One idea has been buzzing me for a while. Why not spend some time travelling around living with various families for a few weeks each? I want to be a professional family member.
I have for a while found it easy to get along with older couples –“older” stretching anywhere from just a couple of years to decades. The reason is likely twofold. Firstly, I used to be quite an avid church goer years ago. Family institution being one of the cornerstones of a Christian congregation, married couples at my churches enjoyed spectacular representation and sometimes even outnumbered my unwed peers. It was only natural for us singles to mingle with the families. Having been part of several church congregations, I made a few lasting family friendships.
The second reason is a more personal one. Those who knew me in my teenage days may remember a much more withdrawn anjči than what the world is seeing today. I didn’t always find it easy to approach people – and was, more often than not, approached myself. Approached by couples and families who felt sorry for the shy little teenager tucking herself into corners. I was extremely grateful to anyone venturing the first move – and often responded with unreserved reciprocity.
Making friends with families: why bother?
I believe that befriending families may offer a number of advantages. First goes the “package” concept. A “family” is made up of at least two people by definition; thus making friends with a family means killing two (or more) birds with one stone. The added benefit here is that family members tend to understand each other better than two unrelated individuals – which makes the mutual understanding inside a group of friends easier. How many times have you tried bringing together friends from different parts of your life and failed to have them relate properly? Not all strangers seem to find that common frequency quickly. Of course this can be the case for family members as well – but the general rule implies otherwise.
Another benefit lies in the experience. Members of the families I am friends with tend to be older than myself. Life experience inevitably accompanying the age, my families offer a great source of life learning – at least in such important aspects of life as relationships and house-keeping. International families – or families of ethnic backgrounds different to one’s own – are even better, as they carry a great insight into a different culture as well. Asking such family friends for advice may be more effective than seeking peer guidance. And can certainly be more objective than parental advice.
Finally, families are typically more settled than the ever-migrating youth – and, more often than not, boast various critical aspects of life comfort. As much as I love my single friends, very few of them can offer a full guest bedroom in a decently sized house, a ride on an actual car or especially – if we are talking Norway here – a motor boat to sail to the nearest island. Yes, I do love spending my free time climbing volcanoes and sleeping on hard mattresses in old disintegrating cabins somewhere on a Greek island – with my single friends or alone. For some proper rest, however, nothing beats joining holidaying families. Especially my own one! Having the little comforts of life at hand can make quite a difference.
Coming back to my little “professional family member” idea though, I believe it could be of great benefit to all sides involved. All I would ask for is my own bedroom, some minimal food and Internet access. A bicycle would be welcome, too – as well as some free time to use it to explore the surroundings. It would also be very much appreciated if my hosts included me in their everyday activities and generally made me feel like part of their family. Nothing would beat combining the warmth of a family home with a possibility to travel galore.
In return, I could certainly help with housework. I have been running my shining little households single-handedly for six successful years to date and can provide references. On occasions, I have even been seen producing delicious meals for the loved ones – and could safely be allowed infrequent command of the kitchen. With five years of babysitting experience behind my shoulders, I could well be a babysitter, too – juggling a few Slavic and Scandinavian languages. Moreover, I could employ my Nikon camera to take some remotely professional family photos of my hosts and even their pets and neighbours.
I am sure my families would enjoy my humble singing attempts and travel stories, too. Last but not least, I could also provide expert Eurovision Song Contest commentary on every single song and artist, as well as a particular country’s performance track record and voting history. That’s if you care about Eurovision, of course.
In short, I would make a perfect family member. Could someone please hire me?