Smartaupair of the Year 2011-12

Smartaupair of the Year 2011-12 Winner Announced

The winner was chosen based on both the family nomination and a respective au pair letter on their time together and the winner for the year 2011-12 is…
Evelyn Stainhauser from Switzerland (placed by Global Au Pair)!

She has been with her host family Gan in Halifax since August 2011 and is due to complete her au pair year in July. The Gan family are one of our many returning customers and they have had happy au pairs from us since 2009!

Here are the winning letters both from the Gan family and the Evelyn:

We were absolutely thrilled when our au pair agency, Smart Au Pairs, sent us the information regarding the IAPA Au Pair of the Year Award. Evelyn came to live with our family as an au pair in August 2011. We know from the moment we met her at the airport that she was God sent.

We are a family of four. Sean is 9 and Grace is 4. My husband, Charlie and I work full time . Charlie’s work is based 70 odd miles from home and hence is usually away part of the week.

Evelyn is intending to stay in the United Kingdom for 11 months. The children fell in love with her the moment they saw her. She has not been with us for that long but we are already dreading the time we have to say goodbye.

Here is why we think she deserves the Au Pair of the Year Award.

What do parents want when they look for an au pair? Children’s safety, stimulation and well being, reliability, diligence, flexibility, initiatives, enthusiasm, acceptance of difference, willingness to be part of family, smiles, etc. Evelyn has it all. Beyond these, she is simply impossibly possible! She is quietly competent and does things in the household the way I do after watching how things work the day before! The first week after arrival from Switzerland, she spent as much time as possible trying to get to know each of us individually. I, as an experienced host mum, never expected a young lady like her to be so caring, selfless, observant and so eager to be part of the family.

The next amazing thing to mention is the change in our evening routine. This year is an extra busy year for Sean who is preparing for the grammar school entry examination. A big chunk of his homework used to be my responsibility. This could be tricky when either the children or I had to come home later in the evening. Life is not the same since Evelyn came. At the end of a busy day, what could be sweeter than hearing from the kids, ‘Mummy I have finished my home work!’ when I enter the house.

Evelyn’s duties and responsibilities were made clear upfront when she started. She carries out her duties perfectly and always goes the extra mile. She sincerely offered help with chores beyond her duties such as mowing the grass and doing extra cleaning which we had to decline.

Evelyn is planning to go to university to study occupational therapy after her 11 months in England. She has enrolled in English and Mathematics courses at a local college. She takes her work seriously and is finding herself moving 2 steps up the English course levels in just few weeks. She has a lot more potentials than she revealed. This is Evelyn, there is always pleasant surprises and something special to discover about her.

She organizes her own life and also finds time for leisure and voluntary works for the local community. She enjoys snowboarding while in Switzerland and is prepared to miss this short term. She experimented new things such as Zumba classes.

She has also taken initiative in meeting other au pairs nearby and has established her own social circle. She goes exploring other towns/cities and spends time with her new friends at local parks and attractions. Clubbing, a common evening activity for young people who have left home for the first time, is not on her agenda. Evelyn is simply an extra-ordinary young lady whom we felt was a gift from God for the good deeds we have done some time in our lives.

Evelyn’s letter:

Essay about my host family from Evelyn Stainhauser

It's so nice to look back and to remember my first days with my host family. The whole family came to pick me up from the airport last summer. Grace (now 5 years old) was holding my hand straight away when we were walking to the car. We played a lot of games on the car journey home and I felt instantly very comfortable being around the family (which hasn't changed ever since).

From the first day on Sean (now 10 years old) was always very kindly asking to me whether I knew what a particular word means and enjoyed explaining it to me. I remember him describing the word “knitting” on my second day here - it took a very long time before I knew what he meant.:-) I can still constantly rely on Sean, whatever word I don't know.

There are a lot of little things we all still remember from our first days together. For example Grace calling me by my much harder second name “Stainhauser” at first because she couldn't remember my first name. Or words I used in a completely wrong context, which are a good laugh for all of us now. 
The first time I was alone with the children was about the third day after my arrival. Sean and Grace were both very helpful with everything and they told me whatever I didn't know – and I knew that I could trust them. I have to admit, I couldn't believe that they are playing bowling in the kitchen but this is actually the case in my host family.:-)

I've got a lot of support from my host parents, Yi Ling and Charlie, during my first weeks here. On the other hand, they instantly gave me plenty of rope and I have a big freedom what to do with the children which I really appreciate. I love to have the freedom to bake with them whenever we feel like baking, to do all kind of arts and craft projects, to do silly things or just to play a lot of indoor and outdoor games. They are both truly interested in a lot of activities.

Sean and I are doing a lot of little funny things during the days which makes us both laugh. Like a silly face when we pass each other on the stairs. I can laugh a lot with him about all kind of things. And Grace would always just join in and laugh with us.:-) She can cheer you up so easily with her personality, she is so easy to please. She can become so happy about a little thing you do for her and always says thank you. I have a very good connection with her and I can feel that she truly trusts me. When Sean is staying longer at school we enjoy our girly-house together. I remember playing Barbie with her once when she decided to do a role play. She suggested that she is going to be the child, I'm going to be the mum and Barbie is going to be the au pair. For her an au pair counts to the family the same as mum, dad, brother and sister does.

This is mainly due to the fact that Yi Ling and Charlie always treat me like a family member. I can't think of a single situation that they wouldn't have welcomed me to join them. It is very nice to be a full part of the family if you are so far away form your own family. Nevertheless they always respect my free time and let me explore the country on weekends with my friends.

Sometimes when Yi Ling has a morning off from work we go together for a walk in the woods, we go shopping or just recycling. It is always nice to spend some time with her and just talk about whatever we feel to share. When Charlie comes home from work in the evening we often end up discussing about whatever happened in the world or we share our music collections.

My host family is Malaysian Chinese. They have lived in England for around ten years.They mostly cook very delicious Chinese food. When we sometimes go to a Chinese supermarket they end up buying a lot of exotic food for me to try. But they also make sure that I don't miss out English food. And what I highly appreciate is that they add quorn (people also call it 'the vegetarian meat') to all their dishes for me because I'm a vegetarian. On the weekends we sometimes do day trips together. I've seen quite a bit of North England with them during my time here so far. But they not only show me a lot about England and the English culture, I learn at the same time a lot about the Chinese culture too. We celebrate next to all the English celebrations all the Chinese celebrations like the big Chinese New Year or the moon cake festival (lantern festival). It's so interesting to listen to their stories about their country and culture and how they grew up. The children taught me to count from one to ten in Mandarin, which is great fun for them to listen to.:-)

And I can even write some Chinese characters now. I learn to know two cultures at the same time and this makes my stay in England even more exciting! I know that this whole experience wouldn't be the same without Smartaupairs, who put me in contact with such a perfect matching host family. People around us can feel our bond!