Let me introduce Michaela (Our Swiss Miss). I’m sure you’ll be hearing alot about her soon enough. Who is this woman and how did we meet?
Michaela is from Switzerland and at 19 years old she was looking to au pair in the United States. As coincidence or fate ( I believe it was Fate!) would have it, I was looking for an au pair since I was moving to an area where I did not know any local mom’s looking to provide childcare in my home on the two days a week I went to my office. I had two children by now.
So I had never had an au pair and it seemed exciting and cool to have someone live in my home to provide childcare. Plus my children would have exposure to another culture and language.
I started the interview process. The agency sent me multiple applications. Michaela’s was included. I narrowed the applications down. I was confused. I hadn’t picked Michaela as one of my last picks. I then gave my husband all of the applications for him to review. He returned them to me and said, “This is the girl I think we should get.” It was Michaela. He liked her application despite that she had stated that her English wasn’t the best and that was one of the reasons she wanted to spend a year in the United States. (Let me inform you Michaela’s English is probably better then mine or yours! She just so happens to be a little anal and a perfectionist.) Anway, she had recently spent a family vacation in California. She stated: “I learned most of my English in school, but when I was in California last year, I soon realized, that I couldn’t use “my school-English” as much as my “Ally Mc Beal– English.” Since I was confused who to pick I decided to go with my husband’s choice. Upon my review again she looked, OKAY!
I sent Michaela an e-mail and waited for a reply. We had a cutoff date if we wanted our au pair to arrive by the time we moved. I was getting annoyed when she did not reply right away and complained to my husband, “Nice choice!!!” Shortly after, I received her reply. She stated she was sorry for the late reply but she had been on vacation. She also told me that prior to her leaving for vacation she had already accepted an au pair position watching twin babies in Glen Ridge, New Jersey. Interesting, that wasn’t too far from us. But I also thought to myself, Great, back to the drawing board.
I did manage to find someone else. Her name was Melanie and she was from South Africa. She was already in country because she hadn’t clicked with her other host family. “A reject au pair!” I took her in. That’s me! Always for the underdogs or strays. Anyway, Melanie came to live with us at our old home in August of 2001. We would be moving in two weeks.
Now when you host an au pair through an agency they will provide both the au pairs and host families a list of incoming au pairs and their arrival dates. This way the au pairs can make friends with other au pairs or set up play dates with the other au pair’s and children that they are watching. So I happened to see my husband’s choice would be arriving to New York City on September 10th, 2001. And of course, I was wondering about my husbands choice.
SEPTEMBER 11th, 2001 I am on the phone trying to arrange to add international calling on my phone in my new home. The customer service representative who was in Texas says, “A plane just hit the Twin Towers. Where is that?” I’m like, “Oh my God, New York City which is not too far from me.” I hang up, turn on the t.v. and call my Dad. Besides the terror that I’m sure everyone in the United States felt on this day I have two thoughts:
1) Is my little brother who is attending NYU and living near the Twin Towers okay?
2) Oh my God, this poor girl Michaela had arrived into New York City on September 10th to fulfill her dreams of living in the U.S.A. for a year and here she is in the middle of all this terror. And I guess because I am a mom I thought: Her poor parents sending their daughter to another country and less then 24 hours after she arrives this happens. So scary!
Anyway, my dad says, “DO NOT CALL YOUR MOTHER!” And thank God as it turned out that my brother was okay and had been able to call us pretty quickly.
The days afterward began to unfold. I wrote a letter to my new neighbors stating for them to come meet their new neighbors by dropping off needed supplies for the 911 victims and rescuers. I had already set up a drive to help the Nutley Red Cross who I already worked with under other circumstances such as the Food Drives that I ran through my church. I had only been in my new home two weeks now. But I am still thinking of this Michaela too. So I ask my au pair Melanie to call her to see if she is okay. She is. Michaela goes on to describe the chaos of New York City on that day. In this same phone call, I have Melanie invite her to come out with us in two weeks. We had decided to take both of them out to go apple-picking, pumpkin picking, and then out to dinner. Surely, this would be a good American experience.
We met Michaela a couple of weeks later and the rest is history. Ten years later we still remain so close that we all consider her a part of our family! And from this I also learned that my husband had GREAT taste in women! After all, he picked both me and Michaela!
Copyrighted 2011: danadogooder and DMT