Nathan/ Janssen family (Auckland) - December 2016

I am seriously the luckiest girl in the world. How did I wind up not only living on an island filled with friendly people, fantastic sunny weather and impeccable food, but having the opportunity to live with the most friendly family.

Over the past three months, the Nathan/ Janssen family has become my home. I love and cherish the people within this whanau as if they were my own. Each and every day I go to bed feeling like an equal member of our family. From continuous encouragement to go on great adventures and support in planning practically anything, my family has had my back every step of the way. They always ensure I am feeling at home and go way out of their way to make special Canadian events become a part of our New Zealand life.

With Christmas right around the corner, I am so excited to celebrate my first kiwi Christmas as we share our traditions with one another. So far it's been amazing preparing for the big day. I have never had a real Christmas tree before, so going to pick one out was a family tradition I have never experienced back home.

I always thought that people saying that they loved someone else's children as their own was just a polite thing to say. But from the bottom of my heart, I love Johnny and Charlotte as if they were my own children. I have never been so amazed by two people. They have taught me so much already in my short time being here. They are such free birds with open minds that are ready to explore and embrace the world around them. At age four and two, they are already so capable and so competent in all that they do. I adore watching them play and admire how much love they sincerely have for one another. Johnny is such an amazing role model and hero for his little sister. He loves to engage her in his games and loves to help teach her new things. Charlotte loves her big brother and would do anything for him. She loves copying him and doing anything that he likes to do. It's amazing watching their relationship grow as Charlotte gets bigger and more fluent in language and motor skills. I have already witnessed so much development,

I can't wait to see what is next to come. With the love from my family back home and my wonderful kiwi family here, this Christmas will be one I will never forget. 

- Kelsey Strong

Kelsey Strong

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