So just how does a 19-year old American girl go about finding a job in Italy? My conversation partner, who had lived over there for a time, assured me that he had seen it done; waitresses, help for the elderly and nannies.
Nanny? I could do that. I was a pretty regular babysitter throughout my formative years; just how different could it be?
The months passed and plan began to form. I would go over to Italy for my summer break. Since school ended at the end of April, I had about a four month span of time before I had to be back, and I intended to use every second of it. After applying for my passport and finding a Nanny – or as they are really called, “Au Pair” – agency that fit my needs (and didn’t appear to be a scam operation), the only thing left was to find the family. The perfect family that would welcome me into their home and lives and entrust me with their children while giving me the best introduction to Italy I could ever hope for.
Not that I had high expectations or anything.
First it was a family outside of Venice. Oooohhh….Venezia. I could just picture myself walking along the canals, riding in the gondolas and lounging in San Marco’s square.
Oh, you want a year commitment? The gondolas vanished quickly from the picture.
Then came the family in Bologna. Bologna? Like the meat? The pictures in my head weren’t quite as lovely. But it is still Italy, right? I’m sure that I could still have an amazing experience. It’s probably a beautiful city. There has to be great things to see. I just need to learn more about it.
Wait, you want a year commitment as well?
Relief, combined with despair. So I don’t have to go to the more un-romantic city, but it’s already February and I don’t have a family. What if this doesn’t work? What if I can’t find anyone who just wants a nanny for the summer? Surely Bologna is better than not going AT ALL.
Then the email comes. “We have matched you with a new family that is looking for a short-term au pair: 3-6 months. They have one daughter, age 2 1/2. The family resides in Firenze.”
Firenze? Where is Firenze? I look at a map. No, it couldn’t possibly be true. I call my conversation partner. Am I dreaming? Is Firenze the Italian name for the city that I’m thinking of? Could it actually be possible?
He confirms. Against all odds. Its true.
I’m headed to Florence.