Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The story so far

Now we are officially back in New Zealand, it is time for the "On Tour" part of this blog to be removed.

We had a couple of days rest in Auckland before flying down to our new, if temporary, home in Wellington.

We had a couple busy first few weeks during which we bought a car (and a new bed) and had the chance for Jen to get to see more of Wellington.

The following week we went on a road trip up the North Island to Rotorua (roughly translates as place of two lakes), we had the chance to stop along the way and invest in some warmer clothes for Jen and do some sight-seeing.

We stayed in a house on lake Rotoiti (translates as 'little lake,' which is the smaller of the two bodies of water that Rotorua is named after) where we had a week being led through an intensive debriefing program that helped us begin the process of reflecting on the events that had led to us moving to New Zealand, and some of the challenges and opportunities we might face. As part of our time there we even did some impromptu team building when we rowed out on the lake in a boat; Jen also went kayaking later in the week (she is the little dot in the second picture), which I think was a little easier as there wasn't the same complications of balancing out our combined weight.

On the trip back we got to do yet more sightseeing, including the magnificent Huka falls (check how small the people are in the top left corner of the first picture!).

The day after we got back from Rotorua, it was time to move into our temporary (for the next few months) home! It was a fairly manic day of running around Wellington collecting all my old belongings from the various places they had been stored and getting them to our new home in Island Bay. After several months of waiting we got to open our wedding gifts! We had so much fun opening it all! In the weeks that followed we also spent time on Trademe (the NZ equivalent of ebay) spending the money that we had been given as wedding gifts on furniture for our soon-to-be-longer-term home. We are very blessed by the generosity of those who gave, thank you!

A re-occuring theme of our first few weeks has been seals; we went for a walk round the coast near our new home and there were still seals in for the winter. We then went to visit the creation care study program in Kaikoura and there were a great number of seals there (some of whom were not pleased to see us, giving us the occasional bark, snarl or baring of teeth)

One thing that I've particularly enjoyed is returning to New Zealand's cafe culture; good coffee, good price = happy me!

We also got to observe the Wellington fireworks display on Guy Fawkes night (I have no idea why New Zealand marks this day as no one else apart from England does, but it is strangely comforting that they do). We also observed Thanksgiving with a dinner that included many of the traditional North American foods associated with the holiday; above is a picture of Jen's pumpkin pie, which was awesome, which also has a little bit of New Zealand in it with the koru that she drew in the middle.

A koru is probably a good image with which to close this blog post, in that for the Maori one of the things it signifies is a new life. Our new life here together has begun; there have already been many challenges but there has also been much that is encouraging. We are grateful to God for his leading and guiding us here, and for the support and encouragement of His people.

Monday, November 01, 2010

One of the things I like about New Zealand...

... is that things are not taken too seriously. On a recent trip up the North Island Jen and I stopped for dinner in the town of Bulls. As you can see from the picture above, Bulls is a place that has embraced the perhaps more amusing possibilities that come with the name. Like many other character traits the tendency not to take things too seriously can be frustrating sometimes, but considering how I often tend to take things too seriously, places like Bulls give me a helpful and fun reminder to relax a little.