Youre much stronger than you think

Its been more than 10 years, but I still remember how I felt the day I left Sweden for my big adventure. I was going to spend a year working as an au pair in a Swedish family in a suburb to Paris, and I was standing at the airport in Sweden saying goodbye to my parents. I was happy, excited and slightly petrified. This was my first time going away on my own and even though I had met the family briefly in Sweden, I still didnt know them that well and I was a bit nervous as how it would be to live in a family that wasnt my own.

Looking back now I want to pat my 19-year old self on the back and say; ”dont worry. Youre much stronger than you think you are and you will have a great time.” Because I did. The best of times. Ok, it wasnt always fun and games when the children refused to do their homework, go to school or was just missing their parents and took it out on the new au pair, but over all it was amazing. I got to meet some great people, a few of them I still have good contact with and are proud to call my friends, and others whom I cant remember the name of now, but they still have a place in my memory. I got to know and enjoy one of the greatest cities in the world, Paris, the city of light and love.

One of my first days in France, my new family took me into Paris to show me around. I remember walking in to the Notre Dame where a choir practiced and I got goose bumps on my arms as the ethereal atmosphere moved me in a way Id never experienced before. That was the beginning of an intense love affair between Paris and I. Im so grateful that I got to walk along the Seine, eat crêpes in many of the countless stalls around the city, acquiring a student pass at the Louvre which meant I could oogle at the magnificent art as much as I wanted to, going up the Eiffel tower seven times, discovering the best markets, eat baguettes and chocolate bread and just enjoy life the parisian way. A memory for life, thats for sure.

Paris was my first adventure, but not my last. After that I studied in Sweden, moved to England, back to Sweden, then Germany and now in England again. To me, Sweden is always my home, but I enjoy getting to see other places and experiencing other cultures. It may seem like all European cultures are the same, after all were in the EU together, but my experience tells me we are very different, and thats a good thing! I might be annoyed by some things, but living in other countries has taught me tolerance and patience when it comes to new things. I know I will get used to them, eventually.

My advice to anyone who is thinking of moving abroad and experience something new is to go for it. You wont regret it. Ok, you will probably regret it many times as there will always be something to annoy you, but you will get over it and experience something great too. The memories you create will be with you forever.

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