I Have the Best Host Family in the World!
I was initially nervous about becoming an AuPair but was excited about a new opportunity. Upon arriving in Pasadena with my new host family, there were three main goals I wanted to accomplish for myself. The first goal was to speak English well; second was to push myself to pursue additional educational opportunities and third was to stay engaged in my fitness goals. Of course, all these goals are difficult when you are miles away from your family and support system. Thankfully, I landed with the Fords and after a few months realized I was with family.
The new host family welcomed me not only into their family unit, but also their extended family. My host mom’s two nieces who live nearby quickly became like the two sisters I left behind in Mexico. My host father’s dad soon became my Abuelo (grandfather) providing lots of hugs, speaking to me in Spanish and sharing helpful life tips that have not only warmed my heart, but pushed me to think of opportunities differently. When away from family, one can become complacent and depressed. Fitness has always been my outlet to express my anxiety, fear and insecurities. My host mom would get up every morning and go to the gym. I was inspired.
I decided to talk with her about what she did, and she said without hesitation, “let’s try it together.” We worked out in the small gym they have in their basement. Soon our “let’s try it,” turned into 3 times a week and then ultimately my host mom stopped her gym membership to work out with me every day. We set goals and no matter the circumstances we would wake up at 5:30 am every day to work out. The AHA moment settled in for me about 3 months into our training, I realized my host mom was working out not just for herself, but for ME.
She wanted to ensure I could accomplish what I wanted. The AHA moment hit me and I realized I should share all my dreams and wild ideas with her. I told her my goal was to learn English well and not feel embarrassed to talk with anyone. I also told her that after watching her interact with her kids I wanted to learn more about childhood development.
My host mom loves to read and would constantly share with me why she insists on a daily routine and sharing that with the kids nightly. When kids know what to expect they can operate and maneuver through their day better without surprises. I was intrigued and wanted to learn more. She immediately said take more classes without hesitation, we can make it work with your schedule.
After thinking about all the support and motivation she was providing, I got scared and was like “wait, why did I tell her that, she’s not going to back down” and of course she did not. She insisted I work more with the kids on their homework practicing my English. We would spend hours just talking about past experiences so I could get better at conversational English. Sometimes our evening discussions would last for hours.
I felt like I was talking to my best friend (now she is actually my BEST FRIEND). Then one morning as we were working out she said “hey, didn’t you say you enjoy running.” I said, “yes.” She said, “great, let’s do a half marathon together.” I was thinking wait, what? Next thing I know she’s signed us up for a half marathon. Part of me was petrified and the other was like, “yes, I can and will do this.” We started to train running around the infamous Rose Bowl track in Pasadena. We started with 3 miles, then 7 and then 9. We would run 2-3 times a week and I felt amazing.
She took me to a store, and we bought all kinds of supplements to help us train. It was such an amazing feeling having someone support and participate in what I wanted, I truly felt like we had transcended the host mom title and became “besties.”
With her guidance I enrolled in child development classes and was thriving, I would share what I was learning, and she would say, “well let’s try it, see how the kids respond to what you are learning.” She gave me the ability to put my educational knowledge to practice. She encouraged me to push my desires to help those in Mexico I often talked about.
We set up a social media page and started a journey to raise resources for those who needed it in Mexico. Throughout COVID19, she has worked out with me daily and provided the time for me to continue with school and given me the space to venture into whatever I felt would help me excel. We work out twice a day with just us and then with her friends via zoom.
I truly feel like I am part of this family. My experience with my host family has been a series of life changing moments and one I am thankful for getting to experience with the Fords, all of them the mom, dad and my twins!
LOVE YOU FOREVER MY FORDS!