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Congratulations to Natsuki O. of Japan – Au Pair in California!

Meet Natsuki, loving au pair to 4 boys in California! Prior to arriving in the United States, Natsuki studied Nutritional Science at her university, and is now a Dietitian. She has been an au pair in the U.S. for the Kwok family since October of 2016, and was nominated both years for the Au Pair of the Year honor.  Since arriving, she has been on many new adventures in the U.S. and will return to Japan with a myriad of experiences to carry with her.

Natsuki’s host mom writes: “We have a bustling household with 4 active young boys (ages 3, 7, 9, 11). My husband leaves for work before the children wake up and returns home around bedtime. I am a full-time mom and caregiver for my elderly parents. Needless-to-say, I am spread incredibly thin and each day here at the Kwok household is organized chaos.

Natsuki arrived from Japan in October 2016 and immediately started contributing to our family in countless ways. She dove right in without any hesitation with various childcare responsibilities and performed tasks with great detail and devotion. She holds herself accountable to a very high standard so I never have to worry about anything. I trust her implicitly with the children.”

Continue reading below for Natsuki’s nomination essay, and a video prepared by her 11-year-old host child.

Natsuki’s Nomination Essay and Video – Submitted by the Kwok Family!

Dear Selection Committee,

natsukio5I am delighted to nominate Natsuki Okabe for the Au Pair of the Year Award. She is the epitome of an ideal Au Pair and I feel beyond blessed to have her in our family. She works harder and more passionately than any childcare helper I have ever had and it would be so meaningful to have her recognized for her selfless contributions.

We have a bustling household with 4 active young boys (ages 3, 7, 9, 11). My husband leaves for work before the children wake up and returns home around bedtime. I am a full-time mom and caregiver for my elderly parents. Needless-to-say, I am spread incredibly thin and each day here at the Kwok household is organized chaos.

natsukio1Natsuki arrived from Japan in October 2016 and immediately started contributing to our family in countless ways. She dove right in without any hesitation with various childcare responsibilities and performed tasks with great detail and devotion. She holds herself accountable to a very high standard so I never have to worry about anything. I trust her implicitly with the children. She helps me by making meals, giving showers, driving, engaging kids in fun activities, playing games, putting my youngest down for naps, teaching them Japanese, etc. She is our Mary Poppins, there really isn’t anything she can’t do and she does it all so well.

Natsuki never complains, always has a warm cheery outlook, tackles all challenges with a can-do attitude, and possesses a calm sweet disposition. She is dependable, efficient, punctual, flexible, patient, and diligent. She is a fast learner, has great common sense and intuition, and overall just gets it.

But what sets Natsuki most apart from all the other childcare helpers I have ever worked with, is that she is always looking for ways to make my life easier with the kids. On her own, she seeks out opportunities to help out wherever she can. She approaches her work efficiently, thus allowing her to accomplish so much in each day. Whether it’s children’s laundry or their dirty dishes in the sink, if she sees something that needs to be done, she’ll just take care of it voluntarily. Natsuki goes above and beyond.

natsukio4What’s the best part of it all? My four boys absolutely adore her and agree that she is the best Au Pair ever! She is the big sister they’ve never had. She engages them in adventurous outdoor play like hikes or playing sports and imaginary play indoors like building a big fort out of bedsheets or zipping around in their plasma cars like race cars. She excels at getting down to their level and knowing exactly what will hold their attention. When arguments inevitably arise, Natsuki is calm and collected while she tries to help the children resolve issues.

My boys especially love her personal attention and thoughtful little touches. She often makes her own handcrafted cards and origami creations. This past Christmas, she even made each family member a handmade ornament out of beautiful metallic wire! I look forward to putting them on our Christmas tree every year.

natsukio3Natsuki is currently in her 2nd year with us. She will be leaving in October and I tear up at the thought of her departure. She has become an integral part of our family and we cannot imagine our life without her. From the daily routines to the big family vacations, we have shared so many unforgettable experiences with her that we will take us with us for a lifetime. She is remarkable, and we are so grateful to have her enter our lives when she did.

Thank you for reading this letter of nomination for Natsuki. I believe she is very deserving of this award as she exemplifies all that this award stands for. Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions.

Sincerely,

Emi Kwok

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