Photo of Hanley Russell

Hanley Russell

Oh hey there! So you want to know a little about the face behind this blog, eh? I think I can handle that. In fact I can probably sum it up into one quick sentence. I’m Hanley and I got lucky. Really.. that is what it boils down to. I started looking into become an aupair and within three weeks I found a family and had a ticket booked. I’m kidding. It wasn’t that easy. It really started the day I left my job as a waitress mad at the world. I was sick of the area, sick of the people, sick of the same thing every single day. Sick of working my butt of and gaining nothing at the end of the day. Don’t get me wrong, I love my home. I love everything about it. Well, almost everything. I can not stand the Indiana winters. Let me repeat that sentence: I can not stand Indiana winters. Germany winters are weak. Leaving home was and still is hard. But the pro’s outweigh the cons and I am doing just fine. At the end of the day I kept asking myself how was I progressing as a person? How was my character actually developing? It wasn’t. I was taking orders and running errands. That night, I went home and researched everything. I created this super long “Dear Family” letter and I put it up on Easy Aupair. I started applying and the next day I had 13 families apply to me. WOAH. That was fast. I instantly got what seemed like the dream family in London. Yay! London, everything I ever wanted, and it happened so fast! Not. It was a scam. I emailed them back and told them off. I started a new account on a new site, which ended up being completely successful. It EXPLODED. I had so many families respond to me, I could not keep up. But one family really caught my eye…. Meet Alex and Eva. They are parents to (soon to be) three little girls. Emelia is three and Sophia is nine months old. Baby three is due in March and they live in Dorfen, Germany. I loved their profile. I loved what they expected and I loved what they had to say. Through many Skype calls, emails and hours upon hours of research, I knew I had found my host family. That is where I got lucky. I loved them as much as they loved me. I STILL love them just as much! I won’t sit here and tell you that getting to Germany was all fancy easy. Because it wasn’t. I have done so much homework and I have saved so much money. I looked at over 100 different flights, baggage fees, baggage allowances and customs procedures. I researched the airlines, planes, airports and security measures. I added up how much everything would cost ten times over again and one more time after that. I spent over eight hours one day just researching the area and the culture. I searched how long it takes to learn German, how many people speak English. I spent hours on government sites looking at visa requirements and passport information. I worked my tail off for two weeks straight, but finally, I booked my flight. And ya know what? I wanted this. And I got it. It took me three months from start to finish to actually be living in Germany. So far, I love this country and it’s people. With a little determination, anyone can do this. Today, I am living, breathing, seeing and sharing life as an American expat living in Germany with you- how it happens, as it happens. Buckle Up.