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 Sarah from Germany and her amazing experience with her caring host family, the Fox family from Ohio!
What is it about your host family that makes them an amazing host family?
My host family is the Ultimate host family because every single member enriches my life in a way I never thought was possible. My host mom is a role model for me. I never met a person with this much patience. My host dad shares my passion for cooking and we spend a lot of time in the kitchen together and he teaches me about American cooking (mom and dad get ready for the best steaks of life when I come home!) Jackson, my oldest host kid, and I like to play baseball and I take him to his practices. Another thing we both like to do is to sneak into the pantry to eat German chocolate (don't worry, your secret is safe with me!)
My host family is the Ultimate host family because their personalities are so incredibly unique and they are real. The love for each other is real and we truly care about each other, listen to each other and make sure everyone is happy. These people have 3 sons and every single day they treat me like their own daughter. I never had a dad and I am incredibly thankful for this dad experience. What I love most about them is that they are not perfect and they don't expect me to be perfect. At the end of the day we're all exhausted but when we sit down in the kitchen (picture this: host mom and me with messy buns, leggings, our faces look like we haven't slept in years, host dad in his Steelers shirt, with his Steelers water cup - probably not water in there- sitting at the kitchen counter with Ben and Jerry's Pints hoping we can find the energy to get up and go to bed) and my host dad says the funniest things about the kids we can't help but laugh and I realize I wouldn't want to be anywhere else!
How have you and your host family shared your culture with each other?
My host dad is a foodie - and so am I (but honestly who isn't?) so since we both love to cook (and eat!) that's the best way for us to teach each other about our culture. He thought me how to make a good juicy steak on the grill and I showed him that you can make pretty much everything by yourself: a loaf of bread, lasagna, birthday cakes, smoothies (his version of smoothie was banana and frozen berry mix - yes, Phil, there's more smoothies than that!). My host mom pretty much avoids cooking unless she has to do she's very thankful that I share this cooking obsession with my host dad - once a week it's German dinner day!!! I wrote all my favorite German recipes in a recipe book for them so they can make it even after I go back home (cause what would life be without a good old German beef roast?) Back home in Germany we also cook with herbs so we are starting a Little Garden with the Kids this week too. Other than that seasonal occasions are frequently being included in my host family's Life... German Easter, Birthdays, Baseball Season, Football, Basketball, Hockey, German Pfingsten. You name it we do it! Be it crafts, baked goods, dishes, dress ups, paintings... we had the cultural overload here in Ohio, German AND American!
What does the au pair program mean to you?
The au pair program is so much more than a job, it's a different life. It's so much more than being an au pair it's being a daughter, a friend, a big sister, a grandma (I have never done this much research on home remedies lol), a teacher, a cook and everything else that the daily life challenges you to be. It's not something you do for money, it's something you do for personal growth and to challenge yourself. The kids are not your '˜host kids', they become your little siblings, your friends - they become your family. The host parents are not simply your host parents, they take care of you, they worry about you when you go out, they laugh with you, they listen to you - they become your 2nd parents.
Thanks for sharing this amazing essay Sarah!