June 17 – The Statue of Liberty was a gift from the people of France in 1885 to recognize the French-American cooperation during the American Revolution. She stands 305 feet (93 meters) high in New York Harbor. The seven rays on her crown represent the seven continents and seven seas of the world.
Five Things That Surprised Me Most in the US
- Everybody is so friendly. I think Americans are really friendly, when you go to a restaurant waiters and waitresses are super nice, calling you “sweetie” and coming during dinner making sure everything is ok; You can’t walk in a shop without having multiple help from the people working there, they also actually help you choose your clothes! You can say that it’s their job, but even people in the streets, strangers, seeing me with a map offered to help, asking if i was lost! I’m not gonna say French are not nice but we have more distance with strangers and maybe a little bit rude sometimes (me included for people here, it’s not being rude though, it’s culture haha).
- The thing about being super proud of their country! I noticed that in the National Anthem (everybody just stand quietly, hand on your heart), the Flag on the door step (and it is sacred, don’t mess with the flag), the applause in the plane for military… We are not that proud of our country and especially not of the Army.
- The Air Conditioning!!! It’s always cold inside, wherever you are, even your own house! Maybe because it’s doesn’t get THAT hot in France, but I’ve never been so cold at a movie, my house doesn’t have air conditioning and it actually make me sick because of the constant change of temperature!
- The Driving! First week here my host parents took me to Michigan with them, just a … 10 hours drive!!! Then Canada…. 12 hours drive!!! We don’t drive so far away! Maybe because we have a really fast train or because our country is so small and in 10 hours we will cross the whole country, it made no sense for me to drive so far away! (Why not fly instead?)
- 24/7, I never went to the grocery store at 1am before!
The Ones That I Liked
- The friendly people of course, who wouldn’t like it! Even if it’s sometimes too much, it’s always nice to feel welcomed in a place and to be helped when you need it!
- The driving! It seems crazy at first, but you actually can see more of the country driving through than being stuck in a plane!
Just Like in Movies
- The yellow school buses!!!! Every morning i take my kids to the bus stop and I see them climbing in that big yellow bus, I didn’t know they were real, picking up kids almost at the front door!!
- The Gigantic and Fantastic New-York City!!
- The Fraternities and Sororities of University of Maryland – THEY ARE REAL!!! I missed the party and couldn’t enroll!! (but i have good pictures)
My Best Experience in the US?
I actually can’t choose ONE single thing!
- The People that I met here (essentially au pairs) are the best friends I could have had here! I made such good friends that I’m sure I’m gonna keep even if we are far away, I will see them again and never forget our trips, our laugh, and the help they provide me in rough times! Always hard to see them leave of course but then you have to make new friends, always more amazing!
- My College Time, I discovered a new passion, won an award, made friends, I didn’t thought i will have such a good time at college and I actually look forward to start my summer semester in a few days! American College a different but amazing experience!
- My Travels, from New-York to Florida, and soon California! So many amazing places to see and variety of landscapes to remember forever!
I wanted to share a little bit about Emilie, a French au pair in our cluster. Emilie has done such an outstanding job that her host family nominated her for the International Au Pair Association Au Pair of the Year Award.
Here are a couple excerpts from the lovely nomination essay written by her host parents:
Emilie epitomizes the spirit of the au pair program – she is an active participant in each aspect, taking each “seriously”: She is a member of our family, nurtures our children, is an excellent student, is an exemplary ambassador of her native culture, and is actively engaged in experiencing American life.
Going “above and beyond” is perhaps the understatement of the year when it comes to Emilie’s thoughtful consideration of contributing to our whole family. She sends weekly e-mails to us and to my parents with everyday photos of the children. Emilie comes with us to Grandma and Grandpa’s house almost every weekend we go – I’ve heard my mother sharing family recipes with her as they dry dishes together. She has a special bond with Grandma since I returned to work when our son was only 2 months old, and Grandma stayed with us an additional 10 weeks. She remembered to help our daughter make a mother’s day gift for Grandma, and then had a tear rolling down her own cheek when Grandma opened the unexpected gift.
Emilie’s au pair year is coming to an end and she will return home to go forward into the next chapter of her life. We will miss her and wish her all the best.