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Stories of Au Pairs and Host Families During COVID-19
Au Pair Daniele from Brazil
"My days with the quarantine has changed a lot. It used to be just me and the 2 years old girl for most of the time and just 2 hours with all of the kids. With the pandemic all of us needed to adapt with the homeschooling, no friends around and staying at home. Now that the weather is getting nicer we can go, at least, for walks. Other than that we are having long times on the backyard playing with each other, jumping on the trampoline, jumping rope, doing nails with the girls, playing with the goose and quails that we hatched, creating games, circuits with chalk, taking care of our yard, playing games. It's a hard time, but I love this family and this makes it a little easier."
Au Pair Lena from Germany
"I feel always pretty busy with the kids, especially with my youngest Allegra (7). She can’t do online school alone, so it’s a challenge for me every day because I am the teacher now. When the kids don’t have school we often play boardgames together, especially on the weekends. Since we have a big pool in our backyard with the fact that it got warmer I go swimming sometimes. Next to our house is a park where I often go for a walk with our dog. We even tried to watch a family movie – but that didn’t turn out so well with four girls of a different age^^. I’m really happy that I have a variety of opportunities to keep myself busy. I even found a new hobby: baking J as you can see in the picture. Well, I also had a few moments where I just wanted to get out; I still do. But my hostmom and I are a really good team in cooking, online schooling and keeping the house clean. She and of course the rest of the family give me the feeling to be a very important part of the family. That makes me feel better. I talk to my family and friends back home a lot. That’s why I don’t really feel that far away. In one point I’m even happy to be here instead of in Germany with my family. The girls always keep me busy. But back home I’d probably be totally bored. I guess that, and the fact that my host family is just the perfect fit, is the reason why I didn’t leave. However, I‘m really looking forward to seeing all my friends in DC and also back home again! :) "
Au Pair Karen from Colombia
"Our lifes changes a lot during this quarantine but we still making changes to make better this situation, the girls are so smart they understand the situation and try to collaborate, the house parents are really like family, they always try to make me feel like in home, they plan family activities and cook delicious food, I thank god for my host family in this moments that the au pairs feel anxious and really sad because of live a pandemic without their own family, thank you so much for ask how is going appreciate too much."
Au Pair Janke from South Africa
“For me its been quite an interesting experience. Never thought I would live through something like this and on top of it all not so far from South Africa. I keep my girls - Hayden and Ella - busy as best as I can. My Family also got a puppy just before things got a little crazy so he keeps me and the girls quite busy. Me and Ella like to draw cute cartoon pictures, Hayden likes to bake so we baked a few cakes and cookies in our time at home. The other day me and my Host Family went on a 20mile bike ride, which was really fun just getting out of the house for a change. We’ve been out to the lake a few times as well trying to practice social distancing as much as we can. We’ve also played a few boardgames and watched movies together as a Family. I’m just so grateful that I matched with a really awesome family."
Au Pair Kristen from South Africa
"What started off as productive and exciting, quickly turned into “what’s next and what now”. There is only so much you can do with three girls all under the age of 6. I guess you could say that they’ve got each other but sometimes three is a crowd! I touched down in this beautiful college town of Chapel Hill, two days before lockdown so I don’t really know what the norm is around here… other than Franklin street and UNC campus. I spend most days either pretending to be a princess, a ground monster or a unicorn! Not to mention the overdose on tea parties, walks and pool parties! The dynamic around the Sowers household is very effective & efficient, we’ve come up with this weekly schedule to constantly have something to look forward to. For example “milkshake Mondays ” and “takeout Tuesdays ”. With takeout Tuesday we try to pick a different cuisine every week to keep things interesting. I can’t say that everyday is easy, because in honesty nobody saw this coming. What I can say is that we’re all in this together and within time, we will all be okay."
Host Parent Ericka, Chapel Hill, NC
"What an experience this has been! We are so grateful to have Kristen. She has been an uplifting and positive spirit throughout these trying times. It is so hard, but we have tried to make each day special for the girls, including giving them something to look forward to. We have also tried to continue their schoolwork - weekly Zoom meetings with classmates and lots of reading - while also giving them lots of play time. Having a large yard and good weather has been a blessing!"
Au pair Irem from Turkey
"Hello everyone! I know this is a really crazy time. I feel like I’m an actor in a science-fiction movie. But this is real. I was planing to have a nice vacation in May. I was going to start to take my class in June. I was thinking I wanted to learn surfing this summer. I mean I had a lot of plans for the future like you all do. But life had different plans for us. It’s been 66 days of quarantine. I kind of got use to this, or maybe I have just accepted this. My host parents have 4 children and they are 18-17-13 and 11 years old. Every morning we wake up around 9:00. Everyone has their own breakfast and the two younger children start online school and homework. While they are in a break or when they finish we hangout. If the weather allows, we go out to jump on the trampoline, we play badminton, volleyball, football or something else. If we have to stay inside we paint, watch a movie or play a game. The 11 year old girl also really likes to put makeup on me. At a dinner time, usually the family comes together. We set the table and have our dinner. Usually my host parents make the food and I help to clean.This period is really hard for everyone. In the first days, all of us complained. Especially the children didn’t want to believe this. I was really nervous about my family and just wanted to be close with them. Than I realized all I needed was to be careful and learn how to live with this virus until a scientist finds a vaccine. I’m really glad to be with a host family that really cares about the health and safety of the whole family since the first days of the pandemic. I’m sure everyone is really bored but we are all on the same ship. I believe that we will be okay. Just more patience."
Au Pair Laura from Colombia
“I kept busy, worked with the girls—Evie and Aurelia--on their studies. Held and played with baby Theo. As a family we played games inside and outdoors. We watched movies together. I helped my host mother bake bread one day. We visited the animals—there are a lot of animals on my host parents’ city-farm. I haven’t been homesick because I talk with my family in Colombia often. Now that restrictions are lifting, I’m looking forward to going on an outing with my CC.”
Host Parent Jennifer, Wichita, KS
"Laura has fit in so well with our family. We all love her! We’ve felt kind of sorry for her during this pandemic lockdown and wondered if she were getting bored. But she assured us not. We noticed she talked about her animals at home and that she was missing them. So we bought her a cat, her very own, to keep her company!”
Community Counselor Pam, Wichita, KS
"It’s been so crazy, this lockdown! I’ve missed my au pairs so much and have kept in touch by phone or email. Au pair Kelly has been here over a year, so we have done lots of things together, but my poor Laura was here only one month before the Covid virus hit and we were all sequestered. But we are finally getting together this weekend and I can hardly wait to see her smiling face!”