On this day, exactly 17 years ago, you could see this nervous, anxious girl at Arlanda Airport in Stockholm. She was about to embark on a trip for a year in the US to be an au-pair. The young woman was going thru EF-Au Pair, and this very morning at the airport she was in the company of about 8 other Swedish girls that were going on the same adventure as she was.
The young woman took a tear-full farewell of her parents and went thru security. Bye, Sweden!! Bye for a year!! See you soon!
She boarded the TWA flight to New York Kennedy Airport via Copenhagen, and right away, as she sat down on her seat she befriended another girl who was on her way to Chicago for a year. Later on she befriended even more girls on the long flight. Actually, she met one of her best friends in the world on that flight.
All the Swedish girls landed at JFK, and then they all went to Boston for EF-Au Pairs training and orientation days. In Boston all the Swedes met up with other Euro-girls who were there on the same mission: to be an au-pair in the US for a year.
She remembers that they talked a lot during, and after the training. What could they expect during the year in the US?
“ Oh, have you heard that the German girls iron EVERYTHING including the underwear?” “You do NOT want to take over after a German girl!”, “Oh, and have you heard that the Swedish girls are SO popular with American families because they are so good at the English language, plus that they are so grounded”. “Oh, and have you heard that Danish and Dutch girls pick up the American accent in NO time…”
“Oh, and what is it with American men and the t-shirts underneath the white dress shirts??? UGLY”
That is how it sounded at the Holiday Inn in Brookline, Mass, 17 years ago.
After a couple of days the girls said good-bye to each other and split all over the country, to NYC, to Connecticut, to L.A, to Chicago. And, one of them went to Arlington, VA, located right outside of Washington DC. The girl knew ZERO about Washington. Oh, sure she knew of the White House, and she knew of the power in that city, but that was pretty much it. She was to live in a southern state…But, how on earth could Virginia be the south???
Anyway, the young woman and her new friend boarded the plane from Boston to NYC. In NYC the two new friends hugged each other and promised to keep in touch. And they did, 17 years later they are still the best of friends.
The one Swedish girl left the young woman in NYC. The young woman boarded a plane to National Airport in Washington. She does remember how it felt to fly in over Washington, lots of monuments, the river, and the white buildings. She did think it looked promising, from above.
There, at the airport she was met by her host family, the B-H family. She met the little boy she was going to take care of for a year. He was only 9 months old! Very cute!
She jumped into the B-H’s Saab and they drove her to her new home. The new home was the Prospect House in Rosslyn. A condo, very luxurious! The view was to KILL for! You could see the whole city from the B-H’s condo!! This young woman was lucky enough to get her own apartment! Yes! Right across the hallway from the B-H’s condo was the condo where the young woman would live for a year. Very nice with a four-post bed, a small kitchen, a walk-in-closet and a nice bathroom. Very good, thought the young Swedish woman. I will probably like this! And the family seems so nice!
This photo is taken from the Prospect House, and this is the view that I sure did enjoy every day!
The young woman had an easy schedule, she started her days at 10 AM and she worked to 6 PM. Sometimes she baby-sat for the family on weekends, but most of the time she was off. She also liked the fact that her host-mother was a fashion designer, that suited the young woman well because she was (and is) very interested in fashion, and N.H was a good teacher and mentor for the young woman.
The young woman was VERY surprised to see how early spring arrived in Washington!!! And she could NOT believe the heat later on in the late spring and in the summer time. How on earth could a place be that HOT?? And so HUMID??? Thank God for AC!!!
The young woman got plenty of visitors from Sweden during her year as an au-pair, she felt more and more confident with the language, she met new friends. Mostly other Swedish au-pair girls. One of them lived in Reston, VA…The young woman could not understand how anybody could live ALL the way out in Reston??? How on earth!! She felt so BAD for her friend out in the middle of nowhere.
Often they young woman had over-night guests in her condo. Hey, most other au-pairs where out in Reston (remember!), or in McLean or in Great Falls. The woman had her own apartment, as you all know now, and she lived within walking distance to all the clubs and restaurants in Georgetown. No kidding she was popular!!
During the year the young woman met up with some American men, went on dates, went to dinners, nothing more. But, in October 1990 she was invited to her host family’s best friend for dinner. At that dinner party she met a certain Peter…
The rest is history! The young woman who was going to stay in the US for a year was now hooked!
Sure, in April 1991 she went back to Sweden again! She was so very happy to return home again after her AWESOME year as an au-pair. But, the 25 year old guy she had met could not leave her alone. She knew that it was it!
Sure enough, they got engaged, and in July 1993 they got married in Bromma Kyrka in Stockholm, Sweden. The young woman moved to the states, to Arlington. She got a job as a visual merchandiser (dekoratör) at Lord&Taylor in Tysons Corner.
The couple later moved to McLean, and in 96 they had their only child, a daughter. The same year they moved out to WONDERFUL Reston, Virginia and the not so young woman thought that you could not live in a nicer place. IF you were to live in the DC area, that is!!!
So, here is the young woman now, 17 year later. Not so young anymore, no I think it is pretty safe to call her middle age now. She’s still happy in Reston! She’s still happy with Peter! And she is very happy that she has the best of two worlds!
PS, and on this very day the temp will be 80F (26C) here in the DC area. Oh, how early spring arrives!!