According to the Cagwin family of Denver, Colorado, “there is not a day that goes by that we are not grateful Inaia chose to be our au pair.”
Brazilian au pair Inaia was in just her first month with the Cagwins when they already expressed their desire for her to stay with them a second year. Inaia was so happy with the Cagwin family, too, that she agreed to stay for an additional 12 months—and both parties wish they could stay together for a third! In fact, host mom Michelle and host dad Dave adore Inaia so much that they nominated her for Cultural Care Au Pair’s prestigious 2019 Au Pair of the Year award.
“Inaia is so, so good with our kids,” says Michelle. “We have three children between the ages of 4-12. All come with their own personalities and challenges.” Michelle and Dave say their son is sensitive and sporty—and that Inaia has bonded with him over tennis, cooking and baking, helping to build his confidence by assisting him with cool kid wardrobe choices every day.
“Our middle daughter has the strongest personality of the three kids and can be seen as difficult to those who can’t keep up with her energy,” laughs Dave. “But not Inaia!” According to the Cagwins, every morning their daughter comes downstairs and gives Inaia the biggest hug. She cannot wait to share how her day went with Inaia. Inaia helps her with her homework and keeps her on track for the day. “Inaia is extremely patient with our daughter and the two of them have developed a bond that is very special,” says Michelle.
The Cagwins’ youngest spends the most time with Inaia. Inaia drives her to and from preschool every day. Every day, the cute little 4-year-old asks, “Inaia, what’s something special we will do this afternoon?” Inaia always has a fun activity planned for the two of them. Whether it’s a trip to the museum, library, swim lessons, play dates, or even art activities in the house, the two of them are always up to something fun and productive. “Inaia’s positive energy is contagious,” says Dave. “When the kids are in sour moods, Inaia knows exactly what to do or say to make them see the positive in the situation.”
Inaia has also been an enormous help when it comes to managing Michelle and Dave’s busy and demanding lives. Both Michelle and Dave experienced some health issues this past year. Because Dave was hospitalized and Michelle was sick with bronchitis, Inaia could have easily said, “I’m sticking to the normal schedule.” Instead, Inaia asked us “what else can I do to help?”
Inaia has shared recipes her mother gave her to help the Cagwins overcome their illnesses. She also proactively changed her schedule to make sure they had help when they truly needed it. “We look forward to chatting with Inaia every day,” says Dave. “She’s extremely polite, funny, smart and caring. Inaia also has taught us a lot about Brazilian culture!”
Inaia has taught the Cagwins about Brazilian politics and loves teaching the kids the Portuguese language. Inaia has made a variety of soups and desserts that are popular in her home town that the family all loves to eat! Inaia has celebrated Thanksgiving, Fourth of July, Halloween and other American holidays with the Cagwins, and loves experiencing the American lifestyle with them. She has also tried a variety of American foods that she never had in Brazil. Every day, she is broadening her horizons and learning more about our country.
Dave and Michelle are also grateful to Inaia for keeping the house running. According to them, the kids’ meals are always taken care of and the kids’ laundry is always done. Fresh fruit, vegetables and meats are always in the refrigerator. The kids get to and home from school on time. “Inaia has never lost her temper,” says Michelle. “In fact, her calm presence makes us all calm. Inaia has never complained. I know her mother raised her right because she is a caring, hard-working, lovable young lady.”
Last but not least, Inaia has fully embraced the Cagwins’ community and the au pair community in Colorado. Inaia loves going to au pair meetings and always makes an effort to meet and help any new au pair that has just moved to Denver. “Inaia makes friends easily and is extremely trustworthy,” says Michelle.
Michelle also notes that Inaia and her new friends all love to travel together. Inaia has seen much of the United States—she does her research and organizes her time wisely to not miss one opportunity or beautiful place. She is also studying business above and beyond what’s recommended to help with her career when she returns to Brazil.
More than anything, the Cagwins appreciate how adaptable and open to new experiences Inaia is—from religious celebrations to new foods! “Inaia was raised practicing a different religion from our family, but Inaia took that as an opportunity to learn about other cultures and traditions,” says Dave. “Whether it is a religious holiday for us, Thanksgiving, or Halloween, Inaia is always on board with experiencing it with us to the max!”
“We are so lucky Inaia is a part of our family!”