Brigitte Kiepert

American girl in Deutschland

By - Apr 6th, 2010 04:00 am
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Life is all about taking chances, to leap to new places, ideas and beginnings. The world is your oyster. Live life to the fullest.

You know how all those well-worn clichés go.

But let’s be honest. Have you really said these things to yourself? I mean, really said them like you mean it? Words are a powerful thing. I believe this whole-heartedly. But as of late, I couldn’t believe this more. Let me explain.

I graduated from UW-Milwaukee in December 2008 with a  B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communications with an emphasis in media studies and film. Like most college graduates, I assumed I would get a job right away, make the big dollars and life would be good. However, with the shape the economy was in, obtaining a job became that much more difficult. After searching for almost half a year, things were looking grim. The last thing I wanted to do was end up someplace where I was unhappy from the beginning. I know everyone has got to start somewhere, but I just felt like there had to be more options than settling down.

I decided to put off ‘the real world’ for a while, and started to evaluate my life and determine which direction I would head into next. One thing I knew for certain: my student loans were hovering ( quite closely) over my head and definitely not getting any less. Besides the lack of career, life was great. I had the most wonderful friends. I was enjoying Milwaukee — the new restaurants, neighborhoods, bars, venues, etc. The city was becoming quite impressive. I had two terrific jobs. I was at barista at Roast Coffee Company and also nannied for the most incredible family I have ever met.

My life was at a constant ease, things made sense and everything seemed to fit, except for one small part. It’s hard to explain, but I felt … empty.

The streets of Bonn, Germany

I was still missing a piece of the puzzle. Of course, the issue of not being able to find a job played a huge role in all of this, and I was beginning to wonder if Milwaukee wasn’t the place for me. This was a hard realization to make. I was in love with a city that could offer me no more than it already had. I wanted more. Perhaps I was greedy, but the world is such a big place. It was about time I at least tried to conquer it.

I started to realize thatI had all this time on my hands and the flexibility to experience life. Since the idea of entering Corporate America was not a viable option, whatever I chose to do must be something I really want.

The answer?  Travel.

After some extensive exploration of the (cost-effective) options at my disposal, I realized that I could very easily put my nanny skills to use. And voilà! I am now an au pair for a family in Germany. With a strong German heritage and solid understanding of the language, choosing the motherland for my venture was only fitting.

It’s been about five months since I arrived and I still cannot believe that I am actually living here. The people, the culture, the food, fashion, language and everything in between completely fascinates me and I want to absorb as much as it as I can. I have about six months until I am done au pairing and you better believe I will take full advantage of the time I have left. How could I not?

The adjustment has been difficult, it’s not like every day is filled with rainbows and sunshine. Taking care of two young children while maintaining a household definitely isn’t the most glamorous or easiest job to say the least. In fact, this job has probably been one of the hardest things I have ever had to do.

My journey thus far has been surreal. What I have already realized about my life and life itself has been incredible. One day I am in the states, the next day I am in Germany, fully submersed in a completely new way of living. Writer Hazel Henderson once said, “ If we can recognize that change and uncertainty are basic principles, we can greet the future and the transformation we are undergoing with the understanding that we do not know enough to be pessimistic.”

At this point in my life, these words couldn’t be more precise.

Categories: Detour

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