July 21, 2015

Magical moment: au pair Selma’s Swedish family meets her American host family

4 minutes
Au pair stories

Swedish au pair Selma Grytzell joined her host family this January in San Francisco, CA to take care of their 5-year-old twin boys. She has enjoyed a fantastic time with the Van de Wiels so far and says, “I have really wonderful host parents who help me with everything I need and even more wonderful host kids who just make my days brighter.” Selma recently had the unique opportunity to invite her family in Sweden to travel to CA and spend some vacation time with her.


Selma loves taking selfies with her host boys and host mom. 

Selma says, “My family arrived in San Francisco on June 17th and stayed 10 days! My whole family came to visit. My mother Cecilia, my father Håkan and my big sister Anna. My host family was nice enough to let my family stay in their house.” For the first few days of their trip, Selma was still on-duty. “It was the most fun for me to show them my everyday life and my daily routine. For other au pairs who have family visiting, I would say to show them your everyday routine, because that’s the only way they are fully going to understand what you’re experiencing over here.”

“Together we dropped off my host boys at their school and during the day we explored the city before I had to pick them up. The kids were shy at first but after a while they couldn’t stop playing with my family. They especially got attached to my sister which was fun to see. When she arrived, my sister was wearing a crop top so she was showing her stomach. They boys thought that was very funny, and they started poking her stomach and shouted ‘BOUNCY BELLY!’ They also wanted to show off everything they own and everything they could do. It was also nice for my parents to talk a little bit with my host parents and for them to be able to meet other important people in my life.”


For the few days of her family’s trip, Selma was on-duty; she loved showing them her routine and introducing them to her host family.

Both of her parents speak English and they talked a lot with Selma’s host parents about their jobs and about the differences between Sweden and America. Selma’s parents also brought her some things she missed from home. “I asked my family to bring a bunch of Swedish chocolate, my favorite kind of tea, and my bed linen from home! It’s the small things you start to miss when you’re so far from home and being able to munch on my Swedish chocolate when I’m over here makes me feel a little more connected to home.”


A few days after her family arrived from Sweden, Selma’s host family left for a vacation of their own and she and her family stayed at the house. The following days they spent visiting all of the famous tourist attractions including the Painted Ladies, Lombard street, Fisherman’s Wharf and downtown San Francisco. They rented bikes by Fisherman’s wharf and biked along the coast, over the Golden Gate Bridge, to Sausalito and then took the ferry home. They toured the famous prison Alcatraz and rented a car to explore more sites outside of the city like the California Redwoods and Highway 101.


A convertible rental car is recommended for best sightseeing capabilities!


Feeling happy to be reunited with her family.


A bike trip over the Golden Gate Bridge and into Sausalito was a highlight of the trip.

Selma says, “It is really nice to have my family here. I especially like showing them how I live here and what my host family is like, just to have them get a better idea of what I actually am doing over here. I also get really proud of what I have over here. This beautiful city I live in is a privilege and I am happy to call this my home for the year.

My family is very impressed by how well I am doing over here. They agree that my host parents seem great and are treating me very well. They also were impressed by how well I am taking care of the children and how well they are listening to me when I tell them how to behave. The relationship I’ve developed with the boys in just 5 months is great and we really get along well. They also think it is impressive how well I’ve adapted to this city and that I know exactly which bus to take where and what places to see and eat.”

Selma and her family are incredibly thankful that they took the opportunity to reunite last month and thank the Van de Wiel family for their incredible hospitality. Says Selma, “I’m a very lucky au pair!”

Learn more about Selma’s travels and her life by visiting her blog. And if you have an interesting story to tell, share it with us!