Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Reflections on New Zealand

We had a wonderful, wonderful month away. Wonderful and hard. It was relaxing and beautiful and SO much fun! We also found out my mom had cancer about half way through the holiday. For all of it we are SO thankful to God. For keeping us safe and giving us the chance to have this time, to experience his amazing creation and for his peace that has carried us and my family through the last few months. In his kindness he has taken away any fear and panic and replaced it with an overwhelming sense of his presence and assurance and peace. We trust that he will carry my mum (and us all) through radiotherapy and chemo, and whatever the result we know that it will be well.

Before this all escapes my sieve-like mind, here are some thoughts on New Zealand and some pictures from the second half of our holiday. You can see the first half here.

- Over twenty days we drove 3000 kms doing a clockwise loop of the island that started and finished in Christchurch, and over the month slept in 13 beds. Fun!
- New Zealand has a lot of sheep
- And very, very few people. Like pretty much nobody lives there so the sheep kind of own and rule South Island.
- The very, very few people that do live there are so incredibly warm and friendly. We have never been anywhere where SO many folk stop to chat, ask questions and offer helpful suggestions. And so much more than just a 'hey' or 'g'day'.
- Steve and I had thirty days of being together all the time - like the maximum time we had apart was maybe twenty minutes for showers and stuff. And we didn't kill each other!! I joke. In fact, we loved it and got on really well and had lots of laughs and chats and would do it again in a minute.
- We spent a lot of time talking about baby names. Like a LOT. What a weight of responsibility! Eek.
-  We also spent lots of time in the car listening to stories (podcasts from The Moth), sermons, radio podcasts and lots of fab music. Baby Pat listens to lots of good tunes thanks to his papa.
- Wildlife highlights - a family of Orca in Kaikoura, little blue penguins, Ffiordland crested penguins and lots of seals.
- Landscape highlights - where to start!! Everywhere is stunning and you never do get used to being surrounded by snow capped mountains and blue, blue lakes and forests and lagoons and the ocean.
- We loved all the time we had catching up with friends in Australia and Queenstown and we loved the time that we had adventuring together - just the two of us - it's the best!
- Kiwis drive veryyyy slow. One of us may have got a speeding ticket (I won't say who) but the other of us massacred a bird that dramatically flew into our radiator so we're sort of even. Sorry birdie.
- I started this post so long ago I genuinely can't even remember the rest of what I was going to write. And I haven't sorted through pictures yet (or made our fun trip video) so here are just a few pictures because I am determined not to let this stay in 'drafts' until the new year.

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