The majority of families and au pairs beginning the AuPairCare au pair program meet for the first time when the au pair arrives in the USA. For the Santos family of Maryland and their French au pair Sophie, that wasn't soon enough! Over the summer, the Santos' traveled to France, met Sophie's family and went to Paris together. Here are some highlights of their adventure, in host mom Angela's own words.
'This past summer, my girls (Isabela and Gabriella) and I had the opportunity to travel to Europe for a vacation, and I was so excited for the chance to meet Sophie and her family in her hometown before she came to the United States. I felt it would not just be a great experience for us to see and explore her hometown and meet her family, but that it would also likely help her to feel more at ease meeting us for the first time on her "home turf." Being a mother myself, I also thought her mom would appreciate the chance to get to meet us in person before her daughter shipped off to the USA for a year.
On the morning of the third day, Sophie, my girls, and I all traveled to Paris in my rental car, and we checked into our hotel for that evening before venturing out into the city to explore. I had been to Paris before, but this was the first visit for my kids, and it was a treat in itself to be venturing the city with a French citizen. The weather was a bit hot but the beautiful blue skies made for great pictures. We saw Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower, and the Tracadero. We also took a boat cruise on the Seine River. When riding the metro, Sophie started to teach the girls how to count in French by counting the number of stops to our destination. Our trip through Europe lasted ten days total, and we saw many sites in Germany and France (and even a pit stop in Brussels for a true Belgian waffle), but the Eiffel Tower definitely ranks as the top hit for my girls, because when we returned back to the states that was always the first thing they mentioned whenever someone asked them about their trip. I'm so thankful for the opportunity to have toured the city with Sophie and the girls.'
Sophie also recapped the trip, sharing 'For the stay in France, I welcomed Angela for a period of two days in my house where they could discover the place where I live, my town with different architectures of other cities. I live in the north of France, is a beautiful area with lots of thing to discover, but of course in two days it was not possible.
I took them to the city of Lille which is the capital of northern Pas de Calais. It is a very dynamic and especially beautiful city with lots of essential things to see such as the opera, grand palace there, architectures with gilding and of course the free zoo that made fun girls! For regional dishes I made them discover a cheese pie is a specialty of Northern France!
I think it was a unique experience for me and for my host family that allowed us to meet and consider more serenely our year together!'
Sophie arrived to the USA in August and both the Santos' and Sophie are having a wonderful time together. Not only will they have an entire au pair year full of memories, they'll also have this trip of a lifetime to look back on.