This marks the end of my 365 for 2011.
I chose this photo to finish off my year because when people ask me what my favorite part about studying abroad was, my answer is the time that I spent Au Pairing. Spending two months with a family from another culture, taking classic children stories that everyone here knows and teaching them to a 5 year old Italian girl in a fresh new way, having a strange family take you in and care about your well-being and helping me make the most of my time in Italy, was such a God providence. He could not have stuck me in a better family to learn from, and experience new things with.
These two months also meant a lot of “me” time. Two months without anyone my age to chat with. Jumping on the internet when I could, whether that means walking into another room (in a castle) or up the street to an ice cream place with the cute waiter, or down to the visitor center in a mountain village. That was the limit of my interactions. I read a lot. I spent my time thinking up stories to tell the kids in the car and drinking coffee. “Real life” was inaccessible. When I had free time, there was no work that I could do. No studying for tests. Just experiencing. At times it was lonely, sure. Maybe that made the way this family (who barely knew me) cared for me all the more appreciated.
But it was a time to step back. A time to walk a trail by myself and spend an hour with a flock of butterflies. Standing in awe of the blessings that God has given me, and the beautiful creation that He artfully designed.