A year ago, I made one of the most important decisions in my life, being a part of the AuPair program. I was so excited to have this new experience and I did not realize how huge the change would be. Once here in the US, I started to feel out of place. The culture, the language, the house, and the people were extremely different. Basically, everything in my life changed overnight.
It was scary and frustrating for the first couple of months; however, my host family was always there for me. Since the first day, they adopted me as a part of their family. They took me with them everywhere as another family member, such as vacations, celebrations, and meetings. It was amazing to feel how our relationship was never only about work.
I felt alone on my birthday… until my Host Mom intervened.
By far, one of my big “AHA” moments was on my birthday. I was so down and desperate that day because in my family those dates are very important. Even though my family and friends from Colombia sent me beautiful and motivating messages, pictures and videos, I was feeling alone. I was feeling like it was me and my cell phone against the world. After a long day in my bed, my mother finally convinced me to take a shower and celebrate my birthday at least with ice cream. I still remember my mother’s words “Today is a special day for you Laura, do not let it pass as if it was a day like any other.” Eventually, I got ready to go for a walk in my neighborhood and eat the ice cream. I never imagined that my host family would surprise me in such a beautiful way that day. When I returned to the house, my host family were holding two big balloons, a tres leches birthday cake, a bouquet of flowers and a couple of boxes with pizza.
I was really impressed because my host parents are doctors, so they are busy most of the time. Even though that day my host father was working at night, and my Host mother during the day until late, they figured out a way to make the celebration possible. It was amazing how they changed my entire day. And the surprises did not end there, an hour later more people came to enjoy the little birthday party; such as my LAR, Sandra, my Host father’s cousin, Nataly, and her family. They are all really nice people with whom the relationship is very good. We had some food and amazing conversations. That night was the first time that I got involved in a long conversation in English, in which I shared my ideas and opinions without being shy because of my mistakes. I realize that the only way to learn is by making mistakes and correcting them.
That night changed my experience in the US.
Afterwards, I realized that I have another family. Even though they are not my same blood, they care about me and I care about them. They will support me and help me when I need it, and always try to do the best for me. I will always be thankful to them because it is their kindness and love that has made the AuPair program one of the best experiences of my life. I don´t think they know how much their actions mean to me and how the experience of my birthday has impacted my life. It’s like my host mother says “It does not matter how much you have, you always have something to give to others.” Every day that goes by with my host family, they teach me the real meaning of those words.