Kia Ora to Aotearoa! (Welcome to New Zealand!)

20 09 2010

This is the beach closest to where we are currently staying. Apparently at times Orcas make their way through the bay here. We are in the St Heliers area of Auckland, about 4 miles outside of the city center, and an easy bus ride or drive there and back. The boardwalk that begins here extends all the way to the city center and includes a bike path. Pretty cool. The above beach is about a 10 minute walk from the house we are staying at now, which is great because in our last house a ten minute walk only got me to the Waffle House.

We’ll be staying at our current location with our friends who have been here since May until the beginning of November. This will allow us some time to find jobs and cars and a place we want to live. We have also discovered that though we would like to be really green and take advantage of public transport, it is not so efficient. We went to visit out cat Palin, who is serving 30 days in quarantine after being convicted of being a cat, and while the ride only took 20 minutes in a cab on the way there, it took 2 hours to get back home by bus. So, we are looking for an inexpensive car that will get us from place to place.

Another thing that has surprised me is the friendliness of the people. The immigration people were very nice, and at the restaurants, bakeries, banks, and everywhere, people are friendly, and genuinely so. Kiwis are proud of their corner of the world, and rightly so. It is uniquely beautiful, and unlike anything I have ever seen. And I’m thinking it will only get better. We have been told that Auckland is considered the least attractive part of the country…

This is a picture of Rangitoto, a dormant volcano, and now national park/island, across the bay from Auckland. People can kayak there or boat there and camp, hike to the top, or go there and back in kayaks with a tour group. Pretty cool to have such a wild place so close.

At the edge of section of the city called Devonport, there is another dormant volcano, and you can drive most of the way to the top of it. Around the edges are bunkers and battlements left over from WWII. The views from the top are breathtaking, and you can see islands dotting the seascape in the distance. The day we climbed up was particularly cold and windy. It has been in the 50’s and windy and raining on and off since we arrived. The rain we are told, is normal, as New Zealand has a rainy season and dry season, and most subtropical regions do, but the winds have been abnormally strong. It has been jarring to me as we were in the heat and humidity of the Cincinnati summer, only to be confronted with weather more appropriate for March. As we are just ending winter here, though, I should not have been surprised.

Above is the inside of one of the bunkers along the side of the dormant volcano.

Another pleasant surprise has been the quality and healthiness of the food. There are few preservatives used here, and most fruits and vegatables are grown here as well. They are therefore, fresher and have more flavor. Also, the lack of high fructose corn syrup in foods makes them less overpoweringly sweet, and allows more of the flavor to come out. An example is Coke–in the US, it is sweetened with corn syrup, and here it is sweetened with sugar. The result is that Coke here is less sweet but tastes better.

We are thankful for all the well wishes and interest in our adventure. Prayers for jobs and for our cat (though she made it safely, she is very skinny–we think she is not eating due to nervousness) would be appreciated.

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3 responses

20 09 2010
Nin

Brother! It was so great to talk with you and Shannon yesterday. We will be praying for your jobs and for Palin’s anorexia.

21 09 2010
janborowicz

Continuing to pray and check out airline ticket prices.

21 09 2010
MarySue

So good to be able to keep up with you and see a little bit of what you’re experiencing. We’re excited for you as you continue on this adventure and settle in to your new life. Your prayer requests are on my list. Looking for good news about Palin. Hugs!!

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