We are excited to announce our 2017 Au Pair of the Year award winner, Julia Brockmeyer, who spent a year with the Donehoo family in Illinois and returned home to Germany last July. The following essay was submitted by the the Donehoo family, who are quite obviously Julia’s biggest fans and will forever be her extended family in the U.S.
As you know, our family has been blessed with (3) wonderful boys. While we are very happy with our boys, we always wanted to have a girl. What we never expected was that our family would finally have our girl—and that she would be an eighteen year-old from Hannover, Germany.
When we first met you over Skype, we were incredibly impressed with your confidence and humor. You politely asked at the end of the Skype call if you could send us a “mini-diary e-mail” each day as we went through the interview process. We of course said “yes” as we thought this was a fantastic way to get to know you better. Little did we know that by the time you joined our family in July that you would have sent (174) mini-diary entries!
174 mini-diary entries and 15 Skype calls later, we picked you up at the airport and it was as if you had been a member of our family since the boys had been born. You knew what made them laugh, what books they liked to read, what food they liked to eat, what dinosaurs they liked, what fish they would target in our pond and even the Pokémon that they liked to catch!
Your willingness to embrace the boys’ love of nature was phenomenal. You went on night-hikes with the boys to catch frogs and see bugs. You fished with us either at the ponds in our neighborhood or in the rivers in the Rocky Mountains. Even after you had taken the boys to the nature center for the 50th time, we never heard you complain as each visit was always so much fun for the boys.
Thank you for joining Cindy on her charity runs to help those in need or for suicide prevention. The pictures we have with you, Cindy and Teige in your Christmas running outfits will be ones we cherish for decades.
Thank you for learning to cook Vietnamese food with Grandma since she is a tough nut to crack. As you know, Grandma came over to the U.S. during the war. While she is only 4’10”, she is a force to be reckoned with in our family. She really enjoyed cooking with you and she was amazed at how well you could cook only after a few lessons. The boys really liked eating your Vietnamese food as well!
Thank you for having the most entertaining au pair friends in America! The Vickys (German Vicky and Austrian Vicky) were an absolute hoot. Taking you to the local German restaurant and watching the three of you get on stage with the band to sing German and Austrian songs was fantastic. We hope you remain friends with these wonderful young ladies for the rest of your life.
When you joined our family, we told you that saying good-bye would be difficult. Our quote was “If we are all not crying, then we were the wrong host family for you.” The crying definitely took place from all of us. The hard part was the kick in the gut watching you walk through security at the airport. Our daughter was gone. It still makes our eyes well up with tears to type these words. We love you so much and cannot wait for you to come home someday.
Thank you for an amazing year Julia. Our boys thrived having you as their au pair. Our family is a happier when you are with us. We miss you more than you can ever imagine. Best of luck at University. You are going to do great things in the world Julia Brockmeyer!
Love and hugs from your host family, Bill, Cindy, Teige, Brenn and Finn
Click here to read about the 2017 Host Family of the Year award winner.