Sunday, May 30, 2010
We've only been here four full days, but it feels like much, much longer. We've met with both youth groups (there is one for junior high and one for high school) and the kids we met were FANTASTIC. They, like all the parishioners we have met, were just filled with love and excitement and welcome towards us. They radiated energy and enthusiasm for the Church. It's been an interesting dichotomy, because we had heard so much about the friendliness of New Zealanders (they call themselves Kiwis, and henceforth, so shall we). What we are experiencing though is that walking down the street, Kiwis are much more reserved than Americans - much less likely to smile, say hi or be engaged. However, if there is a reason to interact with us, they are amazingly personable and warm. We've found no exception thus far.
Then there are the funny differences in lingo. "How are you going?" is a common greeting. We're asked daily if we're "sorted yet". "Good on you!" is a frequent exclamation. "College" is high school. This section could go on and on indefinitely.
Our girls are having trouble adjusting to the food, which is very different. How different can baby food taste, one might wonder, but Bernadette won't eat it. Maria is trying to convince us to let her survive on cookies (biscuits) and pink milk -and she's almost succeeding because it seems that every time we turn around it's tea time. Cooking our normal food is challenging since the ingredients themselves are different. We can't find seasoned breadcrumbs, stuffing mix is simply crumbs and looks actually like breadcrumbs, ground meat is chewier, etc... Popular ice cream flavors include: Hokey Pokey, Boysenberry Swirl and Orange Chocolate Chip. There does not seem to be "economy size" of anything - laundry detergents, for example come only in tiny cartons.
We are settling in, learning to drive on the "wrong" side with very different road rules, trying to get "sorted". It's fun living at the church and being right in the heart of all the activity - coupled with having 3 housemates, it really has provided a genuine experience of community to plug right in to. We like that. It is also a bit chaotic, of course, and we're trying to create some routine and structure for ourselves as much as for the girls. Now that we have already jumped into the work, there is a bit of extra chaos, but seeing it in action this weekend was energizing and ... we're ready!