Au Pair of the Year 2015-6 Trine from Denmark!

A HUGE congratulations to Trine – Smartaupair of the year 2015-6 winner!  Trine Smartaupairs Trine is from Denmark and she joined her host family autumn 2015. What is the Smartaupair of the Year Award? Each year, host families are invited to nominate their au pairs both in our own annual au pair of the year competition, as well as in the international IAPA au pair of the year contest. Why? To simply recognize the hard work and dedication of the au pairs! Trine has received a £200 gift card to Oliver Bonas along with a huge well done for being such a great au pair :) As always, a word for all our au pairs – whether you were nominated or not, we just want to say that your hard work does not go unnoticed – We speak with so many happy host families every day to know that each of you make a real difference to the lives of your host families, so thank you! The nomination letter by our Shepherd family: Trine Rasmussen - Au Pair of the Year 2015-6 We first met Trine over a Skype interview. We knew straight away that she was the right person to be a part of our family. As we were new to the au pair system, we invited Trine over for a weekend in London to experience some time with our family and to see some of the London sights. From the get-go, it was obvious that Trine was going to fit right in. The boys immediately warmed to her and were fighting to be the one to hold her hand. We have 3 young boys, so our family life is hectic, busy and at times very noisy! My husband and I both work so we knew that the au pair role in our family was going to be demanding. It has been so wonderful to know that Trine has everything under control whilst I am at work. When I come home, everyone is home safely from school (a 1 km walk away), laundry is done, beds are made, toys are tidied, the children are fed and everyone is happy! The familyTrine1  Trine is always on hand to help out with the madness of bath / homework / bedtime. It’s difficult to give attention to all 3 children at the same time. Trine takes that pressure off by playing games like ‘hide and seek’ with our youngest, or helping with reading and homework for the older boys. This means I can focus some time on each of the children. This is what makes a truly great au pair: allowing parents to enjoy every moment with their kids, rather than focusing on all the chores that need to be done. This year, with Trine around, I’ve even had time to volunteer as the PTA rep for my son’s class, giving me the opportunity to meet other parents and develop a better understanding of the activities at school. My husband often works late, and it’s been wonderful to have company in the evenings when Trine and I share dinner and chat about just about everything, or even watch ‘girlie’ programmes together. Trine and meTrine 2  Trine is always responsible, positive, flexible, reliable and always willing to help. She brings a sense of calm, happiness and love that makes everything run smoothly. Trine has been an amazing support to our family and has shown maturity beyond her years. We have such a wonderful relationship with Trine, she is most definitely part of our family. And most importantly, the children adore her. They kept saying how much they missed Trine when she went home at Christmas time. Trine acts as a big sister to the boys – much needed in a predominantly male household - but also fulfils the role of oldest daughter. We care tremendously for Trine and we know she feels the same about all of us. Trine adapted to life in London and the UK seamlessly. The pace of life in London with a busy family can be overwhelming, but Trine has taken it all in her stride. Trine has shown incredible courage and an ability to tackle things head on. Within her first month, Trine made huge efforts to develop friendships with au pairs that she met through school and the local au pair network. Trine was invited to write a blog describing the journey of an au pair from day 1. Trine’s blog is full of useful advice to help new au pairs from Denmark settle, including how to avoid homesickness and how to make sure they integrate quickly into their new home and culture. It’s clear from the way that Trine settled so well that she has much to offer to newcomers. Trine with the boysTrine 3 Trine has introduced our family to Danish culture. On arrival, Trine won everyone over when she arrived with thoughtful gifts for the children including a picture book with words in Danish. Trine explained to the boys that Lego is Danish and with that, they were smitten! She brought traditional Danish treats and often cooks Danish meals for the children – ‘Frikadeller’ is their favourite. It’s been a wonderful experience to share Danish culture with Trine, and in exchange to share our own British and French cultures. For example, Trine has been excited to try some new foods, and as big foodies, we are keen to share these experiences with her. Trine is always there for the important events in our family including the first day at school, school and Christmas plays, and birthday parties. We have enjoyed visits from Trine’s family, including her dad, brother, uncle, aunt and cousins. We always want them to feel at home in London, so they are always welcome to stay with us. Trine will be coming skiing with us this March and we really hope she enjoys spending time with the kids on the slopes. It’s wonderful to share these family memories with Trine. The fact that Trine has become such a treasured member of our family is an amazing bonus we did not expect from the au pair programme. We very much hope that Trine will continue with us for a second year, not sure how we will cope without her! Trine with the boys in London Trine 4 Trine's response to the family nomination: I’ve always been told, that family is where life begins and love never ends – and that’s why I’m 100% sure, that the Shepherds have become 5 new family members to me. 6 months ago I arrived in London with a thought that this year would be nothing but a job to me – but honestly it became everything else than just a job. When I first applied for an au pair job, I never imagined I would end up with a family I truly care about and where all 5 members care tremendously for me as well. The amazing thing about the Shepherds is, that they make you feel safe. The parents are very concerned about you, and want you to feel like; you're a part of this family. They include you in everything, but at the same time, they value that you have your own time to do what you want, with your own friends. They care very much about you, and take you in as their own daughter. Alex and Pete have been unbelievably supportive, and when I’ve had horrible experiences, they’ve done whatever they could to make me feel loved and safe  - and for that I am so grateful. The boys I’ve been looking after is 3 young boys with a lot, a lot, a lot of energy. We’ve had so much fun, and every night with the different games, cuddles and laughs  - is what made me feel like a part of the family, and not just a staff. Every day when we walk home from school, and they all fight to tell me about their day, those are the times that makes me feel so appreciated and loved. I don't think you can find 3 boys who are more loving, fun, energetic, exciting and wonderful, even if you looked all across the world. Me and the boys Trine & boys When I arrived one thing was particular important to me; and that was to be open-minded. Having in mind, that it takes time to bond and to create a new life in a new family. I had to make an effort - seek friends myself, and not just expect them to come to me. Before I knew it, I had a lovely network and a lovely life here in London with the Shepherds. Even though I still have 6 months left, I feel empty whenever I’m thinking of my life without this family. I hope and pray for, that I will carry them in my heart forever, and that they’ll always remember this year and the experiences we’ve shared, because I know that I will. Love Trine
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