Sunday, April 7, 2013

Till we meet again

Farewell New Zealand
Till we meet again. 
I have not been keeping up a very good journal of our time away so far and my goal is to try to start to blog again more frequently now that we are in Asia and our internet should be better.  Not only is it a journal for us to look back on. But it is also a way for family and friends to feel like we are not so far away. 

Some of my last memories of NZ are of the ywam people we met and very quickly became friends with. It made us realize that this would not be our last trip to NZ. But rather may be another home away from home that we will come back to time and time again. We met friends whom we expect that we will also have the privilege of one day hosting at our home. We met people with whom Colton may come back to work and live with one day. To leave NZ was not as sad as I thought it would be, because it is not farewell forever. But Farewell till the  next time we meet.  

The other place that will forever leave a lasting impression on me is the Land family from Opononi. They are a family like no other. When we first found their profile on the couch surfing web site, we immediately thought this was a family that we had to meet. They were the family that we have been talking about since probably August 2012 when we first read about their family and where they live. 

They are a family that live together on the same mountain side that much of their extended family share. They each have their own parcel of land that they divide as the families grow and need their own homes. The family that we stayed with have 9 children, 4 still at home. While we were there we met most of them I think. All very lovely friendly people. 

We loved how our first few hours where spent totally in an unexpected way. After some emails back and forth the last couple of months, we got the directions to their home and told them an approximate time that we would be arriving. We had to drive up from the ywam base about 3 hours, so we knew it would be mid afternoon before we would arrive in Opononi. Which is a beautiful area in northland. 
The directions we got were pretty good. The last part of the directions told us to drive 4 1/2  km up the narrow gravel road of the mountain and they were the last house. The sign at the base of the gravel said that vehicles beyond this point drive at their own risk. I'm not sure if they were referring to the road or the families up the hill. Haha just kidding. The road was a bit precarious. But nothing more than the roads we drove when we were out at the batch hunting. 

When we were almost to the end of the road we passed another van coming down the road. The girl in the van smiled and waved at us as we passed, but shortly there after she was following behind us and honking her horn. We pulled over and she and we go out of our vehicles to talk.she asked if we were the cs family from Canada.  She told us how she was the land families daughter and was just coming up the mountain to get some cream from home for the wedding, and we were invited! She said everyone from the house was at the wedding and they were hoping to catch us. 

We were worried that we would not be dressed for a wedding. But she assured us that we would be more dressed up than many other folks there. So we parked our car on the side of the road where there was room and jumped into her car. When we arrived at the wedding, Nicki went to find her mom and dad to let them know she had run into us. But in the meantime, got us to the end of the buffet line. We were just in time for dinner (tea in NZ)!

The most unique meal so far. Because of the huge involvement the family has with the Maori  people, they often do family things with the community, which is made up of many Maori. The food they served for the community wedding was a traditional Maori meal called a hungi (spelling ??). This is a meal that is cooked in a similar way to the Hawaiian pig roast. This meal is cooked in a similar way but with baskets of meat, seafood and vegetables that are put in metal baskets and steamed in the hot pit for hours. They also steamed a type of bread pudding that was really yummy. This food was then put out in a buffet with salads and other desserts. 

While we ate we sat at long tables in the Maori community hall with lots of the people from the community that loved and supported this family that we were now slowly getting to know through the words spoken out in the speeches. After hearing all the words, we knew that we were sitting amongst a group of people where community, family and God was very important too. 

After every speech that happened  from people in the community that loved the newly married couple, There was a song sang to affirm what the person said and to bless the words spoken. It was beautiful. There was even someone who welcomed us to the wedding. It has been a tradition that there has always been a stranger that has been at the families weddings. It started years ago I think, when someone had picked up a hitchhiker and brought them to the wedding. It was fun to be a part of tradition. 

After the meal and speeches the dancing started outside. Not the type of dancing that we are used to. The dance was a type of Gaelic dance that reminded me a bit of square dancing or river dancing. It was very fast and fun and I would have joined in if it weren't for my broken arm. There was a lot of joining arms and swinging each other around. 

After the wedding we all made the trek back up the mountain to get our car and settle into our new home. We were shown the lower level of the house and had a really unique barrel bed that was to ours for the next few nights. Colton and Miranda were bummed that we got the bed, but it was the only double. 

In the morning we met the rest of the houseguest and all the family and neighbours that frequent the family daily for a cuppa and a visit. We consumed many a cuppa ( hot beverage like tea or coffee) in the next few days. We learnt how the people on this mountain were trying to live a simple life, some choosing to live in very basic dwellings many off the grid or pioneer style. Some of the relatives even plough their land with horse drawn plough. They seemed to concentrate most of their time and energy on their family and community, less on acquiring other things. It was very interesting to meet this huge family and we will never forget them. 

We had to leave back to Auckland a couple of days earlier than we had hoped. I needed one last visit with the physiotherapist. Who was happy with the progress of my broken arm. She sent me home with a new arm brace that is lighter and gives me a bit more mobility. She also gave me instruction on hand and wrist movements that I need to work on for the next 2 months till we get back to Canada. The mobility in my wrist is at about 20% right now. Which means I can not twist my wrist so my palm is facing up. But my fingers are working really well and I have gone from not being able to hold a piece of paper between my fingers 3 weeks ago. To now being able to hold almost anything. I can not open a door handle because I can't twist my wrist yet and I don't yet have the strength I need back. But I expect that should come back soon. I can also write with my right hand again! It makes my wrist and fingers sore if I do to much. But so much better than writing with my left hand. 

We also needed to get back to Auckland to sell the car we bought when we first got to nz. We were a little nervous about selling it because it is really the end of the season in nz and everyone is now trying to get rid of their cars. We decided to drop in at the Auckland Ywam base and see if we could spend a night there and also see if anyone needed a car. 
We met a couple who is on staff there who thought they could buy the car and hopefully sell it for a profit. In the next few months. Many mission people go through that base and many are looking for a car to buy. So we are hoping they can make some extra money to find their upcoming move to Samoa to pastor a church.  They even offered us a job to come to Samoa to help them. Hmmm...

But off we went. Everything has gone as planned ( other than the broken arm). After 21 hrs of travel we are now in Bali, Indonesia. 
But that is another story! 


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