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Cassandra Teixeira Correia Marsy: A French Girl in Minnesota
October 28, 2022
This is the story of how a French girl ended up in central Minnesota at 21 years old. Everything really started when I was 17 years old, back in January 2019 when I was watching YouTube and those “day in my life” kind of videos. I landed on a video of a girl named Pauline; she was an au pair in Reno Nevada. She was filming a typical weekday as a foreigner living nanny. I started to look more into it and search for the agency she went with, Cultural Care Au Pair. I went on their website and saw they were having an information meeting a few weeks after, so what did I do? I signed up of course! And that’s pretty much where my adventure began. I was passionate with the United States and everything English speaking for ever, and I was on my way to realizing my biggest dream as a European teenager, live in the United States …
After the information meeting, I got interview to see if my English level was good enough, luckily, I’ve been serious with my English class in school, so it wasn’t too hard for me, but still stressful. Once I got home, started my application right away, I knew it one opportunity to achieve my goals, and I couldn’t miss that. I always though the only way to even spend a whole year in the US so young without experience was to do an exchange year in a high school or something but this is very costly, like thousands of euros… so, it was not in my budget. What was in my budget though, was being an au pair, for a thousand euros agency fees, you live for free in a host family, nanny their kids and get pay 200 dollars a week. Not bad!!
I was done with my application in one night, but I still needed to get my driver’s license and prove that I have at least 200 hours of childcare experience, which I didn’t. So, the next day, I managed to volunteer at my gymnastic club where I practiced every Monday. My coach let me help her every Wednesday and Saturday mornings, from February to April, I was able to get those 200 hours. I also passed my driver’s license test in April, since I had to wait to be 18 to get it, and that’s how my application was complete and posted online in May. On the agency website, families contact you first, but then you have the choice the connect with them or not once you’ve looked at their profile. I connected with a family from New York, the mom was French and dad American. They seemed nice and we had great conversation. They were new in the program so we both figured out what works best for us for hours, details, etc. We ended up “matching”, and I was on my way to the United States august 19th 2019. We spent a few days at the Hofstra University campus in Long Island as part of our program, where we had classes with other au pairs about children and activities, and safety. It was fun to be on an American campus and make friends that are in the same experience as us. After that training school week, we all headed to our families, which mine was in Larchmont, about an hour away north from New York City. The first few days were good, I met other au pairs from my area, tried to settle down, we even went to Washington DC visit their family and the city a few weeks after I arrived. I had a hard time with their personality and the kids, 2 and 5, were harder than what I saw on facetime… I ended up being upset almost every day because some other details didn’t match what we have talked about during matching process. I was hesitant on asking for a rematch but one day I just broke down, I knew I was going to spend the worst year if I stayed, messing up with my mental health, so I talked it out. We went into the rematch process in October, and I had two weeks to find a family or go back home. I knew I needed to find one and I couldn’t just go back home and miss out on my dream. Luckily, I found my family of heart. Camille and Scott, and their three kids (well step kids for Camille), were welcoming me into their house in North Hudson Wisconsin, right at the border of Minnesota separated by the St. Croix River… I instantly fell in love with the area. It was so different from everything I’ve ever known, so much nature, people were nice and welcoming. Everything you would need was within 30 miles around, and the twin cities barely an hour away.
Now there is a few more details about I ended up in New London MN, but I will fast forward a little bit. In between when my boyfriend and I met, everything was going so well with my new family. The kids, closer in age to the teenager stage, were the perfect match for me who like to talk and have real moments with my people. Cami and Scott treated me as their own since day 1, and I couldn’t be happier. I got to visit Seattle to see an au pair friend, created long life friendships with Pia and Chantel, from Argentina and south Africa. My boyfriend and I hung out almost every weekend at his parent’s, we got to visit Chicago, Orlando and Up north Minnesota. Even during covid, I was lucky that my life was still going on.
I took the decision to stay in France for half a year after my au pair visa expired in May 2021, because I needed time to enjoy my family and friends that hadn’t seen for a year and half. I had a blast going out and living the French riviera summer life, same for my time spent with my mom and dad. I got to see cousins, uncles and aunts; it was awesome. My boyfriend visited me, and we did so many things since he had never been to France.
In December 2021, it was time for me to leave the most important people in my heart again and fly across the Atlantic Ocean once more to start my education, the one I’ve dreamt about since I was a kid with USA decoration in my bedroom. So yeah, this is how I ended up in central Minnesota, it is a lifestyle that I totally adopted, or it adopted me, because I am not going to lie, for someone who’s never fish before, I am pretty good. I have always wondered what my life would be if I stayed in other relationship would have potentially hold me back from leaving France, or if I didn’t join that information meeting, or just if I had decided to go back after my first failed match with the family from New York. But it doesn’t matter, because what does is that I didn’t give up, there was ups and downs I didn’t go into details about, there was times where the only thing I wanted was to have my mom next to me to have a shoulder to cry on, but there was also other times where I felt happier than ever, and that it because I did not give up, neither on my dreams, nor on myself and others. There is always a light at the end of a tunnel.