Saturday, July 28, 2012

Life in the Southern Hemisphere

Very, very first impressions upon our arrival in New Zealand: 

It is beautiful. 

It is cold. 

The people are wonderful.

When we were flying from Auckland to Dunedin and I was lucky enough to have a window seat, I was in tears at the absolute beauty of the land. It really was an emotional moment with jumbled thoughts of "... I can't believe we're here; this place is breathtakingly gorgeous; and we are truly blessed to be able to experience this adventure". 

Just today, at a church we were visiting, someone asked us what we thought of Dunedin so far. Josh replied, "The houses are cold, but the people are warm". That is so true! Most houses here are not insulated nor have central heating, so keeping your place warm is an adventure in itself. And in general, the people have been so kind, helpful, hospitable, laid back, friendly, and giving. We were so amazed when we first arrived at how many people invited us into their homes, stopped to give us directions without being in a hurry, and seemed to desire to help us settle in. 

We've been trying to brainstorm the things that struck us as different when we first arrived. Since all the newness is quickly becoming "normal", here are a few differences we noticed right away:

Lollies are candies, Kumara is sweet potato, Edam is cheddar-ish, silverbeet is kale, swede is rutabaga, agria is potato... and there is a lot of chutney, tea, and lamb (both alive and in the market!). We've heard a lot of "cheers", "uplift", "the lot", "rubbish", "dodgy", "fortnight", "docket", "mate", "a bit", "wee", and "mainland"... We've seen a lot of signs for BYO, Rugby, cuppa (cup of tea), cafes (seriously everywhere!) jandals (flip-flops), Op-Shop (second hand store), pavlova, and Plunkett (nurse?). Oh, and pie is not your usual American apple or cherry pie. No, no - it's a mince meat or steak pastry.

One major thing that's been different are the prices of food in general....

Things are a bit spendy here! Of course you must consider the exchange rate and 
that there are 2.2 lbs in each kg, but STILL! These pics are not all essential items 
obviously or even ones we regularly buy, but just some we noticed at 
the store this weekend that when compared to US prices are pretty high. 

One thing about the food that IS great though is that almost everything is grown or made in New Zealand. Everything seems very fresh and there isn't a lot of organic available, because it is normal for animals to be cage free and not pumped with hormones. I also have not seen a single product that says "no high fructose corn syrup" or "rbst free" - because those things just aren't happening here. 

As we enter our second month of living here, we are feeling overall really settled. Josh is putting in his 40 hours of research and reading at the University of Otago theology department. I am currently looking for work and so far finding that there is not a lot available as far as teaching goes. But in the meantime I'm trying to enjoy my time 'off' by doing lots of cooking and baking, learning to crochet, exploring, and spending time with new friends.

And last but not least, if you haven't experienced the sea lion video yet, take a peek! It's quite a hilarious first experience with the amazing wildlife in Dunedin.

Anna & Josh

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


Man, some "blubbery-ness" is going down right now.

Having to say goodbye to my students is rough. And not just any students - but one-of-a-kind, truly original, very special, incredibly smart students. Most of whom have overcome and are in the midst of overcoming some serious tough stuff. These kids are and will be readers and writing, thinkers and doers, creators and inventors. I am pretty humbled that I've gotten to be a part of their lives.

Can my cheap little bookmarks and pencil gifts show them my love and pride? Probably not, but I can hope. I can hope that when I've been tired and had a long day I've still given them by best. I can hope that when they were struggling with so much more than figuring out a tough word on a page, I was a good listener and comforter. And I can hope that they have learned as much from me as I have learned from them.

    How precious is your steadfast love, O God!
    The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
    Psalm 36:7

Thank you, Jesus, for this season of life and the incredible children that have been a part of it.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Blessing

A Four-Fold Benedictine Blessing

by Sr. Ruth Fox, OSB (1985)

May God bless you with a restless discomfort about easy answers, half-truths and superficial relationships, so that you may seek truth boldly and love deep within your heart.

May God bless you with holy anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that you may tirelessly work for justice, freedom, and peace among all people.

May God bless you with the gift of tears to shed with those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, or the loss of all that they cherish, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and transform their pain into joy.

May God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you really CAN make a difference in this world, so that you are able, with God's grace, to do what others claim cannot be done.

And the blessing of God the Supreme Majesty and our Creator,
Jesus Christ the Incarnate Word who is our brother and Saviour,
and the Holy Spirit, our Advocate and Guide,
be with you and remain with you, this day and forevermore.