2021 LoveMyHostFamily Contest In-Country Winner and Runner-up

/2021 LoveMyHostFamily Contest In-Country Winner and Runner-up

Winner

Au Pair: Jessica, Ecuador

Host Family: Mishra Family

Who would say strange people can become your family and unknown places a home! Hello, this is Jessy, I am from Ecuador currently living in Haymarket and this is my story in the USA.I came to the USA in December 2019. A great moment, to know my new host family had arrived, it was December 18th, and I was quite nervous and impatient. I got to know them after two hours of flying from New York to Richmond.

As a surprise for the first day, I went to pick up the girls from their school, they looked as cute as in the pictures, of course! Since the first day, the kids showed me their appreciation and respect. We spent our first Saturday together building a gingerbread house, that house was appraised for 1 million cracker dollars for the little gingerbread men. The kids did not stop talking about the price of their house for a while. They enjoyed that activity and I knew it was the beginning of our adventures together.

It didn’t take much time to love the kids, they are good girls, my two beloved girls, so different from each other. The big one enjoys science, to create new things. She has the imagination of an inventor, loves reading, exploring new things, and always wants to be playing. The small one on the other hand loves arts, colors, and storytelling. She can speak for hours and hours and would still have something to say. If you don’t find her, she will probably be doing some mischief. However, both girls are amazing! They listen and learn from their mistakes, and show love to their parents, family, friends, and also me, something that I am thankful for. One of the biggest challenges of this experience was the lockdown.
Nobody knew that the pandemic was going to start and with it, lots of changes occurred in my life. As a consequence of being inside the house, I spent most of the time with my host family building our relationship even stronger. We started going outside together, visiting amazing places, having long conversations in the way, dancing to music, sharing stories and life experiences with each other, listening to advice from my host parents, and enjoying breathtaking views; The Natural Bridge of Virginia, The Great Falls, Shenandoah National Park, The Great Smoky Mountains, Virginia Beach, Kitty Hawk Outer Banks, Creek Falls, Lake Anna, and many more places.
I had the opportunity to know them better while traveling with them. Each trip was a new adventure for me, new places to visit, new people to meet, and new things to learn and try. Each trip taught us to be patient, to enjoy the journey than to reach the destiny, everything needs hard work to achieve the desired results, work as a team, and that communication is really important. Not only the trips but also the dinners where the kids would like to sit next to me, movie nights where my little host kid would like to come over to me to watch the movie, walks to the river, learning about nature, watching the stars, playing ukulele or piano, or simply when the kids get inside my room, are some of the moments we enjoy together. For me,it has been a completely new culture, new food, new flavors, new holidays, new music, new customs, and of course, a new language.
During my stay, my host family has been trying to make me feel comfortable by caring about me and also showing their appreciation. As an example, they prepared a big surprise for me on my birthday. My big girl told me before but is a secret, and they tried to make me feel at home; my favorite cake and a special dinner, a moment to always remember. I don’t have words to thank them to be so kind to me.
Being part of the program Au pair is one of the most wonderful experiences I could choose. I had the opportunity to come before in a work and travel program, but this au pair program is completely different. I prefer this one because of all of the experiences I have learnt and gained. One of these is I can speak better English than before, when I came, I was afraid of speaking, now living in an English-speaking country my skills have improved. My little host kids have helped me in this, they correct my pronunciation, teach me new words and they also ask me new vocabulary and we learn together. Unquestionably, the people that I have known have become my friends and family.
My friends, all the time supporting me, making me laugh, taking care of me, telling me stories, sharing moments with me. My host parents sharing experiences, motivating me to continue my studies, giving me advice, taking care of me, and helping me to improve. My host kids giving me happiness, and love. All of these make me feel thankful for being here, thankful to be with them, to know the people I know, and to be in the city I am. Indeed, the places that I have visited are fascinating! I find Midlothian, the place I used to live, as a beautiful city with all the necessary to be content. I had my secret place, the track where I used to run, sometimes I miss it.
Now we moved to Haymarket. Even if I don’t know much about this place, the small trail nearby is beautiful, all the nature, plants, animals, and berries, that I love to pick with the kids to eat, make this neighborhood my home. I know there are still lots of places to explore. The places that I have lived in have become special for me because of the things I love belong there and the people who make me feel happy live, Richmond, where my friends are, and Haymarket is where my host family is, have become in my home.This country, where people and places become in my life, has opened the doors and gave me the opportunity to live this adventure as Au pair, nevertheless, there are still lots of adventures to live, lots of things to do, lots of people to meet and lots of places to visit. The story doesn’t finish here as there will always be one more thing to say: TO BE CONTINUED…

Runner-up

Au Pair: Tamara, Hungary

Host Family: Warner Family

I have so many thoughts running through my mind. The past two years have been a study in extremes. This period made a huge difference in my life. When I reached the middle of my first year and had the opportunity to extend, I did not know if I wanted to stay. Being an au pair seemed like the hardest job in the world. I missed my family and was not having the experience I had hoped for. After thinking a lot, I decided to give another chance to this, so with full hopes, I started looking for a new host family.

Do you think I have found a family who makes me smile and appreciate me? Who can I be happy and balanced with? My answer is YES, the perfect host family really does exist!
Let me introduce you to the Warner Family who changed my life. Amanda, the best host mom who is the best chef too and I can always count on her. Thanks to her, we pay much more attention to healthy eating, which was life changing for me.

 Andy, the best host dad, who is the most patient person I know, for whom nothing is impossible. Thanks to him, I’m much sportier than I was before, because we workout together as a family, and he helps me to stay fit. The most adorable 14 months old baby boy is Blake. I look at him like an angel that God sent to make me happy and cheerful again. They have always shown appreciation for my work and they paid attention to me so much that I felt like a family member so easily. They always give me positive feedback which helps me build my self-confidence and believe in myself. Thanks to them, I became more excited with a desire for adventure, more confident and balanced than ever before. In the beginning, it was hard for me to speak in English.

They were so patient that they explained everything to me until I completely understood. Thanks to this, I feel like I got closer to one of my dreams, which is to pass the highest level language exam and teach English to children in Hungary. It’s very important to me to show my host family more about my culture. Because of this, the Warners know what name day is, what December 6th is and what Santa Clause does that night. They know the Easter Monday traditions and know some Hungarian dishes like goulash and chicken stew. On the other hand, I experienced a lot with them too.

We prepared the Thanksgiving menu together, we opened the gifts together that had been hidden in stockings on Christmas and we decorated our golf cart for the parade on July 4th. As a European, it is an unforgettable experience to live with an American family and experience the American holidays with them that before I only dreamed about. For me, the United States is the land of opportunities. The things that I could only wish for in Hungary, now my reality. I would have never thought I had the chance to snorkel in Hawaii, to paddle board at Lake Tahoe, to ski in Colorado, to taste crocodile meat in New Orleans, to sunbathe on the beaches of Puerto Rico or wear cowboy boots in Texas.

Do you know what I like the best in America? The directness, kindness and the acceptance of people who live here. They accept everyone regardless of skin color, religion and gender identity. Many people should look at America like an example because of their particular culture and their diversity. I am very grateful that I had the chance to get to know many cultures while I was here, because thanks to this, I became much more open-minded and accepting than I was before.

I am very grateful to the GoAuPair agency for giving me the opportunity to get to know the United States and that they have accompanied me all the way through my initially difficult journey, which ended with 12 wonderful months. Also, big thanks to the Warner Family who restored my faith in being an au pair, who treated me as an equal family member, who always tried to make me happy even though they were tired, and to whom I can be thankful for giving me the most wonderful year of my life. A month before the end of my second year, my heart is overflowing with gratitude and happiness. I am sure that these experiences will accompany me throughout my whole life

By |2023-10-23T10:58:34+00:00September 1st, 2021|LoveMyHostFamily Contest|

About the Author:

Shonna has worked for Go Au Pair for 5 years, and used to be a Placement Coordinator creating connections between Host Families and Au Pairs. Now she writes helpful, inspiring, and fun content for Go Au Pair. If you are interested in sharing your experience, or if you have questions or would like assistance, please reach out to @ShonnaAuPairSis on Facebook or email sanderson@goaupair.com.
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