In celebration of Exchange Day in August, Area Director Laurie hosted a Cultural Potluck for her au pairs in DeLaVeaga Park in Santa Cruz, CA. Having a diverse group of au pairs from all over the world has many benefits, including being able to share and taste a variety of global dishes! Exchange Day being a worldwide celebration of the power of international exchange, Area Director Laurie hosted this event to help her au pairs learn more about new cultures and build lifelong friendships. She shared:
I have such a diverse group of au pairs, so for Exchange Day I decided to have them make their favorite dish from their home country and share it with the others. Each au pair cooked enough to share, and each au pair shared when each dish is most likely served in their home country.
They enjoyed congee – a rice porridge from Thailand, curry from Japan, cocadas from Colombia, sopes with chorizo from Mexico, and so much more! After they enjoyed eating, they all hiked through the Santa Cruz redwoods.
"Congee is made with broken jasmine rice and boiled in chicken stock. It’s a very popular breakfast food in Thailand and is definitely my favorite. The event was so fun! I love the variety of food everyone brought there!” Oli from Thailand said. “Sharing our cultures with one another is very awesome. The cake I made was a family recipe and we only serve it on special occasions". Cona from Chile said.
Exchange Day is the day to celebrate and raise awareness about the importance of cultural exchange, and that starts with bringing people together. These au pairs in California took the time to make these wonderful dishes with their host families to share with other au pairs. Food is one of the best ways to get to know different cultures, and sharing meals is a big part of the au pair experience. It can open up more conversations around a country’s history, customs, and holidays. Not only is food an important conversation in everyday life, but it also signifies communion and acts of service. For these au pairs, building a local community and sharing this experience with one another can make their program year that much more sweet!