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“Nothing Short of a Blessing… She Means the World”

Talme with her Host Family

I love the reactions from our friends and family when they find out that we welcomed a stranger into our home to help take care of our young children. It is often met with shock and lots of (mostly genuine) questions. This often leads to a discussion about the au pair program and then ends with my very serious recommendation that they should consider getting an au pair, too! I realize our story may seem too good to be true and I also recognize that it doesn’t work out this way for everyone, but there is something so satisfying about taking such a risk and having it pay off tenfold, that I feel such a strong conviction to encourage others to do the same.

We are in our second year with Talme. She is our family’s first au pair and the first au pair we’ve ever known. In thinking about our lives before her, it is honestly hard to imagine. It’s as if she’s always been here in a way. The ease in which she integrated into our family is comparable to how one feels when you meet up with an old friend you haven’t seen in forever, but the conversation picks up right where it left off. It’s like she had returned from being gone but she was always there. Originally, we thought we would just get our feet wet with the au pair program but after only a few months into her first year, we knew we had to keep her.

Talme is a blessing to her Host FamilyI wish I could articulate the exact reasons why Talme stood out during our search for prospective au pairs, but I guess it was just a feeling – as cliché as that sounds. Almost as if there was a pull, beyond our physical control, that led us to each other. (She was the first and only au pair we interviewed.) And similarly, I find it hard to put into precise words the ways that she has impacted our family life. The normal words you’d expect to describe a meaningful relationship – helpful, honest, respectful, hardworking, flexible – don’t seem to do her justice.

The best I can do is impart some of the feelings that have resulted from her daily actions. It’s the feeling when you come home and the kids are so engaged in activities with her that they barely notice you walk in. Or the feeling when you’re sick and can barely move a muscle and then she makes you a cup of tea. Or the feeling when you go to clean the kitchen floors, but she tells you that it’s already been taken care of (and you didn’t even ask her!). It’s the feeling when you see your children’s drawings always include their au pair “sister.” It’s the feeling you get when your toddler finally starts saying “I love you” but he only says it in Portuguese. Or the feeling when you look at your fireplace and see a stocking with “Talme” hanging on the mantel.

Having Talme in our lives has been nothing short of a blessing from above. She has impressed upon our family a unique view of a culture, food, language, and traditions that we have all come to respect a great deal – something more than they could ever learn from a book. She has created relationships with my children that are so close and meaningful, I dread the day she must leave us. She has enriched our lives in a way I hope our children never forget – I know I won’t forget. She means comfort; she means support; she means relief; she means connection; and she means the world.

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Shonna Anderson


Shonna has worked for Go Au Pair for 9+ years. She started as a Placement Coordinator creating connections between Host Families and Au Pairs. Then moved in to the Au Pair and International space working with Au Pairs from all over the world. 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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Go Au Pair is one of the best Au Pair agencies in the United States, providing quality child care for over 30 years. Beginning as a nanny company in 1984, we soon expanded to include Au Pairs. We were one of the original Au Pair Program sponsors designated by the department of State in 1989.

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