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, Flore from France, submitted a wonderful entry about her family that shared her experience of immediately feeling at home with her host family. Read her entry on behalf of the Taylor family from San Francisco, California.
What is it about your host family that makes them the Ultimate Host Family?
Hi, I'm Flore and I'm au pair since almost 6 months now. To answer the question why my family is THE best, I would say that: First of all, I have to present my amazing and tiny family. I will start by Lucia, my cute three years old host kid. She's lovely, funny and really smart. Then, there is Kate, my host mom who's funny, dynamic and really patient. Finally, my host dad Ray(same name than my dad) is cool, calm and he loves joking about everything.
Now, I will start to tell you all the things that make my host family the best of all. Since my very first day, I'm feeling at home like my own home in France. To be honest, I wasn't prepared for that. I was thinking that I would need a few months to feel comfortable but luckily it was very fast. This is probably because they consider me like a real part of the family. That makes a real difference for me and it was one of my most important request during my family's search. For me, Lulu (aka Lucia) is like my sister or cousin and I'm really attached to her.
Something also really nice from them is that they always care about my happiness, comfort, health… as I do for them too. They truly want to learn about me, my life, my hobbies. They already met my best friend and they will meet my family in October. However, they let me have my privacy and freedom, which is essential for me. They always have good advice for my free time. I can ask them everything and tell them what I want without being embarrassed. I feel really comfortable with them.
Finally, I think that they really trust me as I trust them. That makes all really easier and pleasant. About my cute host kid Lucia, we agreed on one type of education, one way of doing and being with her. In fact, we are trying to stay always calm which means trying to solve conflict without yelling, prefer discussion and using little tips to come back in a pleasant climate. For this goal, together, we teach Lucia the most important skills for her to live in the community and making friends. It was really good to see that my family and me have almost the same idea of education. All we want is that everybody feels good now and in the future. On the other hand, they chose a french au pair for Lucia in the purpose of learning two different languages. That's also why I feel specific and important because this is another responsibility.
Finally, there are different things that make me feel really comfortable with them. Indeed, we share the same humor and that really cool. We also share a lot of moments together like meals, birthdays, games time, movies time and soon vacations. One other thing very important for me, everyone is listening to each other and that makes everything easier. As far as possible, we have an organization that suits everyone. Furthermore, there is a real cultural exchange between us about food, language, jokes, sports and more but also education, school, child's behavior… We have a really friendly and great relation. I think I could not have found a better family. They are awesome. As they said when I arrived and thanks to them, I can say that I'm living my Cali-Flore-nian dream.
How have you and your host family shared your culture with each other?
I can start with something that we both love: food. When I arrived, they made me learn that San Francisco is famous for all the different type of food that we can find there. So, they cooked a lot of things that I've never tried before and regularly, they ordered differents things like Mexican, Thaî, Indian or American food. Few days after my arrival, we also decided that I would make one dinner by week. So I try to cook some famous meals for France or from my region. It's real cool to make them discover some of my favorite foods.
Secondly, during my first weeks, it's was difficult for me to talk or even understand English. I learned in class three years ago but now in real life it's very different! They were really patient and understanding. They taught me some tips and expressions, a different way of speaking to help me. In just 6 months, I can say that my English is probably twice as best. In exchange, I teach Lucia every day some new words or try to fix her mistakes and encourage her to talk more in French. She understands everything but she's a little lazy and doesn't want to make much efforts about that. I also try to speak in French with my host dad who learned it at the University. That's also funny to see my host mom trying to say some words in French with the beautiful accent from New Zealand.
Then, we try to share the news from our countries like politics, events, sports, artists, music... We both like to talk about the news, the world and all that it includes. Usually, we talk about that during dinner or just when we are together, it's just natural. This is something that I usually do with my family in France and that was nice to see that I can share that with my host family too.
Finally, we both have experience with children and our ideas of education. Like as said, there are not too different. Indeed, I learned a lot during my studies to become a teacher and also with all the time I spent with children. We talk a lot about the different educations, methods, tips and we try to create our own. They are curious and want to know what I can teach them, like I am about what they can teach me. I really enjoy sharing all I know about kids because this is a real passion for me. With my family, I share this passion.
What does the au pair program mean to you?
For me, this experience means a lot. I decided to start my au pair experience because I really needed it. I needed to take a break from my life, have some answers to my questions, make my own choices and learn about myself. That was my first motivation. I also wanted to find something where I could learn and grow. With the au pair experience, I found all that I wanted. I can learn English, work with children, discover new things and go far from home. Finally, I had better than that. This is not only about myself. I could discover so many persons, spots, cultures, habits, languages. I learned a lot about myself but also a lot about the world, about the environment and life.
What advice would you give to future au pairs about their time in the USA?
If I can give some advice to future au pairs coming to the USA, I would say that :