I don't remember, really, I was dizzy with embarrassment. I do remember, however the end of the interview, when the woman said "I really don't think this will be the best decision for you. With your level of French, I can't imagine you being very successful. You may want to reconsider."

As I hung up the phone, I was crushed. These past two weeks of dreaming, of scheming, of letting people in on my secret dream to live in Paris, everything was crumbling in front of me. And that, my friends, is when God took ahold of this story.

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