Thursday, March 29, 2007

Happy Birthday, Grandma Becky

You are the one who I wanted to brush my hair when I was younger because of your sweet and gentle touch.

You are the one who I always wanted to play dress up with because you would let me wear your tiara while I danced around the house in all of your pretty nightgowns.

You are the one who would let me drive on all of our magical trips to Disneyland, even though the RV never actually left the front yard.

You are the one who spoiled me rotten and treated me like your little princess.

You are the one who always had a smile on her face and an armful of hugs whenever I would come over to visit.

You are the one who played with me for hours in the pool while I splashed around pretending to be baby Shamu.

You are the one who always encouraged me to reach for the stars and to never give up.

You are the one who told me that things would be alright, even during the most difficult times in my life.

You are the one who has supported every single one of my decisions in life, even if deep down you really hoped I would have changed my mind.

You are a loving mother, wife, grandmother and friend; you are all of these things and so much more.

Today we celebrate you, Grandma Becky, and all that you have done for this family. Wishing you much continued happiness and good health in the many years to come. I love you, Grandma, and may you have a very wonderful Birthday!

Monday, March 26, 2007

My gift

Every once in a while, god blesses our lives with such an incredible gift that it leaves us wondering "What did I ever do to deserve this?"

As with every day, but even more so today, I find myself in awe of the fact that I was the lucky one who received this special gift. For my entire life I've carried this gift around with me in my heart everywhere that I go. No matter how near or far I may be, it's always there when I need it- to laugh with, to cry with, to encourage and support; no matter what the occasion, this gift has always known exactly what I've needed.

So to you, mom, I want to say thank you. I couldn't have asked for a greater gift than having you as my mother. To my best friend, I wish you a very Happy Birthday!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Time to Fly

It's been a long process, but today I finally get to pick up all of my translated documents---the last requirement before I send in all of my au pair paperwork.

After two months of tracking down documents, filling out paperwork, and surfing the Internet for anything with the words "Paris" and "Au Pair" in the heading, it's finally time to take the next step: send in au pair packet.

Check. Completed. Now what?

Now I sit patiently/nervously, waiting to hear back from the agency. It's all up to them now---nothing more that I can do other than keep my fingers crossed and pray that I am going to get a wonderful family; a family who will welcome me with open arms and teach me all about this beautiful culture that has intrigued me for so many years.

I've been waiting a long time and its taken quite a bit of baby steps to get to this point, but just a few more feet and I will have inched my way as far up to the edge of this cliff as I can possibly go.

Now the only thing left for me to do is to decide whether I'm going to fall off or fly....

Give me my wings; I'm ready to soar.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

To My Number One Fan

Considering that I've only had this blog for about 3 days now, it greatly excites me how enthusiastic one particular person is about it.

Who is it, you may ask? Well, considering that the amount of people who have actually read my blog can be counted on my two hands (with several fingers to spare), it may not be that hard to figure out---but in case you're's the person who continues to sign his first, middle and last name onto every single birthday card, thank-you note, letter or email that he writes (no matter if it's intended for someone he just met or his own mother and father).

Yes, that's right, Michael ***** *******'s you! :)

I just wanted to take a minute to tell you thank you for supporting my blog and my dreams! You have no idea how much you mean to me, and how not a day goes by that I don't think about you. You have turned into an INCREDIBLE young man, and I am so excited to see where this journey we call life is going to take you. You are amazing, Michael, and don't you ever forget that! Dream big, kid...and don't you EVER let anyone or anything stand in your way.

I love you, Mikey Tinkey...and you truly are "my number one fan"!

Love always, Dain (yes, that's right---how could we forget that know matter how brilliant you may be, you just can't quite figure the whole spelling thing out!hahahaha ONLY kidding!!!!"

P.S. To all my other siblings---DON'T WORRY---you ALL mean the world to me too!!! You''ll get your own little entry someday, so you better keep checking, because you never know when it might show up!hahaha I LOVE YOU ALL!!!!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The waiting game

Here I am. Wednesday afternoon, sitting. Waiting. Watching the clock on my computer switch from 1:45 to 1:46. Just waiting.

I seem to find myself waiting a lot these days- waiting for anything but this. Just three months out of college and I have already found myself turning into "that" person. You know, the one who slowly loses sight of her own identity and is only defined by the monotonous and mundane tasks that seem to dominate her every move from the hours of 8-5pm, Monday through Friday, week after week, month after month.

"There has to be more," I tell myself as I file through the papers on my desk. "Just a few more months and this will be all worth it."

A few more months from now and I'll be packing my bags for Paris, preparing myself for an unknown journey that will undoubtedly change the course of my life. I find myself thinking about Paris almost every second of the day. It's become an emotional rollercoster as of late. One minute I'm excited, the next minute I'm terrified.

"This is going to be the greatest experience ever!"

"Oh my gosh, what if the children hate me and make every minute a living hell".

"I'm going to be welcomed into their family with open arms! I wonder where we're going on the family's vacation?!?!?"

"What if they think of me as their personal maid??? I don't know how to iron table linens!!!!"

The list goes on and on...

So as these thoughts continue to attack my brain, I try to push them aside and get back to work.

So for right now, I guess I'll just continue waiting....

Monday, March 12, 2007

So this is my decision...

I'm a dreamer--always have been, always will be.

As a child, I was always fascinated with different cultures and foreign languages---especially French culture. However, growing up in Arizona, one was almost obligated to check the "Beginning Spanish I" box when signing up for the mandatory foreign language classes in middle school. From the very beginning, I loved it! I loved it so much that I continued to take Spanish throughout my high school career and even in college.

When I started college I decided that everyone and their brother knew Spanish, so I wanted to do something more---that's when I decided to take French, actually, not just take French but minor in it(while at the same time majoring in Spanish and Business-talk about an extra work load that I didn't even need to have). The fall of my Junior year I was fortunate enough to spend a semester abroad in Granada, Spain where I lived and breathed the Spanish culture everyday. It was one of the greatest times of my life--not only did I get to reside with a Spanish family, I got to experience the Spanish way of life as a young 20 year-old (it's safe to say that I put down my fare share of "chupitos gratis".

Anyway, before I get too off track, while I was in Spain I travelled to Paris for 4 days---it was the greatest experience ever! Aside from the hostel situation (the toilet was broken on our floor and the shower leaked and drenched our towels) it was INCREDIBLE! Needless to say, my love for French culture multiplied, and I told myself that "One day, I am going to live in Paris". Fast forward two years and here we are---recent college graduate (magna cum laude) with double majors, a minor and international business certificate... sans job! I have to be honest, I didn't really try that hard to find one. I had a pretty intense interview experience with the CIA that lasted for about 6 months , but after making it out to D.C. for 3 days of rigorous interviews, 4 weeks later I found out that I was "no longer competitive" for the position. Truthfully, I was disappointed, but relieved at the same time. I'm a "blabber", and my family knows everything that goes on in my life. I just couldn't see myself living a lie and not being able to tell my family what I was doing, where I was, etc. But it was definitely an experience, to say the least!

So could I have gotten a job that would have paid a decent amount, moved out of Arizona and started my life as a career-driven woman? Sure. Would I have been happy sitting in an office all day, doing the same monotonous task day in and day out? Doubt it. In the back of my mind I still had this itch to go abroad. I had several opportunities to teach English in Columbia and Venezuela, but the political and economic conditions worried me a bit, to say the least. Besides, if I was going to live abroad and work somewhere that didn't speak my language, paid next to nothing, and was in a career field that I didn't necessarily plan on ever doing in the future, then I was going to make darn sure that it was at least in a city that I wanted to be in: so that's where Paris comes in.

After doing a lot of research on working in Paris, I pretty much concluded that it's almost next to impossible for anyone outside of the EU to have that kind of opportunity. But as that door seemed to be closing in my face, I was determined to find a window that was just big enough to crawl through. And I did. My options were few, but they were at least that; "options". So what were my choices as an american looking for work in Paris? be a teacher or become a nanny- or should I say an "au pair"- (the french always manage to turn the least glamorous jobs into something that at least sounds impressive). After looking into it, the teaching thing fell through unfortunately; very slight chance of actually teaching in Paris, and definitely not a large enough stipend to live on in that city. So I finally decided to go with my final option; become an au pair.

Sure I've heard horror stories about being an au pair, but I've also heard that it can turn into something unforgettable and amazing. I know it's going to be hard work, that's for sure, but hopefully the pros will outweigh the cons. All I'm looking for is to have the chance to live in Paris, experience french culture first-hand, and become fluent by the end of my stay. And besides, IT'S ONLY ONE YEAR---and I'm young.

Unfortunately, the only downfall to this whole thing is that I'm letting most of my family down. 99% of my family is worried that I'm "throwing away my education" and using this as a means "to not grow up and enter the real world". Of course I see where they are coming from, and can understand their frustration. But if this is the only way that I can get to live in Paris right now, than I'm more than willing to make the sacrifice in order to turn this dream into a reality. Fortunately, even after they've told me time and time again that they "don't agree with it", they will undoubtedly support me if this is what I want to do- and that's why I am so thankful for each and every one of them--no matter how opinionated they may be at times :). I know they worry about how this is going to benefit me in the future without setting me back, but so do I. What am I going to do when I return from Paris? Who knows. But does life always manage to have a funny way of working itself out? yes.

So there you have it. I'm going to Paris. I'm going to be an au pair. I'm going to get paid very little and work very hard. But I'm going to Paris!