photo top: saying goodbye to our daily Mass community at Our Lady of Fatima, Hopewell
above: getting ready to go through Security at the Pittsburgh Airport
Maria is openly thrilled with life in New Zealand. It's a bit early to say for sure whether she's just pleased with the novelty of it all - at some point she'll probably start asking to visit with her family back home and may take it quite hard when we can't comply. She's slowly adjusting to the food and is totally adjusted to the time and climate difference. There's so much going on for her all the time (consequently she goes to bed quite early and fast, thus thrilling her parents as well). There are many many high school and college aged girls to show off for - girls who wear fancy earrings and brightly colored shoes. We thought she'd be more aware of or curious about the different accent, lingo, plants, birds, landscape, etc... but she's taking it all as a matter of course. We've been watching her closely but her behavior is no worse than at home (and sadly, no better either) so we can only assume that she's okay with all the change and chaos we've had for the past month. She enjoys talking to her grandparents via video chat and asking them "Do you miss me?" and showing them the seashells she's collecting for them. Her one complaint is that there are too many "Scary Men" in New Zealand. Chief among these would be our dynamic Fr. Mike, who has a booming voice and a personality to match. He's tried sweets, trips to the sheepfold, horse-feedings, piggyback rides - all to no avail. She did paint him a picture this morning, so perhaps we're getting somewhere.
Maria and Fr. Mike finding fruit for the sheep
Maria's last singing, dancing show for the wonderfully gentle (and patient!) Fr. Howard