Our First Day in New Zealand

Our day began, as I was saying, at 2:00 in the morning. I loved sitting out on the balcony seeing the lights reflecting in the water and the glowing moon above. Whenever I see the moon and stars, I really feel like God is there. That was comforting.

Wellington wakes when the rest of the world pushes the snooze button. 5:30 in the morning, and the city was alive. People running, walking, riding their bikes, skateboarding, kayaking, rowing their boats in the bay…each of them welcoming the new day. I would wake as early as possible too, living here. Felt like I didn’t want to waste a moment being asleep. The sun came up orange and bright onto the water and the buildings of downtown. And then we saw the sea…the ocean in the distance as far as our eyes could see and mountains. I felt so alive that morning. Ready to face the day and begin our adventure and explore the city. My soul was awake.

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Josh was ready to go! He is usually always patient with me as those who know me, it takes forever for me to get ready. He had the camera, his backpack on…I thought he was about to run out the door without me. But he waited, and we finally left our hotel and crossed the street to the dock. We slowly walked all along the harbor, taking in each moment. I just can’t even describe how great those moments felt. Every one around us was walking…saw so many people walking to work. Could be because petrol is so expensive here, but I like to think it’s because people are active here because they want to be. The weather was perfect…barely a breeze and not a cloud in the sky, just the warm sun on my face. We walked slow and took pictures of every thing. That is something I will always remember. The world was slow and still, and I felt so alive and happy to be there. It was real and I was a little girl walking in a garden full of flowers for the first time. We walked down to the beach and my heart felt like it was going to burst from my chest, full of joy.

 

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Later that morning, we checked out of our hotel and waited for Kevin Moore to pick us up. He was the preacher at the church in Porirua, a suburb of Wellington, and one of our first contacts we made here before we came. He had kindly offered for us to stay at his house for a few days while we got settled in with our paperwork and banking before we moved on else where to where our jobs were. He picked us up and then drove us to the famous look-out point, a hill overlooking all of Wellington. Wow, that view took your breath away. The day was beautiful and the colors were vibrant. The blue sea, the green land, the colorful boats and houses and flowers every where.

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We drove to his house and I sat in the backseat listening to Kevin talk about New Zealand life and gazing at the green hills covered in flowers, and saying to myself “This is New Zealand. I’m in New Zealand!” I have to keep telling myself that over and over again because it doesn’t seem real sometimes. We arrived at his house and unloaded all our bags to what would be our home for the next few days. The view from his house was incredible!

We did a lot that day, and were exhausted from the jet lag. Kevin told us that for some people it takes two weeks to get over jet lag, which surprised me but that is certainly no stretch of the truth. Everything worked out, because one of our contacts we had made with a missionary from NZ my home church had supported, his daughter was selling her car to move to Australia. So we had bought it from her while still in the states, at a very reasonable price. Our car was waiting for us in the driveway at Kevin’s house! Kevin had lunch for us at the house, and then he helped us get all the paperwork ready for that and drove us to town to register the car, and we also got a banking account set up! That’s big people stuff! Haha. I’m glad I was with Josh and that he was in control of it all; he sure knew what he was doing. It’s funny because when we were planning for this trip, which Josh did all of that….we joked how he focuses on all the financial, practical logistics of it all (the boring stuff) and I just wanted to look at the pretty pictures of New Zealand.

Then we drove our car around…well Josh drove us around as Kevin was the Driver’s Ed teacher. That is something very foreign, since driving is complete opposite over here! They drive on the wrong side of the road! And roundabouts, roundabouts…what a mess. Thank goodness Josh was driving; which he did amazing! It came so natural for him, I was very impressed. “Well, looks like I won’t be driving for a year” I said to myself. Looked too scary and complicated.

That night we met up with friends we had made while making contacts through the church before coming here. Antony and Jeanette Raine had Josh, me and Kevin over to their house for fish and chips. The Raines were so nice; they had really kept up with us before coming over and given advice and really helping us out. It was neat to finally meet them. Jeanette took Josh and I for a walk in her neighborhood to the dog park, which used to be the city dump, but looked like a paradise. The panoramic views of the ocean and emerald green landscape just kept stunning both of us. We had a great time and were gracious of their hospitality. I’d never had fish and chips before (not a big seafood fan) but I actually loved it. After a long, tiring, eventful first day…we headed home and went to bed.

Dated: November 11, 2011

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