By Chris Burbach and Max Salvo
On November 23 CHI au pairs from all over the Washington DC Metro region celebrated International Au Pair Day 2019 by being a sponsor at the Rochambeau French International School’s French Winter Market in Bethesda, MD.
CHI au pairs volunteered in the bistro, welcome booth and crafts room where they took charge of the face painting, temporary tattoos, bead decorations, ornament decorating, and other fun crafts.
“It was such a beautiful day! Everyone was so friendly and helpful to one another”, said Eva Luft, an au pair from Germany. “People we have never met became fast friends. And there were so many languages around us! Danke, merci, gracias—thank you to CHI for a beautiful moment together.”
Christina Busso, a DC Area host mother, explained that “one of the best things about hosting an au pair is the feeling you have that you are giving your children the world—that you are literally bringing the world into your home! When we all gathered together to mark International Au Pair day, it seemed to me the whole world was there: There was a wonderful mix of languages and cultures, and a real feeling of community. What a wonderful feeling and a wonderful day.”
Over 1500 visitors attended and enjoyed theater and choir performances, strolling accordionists, holiday crafts, shops, boutiques and great international food.
A wonderful time was had by all! It was a day to celebrate being an au pair and to meet other au pairs and interact with many different cultures and individuals at the beautiful Rochambeau School. It was also an opportunity to recognize and thank au pairs for their contribution to host families and their children, as well as the part they play in fostering global understanding.
“Spending international Au Pair day at the festival as a first-time au pair was an exceptional experience, and being part of such a well-organized and eventful day exceeded my expectations,” explained Carla DeVilliers, an au pair from South Africa. “It’s good to know that we are part of a large group of people, who are managed by an outstanding organization, CHI! They go to great lengths to make sure our every need is catered for. I met some great people who will hopefully and most likely become friends for life.”
Our dedicated staff was present to assist and join the celebration. CHI Community Administrator, Sarah Fraidin, explained that “it was really fun to see the au pairs make new friends with Au pairs from other clusters and I met some terrific au pairs from other clusters as well. Right away many of the Au pairs started painting their own faces and wearing flag tattoos on their cheeks. A lot of them made their country’s flag out of beads. They decorated ornaments and sampled the Gingerbread cookies too. They helped set up and run the events and they participated just like the kids.”
Sarah also commended the host families and their children for their participation: “the host families in my cluster loved that all the activities were free for their children. Their kids tried everything! One of the most special things for me, as a coordinator, was to see the way the au pairs reacted when their host kids showed up. Even if they were hanging out with other au pairs, when their host kids arrived, they were so excited to help the kids try all the crafts and hang out with them. You could see such a strong bond between the au pairs and their host kids, even surrounded by so many distractions.”
This year’s celebration marks the inception of International Au Pair Day, an initiative promoted by the International Au Pair Association (IAPA). The occasion will be celebrated every year on the 24th of November. According to its website, IAPA chose this date as it “marks the 50th anniversary of the release of the European agreement on au pair placements, by the Council of Europe in 1969”. CHI is an active member of IAPA, which groups over 170 au pair organizations in 45 countries and is based in Munich, Germany.
Click here to learn more about International Au Pair Day.