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Paper about myself
At first, my name is Sabrina Groth. I was born at June 27th 1986 as a little blond girl with blue eyes and a big smile, in a small town, called Lingen, in my home country, Germany. Lingen is a small town situated in the north-west of Germany (around 1,5hours south of the northsea and around 30minutes east of the netherlands). The population is around 55.000 people. But in my small town is not really something to do and I can`t tell a lot about it. We have a lot of lakes and places to go camping (I spend a lot of time of my childhood with my family with camping, what I really love). My family also has a sailing boat what`s really relaxing in the summer. We spend the most vacation times in different parts of Germany or the Netherlands. But with friends I also visit Prague in the Chezc Republic, Luxembourg, Bulgaria and the Island Sardinia in Italy when I was old enough to travel without my parents.
But first I spend a lot of time with my family.
The first three years of my life I spend with my parents `Eckhard Groth` and `Martina Groth` and my 2,5years older sister `Sandra`. 1989 my little Brother `Manuel`started to join our family.
The first years I really liked my brother. But after a few years he started to make me crazy. I mean, he is a boy and I didn`t like boys (Now I really love and miss him). I was very close to my sister. But I started to make my sister totally crazy (I think that`s the job of a younger sibling). So I`ve heard a lot of fights with my sister. The problem was, that we shared one room. So we were together everytime. And that was not easy for us (and for my parents).
In 1998 my parents realized that our apartment was to small and we planed to move. My parents bought a house 10Miles away from the old home. That was 10 miles away from schools, friends and the familiar area. And 10 miles is a lot for children. But we became really happy soon.
Everybody had an own big bedroom, we have 3 bathrooms (before we shared one) and all the neighbors are really nice. In the neighborhood living a lot of families with children in our age and I found a lot of friends very soon. For 1 year longer I went to my old school before I changed to the school of all my new friends in 1999. 2 years later I started to work in the youth club right across the street. Next to that I like to spend my time with swimming, reading, writing, go out with friends and just spend relaxing time with friends and family. So the years were flying away.
In 2002 I graduated school after grade 10.
First I didn`t know what I should do. I planned to go to school 3 years longer to graduate higher, but with the help of my best friend I changed my mind and could find my dream job.
I wanted to become an educator; to work with children and young teens.
So I started my trainee in the summer of 2002. I went to a private, catholic school which was very important for me and my life. These 4 years of my life changed me and my personality a lot. I found a lot of good friends and next to all the school teaching- I learned a lot about my self.
In these four years I was in school for a few month and did my practicals at different places every year.
In the same year of 2002 my sister became pregnant. She got married in 2003 and gave birth to my niece `Rebecca-Sabrina` in September 2003. We were already closer to each other like the years before but we still crashed into each other. After my sister moved out and planned her own family we got closer every day. After her wedding and the birth of her daughter we were close like never before. She made my to the godmother of her child what`s making me really proud and shows me that she trust`s me with everything in life. And so I do
Today she is one of my best friends and my niece is the best “gift” she gave to me. I love both of them really much and tried to spend as much time as possible with `my little sunshine`.
In 2005 my sister got divorced from her husband and started to be a single mom. I was always really proud of her: How she can handle her life with her daughter, her job and still love and live her own (young) life really good. After a time alone my sister found the love of her life. `Wolfgang` is now a big part of the family and a great stepdad to Rebecca.
In my four year trainee from 2002-2006 I moved 2 times away from my hometown to work in another city.
I needed an experience. I wanted to become more independent and live by myself.
So I found a place for my practical in 2005 in Cologne. This is around 2hours from my hometown and much bigger than the small town I grew up.
I love my hometown and I`m happy to go back there (soon), but it`s not really exciting and we don`t have anything special to do. But I needed something new. I`ve had to move. I`ve had to see something else and needed something new and interesting.
I was happy to find a place to waork in cologne. These is my favorite city in Germany and before I lived there for just3 month I`ve had visit the city and started to love it. I can`t say exactly why. It`s just something what`s fascinating me.
I worked outside the city (around 30 minutes from downtown) in a beautiful children`s home. I really enjoyed my time there and learned a lot.
In the group where I worked lived 6 children between the age of 7 to 13. I`ve had worked in a Kindergarten a lot (in the first 2 years of my trainee) but I loved this a lot more.
Two of the children in the group are autistic. That was totally new for me. I`ve heard something about autistic children in school before but I was not familiar with that and I didn`t even met somebody autistic before. It`s a lot of hard work and everyday is different with kids with special needs (especially autistic children) but I think that`s why I love this work so much. That`s making work very interesting.
I was really sad after 3 month to leave all the children and the co-workers. They teached me a lot of important things and it was so hard to get in this work. But I realized soon that I found my dream job
My last practical was in 2006 before I graduated school and became official a Kindergarten teacher and Educator for children homes.
I worked in another place like the first time. I`ve had 12 children this time in all ages. The youngest one was 2years old and the oldest one 14 years. It was a lot like a big family but it was also really hard. And 2 month are not enough to get close with 12 totally different kids and become familiar with all the work. But these was also a great experience for me and I did my test there pretty good.
In all that time I thought about what to do after my graduation in summer 2006.
At the end of 2005 my mom read something about Au-pair and told me about that. First I was not really interested.
I thought about going away for one year before. But my first plan was going to Africa to volunteer. But I changed my mind. I wanted to stay in Germany. Not in my home town- but in Germany.
A few days later we talked about Au-pair in school. I asked for information but was still afraid to go away so far.
But what could I loose?? - Nothing... “I can just win something for my life”, I said to myself. I talked a lot about all these with friend and family and was surprised how positive everybody was. Everybody was so happy with me and wanted to help me with something. And that helped me a lot with my decision.
So I send all the application to the agency at the beginning of 2006. And then everything went really quick and I couldn`t realize everything at that moment.
At the end of June I got my first call from the host family. I didn`t check my emails before so I was surprised when somebody talked to me in english on the phone. But it worked.
After a few calls and emails I decided for the first host family. The feeling about that was just right.
The last two month in Germany flew away. I was already off from school but there were a `100-things-to-do` before you leave your home country, your family and friends.
But I still had kind of a vacation feeling. I didn`t feel like going to live a new life for a year. But I tried to spend as much time as possible with my friends and family and I had a really good time.
September 5th 2006 was the “big day”. My parents and my sister dropped me off at the airport. Everything seemed normal and we laughed a lot. I already cried with my friends a day before and new it would happen again at the airport. And it did. At the time where I had to check in (alone)I started to cry. I realized the first time that I`m gone for a long time far away. But I wanted to do it - So I did
I was on my way to `The United States of America` with five other girls and after around 10 hours we could leave the plane for a new life.
I met a lot of wonderful girls in the first three days at the orientation and had a great time. I spend the first days in a hotel in Connecticut and next to the “Au-pair-school” was a lot of free time. We also went on a tour through New York City and learned and saw the `American Lifestyle` for the first time. But everything was soooo exciting
But back at the airport, 3 days later, my feeling changed. I felt totally alone and called my parents- crying...
W ith a delated flight, I arrived Boston around 8pm and my hostfamily was waiting for me and glad to see me. And I was glad. The chemistry was the same like on the phone and I felt good to be here.
I started my new year in a family with a single mom and two adopted Girls from China (6 and 9 years old) in Exeter, New Hampshire.
The first days were so weird for me. I couldn`t deal with a lot of things. I thought I have a lot of problems where I never could go over: I thought my English was bad- so I was afraid to talk a lot. I didn`t have friends. No other Au-pairs lived around here in New Hampshire and felt so alone.
Because of all these facts I hated the area. It`s really perfect to live here for a family with children. It`s really quiet and the neighborhood is full of children. - But for a 20year old “girl”??
I live so far away, I need for everything my car. At home, in Germany, I can walk to the Postoffice, the bank, Grocery store... Here I need a car for the smallest thing. I can`t even walk to the playground with the kids. That was hard for me at the beginning. Now, after 7 month it`s normal to sit in the car for everything. To sit in the cat for half an hour was along time for me. Now it`s normal life.
I just had to deal with things like that. That`s my new life now And I knew I could do it So I started to like it. I realized that we are so close to the beach. I just need to drive around 30 minutes (what`s normal now) to sit on the beach and look into the ocean.
Here around are also a lot of trees, so I like to spend a lot of my time outside (with and without the kids). You can take long walks or do some exercising outside at the fresh air when the weather is good.
When I first came the weather was beautiful outside. Summer was still here and I loved to be outside. The winter month were really mild. I could go out without a wintercoat in January. Then it started to get cold and the first snowstorm came. And I`m really not a winter person. I love the sun and the beach and I`m not used to a lot of snow from my home town. But I could live with a little bit of snow. It was actually really nice to have a lot of snow and I had a lot of fun with my kids and my friends outside.
I had snow before at home but really not a lot and usually just one, or maybe two, days. So far, I liked it. I went skiing with some friends (for the first time of my life) and had so much fun. But a then it started to make me crazy. Spring came out a little bit and all the snow was gone. One day later everything was covered in snow again and we were stuck at home without power- because of snow. I started to don`t like it anymore and my eyes don`t want to see any white anymore.
But now I have really good hope for spring. (I think it`s coming soon.)
So after a few weeks here I started to see the good her and wanted to go over my problems.
So I got over the problem with the language. My family here told me over and over again that my English is good and I just have to use it to make it better. Everybody could understand me (and I could understand almost everything). I just had to go into it and made it normal for me. And it worked. I believed it and now I know that everybody was right (but first you can`t believe it). My hostfamily also helped me a lot.
I also couldn`t believe how quick I built my relationship to the children and the rest of the family. They gave me the feeling of a family member right from the beginning and that made me feel better.
After a time I felt better and kind of at home. But I still neede friends. But this problem should go away soon, too.
I met a lot of wonderful girls over the last month and became really good friends with a few of them.
I found friends for my life. And we are a really international group; There are other girls from Germany but also from South Africa, China and Thailand And it`s really interesting to learn so about other countries and traditions.
The first friend I met is `Donna` from China. She lives just 10 minutes away from me. She is taking care of small kids so our schedule is totally different. But we still see each other and have a lot of fun.
My closest friend is `Eileen` from Germany. She lives almost half in hour away (in Rye, NH) and we spend a lot of time together. I went with her on the best weekend trips and she is there for me whenever I need her. Its good to have somebody to trust and for serious conversation but also for laughs and a lot of fun. And I`m happy to have somebody German around me and sometimes I can`t believe how close we became in the last couple of month. For me it looks like I know her much longer and I`m such a happy person who found a really good and close friend. I know we will stay in contact when I`m back in Germany.
One of my other really close friends is `Michelle`. Michelle is from South Africa and lives now in Rye, NH. She came at the end of January and we became good friend soon. I know her just 2,5 month but it seems like its much longer. In a lot of things she is like me. So it was not a problem to know the other one. I know that she is a very close friend and that we will stay in contact back home, too. We also already planned to visit each other back at home.
And all this is giving me a good feeling. And I needed a long time to get this feeling. I mean, everything is different; The language, the traditions, the education, the food...
But my hostfamily was really open and helpful (and they still are). They gave me a long time to find my place in the family and their life and to find my new own life. And I did
My hostmom let me do a lot of things right from the beginning. And it gives me a good feeling and helps me that I know she trusts me and I have a good relationship with her and the kids.
Now I`m already here for over 7 month and I can`t believe it. The time is flying and sometimes I don`t want that.
Everyday became normal for me. I have a routine in my day:
Monday to Friday I get up at 6:30am to get ready for the kids. At 7am I wake them up, prepare breakfast and lunch for school and help with everything they need in the morning (get dressed, eat breakfast, get everything ready for school).
My hostmom is usually taking Creighton (9years old) to the bus stop and I`m driving Reilly (6years old) to her Kindergarten.
Around 8:30am I`m back home and do the laundry or have time to clean. Sometimes I`m taking the Grandmother to doctor`s appointments or go grocery shopping for the family.
But usually I`m off in the morning to go to the gym, meet friends, write emails, call home or do what ever I want.
Between 3pm and 4pm I have to pick up Reilly from Kindergarten and Creighton is coming home at 3:30pm.
Than I start to help with homework and plan the rest of the afternoon (arrange playdates, go outside with the kids...). On some days we have special activities, like flute lessons, ice-skating or ballet. After these activities or after a regular afternoon I prepare dinner with the kids (with the grandmother). Usually my hostmom Bonnie is coming home at this time to eat with us.
Before the day ends I clean up the kitchen and help the girls to get ready for bed: Take a bath or a shower and put on the pajamas.
Because everyday is different, I`m off between 7pm and 8pm.
Usually I`m going out with friends or just spend the rest of the night in front of the TV.
On Saturday I`m getting up with the kids around 8am, prepare them breakfast, help to get dressed and spend the rest of the morning with them. I don`t have a regular time when I`m off on Saturdays. Because sometimes the family is going out without me, so I`m off earlier. Some days we are going out together, so I`m working longer.
But on Saturday afternoon my weekend starts. This time of the week, my freetime, I spend with friends. A lot of Saturdays I`m sleeping over a friends house and we all do something together. One weekend a month I`m off from Friday night until Monday morning. A lot of weekends we already went on weekend trips: In December, before Christmas, we spend two days in New York City, I spend New Years Eve there, too. In January we visited Quebec in Canada.. Its also not
really far to visit the next states, like Vermont or Maine or spend a day in Boston. Last month we went skiing and we always having a lot of fun together. We don`t need something really exciting
to do to have a good time. But we try to see as much as possible.
In my first month I visited Washington DC with my hostfamily. I had a really good time. It was the first City I visited here and there was a lot to see. I liked Washington DC a lot. It has a lot of history and interesting places to see.
I`m really happy that I have the opportunity to see so many different places in just one year. I can`t believe what places I already visited and what I plan to do.
Its amazing how much you can see in so “short” time.
I also have already plans for my next free weekends and my vacation time. I plan to visit The Niagara Falls, Philadelphia, Florida and California.
And I`m also thinking about to extend my Au-pair year. I`m not sure yet, but I know that my
hostfamily would like to keep me for another year and I really like my job with my kids and have a really good time.
But otherwise; I miss my family and friends more and more (but I`m surprised that I`m less homesick like I thought I will be).
And I`m not sure if this is filling me out enough for another year. I mean I can`t go back to the USA to do it again and I will be in Germany for the rest of my life but I want to go back to my job- to work with more kids and don`t have this routine like here.
But right now, I really don`t know what to do. I`m in the middle of my decision.
I`m already think about what exactly I want to do when I`m back in Germany.
I would love to work with autistic children again. And I`m sure I want to work with older children and young teens.
And for that I have to move away from my hometown again, because its not possible to find my favorite job in that town.
So my first thing to do when I`m back home is to find a job and move in my own apartment (after I`m over my re-culture shock). Maybe I want to start to study to become a social worker. But I`m not sure yet what I really want to do. But I think I`m 20 years old so I have enough time to make decisions for my life.
Sure I know I want my own family some day but I learned here that I have time with this. I mean I love kids but I still need my own life before I plan my own family in a few years.
I think I would love to see me in 10 years living in my favorite city `Cologne` in Germany with my husband and my 2 children in a house outside the city with a nice garden at a lot of space. Working in a childrens home with autistic children. To give these children a part of the family back that they don`t have and to see everyday how great these kids are.
I also want to travel a lot for the rest of my life. I learned that its really interesting to see other countries and learn about there cultures and traditions. I already know that I want to travel to China and South Africa to visit the friends I met here in the USA.
Some days I`m thinking a lot about my family and friends at home and learned that I`m really
close to my family. I knew before that I need and love my family a lot but here I realize that this is more that I thought. I was really close to all my family members before. If I see them a lot or
not. Because sometimes its not really easy to see all my family. A lot of my aunts and uncles living far away in Germany, so I can`t be with them a lot. But I`m happy everytime I talk to them or can`t wait for the day I see somebody. I`m really happy to have my godmother and aunt around me. She just lives a few minutes away from me, what makes me really happy.
My Grandparents, from my mothers side, are both dead so I just have one Grandmother and one Grandfather. My Grandmother died when I was 2 years old, so I can`t remember her and my Grandfather died 5 years ago. That was really hard for me. I loved my Grandfather a lot and he was a big part of the family for me.
But I`m still really happy to have my other Grandparents. They also are a big part of the family but I can`t see them a lot either. Half of the year they are living in Spain, where the weather is much nicer. So I just have a few month every year to spend time with them.
And I really need to spend time with my family. And I can`t wait to do it again.
I miss my siblings a lot and also my parents. But the person I miss the most is my niece. She don`t understand why I`m gone for so long and so far away and she wants me to come back. And I just want to look in her eyes and give her a hug to tell her how much I love her. She is so grown up and it hurt me sometimes to see her or talk to her.
But I know they are all there for me all the time- if I`m here or home.
And that is making me feel good.
I just have 5 month left of my Au-pair year so I try to do as much things as possible and try to make the right decision in around 2 month.
At the end of the year I want to say: “This was one of the best years of my life ”- And I will