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Monday, 26 December 2011

Monday, November 14, 2011


“You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore”   ― Christopher Columbus

Wise words, Mr. Columbus. Wish I had heard those words before the hours leading up to Josh and I getting on the ferry.  I felt my courage had abandoned me the entire morning as we awaited our departure on the Interislander.  Josh and I did some last-minute errands like buying a cell phone and then killed some time until our ferry was to leave the North Island at 2 p.m.  I’ve never been on a cruise before and the only ferry I’ve ever been on was in Corpus Christie, Texas, I think it was, and that was just across like two feet of water!  But crossing an ocean? Ehhh, wasn’t feeling too confident about it and especially hearing the night before from one of our new friends how they got seasick and threw up the whole 4 hour ride.  My nerves can certainly get the best of me sometimes.  Just like waiting in the airport gives you time to worry, we then had to drive our car into the waiting area and just sit there . . . and think.  What if I get sick? And everybody sees me throwing up? How embarrassing.  What if a big storm comes up? That can definitely happen in a four-hour time span, I thought to myself.  And what if we hit an iceberg?  Are there enough lifeboats if something were to go wrong? What if a big whale jumps onto the boat?  Haha, your imagination can run wild with anticipation, at least mine has always been hyperactive.

We watched the Interislander ferry slowly come into the harbor, and then we finally drove our car onto it, parking underneath in the boat’s big belly.  “This is kind of cool,” I started thinking.  I’ve been on little boats before out on the lake, and a small little riverboat cruise on a river, but this was incredible.  We walked up the stairs and toured the ferry.  Woah!!! It was huge! I felt like we were on the Titanic.  I started feeling a lot better knowing there was lots of space to spread out and explore with four different levels and viewing decks.  A restaurant, movie theatre, lounge, shop, dining areas, and sleeping cabins . . . this might be all right after all.  I picked up some seasick throw-up bags they had hanging on the wall which also made me feel better too; just in case.  Josh and I had fun going up and down the stairs and out onto the decks.  I didn’t feel very nervous at all anymore, and then the boat started moving away from the dock.  That was a little weird feeling at first, but we stayed on the top deck, which was the best place to be I think.  Wow! What had I been scared about? This was amazing.  Wellington is so beautiful, I felt kind of sad to be leaving it behind.  It was a typical windy day, especially being out on the top deck, but the wind felt like freedom to our faces.  Not a cloud in the blue sky, which made me even happier for I love the sun. 








  We watched Wellington grow small in the distance and slowly crawled across the blue waters and out into the wide-open ocean.  We pulled out of the harbor and bays and began our journey out into the ocean, crossing the Cook Strait.  My imagination and dreaming came to life more than ever and I pulled out my little journal and started writing.  Talk about finding inspiration!  Here are some things I wrote in my journal:  “I love seeing the South Island getting closer, just waiting and begging for us to come explore and see every hill, valley, mountain, river, lake, and flower. Right now, at this moment, I really feel like an explorer . . . I bet this is what they felt like before me . . . Christopher Columbus, Captain Cook, Magellan, all those guys.  What would that have felt like . . . to be on the open sea for days knowing in your heart that there was something out there waiting for you to find it.  And how you would feel when your eyes saw land in the distance!”


I keep feeling like a little child here, haha, because my chest just felt so full it could burst with excitement as we saw the mountains of the South Island approaching closer every minute.  Wild, untamed land.  “You are now entering the land of the Lord of the Rings,” I said to myself.  I don’t think I’ve mentioned that in here yet and those who know me already are aware, but I am obsessed with Lord of the Rings.  I’ve been dreaming of coming to New Zealand since the Fellowship of the Ring hit theatres when I was a sophomore in high school, and now I’m here!  Both the North and South Island were locations in the movies, but the South Island is known for its picturesque beauty and what I really imagined Middle Earth to look like.
 







We entered the Marlborough Sounds, and all the people gathered on the decks to view the breathtaking landscape and attempt to capture its beauty on their cameras.  The land was quiet . . . the hills and mountains and pine trees were silent as they watched us from both sides.  Houses were sparsely scattered along the mountains, reachable only by boat.  One could already sense the different feel between the North and South Island . . . this land was definitely more desolate.  After passing through the beautiful Sounds, we finally arrived at the South Island, into the little town called Picton.
  


From there we made our two-hour drive to our first destination and potential place of living, Nelson.  Josh has never ceased to amaze me with his driving here! He has done so great! That was one of the prettiest drives, Ever! We passed by vineyard after vineyard as we made our way across the wine country; a beautiful foreground with the majestic mountains as the backdrop.  The land felt alive and I honestly felt intimidated by the towering mountains.  Not used to seeing mountains in Texas!  Josh drove up the mountains on curvy, winding roads, on the left side of the road by the way, giving me a nice view of the sheer drop-off below.  Scary!  At last, though, we saw the ocean again (Josh and I were beginning to notice that we like to see the ocean) as we drove into Nelson as the sun was getting lower in the sky.  Nelson was a smaller city, around 50,000 people, and very cute with shops and palm trees and flowers on hanging baskets lining the streets.  We were exhausted and hungry so we found a nice place to eat by the outside cafés and then checked in to a hotel for the night.  What a long, adventurous day!

Friday, 16 December 2011

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Today was a great day.  We went to church in Wellington at the Wellington church of Christ in the morning and met all the people we had been talking to via e-mail or Facebook the months leading up to moving here.  Met Carl and Adeline, as well as Keith and Elsa, two couples our age…they were really cool.  The singing was amazing…there weren’t that many people but they were singing loud and with their heart and it was neat to hear the New Zealand accent.  The lesson was really good and Josh and I just both felt really comfortable.  Jeanette and Antony took Josh and I out for lunch and we ate at a café.  I had a yummy bacon and egg toasted sandwich.  The day was beautiful again, which we were told we must have brought the sunny weather with us, because Wellington is known for its cloudy, wet, windy days.  They say Wellington can experience all four seasons in one day. 




The Raines drove us to the coast.  The water was the bluest I had seen it yet in our time here, and I smelled the salty air and felt the ocean breeze. I love that feeling.  I could almost see Antarctica from where we stood on the beach.  Not really, but it was neat to know we were looking in the direction of where it was.  We drove all along the coast and saw a couple lighthouses in the distance. I could only imagine what it would be like to live in one of the houses on the cliff sides.  You can stare out at the ocean and dream and await the ships returning home.  There’s something about seeing the open horizon that, at least for me, brings my imagination to life. I feel better inside, like I am able to dream more and the limits to what I can do are as endless as the ocean stretched out before me.  Maybe it’s a comfort to me, a feeling of home, from growing up in Midland…West Texas.  There are no trees to block your view there (I mean really, no trees! Ha) and you can see the horizon for miles.  You can see the great big thunderhead cloud as the summer storms slowly crawled across the flat lands to rain on us, or pass us by usually.  There was a park on the edge of town I loved going to, that had bleachers I would sit on and with my friends sometimes, and watch the fire red, golden, pink and purple hued sunsets that always captivated me and that I felt were God’s gift to me.  The wind would blow in my face and that’s how I felt there…like I could dream and there was nothing holding me back.

But anyways, haha, I digress…so we drove along the coast then went back to the Raine’s house for a little break before evening service.  The Raines were so gracious to us and helped us out by giving us a big tent of theirs that we could use for when we go camping.  Antony gave Josh a backpack he can take when we go hiking, and gave us walking sticks, and a gas cooking stove and pots and pans.  How nice!  We were so thankful to them for that.  We stuffed those things in our already full car, haha…our little red Nissan Sentra was loaded like a baked potato from Texas Roadhouse (Mmmm, that sounds good to me right now, actually the loaded sweet potato!)

Then we went to the evening service which was held at the new church plant in the suburb where Kevin lived, in Porirua.  That was a great lesson and class from Kevin, and I was amazed again by the beautiful, heartfelt singing.  Afterwards, we rode with Carl and Adeline and her sister Abigail to go to the Malaysian restaurant that Adeline and Abigail’s family owned in Wellington.  One of my best friends Beverly is from Malaysia, and she has cooked traditional food for me before.  I was excited to eat there, and hoping also it wouldn’t be too spicy for my weak stomach.  Josh lives to eat spicy food (he misses Wingstop, a LOT!) and I can take small doses of it, though much more than I used to since meeting him.  We went to the restaurant, Istana Malaysia, and it was really nice…loved the atmosphere and there were paintings and photographs taken mainly by the church members.  We had a large table for the group of us that included me, Josh, Abigail, Staci who was studying abroad from Oklahoma, Keith, Elsa, Chris, Kevin, Carl and Adeline.  That was so much fun…I felt really comfortable with all of them and we were all around the same age.  We had made friends with New Zealanders! Awesome! Keith and Elsa were actually from the States and had moved to NZ and we had been e-mailing with them for quite a while before we got here. In fact, I think they were our very first contact so that was neat to finally meet them.  Every one was giving us advice and telling us about the South Island.  They said the South Island is less populated than the North and the people were different down there…sounding like once we left Wellington we were basically leaving civilization.  That made me feel a little nervous, but that’s what we were hoping to go to…see the more rugged terrain like you imagine New Zealand to be like.  Still, we both were wondering about leaving Wellington and our new friends who we really liked and had been helping us out.  But it also made us even more excited because this was truly an adventure we were about to go on J




The food was delicious! I loved it…especially the curry.  I love rice too, I could eat that all day.  We had a wonderful time just talking and laughing and learning more about NZ life and what to look out for.  The cost of living is quite expensive here, so that’s something we have to get used to.   Anyways, Josh and I were still having a rough time with the jet lag, and it was about 7 something there on Sunday night, when we would usually be in bed back home.  We were so tired.  We finally left, though we would have liked to chat some more if we felt better.  Rode back with Kevin to his house and then Josh and I got our bags ready for when we would be leaving civilization the next morning.  We were very excited to be on our own again!