Samstag, 31. Dezember 2016

Happy New Year!

I actually really like the time around new year, because everyone starts thinking about their lives and what they want to achieve. I enjoy reviewing my past year, thinking about my life and what´s waiting for me in the coming year.
I think I will make a separate and more detailed post about my mental health and how things changed for me, but just saying in general: When I was younger, I used to make a whole bunch of new years resolutions, which have been totally unrealistic and I never really worked hard to achieve them too... in my mind it was more of a wish than an actual goal I wanted to achieve. I thought things would just magically happen, but that´s not how it works.
Last year I found a great method for myself: I give every year a big motto to lead it. Additionally I set myself not more than 5 realistic (!) New Years Resolutions and let me say, it worked perfectly! I haven´t got frustrated, because I could see a progress instead of constant failure.

My motto of 2016 was face your fears and I´m so proud to say I faced a bunch of my fears this year successfully! It made me grow so much and gave me a lot more confidence in myself and my strength. Obviously I couldn´t face all of my fears in one year, so I´ll still keep working on that, but 2017 I´m focusing on learning how to be happy.
I´ve been through five really rough years, that partly felt like hell and during the last year I had to recover a lot from these wounds (and I still do a lot!). But now I´m finally in a really good mental place and the coming year I want to focus on keeping this up and even improving it more. I also feel like I´m just discovering and growing into the whole "adult-life" and all the responsibilities, that come along with that, so I hope to get more confident in this role.

But let me speak a little bit more about 2016 before this year is gone and we all move on with 2017.
2016 was a great year for me! So many great things happened: I got my drivers license, I passed my A-levels (thanks God!), I turned 18 and I started in my new life with becoming an AuPair and flying to America! I have a wonderful best friend, who I love deeply and I improved my relationship with my brother a lot this year (which also makes me miss him and Gregor so much). But most of all, I finally have the feeling I have my shit together! Even when my long term future plans are quite unsettled, I have the feeling I changed incredibly much this year, especially during the last two months. I´m in a mentally very good place right now, I am confident and I feel strong - strong like I can handle most of the stuff life could throw at me.
Just being able to say that and feeling inside it´s true, makes me incredibly proud and I feel like that actually as my greatest achievement in 2016. From here we can go on and built everything up, but I took the first step.
Okay, so much to 2016, let´s move on to the good old New Years Resolutions.




MY NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS:

- being satisfied with my body

- being the best nanny possible (patient, organized, caring, playful, prepared, calm,....)

- making a plan for my educational future / future life in general

- appreciating the good in every day

- worrying less




I hope you have a magical night,
XOXO Johanna

Freitag, 23. Dezember 2016

first day of winter break ....

Oh yeay, it is the first day of winter break! That means no school or daycare, all kids at home and a loooot of time. No, but I imagined it to be super nice today, the boys would be happy to stay at home, everybody is relaxed and nice and you can feel the christmas spirit as there are only a few days to go until Christmas morning.
Little reality check:
"Relaxing" equals screen time and every time I want the boys to look or speak with me, I have to ask them two times before they even notice.
However, I have the feeling today was an important day for me, because I am really unsatisfied with how things have went and looking back at it I reacted the way I did because of my emotions and not so much because of rational thinking.
There was this one situation with Jack: after a whole day more or less struggling to be a good listener and cooperating, he said something really really rude and disrespectful to me and it really hit a wound of me, so I felt attacked and reacted way to emotional with snapping his iPad right out of his hands and then he started crying and being even more offensive.. basically a circle, where things get worse and worse. Looking back, I think it was right to take away his electronics for this behavior, but the way I did it was just wrong and triggered his bad reactions. And also, I sometimes forget that he´s just a six year old and I am an adult. Just thinking back makes me cringing, because I did´t stayed calm and it seems so obvious that this would´t be the right reaction, but in this moment I just hadn´t had myself together. That´s just how it is.
But maybe it is good now, because it will definitely help me in the future to take a deep breath, remembering I am the adult and he is a child and not reacting as if he is on my level and he means what he says.

I am not even sure if anything I wrote makes sense, but it is late in the evening and I am sitting in bed, munching some Reese´s and thinking about the day. Therefore I am aware of the fact, this isn´t one of my greatest posts.

However, Merry Christmas to You
XOXO Johanna

Sonntag, 18. Dezember 2016

one month in America

Hello peeps,
as you might recognized, I haven´t written anything in the last time... and a lot of stuff happened! It´s just me, not getting the first posts ready and then all the other stuff, I wanted to stell you has build up into a huge pile and now I´m just making a litte cut, telling you some bits and bobs, from what I can remember right now and then we will just carry on with all the current experiences, feelings and problems. Sounds good? I think so.

time feeling:
How does one month in America feel like?
It is kind of difficult to explain that... on the one side, I can´t believe one month is already gone and just eleven are left! But on the other side, it feels like a lifetime for me! I have made so many unforgettable experiences, I met this amazing family and I am in the blimming USA!!
When I think of my best friend, it feels like I haven´t seen her in a year and it was just a month.. so that´s kind of strange.

relationships: 
Hazel: 
It is incredible to me, how much you can love a child. I mean, I know that, because I love my little brother so much, I can´t even put it in words, but he is my brother. And know I feel pretty much the same for this little beautiful girl. And I would have never thought I could love another child as much as my brother!
 


Jack:
As you may know from previous posts, I had some problems with Jacky... I wrote a little bit about how I felt in the second week, so here it is:

to be honest...today I had a little bit of a cry because of jack.
Yesterday evening we had like a family circle, where we talked about behavior and my new role in the family and I had such high hopes, it would work now (at least a bit  better) .. but today I actually tried to help him, when he was fighting with his brother again and he just responded You are not helping me at all! I don´t know what it was, maybe that it came unexpected and smashed my hopes or because I´m about to get ill and feel a bit weak anyway.. however tears came up and I just went down, sitting on the stairs and having a bit of a cry.

You can see, it wasn´t particularly great dealing with Jack and his pushing-away-attitude. I was really worried at that point, because I did´t knew if it will work out with him and I was horrified of the thought of having to deal with that for a year or longer, or that the family decides it´s not working I they want a rematch.
However, I briefed myself for the next hard weeks and don´t asks me how, but we turned around! It makes me so happy seeing him happy and not upset all the time and now everything is so much easier for me, just because we are at a point now, where I know he generally likes me and that is our base. Long story short, I think we are at a good place now.

Greyson:
To me it feels like we had a pretty good relationship right from the beginning and it continued being good. He is such a sweet and smart kid! I recognized, he has a lot of homework for a nine year old - and I always feel sorry for him when he gets frustrated, because we need so long to do them every day. That´s more or less the only time he is difficult to handle, because I can kind of understand him, but I have to keep him motivated and concentrated at the same time...

 


Especially during the last week I had such a strong feeling of overwhelming love for this family, for every member of this family and I was every single day so grateful to be here and be able to spend my time with such wonderful persons.
I often think That is my life. Right now, this moment, what I am doing right know is my life! And I always keep in mind, that I am the only person, who can decide in which direction my life is going! If there is something I am unsatisfied with than I am the one, who has to change it. That is something I really learned over the past couple of years and do you know what a good feeling it is to think that and then realizing that you made a great decision  for your life, because you are happy and there is nothing you would change? That´s how I feel right know, I know in my heart that this here is the best thing that could happen to me, at this point of my life!
I enjoy it so much to be an adult and to be treated like an adult! At home I will always stay a child in the eyes of my parents or siblings, but here I am just me. I don´t have to fit any role and I am still discovering myself from day to day.


There are a lot more things going on,  just saying College, Thanksgiving, Christmas .... but I think this post is long enough for now and I will talk about everything else when I feel like it or something new happens. For now I am just happy to be more or less up to date on this blog and from now on I can write way more regular and can enjoy it way more.



Last thing: I´m planning on making a Q&A video on my YouTube channel, so if you have any questions about my experiences so far or the AuPair life in general, just let me know in the comments.


Have a great day,
XOXO Johanna






My first full working week

My first week working here is over.
First of all: I´m so glad to be in this loving family with Jesse&Aisha being so nice to me and three incredible children!
But to be honest, it was still a challenging week for me.
Of course I needed to get to used to the daily routine, the kids and the house... and the first days were pretty overwhelming for me. The boys had two days off from school and Hazel stayed at home too. You probably can imagine how crazy this was.
I´m not able to write down a full report of the first week, but I will try to draw a picture with describing how things were going in categories:

Hazel:
When I first got here and Aisha and I picked her up from daycare, she was very shy, did´t say a word and stared at me the whole time. :D (that was so cute - but at the same time I was worried if she was going to like me or not)
After the whole family had dinner, I gave them my little presents from Germany.. and Hazel's present were three wooden magicians, which consists out of 4 peaces each.

And she loved it! I think just because of that toy she spoke her first words with me and I was so glad! 
During the evening she came to me, sat down at my lap and as it was time for her to go to bed, she gave me a hug. A HUG! I was soo happy, you can´t even imagine. 


Sine then we get along pretty well with each other. She is such a cute toddler and such a sunshine! It literally makes me so happy seeing her enjoying herself and everything around her. 
And to be fair, I probably feel most comfortable looking after her, because I have the most experience with toddlers and not with older children. 


Jack:
He is such a smart boy, he absolutely loves his family and I´ve got the feeling if we start building a relationship, we would going along very well together.... but getting to this building-kind-of-a-relationship-part is way more difficult than I expected it to be!!! 
I´m actually not very good at being strict and saying the kids what they are suppose to do - especially if they refuse to do it. (Plus: At this point I don´t know all the rules ... and I´m basically really unsure in situations like this)
My point of view is that he does´t likes me (or maybe my role) at all and he does´t takes me really serious. You know, he sometimes yells at me or ignores me or says rude things like That´s not you business or You´re a terrible nanny... And I am really upset about this! Because I am trying so hard to be as nice as possible and don´t giving him a reason to dislike me. So far we had one good and four bad days and to be honest, that is exhausting! Tiptoeing around him every day and only getting negative feedback makes me sad and takes so much energy. It´s been only a week and I have so much hope that it´ll be better with time and as he get´s to know me better.
On the other side I´m thinking ahead if it will continue to be this way, because then I have no other chance than to be so strict that he behaves better to me. 
I´m hoping for the best, because I want to see him happy and behaving respectful to me because he wants to and not because he fears the consequences. 
We´ll see. 


Greyson:
Greyson is also very smart and cute and I´m actually really happy with him. Of course he is a nine year old and he tries to trick me sometimes, but he is so mature for his age, he totally understands if you just sit down with him and have a conversation! Sometimes he basically is a little adult.
He has been very helpful and friendly to me and apart from fighting with his brother sometimes, I have nothing to complain about. 


Aisha&Jesse:
As I said in the beginning, I am so glad being here in this loving family! I take so much out of that! They welcomed me, after our matching and when I arrived here, in their family. Both of them are very nice to me but it goes further than that. I kind of look up to both of them as a person as well as a couple. They have such interesting characters, I really enjoy our conversations and I respect their opinions. 
As a couple they just give me hope that it´s possible to be married for over 10 years, which were not always easy peasy, and still be happily in love with each other. 
Additionally they manage to be a happy family and be happy around their kids even if they had the most exhausting day or week. That´s just impressive to me! and I hope to be able to say the same about myself one day. 


the house: 
I´m living, for the next year, in the most beautiful house you have ever seen! It is so pretty! Nearly every day I am using the big back yard for playing outside with the kids. I love my room and the rest of the house! It basically feels like home to me, even if I was only here for a weeks time so far. Obviously I still get to know everything, but I am starting feeling more comfortable with doing things like laundry, cleaning or putting stuff, where it belongs. 


homesickness:
I´m not that kind of person, who get´s homesick very quick and easily and in the few days I spend here so far, I experienced so much and soaked all the new information in like a sponge, that there wasn´t even time to miss home. 
I kept in touch with my family and my friends from time to time and that´s good, but I´m not at the point yet, where I miss them. 

That´s it for the first week. I´ll keep you updated.

XOXO Johanna


the first weekend with my american family

Owing to my arrival on Thursday evening, the first three days I´ve spend with my american family were over the weekend. But let´s start at the beginning.

Thursday- 3rd November
OMG! Today is the day I´ll meet my american host-family - the people with who I´ll live the next year over! You can probably imagine how nervous and excited I felt. Additionally I am the kind of person, who always overthinks everything and imagines every possible situation - what isn´t really helpful. Therefore I imagined every possible awkward situation and drove myself totally crazy... but at the same time I remembered the feeling I had when we matched and that took a lot of my nervousness away.

The flight was super quick and I landed with two other AuPairs, who would see their family in a few minutes for the first time. But let me say one thing: airports are horrible! They are huge, you have to go through so many security checks, if you walk to one door you can never come back and they never say clearly, where you have to go. Therefore my biggest problem was to find my host family. (I did´t even knew who would come to pick me up)
But in the end we found each other. I stood outside of the airport on a carpark and my host-mom drove there to pick me up. I did´t even had to worry at all... she got out of the car with a big smile on her face and said You finally made it here!! And then she gave me a big hug and I was so relieved! To that I immediately liked her a lot.
On the way home I just recognized big streets and a lot of beautiful trees in all colors of Fall.
When we arrived at the house I almost could´t believe it! We stood in front of a huge and beautiful "Backstein"-house... and I was just overwhelmed.
Then she showed me around and after that it was time to pick up Hazel (my two year old little girl) from Daycare. She was very funny.. the moment she recognized me, she kept staring at me with her big brown eyes and did´t said a word. But just that you know it: She is the most beautiful two year old girl in the world!

The boys had Tequando, owing to that they came home late that day and our first meeting looked like this: I sat in the living room/ kitchen and Greyson (the oldest) bumped through the door, run to me jelling Miss Johanna and gave me a big hug. Jack followed but he just ran around, buzzing of energy.  I don´t know if you can even imagine how this first amazing hug from my oldest host-kid felt. And of course  I got to meet my host-dad too, who is as lovely as my host-mom even they are very different characters.
After we all had dinner, I gave them my presents from home and- I think just because of the amazing present - Hazel spoke her first word to me and the ice was broken. She even hugged me this evening and sat on my lap! I was soooooo happy!!!





When the boys had to go to bed, I also went to my room, unpacking my suitcases and having a good sleep for the next day.








Friday - 4th November
The first Day here!! I got up pretty early, because I had no idea how the day would look like and I didn´t wanted to miss out on anything. Especially because it was the only week day, where I could see and pick up how the daily routine is.
I was buzzing out of nervous energy and excitement.. but all the kids were in school/daycare and my host-mom took me to her work then. It was exciting for me to see where she works, but I forgot to bring a book with me and so I had to wait there for a while.. I could totally understand, that she had to do stuff, but it was pretty boring. When we left, she took me to Panera Bread and I had my first american (delicious) meal. Sadly she had to take some calls from work during the whole time and to be honest: I was a a litte bit disappointed. I really wanted to spend some time with her and get to know her better.. but it just wasn´t the right time.
However we made it to the grocery store that day an it was an experience! The stores here are so huge, it´s almost as big as a german "building-market" (Baumarkt) and you can buy everything there! So that was pretty great.

Saturday - 5th November
Obviously it was the first day of the weekend, therefore we had a pretty chilled day at home. I think everyone was glad to relax a bit from school or work. My host-dad, Greyson, Hazel and me went to the park nearby and it was just beautiful!


Sunday - 6th November
Sunday was actually a really amazing day! 
It started with going to church with Jesse, my host-dad. But church here is not to compare with church how I used to know them in Germany! It was a huge building, it had Childcare stations in it and it looked more like a theatre then a church. They had a big stage and screens, because there could fit so many people in, that not everyone could see the pastor very well. Plus, they had a band! 
However, I didn´t really liked the speech though, but at the end everyone in the room stood up and the band played a song. First of all, the guy, who sang, is crazy talented and it sounded amazing! Second, there was something about the whole atmosphere, all the people standing up and singing together and feeling like a community, that really took me, so I had goosebumps all over and even a few tears in my eyes. 
When we came back home, my host-mom Aisha took me to get our nails done... it was the first time ever for me, to get my nails done and it was pretty cool! At some point I had to dip my hands in warm wax and that felt incredibly nice. I think I never had such smooth hands. :D 
And also I just really enjoyed spending some time with my host-parents and getting to know their personalities better. 


In the afternoon we all drove to a farm for pumpkin smashing. I haven´t ever heard from such a thing, so I was excited to smash some pumpkins. :D 
For everyone, who has no clue what we are doing there: Because there were so many pumpkins left after Halloween, the farm made an event for people to pick pumpkins and smash them on different stations and then they feed the smashed pumpkins to their animals. 






It was a lot of fun for me and one of my first trips with my american family., so it meant a lot to me. 


happy in America,
XOXO Johanna 



Mittwoch, 16. November 2016

Goodbye Germany, Hello USA! & Orientation Days in AuPair Academy

Okay, let the journey begin!

My big adventure began on 31h October (Halloween!) 2016 with me getting in this big plane, which would bring me from my home Germany to the US!
My family, my best friend Antonia (Toni) and I arrived on 30th October in Berlin and stayed there over night, directly in front of the airport, because of my fear to miss my flight the next day. The night was very strange for me. My last evening in Germany felt like any other normal evening and while my Mom and Toni tried holding their tears back, I felt good. It just was´t real to me. But I woke up in the night and realized that these are my last few hours with all my beloved people and that nearly broke my heart. I cried for a bit and I even thought about staying in Germany for a little moment... but then I remembered why I decided to do this and that a lovely family in America is waiting for me, and I knew in my heart that I had to go.
Seeing my Mom and Toni in tears right before I had to go through the security check, and seeing my brothers for the last time was heartbreaking! And I am right now in tears just remembering this.






  
To be honest, I was actually surprised by myself when I sat in the plane, because I never really thought of myself, I would be brave enough to do all this for real. Don´t get me wrong, I never planned on canceling my plans or quitting right before my start, but I could never imagine myself being brave enough to do it for real. In general, it is just not possible to imagine yourself living a total different life on the other side of the world for at least a years time. 
Therefore I had a moment in the plane, when I realized I will do this "shit" and I was very proud of myself. 





AuPair Academy:
The Academy is in/ near by New York and all Au Pairs spend their first three days there, to learn and refresh important things for this program, as you probably know. 
The hotel looks amazing! My roommates were a danish girl and a french girl, who I really like and all three of us are living in Virginia (even if we are a few hours apart). I spend most the time with them and I really liked, that we had to speak english to communicate with each other, because 1. you know that no-one there can speak perfect english, therefore you don´t feel stupid when you make mistakes.
2. A lot of Au Pairs used to spend their time with others from their home-country and spoke in their native language, which isn´t helping improving your english skills at all. We had class everyday from 8 am until 5pm with breaks for lunch and to use the restroom. 
I booked the New York Tour in the evening of the first full day in the US. By the way: it costs 46$, because a lot girls asked me. 
However, it was incredible! We were so lucky with the weather, it was nice and warm, even in the later evening hours. And we could see New York at night - I don´t know what it is, but something about cities at night fascinates me. All the lights and imagining thousands of people in their homes, while I am wandering around is such a unique feeling. AND ! surprisingly I haven´t had the feeling of a cold atmosphere there, how I imagined it. I expected the atmosphere pretty similar to Berlin´s, but it was´t anything like that! We also had a great tour guid, he was very funny and I really truly enjoyed the trip. I will definitely come back one day, with a lot more time to explore the city. 
Get a little impression in the following picture gallery: 



















I also filmed some bits and bobs, so take a look at my YouTube channel, where some new videos will definitely be up very soon! 

finally in America,
XOXO Johanna 


Donnerstag, 27. Oktober 2016

Noch 3 Tage ...

Mein Host-Dad hat mir gerade geschrieben, um zu wissen, ob bei mir alles soweit okay ist, und ob sie noch irgendetwas für mich tun können. Das ist so lieb und ich bin wirklich glücklich in diese Familie zu kommen, aber irgendwie habe ich gerade erst realisiert, dass das alles wirklich passiert.
Seit Tagen fragen mich alle, ob ich schon aufgeregt bin und ich habe immer verneint, weil es mir gut ging. Aber durch diese Email wird das alles so real und mir ist gerade wirklich schlecht vor Aufregung und Nervosität!
Ich fliege ja mehr oder weniger ins blaue. Die meisten AuPairs kennen ihre Familien schon viel besser als ich und wissen auch genau was sie als Gastgeschenk mitbringen können.... während ich, ehrlich gesagt, etwas planlos bin. Ich hatte ja schon erwähnt, dass ich mir sowieso immer zu viele Gedanken um alles mache - damit fange ich gerade wieder an, nachdem ich mich so bemüht hatte das abzustellen.
Meine größte Befürchtung ist, dass ich ihren Erwartungen nicht gerecht werden kann, obwohl ich mich bemühe, oder dass die Kinder mich einfach nicht mögen. Dazu kommt dann noch das Verständigungsproblem, von dem ich auch noch nicht weiß, wie groß es letztlich sein wird...

Jedenfalls gehen meine Nerven gerade richtig mit mir durch.


nervös und aufgeregt,
XOXO Johanna

Dienstag, 18. Oktober 2016

Ich liebe Herbst !

Wie ihr auf den ersten Blick auf meinen Blog schon erkennen könnt, ist Herbst meine absolute Lieblingsjahreszeit! 😍
Ich liebe es, wenn die heißen Sommertemperaturen sich wieder etwas abkühlen und ich endlich wieder meine geliebten Pullis aus dem Schrank holen kann. Am liebsten würde ich das ganze Jahr über nur Pullis tragen. 😃💖 Aber das unangefochten Beste am Herbst ist selbstverständlich, wenn sich die Blätter alle rötlich färben und man sich gar nicht mehr daran sattsehen kann.🍁🍂 Besonders wenn die Bäume beim Sonnenuntergang in diesem einzigartigem gold-orange-Ton angestrahlt werden, sieht es aus wie im Märchen. Außerdem klingen die englischen Wörter autumn und fall einfach so wunderschön !
Und die herrlich herbstlichen Farben, die dann wieder in Mode kommen, lassen mein Herz auch jedes Jahr höher schlagen.

Wie ihr merkt, kann ich Ewigkeiten über den Herbst schwärmen und alles, was er mit sich bringt.
Eigentlich war es gar nicht geplant, dass ich euch mein kleines Herbstoutfit zeige, aber mein vierjähriger Bruder hat spaßeshalber Fotos von mir gemacht und da sie gar nicht so schlecht geworden sind, präsentiere ich sie euch nun. 😃 (Wenn ihr auf die Bilder klickt, werden sie größer)
Das Outfit ist ziemlich simpel, aber ich liebe es. Ich trage meine neuen FILA Boots, eine schwarze skinny Jeans und einen blauen Mantel mit einer Doppelknopfreihe. Um das ganze noch etwas abzurunden, könnte man noch eine Mütze, oder einen zu den Schuhen passenden Schal tragen, damit die etwas hellere Farbe noch einmal aufgegriffen wird.

Ich habe nur noch zwei Wochen in Deutschland, bevor es für mich dann für ein Jahr in die USA geht. Diese Zeit versuche ich jetzt noch bewusst zu genießen, weil die Vorstellung, meine Heimatstadt für so lange Zeit nicht zu sehen, schon seltsam ist.

XOXO Johanna