As many of you already know (thanks for posting on Facebook, Aaron! :p teasing…), I’m no longer in France. I am no longer an au pair. I’m honestly sick of discussing it and I don’t think it’s something I should publicly post about anyways, so I’m not going to talk about it here. Just know that it had nothing to do with homesickness, wanting to leave France, or the workload I was receiving (okay, the lack of workload may have been a factor). So I’ve been in the US for a little over a week now, saying hellos to family and a few friends that were also second goodbyes…. Because I am on my way out of New England.
Tomorrow morning I’m headed to Rhode Island for a “mini-vacation” with my mom (for me, not for her… she has to work *mwahahah*), and on Thursday I head to Reston, VA, just west of Washington DC. I knew when I left France I couldn’t stay in Maine; I refuse to let myself get stuck in the same rut I was in before I left. Paris also gave me a bit of a city bug — I really want some of the hustle and bustle that living/working in a city brings to life. Boston felt way too familiar. I originally thought of the west coast, like Seattle or Portland, but I literally don’t know a soul out there. Through this whole process (which took less than two weeks, might I add) my friend Alyssa has been an amazing resource. She’s listened to all my moaning and whining, helped me sort the pros and cons, and is now letting me bum in her spare bedroom for a few weeks until I get my feet on the ground. While I’m going to DC for myself, my ability to make a decision is in large part due to her. I am confident in my decision; with a small support system and the couple of career contacts I have in the area, I know I will make this work.
It’s funny how failing at one aspect of this adventure has made me so much more confident about myself. The further away from my decision to leave France that I get, the better I feel about it, and the more certain I am that I made the right decision. I took the year off from “real life” to figure myself out — what I wanted, what I liked, what I was capable of doing. A friend I made in France, who had a sort of motherly influence, said that maybe this was all happening for a reason. Maybe I only needed three months to get my life back on track. In her words, it’s time for me to “get grown” and get on with my life, and not the life I’ve designed around others. This is, I think, only the second time in my life that I’ve made a major decision that has been solely for me. The first was deciding to move to Portland and go to school there…and even that feels like it was for someone else, regardless of the fact that it was my decision alone. The only reason I moved to the area was to pursue school, and that seemed like the only option at the time. This move is purely for me — not school, not family/friends, not a job. For me. And I am beyond excited.
So… next comes the more difficult part, when real life sets in. The last week or so has been a bit of a reprieve from the real world, and while it’s been nice I’m so ready for the next step. My plans literally only extend to the end of April; I will need to find housing of my own (and get out of Alyssa’s hair) and a job. Housing I don’t foresee to be a problem; I’ve found plenty of options already but I don’t want to decide on anything until I’m actually there and can visit them and feel them out for myself (especially since they’re all roommate situations). I have a few actual “big girl” job leads — you know, salary, benefits, the whole nine yards. If these don’t pan out, I’m not above getting a retail job to tide me over until something better comes along. My motherly friend from Paris also has ties to DC and is willing to help me as well, if I need it. So even though, for the first time in my life, I don’t really have a plan, I’m not scared. I’m excited. I’m ready. It’s time to finally grow up and figure out what I’m going to make of my life before it’s over. So this is it… goodbye “student Kelsey”, “au pair Kelsey”, “young adult Kelsey”. My name is Kelsey, and I am officially entering the adult world.