One of the negatives of living as an expat means that your extended family usually isn't close. Some people might actually view this as a positive, but they tend to be wrong. If for no other reason that we can't take advantage of Lena's grandparents for babysitting opportunities. It's hardly like we are total socialites with a busy events calendar, but there are occasions when it is an adults-only affair, or we would simply like a couple hours together without having to include a near 2-year old in the conversations.
The first time we used a babysitter it was on a recommendation from a random person on a local parents' email group. We've ended up using her many times since, but the first time it was really a case of her showing up, us spending 10 minutes talking with her, then walking out the door to leave our small sleeping child in the hands of an unknown person. This didn't bother me that much actually, for a couple of reasons. One, we were only a 5 minute walk away, so could be home easily in case of emergency. Two, I think I'm a fairly good judge of character and don't need that long to make a decision about someone. I have made mistakes in the past, but these are rare.
I think for lots of parents, this must be something really hard, to be able to leave your child in basically a stranger's hands. Of course you don't have to live in a foreign country to face this situation, but it does make it more likely. I can only hope my judgement remains accurate in the future for any new babysitters.