In 2005 my BFF, Amanda, and I decided that we wanted to change it up. We were working as barista’s at Coffee Works in Farmington, New Mexico. We loved that place, and the people we worked with – but we needed to spice up our lives. It is what the Spice Girls wanted.
Our goal was to figure out how to do that, in the most cost effective (ok cheapest) way. Channeling 2003 Alexandra, I mentioned becoming an Au Pair. In 2003, I did this and made it to Milan, Italy – worked for an awesome family, and got to travel with them. All while getting paid. It was the ideal situation, as in this case I actually worked for awesome people.
Amanda and I found a job, in Lake Como, for a family that wanted TWO Au Pairs. We would have our own apartment near Lake Como, and be able to have one day off a week together to venture into Milan and eat pizza. We were head over heels for the idea of it, mainly because this would 100% lead to one of us meeting and marrying George Clooney. Amal who?
It sounds so lovely, doesn’t it? It does, it really does. BUT it wasn’t. The family, fairly, wanted us to pay for our tickets over there. They would refund us the money after one year of employment. This would be great had either of us had the $1000 it cost at that time to get our butts to Malpensa. We had credit cards, sure…ok Amanda did, but that was a lot of money to be putting on cards that we would likely not pay off seeing as our money in Italy would go to the following things:
5. Party outfits for soirées at George’s place, obviously.
Savings? What is that.
So we kind of freaked out and scrambled, what could we do that summer now that our Italian dreams had come to an abrupt end?
Well, be counselors at a Girl Scout Camp in Minnesota where we got paid $50 a day. It was only $80 to fly into Minneapolis from Denver, way less than Italy. We came to terms with the fact that the Clooney Italian dream was not part of our plan, and packed our bags with bug spray and swimsuits and headed to the land of one hundred and seventy five thousand lakes. (A rough estimate.)
This trip was short, we left that hell camp after two weeks (seriously still traumatized!), but holy crap in those few weeks did we ever have some…hmmm…fun? Adventures? What is the word here…
We had some times. That is what we had. Here is just a sample, with my personal favorite memory of those weeks.
Amanda and I left the camp and had the bright idea to start our new lives in Minneapolis. We got jobs at a coffee/wine store (which we never actually started) and rented a studio apartment that I am pretty sure was filled with at least 12 ghosts. So essentially all that money we saved not going to Italy? We spent on a weird ass week in Minneapolis. One of those days was June 15th, 2005. The day Batman Begins was unleashed upon us all.
Amanda and I bought our tickets, and wore our Bat-signal t-shirts. We. Were. Excited. Like, really excited. We love Batman. While at that hell camp our “camp names” we’re Batgirl and Catwoman. (In retrospect we should have been Harely and Quinn. Damnit!)
We also had an entire afternoon to kill before our movie’s show time. So we did what any normal humans would do and went into the Church of Scientology to get our thetans tested, obvi. This is how this went:
Scientology Man (not Tom Cruise): “Excuse me! Would you two like to get a personalty test?”
Us: “Uh, how much is it?”
Not-Tom Cruise: “It is 100% free!”
Us: “Oh, *looks at each other, shrugs shoulders* whateverrrr.”
So we take this “test” and at the end are told that we both are EXTREMLY depressed. Which turns out, yes we both suffer from depression and mental illness of any kind is no joke, but this test was not able to deduce that, and I assure you anyone who takes that test is deemed “extremely depressed.” I could have answered the most positive options and STILL be deemed depressed by Ron L Hubburd’s no on. At that time, we burst out laughing. Not-Tom Cruise then began to tell us that how for a certain amount of money, we could be cured and never feel this way again. We said “no thanks,” and he got mad, and kind of flipped out. He asked “Well, why do you want to continue living depressed?!” To which Amanda responed “Uh, cause we have tickets to Batman Begins, bro.”
And let me tell you, after watching that film, depression was the last thing on our mind.