DESPINA FRERI’s Story

Let’s clear this out: I am not a morning person. Waking up in the morning it has always been pretty hard for me. Especially when it is 6:30 am… especially when it is Christmas morning, which means my day off… Especially when the night before I slept at 2 am because we had a long Christmas Eve dinner.. Especially when you are in your 20s and you have no children, like me! So, what did it force me to leave my comfy bed before even the sun rises in a day like this? It isn’t a job. It isn’t a duty. It is two little girls who want me to be part of their happy moments and a Christmas card with my name on it which says “You are worth melting for!”.

Sometimes I am their mum and they cry in my lap because something happened at school. Sometimes I am their best friend and they reveal all their secrets to me. One day I am their big sis and they constantly fight with me. The other day I am their little sister and they are worried because they didn’t see me for one whole day or their buddy and they want to know who am I dating to, when are they going to meet my friends, where will I go for long weekend. To be honest, I am all of these and none of these at the same time. I am their au pair. Not only though.

For two years, I travelled all over the US. I made new friends in every State I visited. I took a degree and I gained experience in a field that I always loved. I close my eyes and I can see me going to a road trip with my friends, walking the Brooklyn Bridge, staring at a Manet at the National Gallery of Art, swimming in the Pacific Ocean, attending a NBA game, drinking hot apple cider after my Christmas tour at Mount Vernon, posing for a picture at the National Mall during the Cherry blossom, watching my favorite opera at Kennedy Center and enjoying the sun at Georgetown.

I close my eyes and thousands of images come to my mind. I cannot choose which is the best. Maybe the one from the snow fight with the girls. Or maybe the other one in which I am trying to teach my friends salsa, so we can dance together. Or the one watching the sun rises on the Potomac river with my loved one.

There were two years full of memories, full of new experiences, full of emotions. Two years that made me change. I loved and I had been loved. I am leaving the country with a lot of new friends and a new family in my contact list.. And the promise that both I and they will visit each other. Just keep in mind: if you think this was a fairytale, well it was not. Not everything was perfect or awesome or adorable. There were bad times too. Times that I was scared or disappointed or sad. But when you are at the end of a journey and it is easier for you to remember the images where you are happy and not the ones you are sad, it means something important: it means that the bad times were just clouds that helped you appreciate the brightness of the sun.

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