Dear Au Pair Mom-
I’m sure that we are not alone with this concern, and we’d love some ideas how to help: Our au pair is from a town about 25 miles southeast of Tokyo (further aware form the center of the earthquake). She is terribly worried about her family and friends after the earthquake, and now with the fears about a nuclear emergency she worries that there is more horror to come. She has connected with her parents and sister online, briefly, and knows that they are okay and that most of her extended family is okay– she feels both lucky and blessed, since she knows that so many people from her university and her neighborhood may have had terrible experiences and losses.
She is very worried about what is going on in Japan, and wants to go home – immediately. My DH and I would be happy (not happy, really, but okay) with it if she needed to return home for a funeral, or to help her family with some emergency. But we are not sure whether her going back to Japan right now is a good decision. Currently, there isn’t a specific need for her to go home. She just says she wants to go home, in part because she can’t stand the idea of being so far away if something else happens.
We have talked with her about just what she might do if she went home, and how there isn’t much that she can actually do except perhaps add to her parents’ concerns about her safety and how to take care of her. It seems like everything is in turmoil, so even if or when she could get a flight back to Japan, it’s unclear that her return there ‘helps’.
On the other hand, and this sounds horrible, but we wonder if she wants to go back home asap so that she can be a part of things? To experience this event in her home country along with her countrymen? When something so serious and profound has happened in your country, would you want to stay here in the USA caring for two kindergartners and shopping at the mall?
What do your readers think that we should say to her? How can we be supportive?
We would really appreciate your thoughts here.