Hi Lalaina Rackson. I have a few suggestions because that just sounds crazy that you can’t easily take a test to get your driver’s license, and it sounds a bit odd what the au pair agency says about not putting you in touch with American families.

My first idea is that you advertise yourself. Do you have a city in mind where you’d like to live? Why don’t you come up with a list of places that would be of interest to you first. Think about the climate and the demographics of the area. And keep in mind that there will be more opportunities in the wealthier areas — - not just because the families are willing to spend money on help but also because hiring domestic assistance is more acceptable.

To explain further, I will tell you a story about what happened when we moved for a few years to Sacramento, California from Brentwood (a Los Angeles suburb). In Brentwood most families had live-in housekeepers or au pairs. In Sacramento, this was unheard of. Our Sacramento neighborhood was just as well to do as it was in L.A., but the women were accustomed to taking care of their families by themselves. They were stay-at-home mothers who cooked, cleaned and did the school drop offs and pick ups.

Since there were no live-in housekeepers available, we hired a nanny from the nanny college nearby. The first summer we were there, we joined a little swim and tennis club within walking distance from our house. My seven-year old daughter took tennis lessons and had swim team every day, and I would take her and stay while my one year old stayed home with the nanny. After lunch and a nap, they would walk over to meet us.

The whole summer went by, and none of the club members talked to me. One day when I was feeling especially brave, I asked a woman why. She replied with a question of her own which was “Are you infirmed?” “No.” “Then why do you need a nanny?” I really didn’t know how to respond because it was just a way of life in L.A. and a foreign concept in Sacramento.

So just make sure that you choose a city that is nanny/au pair/housekeeper friendly. And perhaps place an add in Craig’s List and the newspaper. And you might just want to wait until you’re here to get your driver’s license and figure out your classes. I hope this was of some help to you. If you have any questions, I’m happy to try to answer them.

Writer and copyeditor. “What doesn’t kill us gives us something new to write about” ~ J. Wright

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