This post isn’t going to be the cheeriest one, so if you’re looking for a pick-me-up, I’d click onto a cheerier page now!
I’ve been in two minds about how to write this post today- I’ve been so angry it would have been so easy and simple for me to do a massive, ranting post about how I don’t understand the way people think or why I always end up in such pickles.
But I’ve decided to take it easy. To be the bigger person and not stoop down to a level where I’m bad-mouthing other people and, most importantly, letting go of the anger that has consumed me for the past 48 hours.
Over the course of last week, I felt like my host family parents were being slightly …. off with me. Not that they were being mean, but just not as friendly as usual. I initially put it down to them being tired after a trip to Asia, but then as the week went on, I started to feel quite uneasy. I gave them the benefit of the doubt, and even talked myself into believing I was being paranoid and too sensitive, and that I was making things up.
A whole long story short, on Friday they sat me down at the kitchen table (actually, it was only the mum, the dad either couldn’t be bothered or didn’t know how to handle the situation) and told me they could no longer afford to have me in their house.
So, I came all the way from Scotland to a job that I thought would be secure for at least 6 months – because, realistically, who would hire an au pair without first factoring in the expenses and seeing whether or not they’d be able to afford her right? – to be told after a month and a half that she needs to look for another job. Oh, while you’re at it, look for another home as well, because THAT is also getting taken away from you.
That, unfortunately, is the nature of au pair work. Could I do anything about it? Nope, because I’m stupid and way too trusting for my own good, and DID NOT SIGN A CONTRACT.
First, I burst into tears, to which I got a response of ‘Don’t cry, take a breath.’
Okay then, shall I jump for joy about the situation I’ve just been unwillingly forced into then?
Then I got told that the family would be happy to work with me over the next few weeks to find me a job and a home but that they’d prefer if things started to get wrapped up quickly; that we’d sit down on Sunday night (after they came back from their boat) and talk about my plan. I’m sorry, I had no plan. My plan was to be an au pair for as long as possible while I explored Sydney.
To be honest, there aren’t any words in the English language that I can use to describe what I felt in those moments, and if there are, I don’t know them so please do share.
My host mum left the room, and I went to my own, crying my heart out and basically so scared of what was to come for me and the remaining 6 months I have left in Sydney. I knew how expensive it is to rent a place in the city, and on top of that, I do not have the RSA certificate that would allow me to work in bars and restaurants, and obtaining one of those costs money.
My first instinct was to nap it off. Go to sleep and forget about the whole ordeal. But, I guess in a way, my flight-or-fight sense kicked in and I knew I had to pull myself together.
I scoured the internet for job opportunities, and raked through website after website trying to find a place to rent that wouldn’t cost me more than a flight to just go home. To be honest, a part of me did want to go home. To pack it all in, and admit defeat. I could have done it. Easily. Why not? Going home would mean being with my friends and family again, and being in a place that was familiar, and where people wouldn’t hire me and fire me like something that meant nothing to them.
However, two things held me back.
- Mr OneBigStressball has had his flights booked to come and see me since the second day I was here, so there was no way I was letting him miss out on a holiday of a lifetime.
- Pure stubbornness. Was I heck going to let anyone see me cry and crawl back to Scotland? I paid close to £400 for my working holiday visa, there wasn’t a chance I was going to only get a month and a half’s worth of work from it!
As the tears subsided, the anger built itself up.
I didn’t (and still don’t to be honest) understand why this had happened. A part of me felt like it was a personal attack on me, as if I’d done something wrong, but I hadn’t. Another part of me was angry about the way it had been done. It was so cold, there was no feeling to it. They’d been distant all week, told me they couldn’t afford me anymore, then left to stay the night on their boat.
I spoke to my dad on the phone about it all, bless him for putting up with it, as he was the only member of my family in Europe who was awake at that ridiculous hour (it was 3pm for me, 6am for him) and though he did try and coax me into going to Bulgaria and living with him for a while, I was determined to work something out here. Job or no job. Home or no home.
With regards to my living situation, I felt cringey and awkward just thinking about living in a household where I wasn’t needed, and probably not even wanted. How uncomfortable that would be!
So I asked my friend if I could stay with her for a couple of nights and left. I couldn’t face staying with that family any longer after having received that sort of news, so I thought it would be in the best interests of my own mental health to get the heck out. Selfish? Maybe. But I know that I feel better for it.
I went ahead with the plans I’d made for the weekend, keeping myself busy and not thinking about this predicament I was in, and you know what? I still had the best time.
My point is… don’t let anything or anyone dictate the way you feel or what you do. Every human is strong enough to survive adversity and shit situations-all you have to do is pull yourself together and get on with it.
I know exactly how lucky I am to have a friend and her family to help me out, they’re all superheroes, seriously, so don’t ever take the people in your life for granted.
If life shits on you, plaster a huge smile on your face, say thanks, wash it off, and keep going.
I could have run back to Scotland, but then I know 100% I would have regretted the choice as soon as I landed back in my own country. So instead of making that mistake and learning from it, I’m just going to keep my head held high, listen to Taylor Swift’s new album, and look forward to my new adventure.