Congratulations to our Au Pair of the Year 2018 Winners!
1st Place: Katrin Hunger
2nd Place: Nico Saueressrig
3rd Place: Paula Eimertenbrink
Wondering what it takes to claim this title? Read their nomination letters below and you’ll see how they’ve gone above and beyond as an Au Pair in Canada and why are they so deserving of this award:
I am nominating our wonderful Katrin Hunger for Au Pair of the year.
As soon as I saw Katrin’s photo on the Au Pair website, I instantly and intuitively knew she would be the perfect person to have in our family during one of the biggest transitions our family would be going through in the months to come.
I was pregnant and due right near the time Kat would be arriving in Canada. Needless to say, having a new baby let alone having two very young children in the household during such a huge change takes a person of great strength and character given the usual expectations of of sleep deprivation, post partum hormones, let alone being in a new country without any family around.
Kat arrived and jumped right in. She was very attuned to the needs of our two year old daughter and was able to teach her and keep her busy with creative crafts like finger painting, gluing and colouring crafts, as well as outings to the local duck pond and parks to play with her little friends during the times when I was busy feeding our baby boy or just needed a break. Kat’s keen awareness of our daughter’s needs has certainly helped our girl adjust to Mom not always being able to “be there” for her every need with the extra demands of a newborn.
Kat has taken the huge initiative of starting toilet training with our daughter and offers us lots of tricks and suggestions, not just for toilet training, but also for other parenting challenges like fussy eating, teaching routine and self control to a “tricky” two-year old which have made things so much easier for my husband and I to parent our daughter in a way that she can adjust into her role as a big sister. It is so nice and refreshing to have a new perspective amidst the fog of the first few months of having a newborn and toddler who is expressing her independence more and more every day. To say that Kat’s patience has been tried would be an understatement; she has shown so much compassion and understanding not just to our daughter, but to our entire family as we are adjusting.
Growing up as the oldest of four siblings may have helped Kat to understand children along with all of her training she did before joining our family, however Kat takes her passion of child development to a whole new level. Her motivation to get up and get outside into the fresh air is exactly what we needed as a family. She regularly plans or suggests fun activities for our family such as going to the play groups in town, play grounds, the local farms as well as inviting other little neighbourhood friends over to our home and creating craft ideas and supervising them as they visit and interact with each other. Kat is also keen to suggest new toys or activities to stimulate our daughter’s development and present new challenges to her – the most recent one was her suggestion of getting our daughter a balance bike which she mastered within a week and a half and now loves to ride around the neighbourhood. Another example was when Kat recently went to the library on her own initiative and brought home a couple of books for her and I to look at for ideas to stimulate interactive learning in my baby son. Kat’s presence and help in our household both while working and not working has been a tremendous help to us. She has been known to fold our laundry, help out with meal preparation and help out with the kids – even when she is not scheduled to work and without anyone asking or expecting her to do so. Kat’s thoughtful and generous heart, her conscientiousness and creativity combined with her strong family values have truly been a blessing to our family and I feel we have really lucked out this year with having this beautiful and amazing person come into our lives.
Sincerely, Elsa Lucash
I wanted to reach out to nominate our more than amazing Au Pair: Nico Saueressig!! Nico is always smiling, asking what type of help we need, playing, reading, spending time outside with the kids. He is extremely polite, a great communicator and has a huge capacity to adopt to any type of situations. He is up early with the boys on weekends, makes food from Germany for us to discover and has a very curious and inquisitive mind passionate to learn about Canadian culture too!
His sense of humour is just so lovely and he obviously comes from great family values as he is gentle and always patient and friendly with all three boys of ours as well as myself and my partner. He shovels outside when it snows, picks up the kids at school if I am working, helps on outings like at the museum, park and library. He has moved furniture with us between our house and cottage, helps to prepare family fun like hallowe’en ( he made all the decorations on the deck with our 3 year old) and wrapped most of our Christmas gifts!! He takes the kids to story time at the local library, joins me at the kinder school for pickups and is always helping with food, house cleaning and planning!! Honestly I am already sad at the fact that we will one day go back to Germany and am not sure we would ever find an Au Pair in the future to match his level of skills!!!
I think Nico is the Canadian Au Pair of the year for all of the reasons mentioned above! And the kids love him like a brother. We are already chatting about when we can come out and visit him!!
My list of how great he is can go on! I am available for a call if needed. Thank you so much for reading and wishing your team jolly holidays and a wonderful New Year!!
Kristian and I would like to nominate Paula Eimertenbrink as the Au Pair of the Year. Paula joined our family just under four months ago and in that time has integrated so well that she even gets Kristian’s jokes!
She is quick witted and is continually striving to improve her English while keeping up with our dynamic family. Paula is always “game” to participate in our family outings and to adjust to any changes in our routine. We often enjoy her company and extra assistance (voluntarily) when we head out to family events around town or skating on Sundays. With Kristian’s erratic work schedule coupled with our need for gym time, Paula is a steadfast supporter that can always be trusted to keep the kids routine going.
Paula is a quick learner and is eager to please. She is often found packing snacks and water for the kids for outings when Kristian and I are just trying to sort ourselves out! She also asks the right questions when we forget certain details in our plans or instructions. Always respectful, she attempts to make sure no ones needs are left out. This was especially evident when she shared her plans for Christmas gifts and got involved in our holiday trip planning.
As another resident of our home, Paula steps up and helps with chores aside from her childcare duties. She can be found running small errands on our behalf like picking up a few groceries for the family, she helps keep the kitchen in order, and maintains a tidy room and bathroom.
When it comes to the kids, they ask about her the moment she is not around! I can imagine how sad they will feel when it is time for her to leave us. Though she clearly has a soft spot for our kids, she also has maintained our stance on discipline and routine. She easily steps in when we’re pulled away to something else – like responding to one kid’s urgent need while reading to another.
Finding a match for Paula will be a challenge next summer. She hit it off with Kristian’s mom while she was visiting in the fall and they still stay in touch! I can imagine the same will happen with the rest of the family when she meets them all this Christmas.
Lastly, I am impressed with her resiliency as a young woman living abroad for the first time. Paula maintains a positive attitude though we know there are times when she is missing home. She has maintained a reasonable pace of life making time for the gym, auditing a university course, connecting with a few new friends, and reading! Our hope is that this Christmas will be fun and “warm” enough that she doesn’t get homesick. I think with the amount of activities we have planned, there will be no time for that!
Please consider this nomination from us, a family new to having an Au Pair. We have not been disappointed and are quite happy with the placement!
Caroline Pollock and Kristian Udesen
Congratulations again to our winners and thank you for all of your hard work!