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Congratulations to Amanda S. of Spain – Au Pair in Pennsylvania!

Meet Amanda! She is 26, and has been an au pair in the United States since January of 2017. Prior to joining the au pair program, Amanda graduated with a degree in Early Childhood Education and had further experience teaching in a summer school. Her experience as an exchange participant will aid her future career goals, as she plans to teach English upon her return to Spain. She loves to travel, meet new people and learn about their cultures. Amanda’s host family in Pennsylvania enthusiastically nominated her for the Au Pair of the Year Contest, stating that she inspires them to be kind and thoughtful. From the very moment she arrived at their home, Amanda became an invaluable member of their family. Her host mom writes, “When we were driving to pick her up, my son’s doctor called with every parent’s nightmare kind of news: our 8 years old son had been diagnosed with a very rare form of cancer. I remembered apologizing to her and just repeating what the doctor had told us minutes before, and I was afraid she’d have second thoughts about us but she said: I understand your reaction, and WE are going to get through this.  And so it was.” 

Please read Amanda’s nomination essay below to learn more about her amazing journey in the United States!

Amanda’s Nomination Essay – Submitted by the Komaroff Family!

Amanda was our au pair for only couple of hours only. See, the day Amanda arrived was the most difficult day of our lives. When we were driving to pick her up, my son’s doctor called with every parent’s nightmare kind of news: our 8 years old son had been diagnosed with a very rare form of cancer. I remembered apologizing to her and just repeating what the doctor had told us minutes before, and I was afraid she’d have second thoughts about us but she said: I understand your reaction, and WE are going to get through this.

And so it was.

amanda1I had many plans for her arrival. Lunch, trip around town, college tour, pick up the kids and have family dinner, but instead we were on the phone with our cousin and my daughter’s god mother (they are physicians) learning about my son’s condition and planning treatment. Amanda immediately bounded with the kids, and played the whole afternoon. The following weeks were no different and when my sister came to help so we could travel to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, she immediately paired with her and my daughter ended up having a great time at home. My sister called me every day reporting the most amazing story and play times that the 3 of them had, and when we came back home with our son, she had planned a series of indoor activities for his recovery time. Amanda and my sister are the same age, and they still text each other.

Amanda is an early childhood teacher and comes from a small town in Spain called Villa Vieja.  When I was on a business trip in Barcelona, she asked me to bring her favorite book: “A que sabe la luna”, and I figured it was a fable she’d read for the kids, but from animals to measuring distance to the moon, she turned every page in a fun subject to learn and explore… in Spanish! I have to confess, when I’m home I like to sit and listen too, and It’s hard to tell who’s the most excited participant, because you can see Amanda loves it too. Our 5-year-old daughter is so proud she is starting to speak Spanish. She loves participating in Amanda’s skypes with her friends. Our son was a little shier and we’d never guess he was understanding so much until Christmas when she was skyping her family and he joined the conversation.

amanda5Amanda enjoys sunshine, outdoors, people, traveling and learning. We took a family vacation in Mexico, and the hotel had kids club. She spent part of her time in the club with the kids and part hanging out with me and my husband. She was curious to a local town, outside of resort/tourists are and went to a small fisherman “pueblo”. She was fascinated with the kindness, happiness and beauty she saw among the humbleness of people she met. That’s the kind of person she is: she enjoys meeting, listening, talking and learning about people and culture.

Amanda inspires us to be kind and thoughtful. On my birthday she prepared a surprise Spanish Tortilla de patata for me! See, I don’t like cake, but she knows how much I like her tortilla (onions and potato omelet).   On my son’s birthday, she and her friend Angela put together a treasure hunt game where he had to decode messages, solve math problems and even write Spanish to find his gift. Everybody had so much fun! He still talks about it and for Christmas he and his sister asked to do the same for her, starting by researching Christmas traditions in Spain. They made a “Caga Tio” (Tree trunk) and filled with her favorite chocolate. We tried to find  Turrón, a special Christmas nougat for her, and even though we could not, I was touched by their effort in giving her something beyond the bought gift. That shows me how much she means to them too. She keeps the Caga Tio in her room, as decoration.

amanda2After Christmas we traveled to Jamaica and Amanda went to California. She video called the kids every day, and the conversations were about how much they missed each other, or what they saw the reminded each other. I got a lot of pictures from her and we sent a ton of pictures to her too.

As I said, we had an au pair for only a few hours, and I could not be happier. Our family grew and we are now 5! She extended her program with us, and I’m already struggling with the idea of her going back to Spain. I only fully trust my kids’ wellbeing to my husband, my mother, sister and Amanda. But family is about love, and we truly deeply love her and can only wish her the best! She is very dedicated and an incredible teacher who really loves helping kids grow and develop. She is also the loving older sister to my kids and my younger sister who I want to see striving in life!

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