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Au Pair of the Year Nominee – Dan from China

Dan was recently nominated by her host family for the IAPA Au Pair of the Year Award.  Congratulations Dan!  Please read the nomination letter below.

Au Pair of the Year Nominee – Dan from China 1If someone had told us what our au pair experience with Dan Wang would be like before she arrived, we would’ve said it sounded too good to be true.

We truly believe Dan is an exceptional candidate for au pair of the year, but we keep asking ourselves why. In other words, how do we convey what a special experience we’re having?

To start, we listed some characteristics that really stand out…

  • Ability to adapt to any situation
  • Positive attitude
  • Creative, fun and full of energy (very important for someone taking care of a toddler!)
  • Strong character – extremely trustworthy
  • Takes initiative – has great suggestions and advice
  • Mature, experienced and respectful

…but these come across as pretty generic. We’re sure most au pairs do a great job with the daily routine and most kids come to love their au pairs. What makes Dan different is how she became part of our family.

We originally decided to get an au pair so that our son could learn Mandarin (Dan speaks to him exclusively in Chinese and is constantly teaching him with Chinese books and other tools and materials that she researches and recommends). But we’ve been given so much more than someone who just teaches our son a language and watches after him when we’re not home. We cook and eat together. We exchange stories, views and experiences. We often stay up late chatting about everything and nothing. Although we lived in Hong Kong and spent a lot of time in China, she has taught us so much more about her country and culture.

Outside of our family, Dan has made a ton of friends from her au pair group as well as others she’s met along the way. She is always giving advice and offering help to the first year au pairs. Her friends often stop by (which we encourage) and we’ve gotten to know a number of them. They spend time with us on the weekends (she brings her friends with us when we go to our boat). Our son absolutely loves the company and thrives in this environment.

Once a week, we have “Chinese night.” Dan invites a group of girls over (not all Chinese) and they cook an enormous meal (10+ dishes). We invite our friends as well and it turns into one big party. After dinner, the girls play music, sing songs and entertain the kids (led by Dan). An old friend of my husband’s has a Chinese wife and they come to this weekly event. The wife has become very close to Dan – they go out for dinner and she even had Dan and her friends over for New Years Eve!

Our extended families have also spent time with Dan and they adore her. Before she even met them, she made a picture book of our son for one set of grandparents. She also made laminated posters of our son’s paintings, which included pictures of him, for the other grandmother. She did this on her own initiative and it made everyone so happy.

In fact, “making everyone happy” is probably the best way to describe what Dan does best. She adds a new level of energy to our family – she sparkles with enthusiasm and it rubs off on everyone. She is truly a special person and we are extremely fortunate for her presence in our lives.

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