International Education Week (Nov 14-18) began in 2000 and is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and the U.S. Department of Education. This important week is observed all across the United States and in more than 100 countries overseas. IEW is an opportunity for exchange students worldwide to share with their host communities their cultures and highlight the benefits of international educational exchange programs. This past Saturday, Nov 12th, over 160 au pairs from 7 different clusters across MD and VA attended a Navy Football game. It was great fun to introduce these girls to an American pastime favorite and for many girls it was their first football game in the USA!
Valentine’s day is celebrated in the United States every year on February 14th. There are many stories and legends behind who the real St. Valentine was, but most scholars agree that he was a martyr who was killed by Roman soldiers because he was marrying people in secret at a time when marriage was outlawed. Later in the Middle Ages, a great writer named Geoffrey Chaucer wrote a poem as a present to King Richard II, who was going to be married soon. In it, he mentioned St. Valentine, and over time, the idea of Valentine’s Day became associated with the idea of love.
During the Victorian times (in the 1800s), Valentine’s Day became extremely popular! Men and women spent a lot of time making beautiful Valentine’s cards with ribbon, fancy paper and even lace. In those days, people were very reserved and they did not often say what they were feeling. Valentine’s day gave them a way to express their feelings to someone they were in love with anonymously. The sender would remain a mystery until they could speak more freely.
In the last few decades, Valentine’s day has changed a lot! Today we still exchange cards, but many people buy ready-made cards instead. We also give flowers or chocolates as a gift to remind people of our friendship and love for them. Most Valentine’s gifts and cards make use of the colors red and pink, and are decorated with images of hearts or roses. Another common symbol of love on this day is Cupid, the Roman god of love. He is usually shown as a little angel with a bow and arrow. According to legend, anyone who is struck by his arrows will fall in love.
Here are some links with ideas about how you can celebrate and have fun with the children you care for over the next couple of weeks!
This would be a great gift this holiday season ~ Foreign to Familiar is a book that is a splendidly written, well researched work on cultures. Anyone traveling abroad should not leave home without this valuable resource! Sarah’s love and sensitivity for people of all nations will touch your heart. This book creates within us a greater appreciation for our extended families around the world and an increased desire to better understand them.
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”
Martin Luther King, I Have a Dream Quote
Here is a great link about the history of this special day including a biography of Dr. King, a quiz for kids and a junior crossword. Maybe you can do something special with the kids to acknowledge the day: http://www.infoplease.com/spot/mlkjrday1.html
To read the full I Have a dream Speech go to:
Thanksgiving can be traced back to 1863 when Lincoln became the first president to proclaim Thanksgiving Day. The holiday has been a fixture of late November ever since. The Pilgrims who sailed to this country aboard the Mayflower were originally members of the English Separatist Church. They had earlier fled their home in England and sailed to Holland (The Netherlands) to escape religious persecution. Seeking a better life, the Separatists negotiated with a London stock company to finance a pilgrimage to America.
The Pilgrims set ground at Plymouth Rock on December 11, 1620. Their first winter was devastating. They lost 46 of the original 102 who sailed on the Mayflower. But the harvest of 1621 was a bountiful one. And the remaining colonists decided to celebrate with a feast – including 91 native Americans who had helped the Pilgrims survive their first year. It is believed that the Pilgrims would not have made it through the year without the help of the native Americans. The feast was more of a traditional English harvest festival and lasted three days.
It was Sarah Josepha Hale, a magazine editor, whose efforts eventually led to what we recognize as Thanksgiving today. Hale wrote many editorials championing her cause in her Boston Ladies’ Magazine, and later, in Godey’s Lady’s Book. Finally, after a 40-year campaign of writing editorials and letters to governors and presidents, Hale’s obsession became a reality when, in 1863, President Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday in November as a national day of Thanksgiving.
To Learn more about the history and traditions of this holiday go to:
http://www.history.com/topics/thanksgiving/videos#history-of-the-thanksgiving-holiday. Find fun activities to do with the children here:
This past Saturday, 70 au pairs from around the world from our three clusters (Annapolis, Baltimore and Columbia), braved the cold and went to a Navy Football game in Annapolis. For some this was a first time experience! While it was cold outside we kept warm by huddling together and enjoying hot chocolate! Go Navy!
As APIA bring the world together with the work we do, so does world cup soccer! The World Cup is one of the most followed international sporting events in the world and takes place every 4 years. Many of our au pairs come from the countries represented and take great pride in supporting their national soccer teams.
The tournament kicks off today when Brazil plays Croatia in Sao Paulo. It will mark the 20th edition of the World Cup, which will culminate with the final on July 13 in Rio de Janeiro. The World Cup will feature 32 nations — placed in groups with four teams apiece — and a total of 64 games. Defending champion Spain will have to contend with the likes of Brazil, Germany, Argentina and Italy if it wants to retain its title. The United States has qualified for its seventh straight World Cup and will be looking to get out of a very tough group that features Germany, Portugal and Ghana.
The host nation has won the World Cup five times (1958, 1962, 1970, 1994 and 2002) and will be going for a sixth before a home crowd. Anything short of lifting the trophy will be a tough day for Brazil. To my Brazilian au pairs: good luck, I know you love your soccer!
The groups are as follows:
Group A Brazil, Croatia, Mexico, Cameroon
Group B Spain, Netherlands, Chile, Australia
Group C Colombia, Greece, Cote d’lvoire. Japan
Group D Uruguay, Costa Rica, England, Italy
Group E Switzerland, Ecuador, France, Honduras
Group F Argentina, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iran, Nigeria
Group G Germany, Portugal, Ghana, USA
Group H Belgium, Algeria, Russia, Korea Republic
there is a FIFA world cup app they can download to follow the scores and latest news.
For more news and information go to the official FIFA World Cup website
Enrollment in this course is restricted to au pairs who are affiliated with Au Pair in America
The next course will run from September 29th to February 2nd. Registration is not open yet but you can review the information
Come out and join the fun at the 5th Annual Street Festival at Piney Orchard on May 17, 2014 from 11 am to 7pm located at 2400 Stream Valley Drive, Odenton, MD 21113. There will be lots of food, activities for kids, face painting, children’s entertainment, about 90 local business vendors and outdoor entertainment. This event is open to the public and is FREE. Stop by at the Au Pair in America table, the leading provider for intercultural live-in child care in the US, to find out about hosting an au pair in your home! Affordable and flexible, live-in childcare averaging $361/wk regardless of the number of children. Au Pairs not only care for children but can do other child-related laundry, meal prep, cleaning!
Au Pairs will be on hand to answer any questions you may have! Here are some photos from the au pairs at last years event. It was so much fun! Enter your name in our raffle basket for the chance to win a $1,200 coupon towards hosting your first au pair! Last year over 8,000 people came to this event! So mark your calendars now and come on out to join in on a fun day for the entire family!
Cultural Insurance Services International now has a mobile app for the iPhone and Android. The app provides instant access to your CISI insurance coverage information wherever you are. It includes an onscreen display of your CISI insurance ID card, ability to view your travel insurance documents and locate medical providers. If you have not yet downloaded the app, take some time to you never know when you will need this important information at your fingertips!