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Ultimate Au Pair 2017 Finalist: Lida from the Czech Republic

Czech Republic Au Pair Lida

Lida is Off. The. Charts. She's so amazing - and we told her that so much the first year, that now we tease her by saying, "Lida, you're just okay." Then we all crack up. Forget about all the boring stuff like kindness, attention to safety, great communication and creativity with the kids. Lida brings HEART to this job...and also SPARKLE. She genuinely loves our kids...and she genuinely loves this job. It shines through everything she does, whether it's sneaking into a classroom to surprise a preschooler at pickup time, making up dance moves in the living room, or learning the basics of our Jewish traditions to sing along with us on holidays.

Lida brings a double whammy of cultural exchange, too - she's Czech, but she was born in Vietnam. We have learned a lot about Czech culture and food and traditions, but also Vietnamese ones. We now regularly roll up our own spring rolls and me and the kids can make a mean dipping sauce that Lida says even her mom would put up with. This dual cultural heritage has also taught us - and her - about tolerance. What does it mean to be Asian living in Europe vs in America? What is the difference between the Asian-Czech and the Asian-American experience? The findings have really helped all of us grow and change in our relationship to the world and to people around us. We make fewer assumptions. We open our eyes wider. Lida and me (Sarah, her host mom) have a special relationship. She's like an older daughter who actually wants my advice. And I want hers too. I give her an earful when she makes silly decisions like spending $500 on Beyonce tickets. She gives me an earful when I let the kids have ice cream too late in the day and they won't chill out before bedtime. We are learning together about our respective generations, and I know that our circles of friends and family will benefit from what we are learning. I asked our kids what to say about Lida and here is what they shared. Yali, age 3.5:

Lida is my best au pair and I want her to live here forever and also I want to visit her mommy in Czech and try her fish sauce. Levi, age 7: Lida is "just okay". (Cracks up.) She reads a little bit faster than I do, and she lets me hang out with her even when she isn't working. I got to sleep with her emoji pillow last night and that was cool. Lida is a special person and we wish we could keep her here forever. Really.

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