Laura Smiles Food

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I haven’t seen my family for almost 10 months now. And it’s hard, and I am not ashamed to admit that I am struggling with it at the moment. (Yes I may have cried while writing this) I want to use this platform to show people that it is normal and human to not be okay sometimes.

This week, the end of May, I had planned at the begin of my au pair year to go back to the Netherlands to see everyone. Little did I know, that the travel ban would still be in place! It has also been elevated by watching so many people around me here get together with their families this memorial day weekend.

Seeing family

This post is just a look into my head and the thoughts going around it right now. I am so so glad I came to the US and that I was lucky enough to be able to obtain an NIE (National Interest Exemption) to come during covid. I love my job here and I love my life here and I love all the people I have met here. If I knew then what I know now would I still have come? Absolutely YES. I could not imagine my life without the people that I have met here. Also, the restrictions here are a lot more lenient than in the Netherlands, I have been able to travel and more importantly am vaccinated!

I 100% believe that I am happier here than I would have been if I had stayed in Europe.

The travel ban needs to end. To start with, I understand why it was put in place to stop the covid spread. It is a horrible virus and I am glad that it is going a lot better in certain parts of the world due to vaccines and travel bans. But the travel ban also stops people from seeing loved ones. And I fully know that I am not the only one, I cannot imagine how many people are in my position. We deserve to see our family! I feel like it is a basic human right. My homesickness isn’t constant, it goes up and down but I try to do things to manage it.

I want to hug my mom, hug my dad, hug my brother, hug my aunt, hug my grandma. That’s a lot of hugs (especially during these times) but I am craving them! I want to eat a home cooked meal by my mom, mainly so I don’t have to cook, drink a beer in the garden with my dad, eat sushi and drink wine with my aunt and play a game with my brother, or just drive around with him singing really bad karaoke. It’s little things, but it would mean a lot to me right now to be able to do them.

The main thought going round my head is that there is no end in sight. Nothing has been said in months and I am losing hope of going back. With an au pair J1 visa you are only allowed to travel outside the country in your first year, and for me that ends in August 2021. That being said you need to be back in the country 6-8 weeks before then as to not be sent right back home. Which puts my timeline at the end of June. That’s four more weeks. And I have come to the conclusion that that is not going to happen. Which pains me even more.

I have told people how I am feeling, as I said before I am not ashamed to say it, hence this post. Do they understand how much I am struggling? Maybe not. At least they know. Can they help me? Also, no. I don’t even know how they would be able to help me unless they can write to Biden to open the borders. They try to be understanding and my wonderful boyfriend comforted me, wiped my tears and bought me a beautiful bouquet of flowers to try and cheer me up.



Second of all… I want to travel internationally! You might not believe this but these past almost 10 months is the longest I have ever been in one country for a consecutive period of time. I am getting jittery, as so many of us are. Luckily I am very fortunate to have travel plans in the very near future as travel is kind of opening up in America. That will be a new post next week!

As I just said, traveling has opened up more in the US and that has meant that I was able to get on a plane 2 months ago to go and visit family friends in Florida. Again, I am fully aware of how fortunate I am that I am able to do that! It was a lovely week away to decompress and relax and to do a little self care. I am constantly running around doing things for other people, which I love to do and I hate not being busy, but because of that I forget to take care of myself sometimes.

As I said at the beginning, this was just a train of thoughts that were going through my head at the time of writing this. I am trying to hold on to the smallest sliver of hope that I will still be able to see my family. I know that that will eventually happen, whether they come here soon or in a few years back in the Netherlands. I need to stay patient and keep enjoying my amazing life!


Belgian Waffle Recipe

I love baking and cooking and 90% of the time you can find me in the kitchen. This means that most of the time while I was an au pair I was making nice breakfasts for the kids. Let’s be honest, they also did get cereal or oatmeal some mornings. Waffles Being from Belgium (kind…

Healthy Tomato Soup

You might be thinking, isn’t all tomato soup healthy? Well, probably, but this particular recipe is packed with hidden vegetables to make it even more nutritious. I grew up eating this soup, it has been a staple in my parents household for a long time, especially in the winter. It was one of the few…

Time for something new!

If you’ve been following the blog or know me, you know I was an au pair in North Carolina. My term ended in August and my stress level was through the roof of what to do next. This is still my most asked question ever! And I’m guilty of asking other au pairs to 😅.…


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