We love celebrating our au pairs here at AuPairCare. Every year we hold an Ultimate Au Pair Contest that celebrates participants who embody the spirit of the au pair cultural change program. Our au pairs however aren’t the only ones who make this program great – we are happy to announce our second-place winner in our Ultimate Host Family contest! Our second place winner, Sharon from Germany, submitted a great entry about her family that shared her experience with love, family and cultural exchange. Read her entry on behalf of the Kren family from Wesley Chapel, Florida.
What is it about your host family that makes them the Ultimate Host Family?
My host family is simply amazing. We talk and hang out all the time, we go out on adventures and vacations, we laugh and cry together. If I have a good day we talk and laugh all the time. We make fun of each other and pull pranks on each other. And if someone has a bad day we all try our best to make it a better day. For instance: in April last year before I started my year abroad my beloved aunt Eva passed away, she suffered from bladder cancer and after a long fight she lost and fell asleep. I told my host family right away so they would know because that's just what you do. And it will always affect me in different ways. My host mom shared some personal stuff about herself that made us become closer and showed me how much she cared and that she understood. And this year, when it was the anniversary of my aunts death I had a hard time. I was sad and crying all the time but I didn't want to be alone so I sat outside with them. My host parents didn't push me or anything so I didn't have to talk about anything, even how I felt. But they knew I wasn't doing good. Later that day before dinner time they surprised me with a lovely letter and flowers. They wrote that they knew I was having a hard time but they hope I feel better soon. They told me how much it means to them that I chose them and how amazing I am and that they are so happy to have me. I almost started crying again but for a completely different reason, joy. Just hearing that made me feel so much better and I knew my aunt would be happy for me as well! That day just showed me again how lucky I am to be their au pair. They are more than "just" my host family, they are my friends, my second family. Seeing the kids grow up is such an honor and being a part of an amazing, funny, warm hearted, loyal, sweet, honest and cool family. I have good memories with every single member of the family. And I can't wait for the next year we will have together!! From birthday celebrations to trips to Disney, from vacations at the beach in florida and Savannah to movie nights at home I've had it all and I had them by my side. They are amazing and they should get this recognition. I tell them all the time how happy and grateful I am but I think this would really show them how much I mean it all.
What have you learned from your host family about American culture? What traditions have they shared with you?
They have shared it all with me, 4th of July celebration at home with the kids and later just us adults, Thanksgiving in Virginia with my host dads family, Christmas at home just us celebrating together, New Year's Eve my host dad an I celebrated alone because everyone else was sick but it was still the best New Year's celebration I have had in a while, Easter morning spent with my host moms family searching for eggsand later spending the rest of the day watching the Tampa Bay Raus okay against the Boston Red Sox...they are very open and honest and open minded and always ask how I celebrate things back home or if there are any holidays we only celebrate in Germany that we all could celebrate together. They have shown me what it's like to live in a family that cares a lot about each other and makes sure that everyone ishappy and taken care of. Americans are crazy about their holidays but that just shows how much they care about their country and it's holidays. I admire and respect that.
What does the au pair program mean to you?
A lot! I have found my second home, my second family here. I absolutely love the city we live in and ourneighborhood, but more than that I love the moments we all spend together. It's the small things that mean the world to me, when my host mom brings me coffee when she get home from work or when she's groecery shopping and she gets me my favorite fruit and candy for movie nights. It's things like that, that show me how much we all care about each other. And I never would have learned as much as I have if I had stayed back home. I learned that I can do much more by myself and that I don't have to depend on a lot of people. I have learned that if I surround myself with people that I genuinely care about & who care about me, life is so much better and so much fun.