Two short weeks before arriving in the U.S. to become an au pair and live with the Babb family in Arlington, VA, Desy Tumbarello received an email from Cultural Care Au Pair that intrigued her.
It asked, simply: “Do you want to apply to run the 2019 New York City Marathon in support of Cultural Care Kids First Foundation?”
Desy thought long and hard. She’d been a competitive windsurfer for over twelve years, so she was no stranger to the allure and excitement of a major event like a marathon. She was also on the precipice of a life-changing adventure in a new corner of the globe—a perfect time to try something new.
Desy decided it would be the perfect way to challenge herself even further during her au pair term.
So together, Desy and her host dad Josh Babb—with the love and support of host mom Alison and their three kids—spent months training tirelessly for the marathon. They started with brief three-mile jogs, and then added time bit by bit. They swapped training tips, diet recommendations, and more.
A highlight of the NYC marathon experience, for both Desy and Josh? That’d be speaking at the State Department reception for J-1 NYC marathon volunteers the evening before the race.
Josh spoke about his family’s experience hosting an au pair in great detail. “Desy is an amazing young woman who has a heart of gold,” he said. “Training with her for this marathon has been a remarkable way to create a mutual interest to talk about, strategize on and bond over. Watching Desy train for this race has been so inspiring, I am so proud of her!”
Of her experience as an au pair in the USA, as well as training for the NYC marathon, Desy told the crowd: “I am not afraid of the starting line, like I was when I decided to leave my family, my sea and my lovely Sicily. Although I will be excited at the marathon finish line tomorrow, I know I will be sad when I reach the finish line of my time as an au pair and I have to leave my host family. I have loved living with the Babb family and will miss every single moment of joy I experienced with them.”