Archive for October, 2012

A pumpkin carved into a jack-o'-lantern for Ha...

Halloween jack-o’-lantern, Photo Source: Wikipedia, Public Domain

Halloween is an world festival that contains elements of

  • Religion (the day after Halloween is traditionally called All Saints or All Hallows, with Halloween traditionally called All Hallows’ Eve),
  • Festival (children and parents don costumes that turn them into pumpkins, goblins, fairies and other colorful figures), and
  • Food (most Halloween celebrations involve “treats” that range from candy to harvest goodies like apple cider).

Unfortunately, Halloween has also been associated with needless tragedies and injuries. An au pair in the United States for his/her first cultural year may not understand the ins and outs of keeping Host Children safe at Halloween. This year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published a page titled “Halloween Health and Safety Tips.” The page is part of a larger “Healthy Family” initiative that is ongoing through CDC.

Down the left side of the page is a pumpkin orange-colored bar with letters that spell out “Safe Halloween.” S tells us that “Swords, knives, and similar costume accessories should be short, soft, and flexible.” Other letters offer additional advice. To the right of the page are links for Halloween e-cards that feature pumpkins and ghosts, a healthy Halloween, and the “germ monster.”



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English: Cactus growing on canyonside at Tolan...

English: Cactus growing on canyonside (Photo credit: Wikipedia, Public Domain)

Luna Community College has satellite campuses in Mora, Springer, and Santa Rosa. This area of New Mexico is very rural and lies southeast of Albuquerque near the Texas border. Au Pairs from the Albuquerque Heights or the Edgewood and Moriarty areas might find Luna Community College accessible.

One feature of Luna Community College is its support for small businesses and entrepreneurship. This month’s home page has a link to an article on small business longevity. The article begins:

“Starting a business is not that hard to do, but staying in business and being successful; now that is the challenge. Below are 8 ways to help improve your business performance.”

Further information at the bottom of the page references the Luna Community College Small Business Development Center:

“For FREE business assistance, contact the LCC SBDC at 454-2582 or 1-800-588-7232 ext. 1759. For an up to date listing of all SBDC services and trainings visit our web page at <http://www.nmsbdc.org&gt; www.nmsbdc.org.”

Au pairs are creative individuals with forward-looking attitudes and a strong desire to succeed. Today’s global economy stresses the role of small, local business ventures whose effects are felt around the world. Entrepreneurially-oriented au pairs may enjoy checking out Luna Community College.


Brown Mackie College(505) 559-5200Albuquerque http://www.brownmackie.edu

Brookline College – Albuquerque Campus(505) 880-2877Albuquerque http://brooklinecollege.edu/locations/albuquerque/

Central New Mexico Community College (505) 224-3000Albuquerque http://www.cnm.edu

University of New Mexico(505) 277-0111Albuquerque http://www.unm.edu/

Clovis Community College(800) 769-1409Clovis http://www.clovis.edu

Dine’ College- Crowpoint Site(505) 368-3500Crowpoint http://www.dinecollege.edu

Luna Community College(800) 588-7232Las Vegas http://www.luna.edu

The University of New Mexico-Los Alamos (UNM)(505) 662-0344Los Alamos http://www.la.unm.edu

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Map of Virginia highlighting Arlington County

Map of Virginia highlighting Arlington County (Photo credit: Wikipedia, Public Domain)

The GoAuPair blog for Arlington, VA contains an excellent introductory summary of the au pair experience, for prospective Host Families:

“Au Pairs are pre-screened international young adults with child care experience who provide full time, live-in child care and introduce a memorable cultural experience at an affordable cost.”

The conclusion of the same paragraph summarizes the supportive role of GoAuPair:

“As an Au Pair agency, Go Au Pair is dedicated to helping families in the Arlington area choose an Au Pair that fits their specific family needs.”

In the Newsroom link, there is a story about Gloria Grabois, a twenty-year LAR for GoAuPair. Gloria answers questions about how she helps provide “a memorable cultural experience” that fits “specific family needs.” Her response? “Communication, communication, communication.”

GoAuPair has a reputation for professionalism, and tries to provide caring, supportive LARs. Gloria is only one long-term LAR for GoAuPair.

Nice job!

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Diagram of the Albuquerque Box Effect when con...

Albuquerque Box Effect (Photo: Wikipedia, Public Domain)

The 41st Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta ends this weekend, October 14, 2012. In a way it is a signature event for cultural au pairs and Host Families. Many exhibitors come from the same countries that provide U.S. Department of State au pairs.

In 1972 the Balloon Fiesta consisted of 13 balloons in a parking lot; this year there were over 800 balloons aloft in the Albuquerque “box.” The “box” is the area west of the Sandia Mountains and above the Albuquerque and Rio Grande valley. Conditions are often perfect there for ballooning, and local residents become accustomed to colorful balloons above their homes and parks.

Crowds come early to the Fiesta, arriving in the dark to sample hot coffee and burritos while they watch the colorful envelopes inflate. Mass ascensions are scheduled in the mornings, beginning about 7 a.m. Balloon glows, which originated as a Christmas celebration by local ballooners, are scheduled in the evenings about 7 p.m. Balloon glows, which include the ever-fascinating special shapes, are held at the Balloon Fiesta grounds on Alameda, north of the City of Albuquerque.

For a concluding tour of this year’s Fiesta, please enjoy the following links.

Special Shapes Gallery: http://www.balloonfiesta.com/pilots-and-crew/special-shapes-directory

Balloon Glow: http://www.balloonfiesta.com/event-info/balloon-glow-2

Mass Ascensions: http://www.balloonfiesta.com/event-info/mass-ascension

Professional Photo Galleries: http://www.balloonfiesta.com/event-info/photo-galleries

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English: Au Pair

Au Pair (Photo: Wikipedia, Public Domain)

The work of preparing to become a cultural au pair is followed by the anticipation of the matching process, while the au pair is still in his/her home country. Once a match is made, final embassy and flight arrangements are made by the GoAuPair international representatives. The au pair may then arrive in New York for a special introductory workshop before traveling on to his/her Host Family.


The year that a cultural au pair spends with his/her Host Family moves quickly. Below is a general summary that is supported by the Local Area Representative and by emails and correspondence from GoAuPair headquarters in Utah.


The new au pair is flown to his/her stateside destination. The Local Area Representative will call to welcome the new au pair within 48 hours of arrival, according to Department of State regulations. An Orientation is next, to get the Host Family and au pair off to a good start. Then come arrangements for a Social Security card, a driver’s license, and education credits. Monthly contacts and required activities for au pairs and Host Families are scheduled. All of these things are within the first 3-4 months.


As the au pair approaches the half-way point in his/her program year, emails from GoAuPair begin to stress the importance of planning to return home. Decisions to apply (or not apply) for a second year in the United States, with the same Host Family, or with another family, must be made. During this time, the au pair may also travel nationally and internationally using his/her time off.

Going Home/Staying for a Second Year

As the au pair’s year enters the last four months, documents must be submitted to receive the Completion Package. The au pair will submit a transcript, certify that s/he has attended at least 4 LAR cultural events, and participate in year end surveys. Arrangements will be made to book a flight home. During the final 30 days after his/her program ends, the au pair is also free to travel within the U.S., utilizing GoAuPairs’ unique bed and breakfast program. Au pairs who choose to renew or transfer to another family


When the au pair leaves his/her home country, the year in the U.S. seems very long. However, each step is carefully planned to fit within a time frame. It is the common responsibility of the au pair, the Host Family, and the LAR to see that all steps are completed in a timely and non-stressful manner.

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Sprechen sie Deutsch? Habla espanol? Parlez-vous francais?

Seal of the United States Department of State.

Seal of the United States Department of State (Photo: Wikipedia, Public Domain)

Around the world, children learn the languages and customs to which they are exposed. In Europe, it is considered a sign of a good education to be able to speak and understand several languages. In all major world countries, school children learn English as the modern language of international business and culture.

In the United States, we have long been culturally and linguistically isolated from the rest of the world. As global economy becomes a greater and greater influence for our children, it is hard to justify such isolation. Indeed, it becomes a disadvantage for our children.

GoAuPair provides cultural au pairs from countries around the world, including China, Australia/New Zealand, Germany, France, Peru, Mexico, and many others. Each cultural au pair has already learned to speak and understand English, and some are very fluent. Each cultural au pair also brings with him/her a wealth of knowledge of world culture that can help our children grow in appreciation of other people.

The Department of State wants young people from foreign countries to come to appreciate what is good about the United States. They equally want young Americans to develop an appreciation of what is good about the world around them. Cultural au pairs provide an important link in this education. Living with their host families 24/7 naturally encourages a positive exchange of values and knowledge.

To view presently available cultural au pairs, please visit GoAuPair.

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Moose in yard in Anchorage, Alaska

Moose in yard in Anchorage, Alaska (Photo credit: Wikipedia, Public Domain)

The exquisite scenery of Alaska forms the backdrop for this cluster of cultural au pairs. Despite the short summers and the long, snowy winters these young adults lead an active, and obviously happy, lifestyle.

This GoAuPair blog site features a static front page with links above that lead to Au Pair Activities, comments from local au pairs, and a very nicely presented slideshow. The linked GoAuPair Host Family Blog is also worth checking out.

Alaska like Texas does things in a big way. The au pair activity for July was a two-day camping and rafting trip in the Matanuska Valley. The activity for September is a musical presentation.

The energy and abundant life in this cluster of au pairsdemonstrate why GoAuPair is a good choice

for your family’s childcare needs.

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