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gold-star-2-1Congratulations to all of our runner up winners for the 2013 Au Pair of the Year Contest and THANK YOU for being such wonderful Au Pairs!


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NominateYourAuPair







 




Rica P. - Phillippines

RicaAP

Nomination Essay from Rica's Host Family



I would like to take a moment to nominate Rica Paminiano as Aupair of the year 2013. When my husband and I first found out that he was going to be deployed with his Army unit to Afghanistan, I knew then that I had to have someone help  me  care for our 3 little girls, whom at that time were ages 5,3,and 1.  I learned about the aupair program through a friend who had help from aupairs.  I decide to go with an Aupair for the cultural experience, the dependability and commitment that I hoped an Aupair would offer our family.  I really liked the idea of having the children being cared for in our home where I knew that they were in a stable and familiar environment and with someone who was entirely devoted to their needs.


Rica came to our home about 2 months after my husband had deployed.  She has truly been a blessing to our family every day since she came into our home and she has become one of the family.  What I noticed first about Rica is how she engaged with the children to establish rapport and trust and learn about each one individually.  Rica really takes a special interest in our children being completely devoted to their needs.  She engages them in all different types of actvities like taking them to the parks, playing games with them, and taking them to social events. She encourages their personal growth by encouraging them to play rather than sit in front of the T.V.  When Rica cares for the children you can tell that she takes a lot of pride in their appearance, as the children are always immaculate.  She takes advantage of little moments to teach them; good social skills, teach them counting, teach them their ABC's and learn songs.  Rica is very efficient with her time and the children are always arriving early to school or activities. Rica is very gifted in being able to do whatever we ask her to do even if she hasn't done it before.


What my husband and I love most about Rica is her kindness.  She has this unique ability to stay calm even at the most challenging moments.  The love shines through in our children.  It is very reassuring to me that when Rica comes through the door the girls always run to her and say "Rica!" and they give her a hug if she has been gone for a weekend.  When my husband came home on leave for two weeks he said, "I can truly tell that she cares about our children."  And this gave me the reassurance that I had done the right thing. 
We have enjoyed learning about Rica's culture as she has ours.  Rica enjoys cooking, and mostly cooks a Filipino dinner for the girls every night.  She engages the children in some of her cultural events like taking the girls to a Filipino christmas party.  She shares frequently different aspects about her culture compared to the United States and integrates some of her culture into their day to day routine.


Rica has worked very hard to improve her ability to provide for our children.  I think one of Rica's biggest obstacles was for her to learn how to drive, which now allows her to take our girls to their activities.  Rica was so willing to learn.  We started her out driving our four wheeler and then I encouraged her to practice her driving in the drive way.   Rica had no problem with this and in less than 8 months she had her very first drivers license.  Her willingness to do this opened up opportunities that my girls otherwise wouldn't have.  She is now able to take our eldest to school and attend her school events when I am not able to.  Rica has encouraged me to enroll the girls in a few activities outside of the home such as gymnastics and art classes.  This is now easily accomplished with Rica's capabilities to drive and be responsible. 
Rica loves to try new things.  She is very outgoing.  She likes going camping and fishing.  She is not afraid to travel new places.  And, she loves to go out and meet new people.  I think Rica has fully embraced her experience as an Aupair as we have also.  This is Rica's last year with us and we don't know what we will do without seeing her every day.  I feel like it a part of our family that is going away forever.
For these reasons and many more that words can't describe,  I hope you will consider Rica as Aupair of the year.

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Nomination Essay from Rica

Coming to live in the United States temporary is a dream come true. Now I totally understand why each individual wanted to come to the United States. I would say there is no enough words to describe the places, people and the culture. There is nothing you cant do in this land of a dream. I had a hard time to understand the culture at first. It’s a way  lot different from where I came from, it’s actually the opposite.
I have been here in the United States for more than a year and my experience is still amazing. What I value most about my experience is the relationship that I have with my three little angels named FAITH (2), PAIGE (4) and GRACE (6), my host parents(LINDA and MARK) and my friends.


I remember it was 4th of October 2011 when I came to the United States. On the first day of my American life, I was so excited when I met the three little angels. I was touched by their warm welcome. The children treated me as their real older sister. I have a good relationship and communication with my host parents. My experience with my host family has been excellent. They treated me with respect, gave me a very comfortable place to stay, and included me in their family activities.  In many ways, the experience that I had with my host family solidified my understanding of American culture. And the improvement of my pronunciation in English. I was right on my first thought, that everything is going to be alright.


One of the things that I love to do is to travel, so I took the chance to see the United States. It was December 2011 when I had my first trip to Las Vegas. I had so much fun, see people get drunk and gamble. Then after few months later, it was March 2012 my host mom sent me to Maui, Hawaii. I met my cousin that I never seen for several years. My Hawaii vacation was awesome. I experienced cruising, surfing and whale watching. It was May 2012 when my boss sent me for another trip to Los Angeles. I went to the Hollywood and Universal Studio. I did ride in roller coaster and I promise myself I won’t do it again. It was fun though but scary. And to San Diego last August 2012 I went to see “Shamu” at sea world. Last trip I made was last year December back to Vegas. I am so glad having all this enjoyments in life here in United States. I am thankful for these great opportunities that I have.


I also met a lot of friends from different places, school and Filipino events. American people are nice, helpful, out going, have sense of humors and funny.  On my first month I have few friends already.  I went camping and fishing which I never experience when I was in my home country.  I also became a member of a Filipino-American Association in Portland, Oregon. Sometimes we also do so fundraising for scholarships. I met plenty of friends when I started to attend their events. What I love most is they welcomed me not like as individual, but treated me as their real daughter and sister. I thought its going to be hard for me to live here because I’m too far away from my family. I was wrong, I build a family here.


My experience over the past year have been wonderful. Becoming an au pair in United States is amazing. American life is full of fun, enjoyment, understanding, adventure and dreams.  I will leave United States with a very positive understanding of what it means to be American.



Vivian G. - Guatemala

VivianAP

Nomination Essay from Vivian's Host Family



We are thrilled to nominate our Au Pair Vivi for Au Pair of the year. Vivi came to us at the end of May, 2012 and instantly became a part of our family. She settled in quickly and within a day our son, Rocket was already in love. Vivi brings an excellent energy to our home and her laughter is contagious. We instantly noticed our son laughing more and were told by his teachers he has a comical personality which we attribute to her fun and games. Vivi always has him singing and dancing and enjoying life.

Though Rocket was only 18 months at the time, we asked that Vivi speak spanish to him and 6 months later he fully understands everything she says. At two he is talking up a storm and a large amount of his words are in Spanish. His preschool teacher even commented on how amazed she was to see him respond to her spanish...following instructions and not skipping a beat. Some words he even prefers the spanish palabra to the english word, like Si (for yes) and gracias (for thank you). We recently returned from vacation in Mexico where the locals did a double take as our two year old son said "hola" and gracias where ever we went.

Friends and family are very important to Vivi and she stays in touch with her mom and relatives in Guatemala and around the world. Vivi is very social and shares this with our son...organizing play and lunch dates. She always has Rocket out and about at the park and classes. She also values our marriage and for our anniversary her gift was a night of babysitting so we could enjoy each other. It was totally out of the blue and so thoughtful.

The things that our son learns from Vivi amaze me on a daily basis. She taught him to blow kisses, eat with a spoon, climb stairs, cover his mouth when he coughs to name a few. She encourages him to use his manners saying no thank you, instead of no...and please when necessary. The other day I came thru the door and she was asking him, "Rocket cuantos anos vas a completar" and he answered "dos." My son knew he was turning two...I was so proud.

We are so happy to be able to nominate Vivi for Au Pair of the year. She takes excellent care of our son and has taught him more than we could have possibly imagined in a short period of time. She has an amazing energy and brings lots of laughter and fun to our home. We feel so lucky to have her as part of our family.

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Nomination Essay from Vivian

Hola a todos!

How to start... All my life I've had trouble expressing myself in written ... But I'll try to do my best.

It all started on May 4th, 2012 with a Skype call from Lindsey.  She asked me to visit their web page, since I saw their pictures, how happy and friendly they look I knew they were going to be my host family.

Lindsey and Jon sent me different links to have an idea of the area, as I never been in California, neither San Francisco.  I completely fall in love with San Francisco city!  So been in a different country, different weather, different people and leaving behind my relatives, choosing the place I will work was already made!  Hahaha
I never saw Rocket on Skype, curious isn´t…?  But watching them how they talked and their confidence, I knew Rocket was a great kid

On my first day, they knocked on my door, so I could meet ROCKET...! Rocket was already on his high chair and...  Boooom he caught me!!!  He was making Dinosaur noises every time he put a Cheerios in his mouth... I said to myself:  I got the funniest kid ever!!!  Awhhhh…  And he ate all his food, the hungriest kid ever too...  Good!   I knew I wanted to stay here and I felt so bond with them for the very first day!

I remember well that Rocket left for a daycare, Lindsey and Jon told me to go out and get along with the neighborhood!  They gave me a map, circled with places what they thought I would like and some others I get use to.  After two hours I found Rocket's club, which is actually two blocks away from our house! 

My first working morning:  Rocket was waiting to be taken out of his crib, he was bouncing joyfully, as soon as he saw me, he gave me a very big lovely smile!  Welcomed me to his life!  He was not shy at all and neither was I...  He was a little bit confused the first hours, who wouldn't be, a stranger talking to you in another language, so I started talking to him with my hands (by the way, I'm very expressive) and showing him what I was talking about.

After a few months, Rocket and I became like little bud and big sister, he is the only child so do I.  We laughed for hours and sang along, luckily I know a lot of songs, because he asked me to sing a different song every 5 seconds and I love to sing!

We have traveled a lot and met all the family members and friends from my host family.  They are amazing people.

I would like to share that Rocket's first Spanish word was "Agua” (water), after that I knew there would be moooooore words coming and when that happened, he suddenly became a little Spanish parrot...  I am so happy and proud of him!  He does not only speaks and understand Spanish, he´s also a very helpful kid, he picks up his toys after we play, he brushes his teeth, eats with forks and lots of many other things.  He likes to learn and he does it fast!  Fun and learning comes with the same hand from him!

I have no words to express how this experience has made me grown as a person, meet new people, learn something every day and value not the time but the quality of time you spend with kids.  I'll try to give the best to Rocket, so he can be a good person to this world.

HOMESICK never crossed my mind... Luckily I have the best host family, best international friends and Katrina's help... What else can I asked...?

Many many thanks to my Mom, all my family that supports me on every decision I made.



NominateYourAuPair


What Our Host Families Say

  • John - CO

    A little over two years ago, I lost my wife Patty to cancer. With a huge hole in our home from the loss of Patty, Svetlana stepped in and helped Bryce feel loved and cared for during a situation that is difficult to imagine and understand. She has seen us through many tears and sadness, but brought so much safety and comfort into our home. I honestly don’t know how we could have made it the past few years without her.
     
  • LindseyMary

    Lindsey - CA

    Mary Luisa or lulu as we call her entered our family at a challenging time in early July. I was 7 months pregnant and our son was starting to act out as he realized a new baby was on the way. Rocket met Mary and instantly fell in love. He was so excited his new best friend would be living in our house. From day one lulu stepped in and has been there for our son and helped make the new baby transition easier on the whole family.
     
  • Ornela

    Keith - MD

    It was a very terrifying thought for me to entrust my children to someone else, but I can say with whole hearted enthusiasm, we really "hit the jackpot" with Ornela. She has taken our twins from speaking greek words to being completely bilingual! To see the confidence and ability that they have is in a large part dedicated to her. We can truly see the pride and love that she has for Georgia and Peter. Ornela has really become a part of our family, not just an au pair.
     
  • NozomiStevenson

    The Stevenson Children - MD

    These past four months with our au pair have been the best experience ever! She even rode the Tower of Terror at Disney World with us three times. Tell us how many au pairs will do that for their host family kids! Our au pair is very special and we love her just like a family member. She does so much for our family and we just want to tell everyone how awesome she is to us!
     
  • Effie

    Patricia

    We feel fortunate as parents to have Effie in our family, especially in our busy lives when being away from home and the children during the day can often be very stressful. She makes our life easier, giving us the confidence that our kids are safe, in good hands and with the right direction!
     
  • Lissy

    Audrey - FL

    Lissy has exceeded every expectation we had for an au pair and has become just like another family member. I have said time and time again that you guys must do an amazing job screening these applicants. Although now I would have a hard time doing this again because I don't know if we could ever top Lissy!
     
  • MaureenSatoko

    Maureen - MI

    We have had several au pairs in our home and we feel very glad and are very lucky that Satoko came to us. I don't want to jinx anything because this is only the second week but I can tell you that Satoko is golden. We are grateful to Au Pair International for introducing her to us!