At 17 years old, I believe myself to be very globally conscious-I desire to make a difference in the world, primarily through creating a system that will help those in poverty live in harmony with the environment while also trying to work with political heads and create economy and environmentally friendly policies.
And yet, due to my little brother's rare condition, CCHS, which does not allow him to breathe while asleep and requires him to rely on machinery to breathe, my family has not traveled since his birth 9 years ago. But this summer I decided I wanted to experience the world before I started college.
â–º QUARTER FINALIST 2012 TEEN TRAVEL WRITING SCHOLARSHIP
On a whim-inspired by my desperate attempt to escape the boredom if summer-I accepted at au pair job (live in nanny) for a family in Italy, more specifically the shores of Forte Dei Marmi in Tuscany.
In just one week, my summer plans went from hanging at the beach with friends, trips to sea world, and reading by the pool, to speeding the next two months in Italy.
Talk about last minute plans.
So I was stranded abroad in a county where a few rare people speak English, assigned to a family of 5-A bipolar Mom who owns a cake company but hates cake, a golf-pro father, a shy, beautiful eyed 10 year old boy who only cared about video games and soccer, an 8 year old nicknamed "sexy girl" due to her flirtatious squealing and animosity towards pants, and a 4 year old "principessa", none of whom liked to behave. As a bonus, there was a wonderfully witty maid who helped me keep my sanity-and protect me from the mother- and a new kitten to keep things fresh. Not to mention a bazillion mosquitoes that seem to have an affinity for Californian blood. My only form of transportation-a bicycle with one gear-broken.
It began with terrible jet lag. I’d like to see you make it through a 13-hour flight and a time change of 9 hours, paired with no sleep and constant movement until the 8pm the next day without collapsing at the end of the day! But the next morning I was put to work-sent to the beach and suddenly in charge of three children. At first, I thought, “I can do this!”-Well, actually, I thought, “Boy am I tired!” But I soon came to realize that the children wouldn’t be my problem, it would be the parents.
The mother claimed that she wanted me to “join the family”, which I took as “feel comfortable, at ease, and loved”. However, she seemed to think it meant, “I can treat you as I would a daughter”-complete with yelling, manipulation, and absurd expectations. In short, I was being abused in the household and after a month, I needed to get out of the situation. But I didn’t let her ruin my experience.
I took advantage of my few hours off at the end of the day to run around Forte Dei Marmi and adventure through nature, both on foot and on pedal. I escaped one day to explore Pisa, took my first train, taxi, and careened through the mighty airport of Milan all on my own. It’s crazy to imagine that just last month my mom let me take the bus for the first time, and now I am in another country!
But, in the end, I learned how to hold my tongue and deal with terrible bosses, how to overcome adversity, and enjoy myself even when things look their worse. I gained patience, strength, cultural experience, and most importantly, I came to realize how strong the bonds of family can be. Although it was tough, I have no regrets!
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