Saturday, May 31, 2008

Day 2

So today I caught the train up to Whistler. It's basically a whole town built around a ski field. I got up at 6:30am and my host family very kindly gave me a lift to the train station in order to catch the train up to Whistler mountain. The train journey took roughly three and half hours through beautiful mountains, lakes and waterfalls. There was an open carriage where you could get cold and take pictures without glass which was great. However I seemed to react badly to some pollen in the air and before long my eyes went very red and I looked slightly possessed. Took an anti-histamine later which sorted that out. I am not sure what the folk on the train made of me when my eyes were at their worst!

Once I got to the Whistler resort the hotel I am staying in let me check in early which was great! But I then found out that my all terrain vehicle tour had been cancelled due to lack of interest! Thankfully they let me re-book for the following morning so I can still go. So in the afternoon I took the gondola up mount Blackcomb (mount Whistler was closed due to building work installing a new gondola from Whistler to Blackcomb). It was brilliant to be able to wander around a bit of the mountain in the snow and take a few pictures. I was quite surprised to find that people could still use the slopes but as you can see from the picture there is still quite a lot of snow around!

On the gondola back down I was surprised to see what looked like a dog wandering around the lower (now melted) ski slope. To my excitement it turned out to be a bear! It was some distance away but already (on day two no less!) I have seen a wild black bear! It did result in a slightly bizarre language moment with the guy running the gondola. When I got backed down he asked how I'd gotten on and I replied very excitedly that I'd a had a great time and even seen a bear. He grinned at my widely and said that I probably shouldn't say that so loudly and then asked if he could have some. He thought I had said I'd had a beer. I should have just said "no, I meant a BEAR", or just nodded and moved on, but for some reason that I still quite don't understand I said "no, a bear", growled and acted as if I had claws. The guy said he understood what I meant and that there were a few of them around. He then shook me hand which either meant that he was trying to show that he didn't think I was too strange or that I can do a particularly good impression of a black bear. I'm not sure which.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Groundhog Day

One other thing I forgot to say is that I enjoyed being able to imitate the movie Groundhog day. When I got into the airport I was able to say (in my head anyway) "It's 7:30am Thursday 29th May 2008... again!". Bill Murray says something similar in the film Groundhog day which is a movie that still makes me laugh after having seen it a few times.

Seeing as how Canada is some 17 hours behind New Zealand I got to experience pretty much all of Thursday 29th May 2008 twice!

Arriving in Canada

I have safely arrived in Canada! A high point (so to speak) of the flight was getting a text in Sydney airport from a supporter in New Zealand pledging a very generous gift towards my personal report support. The long flight from Sydney to Vancouver was long, but I got the chance to enjoy a few movies. Didn't sleep so well on the plane so was very relieved to finally arrive.

Immigration was interesting. They seemed to question whether I really was coming to Canada to study! They asked why I hadn't paid all my study fees upfront, wanted details of where I was staying, and asked me exactly papers I was studying whilst comparing what I said with the invoice in front of her said. I am slightly offended to think that they thought I looked like someone who may try and stay illegally!

Had a great day exploring Vancouver but am feeling pretty tired now. Below are some pictures that I took today. The carvings done we saw today look similar to some of the carvings I have seen by the Maori in New Zealand. A particular highlight was being taken by my amazing hosts to see a bald eagle nest. I guess I identify with the eagle in it's baldness (although it doesn't look that bald)! It is great to see one of the things that I really wanted to see on my first day!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


So tomorrow morning I am heading off on a study break! This July see's me completing six years in IFES students ministry. As a result I have applied for and been awarded (if that's the right phrase) a sabbatical (more on futher plans for my sabbatical at a later date). The first part of which I am taking as a study break at Regent College, Vancouver, Canada. A significant gift from one supporter has pretty much covered the costs. I received an email informing of the gift literally within days of discussing what I might do on a sabbatical. It was a huge encouragement! God is so gracious!

So I'll be in Vancouver from the 29th May and get back into Wellington on the 16th June. The trip will include studying two papers (Paper 1 is Globalization, World Religions and Christian Mission, paper 2 is Acts of the Apostles) at Regent college and some holiday exploring Vancouver.

It's been a busy few months at TSCF what with my first time preparing for the annual audit of TSCF's accounts. I am more than ready for a break and a change of pace. I'll be updating my blog as every couple of days or so, so keep an eye on here. I'd also value your prayers that the time away would recharge my batteries and that I would have listening heart and mind as I study. Thanks!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

New Perspective on the English

I was doing some catching up on blogs and whilst looking at Paul Windsor's I thought I'd follow his suggestion of keeping an eye on the top ten most viewed articles on as these sorts of lists provide "a windows into a nations soul".

To my surprise coming in at number ten (beneath "Meet Playboy's Playmate of the year", "Chef Ramsey wants out-of-season veg outlawed", and "Kangaroos trample Kiwis") on the list today was this article about the English being described as "self-important and irritating" in the new rough guide to England. I am not sure if this bothers me because it rouses some of my long dormant national pride at English being thought of in this way or because, to some degree at any rate, some of the criticisms are fair.

I realised a while ago that many Kiwi's have a sort of love/hate relationship with England. On the one hand they'd really like to visit and form some sort of connection with what some affectionately call "the motherland". But on the other hand they are gleeful when England loses at sport or somebody English does something embarassing or stupid. So on that basis it shouldn't really suprise me that an article that puts down the English is one of today's most viewed.

But it also probably says something about me and how the English people feel towards people of other countries that one of my first responses was "surely the Americans are worse?".

Tomorrow is Mother's day here is NZ. A colleague at work showed me this video yesterday (and the words certianly remind me of things that my mother has said to me in the past). It is an hilarious but accurate description of a day in the life of a mum. You can read the lyrics here. Happy NZ Mother's day mum!

Friday, May 02, 2008

A new chapter

Mark, James and LorenSunrise from the balcony of the flat on ANZAC dayView of the city at night from the balcony
Having blogged about leaving my old home, meet my new flat mates Mark and Loren, and enjoy the view from the balcony of our flat! Mark and Loren are marvellous and I look forward to getting to know them better. I have already much enjoyed their cooking, tastes in music and generally living with them.

It has been a complex few months for me for a number of reasons. This new home is a good thing and comes at the right time.