Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Cast of Characters

Alright, so I promised that this post, I’d tell you a bit more about myself, and introduce my host family (though I’ll be using pseudonyms for them, so as to protect their privacy). I’ll try to keep this short. :)

My name isn’t technically Maggie. Maggie is short for Magpie, which is a nickname I’ve picked up over the last few years – mainly self-imposed. I have an obsession with picking up anything shiny, I have a really loud, raucous laugh, and I love to dress in a hodgepodge of everything—scarves, jewelry, flowy skirts, fun hats, crazy jewelry. Also, my real name is one of those that I have to explain every time I introduce myself, so in thinking about going to a foreign country where communication might be an issue anyway… I decided just to simplify and go with Maggie.

I’m a college graduate with a degree in English and without a penny in student loans thanks to my work-education-based college, where I lived and worked for four years instead of paying tuition fees. I’d like to eventually go and get my Masters in Library Science—maybe right after Germany.

I’m a pastor’s kid from the American Midwest with dreams of the big city, a passion for children’s and young adult literature, and a burning desire to own a 1960s Volkswagen camper van.

That ought to mostly cover the basics – you’ll doubtless hear more as we go along.

And now for my host family, the Reichmanns. My first contact was with Anna Reichmann, the mother. Later on, I “met” (via Skype) her husband, Victor Reichmann, and their two children: Elsa and Daniel. Elsa is just about three, and Daniel is about eighteen months old. I’m looking forward to meeting them for real – Elsa is the sweetest little thing and plays peek-a-boo with me over Skype, and Daniel is a tiny, serious boy who just stares and stares.

I’ll have more about them soon, I’m sure – as well as reports/complaints about travel, packing, and all that good stuff. Until then!


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Road So Far

Once upon a time there was a girl named Maggie. She was just about to get started on her final year at college and finish earning her English degree, when it suddenly occurred to her that she was going to have to find something to do after graduation. She wasn’t morally opposed to flipping burgers at a local fast food joint, but if she could help it, she decided that she’d really rather not.

What else was there, though?

Well, Maggie also had a bad case of wanderlust that made the Plague look like a topical rash. Desperate to get her feet wet and get out in the world, she started looking into options for overseas travel—overseas travel that would somehow, miraculously, pay.

And believe it or not, she found something.

(She’s also decided to stop talking in the third person. If anyone hadn’t figured out by now, I’m Maggie. And this is my story.)

So, believe it or not, I found something. How about working as an aupair in Europe? The benefits looked great, the experience phenomenal, I liked kids—and I had already started learning German. It seemed like a great option. So I looked into it.

And—miracle of miracles—it somehow worked out. I found a family in Germany that looked like a good fit. We started emailing back and forth…Then Skyping… And pretty soon, the whole shebang fell together.

As of July 7th (I just bought my tickets Monday O.O) I will be flying to and staying in Germany, in the Frankfurt city center, for somewhere around a year. I’ll be staying with the Reichmann family (names changed to protect their privacy), working about 6 hours a day, and going to a language school to improve my sketchy-at-best German. (Ich spreche ein bisschen Deutsch, aber ich brauche mehr für mein arbeitenvisa.)

It’s going to be an adventure, to be sure. I’ve been overseas briefly, a year ago, when my choir did a concert tour of the great cathedrals in England. And I’ve flown (*counts on fingers*) six times. But the first two don’t count because I was a tiny baby at the time, and the second four aren’t in the same category because I was with the choir. Following eighty-plus people through an airport is a totally different story than trying to navigate one alone.

Anyway, that’s the gist of how I came to have this adventure. Next time, I’ll tell you a little bit more about myself, and briefly introduce my host family so you know who I’m talking about when I write future entries.