We are always so glad to hear our participants’ amazing stories written from their own experiences as an au pair. Today we're sharing a story from au pair Maria from Spain and her incredible experience with her caring host family, the Safina family from California.
What is it about your host family that makes them an amazing host family?
My host family is the most amazing family I've ever met. I thought I knew what a family was before coming here, but the truth is that my host family has given me a new and beautiful sense of family. They always help each other (including me) as much as they can and take every member of the family into account to make important decisions. From the first day I've been treated as a family member, being considered for any plan the family has, such as going out for dinner or spending a weekend away from home.
They are a caring and loving family whose main aim is to stay together as a family and teach their kids important values that will open their path through life (something we really need in these times when people do not care about others). Education, respect and unity are some of the most important things we share and maybe that is why I have connected so well with them. I cannot say that I've felt homesick during my stay in their house, because they make everything so easy that they have become family for me, something difficult when you deal with people who were strangers a couple of months ago. They do also take me into account when it comes to kid's education and rules and we all together try to figure out the best option for all, especially for the children that are the most important for all of us.
Here I feel as if I were at home because I have truly become a member of the family and they always include me in the family events as well as the performances of the children at school or extra lessons. I really like this, and I really appreciate their effort to make me feel like a member of their lovely family and to help me whenever I need it, as well as sharing our different cultures. We share a lot of things from our different cultures and we have lots of fun doing it because we find things that if you try to pass them to another language of culture does not make sense.
How have you and your host family shared your culture with each other?
Every week we talk about the differences in our cultures and we share something interesting for both of them. My family is very interested in my culture as well as I am in their own one. Therefore I am learning a lot of things about the American culture I have not even imagined before, and I am also discovering new states!
During the first month I tried to cook a typical Spanish meal for the family and they helped me to buy all the ingredients as well as the proper pan to cook it which was very nice of them. It ended up being a failure because I wasn't able to do it as good as I could in my home country but they encouraged me and appreciated my effort to share my culture with them. They do also introduce me to a lot of typical American traditions and some of the meals they have as special. For example at Easter they celebrated a brunch with some friends and they did an egg hunt to which I was invited and it was amazing for me, because it is totally different from the way people celebrate Easter in Spain and I really enjoyed it, watching also the children doing the egg hunt. And on Mother's day, they invited me to attend a party as part of their family which was super sweet of them.
It was like being at home during the special days of the year which is amazing as I am also learning different ways to live and celebrate the same things. I will have a lot of adventures to tell my family and friends in my country when I come back for sure.
Thanks for sharing this amazing essay Maria!