At Thanksgiving, we pause and express gratitude to others. This year I want to thank all my au pairs and host families for the love and support they give each other every day. I also thank each au pair for sharing with me and my family about their culture, for demonstrating their bravery for coming from far away places and giving so much to their host families and their friends in America.
I appreciate the uniqueness of each of you. Your spirits, sense of humor, enthusiasm. It is an honor to be a part of your lives for this time and beyond. I love the relationships that have developed that last after an au pair returns home. I am thankful for the warm, caring host families in Southern Maryland who welcome some of the most wonderful young women into their homes and entrust the care of their children to them. Host families who inspire, encourage, celebrate, cultivate and share their culture and customs. Host families that embrace each new au pair as a unique and special person. Host families that encourage an au pair to share her culture and customs and incorporate it to their family life. It is a beautiful thing to witness.
“The people-to-people ties and transfer of knowledge achieved through international education builds and sustains a more democratic, secure, and prosperous world that benefits the entire global community. International education and exchange is vital to our diplomacy efforts and establishes lasting ties between individuals today that translate into stronger relations between nations tomorrow.” -Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs, Evan Ryan
Some thoughts from au pairs current and departed about Thanksgiving:
“I didn’t know that thanksgiving was such a big holiday before I spent my year there. It was a really nice day. We started off with breakfast, cooking and baking in our pajamas and then we got ready and we were all dressed really chic and went off to my host mums part of the family in DC. There we had a lovely dinner with everything you can imagine! Everybody also had to say for what he or she is thankful, we were around forty people and it was so nice to hear about everybody.”
‘I was super curious on Thanksgiving and what it was like. It felt like something truly American and I had never tasted turkey or pumpkin pie before (which I had learnt you ate a lot of during Thanksgiving) since we went to Chicago and I got to meet a huge part of my hm’s family that was also something I really looked forward to! So the whole holiday was all food, food and some more food! And ALL kinds of pies! I believe there might have been around 7-8 different pies. I had a great thanksgiving!”
“Thanksgiving was actually one of my most favorite holidays in the states. We went to Ohio to spent it with family. Watching Macy’s parade while cooking the dinner and baking some pie. After eating the fantastic food watching some football and then of course some Black Friday shopping it was amazing!!”
“I really enjoyed Thanksgiving with my host family. It was as I imagined! So much food to try. Everyone got dressed up and shared what they were thankful for. It was so warm and special. The next day we began to prepare for Christmas. It was magical.”
“I am really excited to be with the whole family. To see everyone gathered around the table. I am so happy thinking about the foods, some I have never tried. I am curious about pumpkin pie. I want to cheer football too and maybe shop on Black Friday!”
“I am looking forward to experiencing the traditions. All the family coming, sharing good things and food….my host mom says there will be so much food!”
I wish each and every one of you a Happy Thanksgiving!
Photos by: Loren Kerns – Flickr, Cynthia Chan, Johnny – Flickr