We have been living in New Zealand for half a year now. It sure has been an exciting, wonderful and busy six months. I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything in all the rest of my life, other than meeting Andrew, nor for anything else I can imagine. This new life of ours is simply amazing.
Besides all we did and experienced in our first two months, we have “survived” a tsunami, a disasterous oil spill, and some of the coldest winter days on record. I place quotes around the word “survived”, because none of this had much impact on us personally. The tsunami didn’t really do much to any part of New Zealand. The oil spill, though the worst maritime disaster in New Zealand, was on the other side of the Coromandel Peninsula and didn’t affect us here in Whakatete Bay on the Firth of Thames. The winter was more extremely cold south of us, especially in South Island as usual. However, where we live, it is much more mild than where we lived back in California, and even the coldest days were barely freezing here at our home.
We have explored some of North Island. We’ve driven up the west coast of the Coromandel Peninsula as far as Coromandel Town, and up the east coast as far as Whitianga, and one day, we’ll drive all the way to the very top of the Coromandel Peninsula. We’ve driven north of Auckland as far as Andrew’s aunt’s house, and we will someday explore much further north than that. We’ve flown south to Wellington for Labour Weekend with Andrew’s family, which I’ll be writing about in the next few days. We drove east as far as Whakatane to visit Col and Glen. I guess the only direction we haven’t yet explored at all is west, and we’ll certainly do that sometime.
We’ve seen some of New Zealand’s variety of wildlife, mostly birds. Though I’ve yet to see a kiwi, Tazmin got zapped when she was curious about two stuffed ones. We’ve got plans to visit Rotorua in a little more than a month, and during that trip, we’ll go into one of New Zealand’s Kiwi Houses, where we will see live kiwi in a reversed day/night schedule. The hedgehog we all saw together, I saw again a week later in a different part of our property. Just the other afternoon, we watched a stingray, my first real life sighting, foraging in a small inlet on our beach at high tide.
We enjoy our church, Thames Baptist, where people seem to accept us fairly well. Pastor and a couple of other people have had us over to their homes for lunch, just to get to know us. (Well, one of the lunches at Elizabeth’s house was a reward for fixing a couple problems on her computer.) We are making friends, both at church and elsewhere in town.
I have acquired work while living here. I’ve done more editing for Vicki Wootton, and I just got a job with International Man, editing a weekly column with them. I am working on the website for Thames Anglican Church, as well as my regular clients back in the USA and Mexico, and I am in discussions with a few other new clients here in New Zealand. One of the leaders of the more than 60 newspapers, including the Hauraki Herald, our local newspaper, will be meeting with me in a few days to discuss my doing “subbing work” for them.
Of all the things that I do in my day to day life, working in the orchard and gardens is my very favorite. Sometimes Tazmin and I (and Andrew when he’s home) simply walk around the yard enjoying the bird song, flower fragrances and colors, and the peacefulness and beauty. I often sit in one of the chairs or benches placed around our property, soaking in the sunshine and atmosphere.
We have a wonderful life here together.