On my return home from a business trip to Turkey, I had the opportunity to take a week-long layover in Munich, Germany. I was able to pay a visit to my cousin and his family (3 beautiful little girls!) in Ingolstadt (45 min. from Munich) and drive with them to Alsace, France, to visit my family and almost 3-month-old nephew (see article “Nurturing Family Ties Beyond Distance“)!
Today was really special though… it just so happens that one of the former au pairs in my group during my tenure as LCC (Local Childcare Coordinator), returned home to Beilngries, a beautiful town in the heart of Bavaria, last December.
She completed her au pair year in Simpsonville, SC, in 2008, caring for 2 school-aged boys for a single dad. She had a fantastic year, especially in the second half of her stay when she made so many friends beyond the au pairs in the area.
Her host dad was German and wanted someone with the same culture and language to care for the boys and act as a “big sister” figure for them. She truly bonded with the whole family and she was greatly missed upon her departure…
We were all hoping Nicole would extend for a second year, but other adventures were awaiting her… including in London, where we got to meet last July during another business trip of mine. Our paths keep crossing, and we have seen each other every year since she left America!
This fun reunion reminded me of the truly special bonds that are created during an au pair year: between friends and between the host family and the au pair, who share life together for 1 year or more and create a truly unique friendship that, in most cases, is nurtured beyond their time together. Often times, it is a goal for the host family to visit the au pair in her home country once the children have grown a little, and can truly “take in” their trip.
This is truly where the heart of the au pair program is: childcare with cultural exchange and lifelong friendships!