The “Big Day” has finally arrived! It’s time to meet your new family member and much preparation has gone into it. Emotions run high in anticipation of finally meeting each other and everyone is always excited - maybe even a little nervous too.
Lots of questions always end up running through everyone’s minds in the moments before the first meet: “Should I give them a hug – or a handshake?”, “Should I kiss them on 1 cheek – or 2?”,“What should I say and what can we talk about on the ride home?” No matter if you decide to exchange gifts, give a hug, handshake, kiss or welcoming smile hello – the moment is yours to be had and you’ll never forget it. Each side is courageous, eager and excited in their own way and everyone shows it differently. There is no right way or wrong way!
Having witnessed thousands of “pick-ups” as we call them in AuPairCare’s Academy (an au pair's first stop when they arrive in the USA), I know that meeting day is something both the au pairs and host families have put a lot of thought into. Au pairs are always all excitement and smiles on the big day and if you ask them how they are doing their reply is always “I’m a little nervous.” They’ve never experienced something quite like this before and many of them are not sure what to expect the first weeks in the U.S. Now they are about to live in a different country with a new family!
Au pairs often come well stocked with goodies from around the world that they brought especially for their host families. Host families are nervous too – but most don’t like to admit it as openly as the au pairs do. They have been busily preparing the kids, house, and rearranging their schedules. Help is about to arrive and a new family member is about to move in! Some host families come well adorned with hand-made welcome signs, balloons and flowers - while others come with just a smile and their eagerness to meet their new daughter/son or big “brother or sister.” As we say in AuPairCare Academy, “Being nervous is a good thing!” It shows you care about what’s coming up next and are eager to get there.
A new life awaits both the host family and au pair, and your memories together are just the beginning! I’ve seen many things in the first moments including lots of smiles and tears of joy. I’ve heard chuckles of laughter and lots of “nice to meet you.” But no matter what happens in those first few seconds, each meeting is special in its own way and a moment in time each of you will never forget.
Crystal Bichalski began working as a trainer for AuPairCare's Academy in 2007. She has met thousands of au pairs during their training and helped them to transition into American culture. When she's not working with au pairs, she's being a Mom to her 7 year old daughter and 3 year old son.