When the Epstein family decided to take a two-week trip across Europe this summer, they knew they wanted it to be much more than just a vacation to sightsee – they wanted to take the time to reunite with two very special people: Their former au pairs!
So the Epsteins coordinated trips to their former au pairs’ hometowns to reconnect with them, meet their families and see where they grew up. It was a unique way for the Epstein family – particularly the Epstein children, 9-year-old Ethan and 7-year-old Sabrina – to experience foreign countries. And it was of course a very meaningful way for the entire family to show their love and support for their former caregivers and extended “family” members.
The summertime reunion took the Epsteins to Denmark and southern Germany where their former au pairs Marie and Chrissi live, respectively. The family also spent time in England and Croatia, to make the most of their vacation and soak up as much time in Europe as possible.
Former au pairs Marie and Chrissi were overjoyed to show the Epsteins around their home countries – and to show their American family where they came from. Marie and Chrissi made a point as au pairs to teach young Ethan and Sabrina about their native countries, so for the Epstein children, visiting these countries was a perfect excuse to test out their linguistic and cultural know-how. Epstein parents Wendy and Scott planned it out so they’d spend about 5 days in each country with each au pair – plenty of time to catch up on all that life has had in store for them since they were last together in the Epsteins’ hometown of Glencoe, IL.
“It’s always hard when our au pairs leave us because the whole family gets close to them,” says Wendy. “So we promised our kids every couple of years, we would go visit our au pairs.”
In Denmark, the Epsteins visited the capital, Copenhagen, and ventured out to Egeskov Castle as well as Marie’s family’s summer home in Helnæs where they went fishing for crabs and tried delicious local food. “It was like no time had passed,” says Wendy of the reunion. “We instantly reconnected. We also learned there are so many things that are different in their culture.”
While visiting Germany, the Epsteins stayed on former au pair Chrissi’s farm and took part in the daily upkeep, including milking cows and enjoy large family meals together. “Her family members were so excited for us to visit,” Wendy says of their time at Chrissi’s farm. “It was a huge thing for such a small town.”
The Epsteins’ trip to Germany includes a tour of Mercedes’ headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany as well as a trip to see Rheinfall, the largest waterfall in Europe located in Switzerland!
According to Wendy and Scott, the kids already want to know when they can go back to Europe and visit again. Luckily, the Epsteins have another au pair this year named Annie, from Sweden. She’s a good fit for the Epstein family – and has decided to extend her stay in Glencoe, IL. “My kids are already excited for our trip to learn about Annie’s culture,” laughs Wendy.
“I think people don’t always consider the cultural exchange of au pairs,” she continues. “This experience really opened my kids’ eyes. It gave them a multi-view of the world while seeing different countries and learning more about these cultures.”