Monday, February 27, 2006

Random Stuff

Today's post is brought to you by the location Eastbourne. I lived most of my life in Eastbourne, England. It is very different to Eastbourne here.

Bizarre: On Friday 17th February I slept through an earthquake that was 4.0 on the Richter scale.

New word: munted = spoiled/damaged

Funny but embarrassing: The phrase "Check you out". In the UK I would use this phrase to draw attention to something that another person would do. In New Zealand it generally means that you are hitting on someone (the equivalent of "how you doin" from Joey in Friends). I was thankful that the person I said it to just looked shocked and didn't slap me.

Wise saying from the lads on God's love: Your love, love is like a beetroot stain. That never ever goes away from me. Your love, Your love is with me everyday. I know Your love is here to stay with me. For more see their website

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Road Tripping

For the staff conference week we drove from Wellington to Keswick (Rotorua New Zealand rather than the lake district in the UK). I was once again struck by the beauty of New Zealand and had the very exciting tourist experience of seeing Mount Doom from the Lord of the Rings films (although it looks distinctly less blown up and volcanic than at the end of the final film) which is classed as an active volcano.

Sacrificially I have volunteered to drive a minibus for the Wellington International Christian Fellowship annual ski trip later in the year so I'll get the chance to not only ski for the first time but ski near mount doom!

I have enjoyed driving around New Zealand largely due to the scenery but I have to confess that driving has begun to go a little sour on me. On thursday someone hit the car that I had been lent, making a dent down the wing and ripping a whole in the tyre. The driver of the van the lied to the police about the details and said it was my fault. Thankfuly I had the presence of mind to take pictures of the accident scene on my mobile phone which have gone a long way in helping my case so far. Two days later part of the gear box on the car went whilst I was driving on the motorway. Another four days later and friend gave me a lift home. Her car started leaking engine coolent on the way home.

Needless to say I now do not have a good reputation with cars!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The longing for belongings

I feel a little more settled now that my possessions have arrived. I have to confess that I feel more than a little guilty that I do feel better now they have arrived. When I think of the first missionaries to New Zealand they arrived with a suitcase after a long trip round the world by boat. I arrived with double my luggage allowance and six crates of my stuff arrived today.

It is has been an eye opener as to how much specific possessions become a part of you. I genuinely enjoyed giving furniture and other stuff away when I left Leicester back in November (I even laughed at the fact that I had worked so hard on getting furniture over the years only to give it away) but I have really missed things like my music collection for example and now I have more stuff here I feel more like I live here.

Maybe I'd feel different if I knew nothing else was coming but for now I am relieved to feel more at home.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


I think it is fair to say as the weeks go by I have been getting more and more edgy in terms of homesickness. I am thankful that I have not sunk into deep home sickness but I have begun to realize how easy it is to become self-absorbed.

I first realized the first point when I met some new people at the weekend. I dominated the conversation entirely telling them various bits of information about me and my life. I wanted them to know and accept me, but came closer to overloading them with information and probably freaking them out. Any person who asked me innocent questions got lots of my thoughts and questions just poured out at them (my answers to the question "how are you finding New Zealand" were sometimes epic in lenth and slightly odd in terms of content). It is probably due in part to my not having made any close friends here yet and thereby needing to talk. But I think it is also due to fact that it is very easy (for me at any rate) to become self absorbed.

The last few weeks I have just done whatever as it didn't seem to matter as I had so few commitments. I was leaving home between 8 and 9am but got home between 7 and 7:30pm missing dinner with the butchers and eating on my own (I am well aware that some folk have to work these hours but right now there is no reason or need for me to). I had time to watch two hours of TV a night then go to bed. Any form of personal time with God got junked. What started as enjoying a relaxed approach to life turned into doing what I wanted and not caring about anyone else and feeling more and more isolated. I had not realised that not knowing many people and spending time on my own would lead to me becoming self-absorbed so quickly.

A solutions to this struggle was not hard to find. I have now booked in time every week to catch up with at least one good friend back in the UK by phone as opposed to my normal method of email. This has the double benefit of allowing me to hear how they are doing verbally as opposed to in print (which is always better) and giving me contact with people that know me. This may sound selfish, and it would be selfish if it weren't for the fact that it is so important to hear how people are doing.

The cure to getting absorbed in yourself is to keep the important things important (Luke 10 v 27).

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Music to my ears

Okay, first thing to do is apologize for taking so long in updating my blog, sorry!

Probably the best place to pick things up from is the Parachute music festival (check out Music has always been a big feature in my life. From my early days performing in Orchestra's as a teenager to my near financial undoing working in the music an video sectioon of a store. So it was great (if very hot) to be able to spend the weekend listening to various (Christian) bands from NZ and wider.

I think it is a fair thing to say that a lot of the music has a countryfied feel to it. But bands similar to the group madness in the UK are quite popular too.

I was given the album Available Light by Dave Dobyn (see as a welcome to NZ present by TSCF and the song welcome home was played as a welcome at staff conference. The opening verse:

Tonight I am feeling for you under the state of a strange land
you have sacrificed much to be here ‘there but for grace…’ as I offer my hand
welcome home, i bid you welcome, i bid you welcome
welcome home from the bottom of my heart

struck a chord (so to speak) after my first few weeks here.

Dobyn is a famous musician (he is good friends with the Finn brothers of Crowded House fame) here in new Zealand who became a Christian. His music makes good and interesting listening.

Then we have the lads (check out They are a brilliant, funny and thoughtful band. The song cannibalism is great comment on whether there are moral absolutes, the chorus goes:

Cannibalism's wrong. You must fight, it don't deny
Cannibalism's wrong. Come on people, can't you see
Cannibalism's wrong. Don't be tempted, to eat them
Cannibalism's wrong. Don't deny it you must fight
Cannibalism's wrong. Don't eat your best friend's thigh you know why
Cannibalism's wrong. Even if they deserve it, you can't eat them ‘cos it’s wrong

and the song ends with the good advice:

If you do don't eat the skin, it's fattening.

Another CD on my list to buy is She Will Have Her Way which is an album of cover versions of songs from the band crowded house that are sung by various female artists from New Zealand and Australia.