Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Home Front Update July 2015

Official Graduation Family Photo
Phew, house is finally in order, unpacked all the essential things, sorted out stacks of paperwork, filed tax returns, got vaccinations up to date, went to 'put off' doctor visits, restocked the pantry, bought some essential electrical items, got cellphones switched, visited family. I'm sure that there is much more that we have done since we landed in New Zealand! What a whirlwind couple of months it has been. I won't bore you with all the nitty gritty details, will show you lovely photo's instead :) in future posts. 

Ok, so now for the questions that everybody is asking, here are the answers!

How are you setting in?
Well in fact we are doing very well, Albert has settled into work, I'm busy looking after the girls and the house and the girls well they LOVE school!

Ok, so now how are you REALLY doing?
Oh, so sweet that you ask. I am doing REALLY well. It is like coming home, to familiar things, shops are the same, roads are even prettier then I remembered and I'm thrilled that the girls are LOVING school! On a more serious note. I am doing well and have settled in. I mean what is the point in throwing a pity party? NONE of us should really be complaining. Complaining is really a pet hate of mine. Are you not then questioning God's plan for your life? I'm VERY grateful to be here and we have been/are being looked after. From the financial provisions, car, house, excellent school to even a dishwasher in my house, what more does a girl need? 

While I believe that New Zealand is the right place for us at this stage in life for various reason, mainly the need for pastors in our denomination, I did love living in the USA. I in particular miss being part of our friends day to day life both from seminary, our USA and Canadian friends. That makes me sad just thinking about it. I'm thankful for Facebook in that respect, while I can't be part of everyday life I am able to catch a glimpse now and then! So friends keep up those FB posts! 

How do you like Hamilton and the church?
I've been surprised how pretty NZ really is. I suppose living among lots of concrete makes you appreciate the beauty of NZ. The drive to school for example is so pretty with the roundabouts, roads etc planted with flaxes, grasses and some even have art. Hamilton compared to Chicago is very small and so driving distances for me are no problem at all. It's all relative of course! I enjoy being close to the shops, church, school (about a 20 min drive) and relatively close to family compared to the USA!

The church, especially the Pastor and the Deacons, are looking after us very well which is a huge blessing. We feel so privileged in being looked after and having a Vicariate (internship) knowing that some of Albert's class mates do not know what the future holds yet. 

So how is Albert finding the transition etc?
He strongly feels the call to the ministry so working is a pleasure. He is preaching Catechism sermons at the moment which are a bit more of a challenge but a good challenge. He loves visiting the elderly and the babies (he got to hold one the other day!)

What about the girls? How are they settling into school?
They have fitted right in! Zara has never been to school and so I was slightly worried how she would go academically. The teacher tested her on reading and she is reading at a 9-10 year old level! Both Kate and Grace have settled in well also and some of the tests that they have done came in at their level! It's been funny having a girl in High School. Michaela has done extremely well in fitting in into this very new experience! She even acted in a 'Romeo and Juliet' play for which she learned quite a few lines flawlessly! (you can't make up Shakespeare on the spot!). Maths however has not been that great but it was a weak area we were aware off. The Maths teacher has given her some additional work to catch up over the school holidays! 

The girls are currently on school holidays which lasts two weeks. The girls asked me at breakfast the other day whether they could go back to school, they had enough of the holidays! Of course they have had about 6 weeks off already!

So what's it like being in NZ after being in the USA for three years?
Well, NZ is home and familiar which means we have slotted right back in. It has been very nice to know the 'systems' with regard to banking, health, government benefits etc. Unlike the USA we tried to avoid 'the system' as much as possible. Driving has not been a problem, however a new GPS has been purchased (yes complete with squirrel voice Roger and Jodi!). I do miss the very cheap groceries but again what's the point in complaining? I can't believe how good some of the food tastes here, even supermarket buns taste delicious (which I thought were pretty average before we left!), carrots, kiwi fruit, rice crackers, coconut Tim tams, and cheese (grass fed of course!).

One thing I should mention is the cold. I know, I know it's nothing compared to the USA BUT in the USA everything is heated. Here it is not! Going to the bathroom/restroom etc is cold. We might spot heat the lounge but the bathroom well no. One of the girls asked, can we please put the heater on in the bathroom. It made me laugh! Thankfully our house is well situated for the sun and so while we heat our living areas in the morning and maybe at night once the sun comes out it is toasty warm! No complaints, just stating facts for those of you outside NZ :). 

What are some of the highlights of your time in the USA? Apart from seminary life etc
I had to think on this one. The big highlight would have been our summer assignments, what an experience. I'm not talking about all the fun things we did like seeing NY, Niagara Falls etc. No I'm talking about seeing God work in his church in different cultures, difficult circumstances and rejoicing with people when miracles happened! WOW what a privilege. (nobody is paying me to say this, just my honest opinion!)

So what are you doing with your 'free' time since the girls are at school?
HA HA, you are funny! Seriously since we want to be involved with the school, there isn't much spare time between driving, cleaning, groceries, church events and cooking. :) (and looking after Albert of course)

What about swimming?
Well I've discovered that there is a pool very close to us which offers Masters swimming! Elaine, I'm proudly wearing my USA Masters cap! Upon hearing how close it was Albert strongly suggested that I should bike to the pool, I would have done my warm up already he reasoned! Well that was until he rode the same route to visit someone on his own bike! Ha he changed his opinion after that! Hamilton is quite hilly :). I have already attended some sessions which I survived. After not swimming for about 2 months, I have lost some of the edge that I had built up. Hopefully with some practice it shouldn't be too long before I'm back on top. (I'm a slow swimmer compared to other Masters Swimmers, but I enjoy it!) As far as running, well, those hills are a reason for my procrastination. I'm afraid that I might not make it up some of the hills. Oh and it's been cold (about 0C (32F)) which is so cold :). 

A couple of questions I'm not prepared to answer for obvious reasons: 
What about other seminaries? It wouldn't be wise or helpful to compare. I can only talk about our experience at MARS. 
What about homeschooling versus christian schooling? I've answered that here. Christian schooling is the option for us at this time. 

I think I answered most of the popular questions. I'm planning to post photos of where I left off in March. Mainly for the girls sake, i.e. a memory for them but also for those interested in our adventures. Bear with me, there is lots to share, tell and plenty of photos! 

Albert photobombed the girl's photo without their knowledge!

No comments: