Why I love my au pair

By Cindy Donehoo, Cultural Care host mom in Illinois

Our family has been blessed with three wonderful boys. While we are very happy with our boys, we always wanted to have a girl. What we never expected was that our family would finally have our girl ... but that she would be an eighteen-year-old from Hanover, Germany.

When we first met Julia over Skype, we were incredibly impressed with her confidence and humour. She politely asked at the end of the Skype call if she could send us a "mini-diary email" each day as we went through the interview process. We of course said "yes" – we thought this was a fantastic way to get to know her better. Little did we know that by the time she joined our family in the USA, we’d have received 174 of these mini-diary entries!

174 mini-diary entries and 15 Skype calls later, we picked Julia up at the airport and it was as if she had been a member of our family since the boys had been born. She knew what made them laugh, what books they liked to read, what food they liked to eat, what dinosaurs they liked, what fish they would target in our pond and even the Pokémon that they liked to catch!

Her willingness to embrace the boys’ love of nature was phenomenal. She went on night-hikes with them to catch frogs and see bugs. She fished with us either at the ponds in our neighbourhood or in the rivers in the Rocky Mountains. Even after she had taken the boys to the nature center for the 50th time, we never heard her complain, as each visit was always so much fun for the boys.

Julia is sociable and outgoing – and she has the most entertaining au pair friends in America! Her two friends (both named Vicky) were an absolute hoot. Taking the three of them to the local German restaurant and watching them get on stage with the band to sing German & Austrian songs was just fantastic. We hope Julia remains friends with these wonderful young ladies for the rest of her life.

When Julia joined our family, we knew that saying goodbye would be difficult. We said to Julia: "If we are all not crying by the end of this experience, then we were the wrong host family for you." Well, we cried. A lot. The hardest part was watching her walk through security at the airport. Suddenly, our daughter was gone. We love Julia so dearly and cannot wait for her to come home – back to her “second home” – soon.