Tuesday, February 24, 2009

We had a fantastic weekend down in Beachlands where Steve has lived a good part of his life. It was great to see places and meet people who have been important to him for years and years. It felt like a 'his past connecting with our present' experience. Very nice to fill in some gaps! We all stayed in the little batch where he has lived for the past few years. Good experience since it was probably still larger than our living space in S.E. Asia will be! And we won't have the AMAZING view that he has (should have taken a picture) there.

We spoke at the service there on Sunday and had a wonderful time of fellowship at a potluck afterwards. The girls enjoyed attending their youth that evening before we headed back north.

(Rachel turned 14 on Friday!)

The kids up a tree with Steve's long time friend Sean (and now the kids firm 'Uncle Sean').

Monday, February 16, 2009

We have had a very memorable first week and ½ in New Zealand! It’s been a whirlwind of activity that I know we’ll look back on as very precious in the future. It’s been wonderful to finally meet Steve’s family. We’ve had a number of his close friends come up from Auckland for meals this past week, too, and have enjoyed fellowshipping, hiking, fishing, etc, with them as well.

Steve’s sister and her husband are very generously letting us stay in their batch/cabin. It’s obvious why this area is popular for holidays since there are numerous beaches around, quaint villages to explore, and trails to hike. The weather has been amazing since our arrival, too, and we have spent a lot of time outdoors.

Heather’s been homeschooling the kids and Steve’s been busy organizing things for our time here. We have quite a few places lined up already to share about our future with. The trick is going to be not to over commit ourselves! We have also heard of a retired couple just up the road who speak the language we need to learn and might be willing to teach us, so we wouldn’t have to drive to Auckland (an hour away) for lessons.

Hannah has been studying the road code/driver’s manual here in hopes of getting her driver’s license before we move, not for there but just towards the future. It’s been very cute to have her reminding us how exactly to handle the intersections here, etc. Cute for Steve, but actually helpful for Heather who is trying to learn the different driving rules anyway!

We have been overwhelmed by the hospitality offered to us since our arrival!
For example:
-The amazing corner of Creation we are staying in complete with a veggie garden already planted by Steve’s sister and her husband
-Thoughtful things like meal ideas, spices, books, and caterpillars to hatch from Steve’s niece
-Welcoming us to the area by inviting us to dinner a couple of times already, inviting our kids to fun things, even a party on Saturday night for teenage girls to meet our girls (even though what she has is teenage boys) by a wonderful lady who lives up the road that Steve grew up with.
-And more!

Heather and the kids look forward to meeting many more Kiwi friends!

Friday, February 6, 2009

We made it!

We’ve had a wonderful first few days in New Zealand! Steve’s family that we’ve met so far is fantastic. Not that I’m surprised that a man as superb as he is comes from such good stock. (He’ll hate that sentence when he reads this!) We’ll meet more of them at a gathering tomorrow.

We think this season is going to be very good for us. We are getting to practice adapting to a different culture, but not one as radically different as the one we’re going to. Good practice. We are blessed to be staying at Steve’s sister’s batch/cabin which is just a short walk from a beach (we never even got that in Fiji!). There are numerous hiking trails around, too. Basically we’ll be spending a LOT of time outside and it is still summer here. What a wonderful blessing for kids who will be living in the confines of dense urbanization later this year to be able to run free now! We ate cockles at dinner tonight that the kids dug up on the shore this morning. Neat experiences!

Other little things are good, too, like the fact that this morning I hung laundry outside to dry for the first time since Fiji. Good preparation!

We’re looking forward to a visit from good friends from Fiji who will be passing through on Monday. Then it’s back to homeschooling on Tues. We’re getting acclimated now but soon we’ll kick into gear meeting lots of Steve’s friends and visiting different Fellowships on the weekends to share about where we’re headed. It’s been great to have a few days to get over jet lag and relax after packing up house in Phoenix and sad farewells. If you're one of those people, we'll miss you and please stay in touch!