Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Settling In To A Home

To say the last few weeks have been stressful is an understatement.  It has been very unsettling, for all of us, not to know where we were going to be living long term.  We have moved into our rental home that we leased for 6 months with month to month after that.  We LOVE it!  It feels like home.  We have bought beds, a couch, tv and dining room table.  We all feel so much better now.  Each of the kids ended up with their own room which I wasn't really excited about.  I am really surprised how much better they get along now that they each have their own space.  The kids have spent hours each day playing soccer outside.  We have a nice back yard for being in the city.  It has a large drive way with a gate at the end so the boys use that to play games.  There is a playhouse outside which Johanna and Tucker enjoy.  The neighbors are extremely friendly.  A lady from a church down the street brought muffins by the other day to welcome us to the neighborhood.  We are truly enjoying it.  There is a bus stop right up the street where Jeremy can catch the bus to town.  His work is about an 8 minute drive.  He walks part of his commute but walking the whole way took 40 minutes and that was heading down hill.  

The kids are on holiday for two weeks.  Between each term (they have 4 terms a year), the schools break for at least 2 weeks.  However, after next term they break from mid December to mid February for their summer holidays. Jeremy has been able to take the kids fishing twice and Tucker caught a nice size trout.  If you don't know, New Zealand has some of the best trout fishing in the world.  For those who know Jeremy, you know this a huge deal to him!  He LOVES fishing.  

Our days are easy going now that we are in a home.  I hang out laundry every morning if the weather cooperates.  I actually really love hanging out laundry.  We try to go to the park at least once a day too.  The kids spend a ton of time outside which is quite different than what we were doing in Georgia.  God is showing us blessings each day.  God has clearly spoken to my heart this week.  This is a hard transition, being so far from our friends and family, but it is definitely where we are suppose to be right now.

I will post more pictures of the house once we are all settled in.  Here are a few for now to ease your curiosity ;)

Part of the backyard

This style of window is throughout the house

Playing in yard

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Not All A Bed Of Roses

Lest you think I am not being transparent, I thought I should share the trials we have faced along with the good things.  Finding a place to live has been beyond challenging. The rental housing market is difficult and quite expensive here.  I found what I thought would be the perfect house for us and put in an application. The agent indicated that the house had been empty for some time. The agency became very hard to work with and later I found out they had a reputation for being difficult. They lost our application and called us for another one. Then after couple days, when we followed up, they said they would let us know as soon as they knew something. We did not have much time and needed to keep looking. Finally they came back and said the owner had decided to sell the house.  I was sure that was the house for us but God had other plans.  

I began searching again with Johanna and nursing Annabeth in tow.  The only time you can see houses is from 9-5 on weekdays!  It was quite stressful on all of us.  I found another home that again seemed like a good fit. The parking wasn't ideal and the bedrooms small but the view was awesome and the living space great. The agent was sure we would have no problem moving in on Monday.  I found it on Friday.  This was perfect because our corporate housing was over on Wednesday and paying $300/day to stay there was not in our budget.  On Monday late afternoon the agent called and said, to her surprise, the owners didn't want to rent to us because we had kids!  This is not common thinking here.  We were shocked and under pressure!  Tuesday I began the mad hunt again with Johanna and Annabeth in tow. I found this older home owned by an older couple who lived two houses down. The couple was amazingly, sweet and kind, so I thought. The husband was a bit goofy but I thought it was fine. The house was older but it would do for now.  They allowed us to move in on Tuesday. We moved over some items on Tuesday. Wednesday morning we woke up, I checked us out of the place we were staying and moved us over to the house. I started cleaning the house.  It was really quite dirty which is not normal to find in NZ rentals.   While cleaning I noticed mold on a wall. I took a picture and sent it to Jeremy. He wanted us out of the house immediately not knowing what type of mold it was. It was especially concerning because Annabeth was with me.  We had to give three weeks notice to be out of the contract. So Jeremy decided we would just go ahead and give the three weeks notice and lose the money. When he approached the people, the man turned into "Mr. Hyde".  It was scary.  He told Jeremy that Jeremy was lucky he was not dead!! When we asked other Kiwis if this was normal behavior, they said no it was very threatening and you could actually call the police. We just wanted it settled and done, with no more drama. Eventually they agreed, via email, to call it even with the three weeks pay. This was what we were legally obligated to pay.  Rent is done by the week here.  Jeremy and I were beyond worn-out and stressed. A house we had looked at earlier was so kind and offered their townhome to us to stay in until we found a place. Jeremy's work offered to pay the cost of the town home ($1800 for two weeks).   This same couple's house was still available for rent  and we decided to rent it for 6 months.  It is a nice house except the bathroom isn't ideal and it is farther from Jeremy's work than we wanted.  However, Jeremy can take a bus.  It will be a good safe location.  Through this difficult time, I did learn something. 

We had visited a church one time and the people at the church found out the troubles we were facing. They were so kind and offered so many things to us. Even finding us housing if we couldn't find anything. I really learned that the body of Christ is around the world and that they help serve each other no matter if they know you are not.  It was amazing to see the provision God supplied including Jeremy's work paying for more temporary housing without us asking.  

Since our struggles with housing, Jeremy has talked to the bank and we know that we will buy or build in the next year or so. Renting is quite costly here. It has been a trying week to say the least.  Through it all we are once again assured of Gods provision and love.  

This past weekend we did go to a museum. It was a lot of fun and the kids enjoyed it.


The butterflies were everywhere and would land on you. 

Each of the kids got to do this!

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Learning to trust in NZ

A friend asked me what the hardest thing to adjust to was in New Zealand.   I really had to think about it.  There is so much I love about Dunedin.  Outside of missing friends and family, I think the hardest thing has been adjusting to how freely they allow kids to play/run.  For example, at school there is no checking on who is picking up the kids.  People can come and go freely into the school.  There is a teacher on the playground at recess but the area the kids can play in is huge and there is no way the teacher can monitor it all.  It is a bit overwhelming for me since I come from a place where not even at churches can just anyone wander into the kids section and pick up a kid without a security check of some sorts.  I think I have a bit of PTSD from living in a place where you had to keep your eye on your kids at all times, even in your own front yard.  I was always watching and wary of any strangers in playgrounds, etc.  I am having to learn to trust more and to give the boys more freedom than I would have ever given them in Georgia.  Today the school takes the kids swimming at a public indoor pool.  Swimming lessons are part of the curriculum.  I must admit I am a bit anxious about this activity too.  I am really being tested in the area of trusting people with my children.

The boys are enjoying Liberton Christian School SO MUCH!  The teachers are extremely sweet and the school is a good fit for the boys.  Such a relief to have them settled in somewhere.  I am a bit anxious not being involved in their schooling so much but I know this is where they are suppose to be.

New Zealanders do speak English but there are different phrases and words used.  They have a very sweet language.  Instead of "STOP" signs, they have signs that say "Give Way Please".  It is more like a yield then a stop.  The strangest word we have heard so far is "togs".  The principal told me the boys should bring togs on Thursday for swimming.  She than laughed and said "that is definitely a New Zealander" word.  It is their word for swimsuit.  They call hugs, "cuddles".  Even adults will say to one another give me a "cuddle".  They refer to children as "wee ones".  I actually really love the way they speak.  The people are amazingly kind and friendly.  They also use the phrase "how lovely" or "lovely" a lot.  The phrase "good on ya, mate" means good job.  There is a lot we are learning.  They tell me there is a big difference between the Aussie English and the New Zealand English.  I am unable to distinguish it as of yet.  :)

Today we will get our "new to us" vehicle.  It is a Toyota minivan, similar to the Sienna but a bit smaller.  I am excited to have our own vehicle that will be a bit smaller than the bus I am driving now.  It is quite difficult to parallel park the vehicle we have had the last few weeks.  The space inside is nice but it will be good to have a smaller mini-van.

Today is the anniversary of my dad's passing.  September 2, 2005 at 5pm will forever be etched in my mind.  I can see him now and feel as his spirit left his body as we stood around him.  I miss him more than these words will be able to express.  He was my rock, the compass in my life.  He was my sure foundation this side of heaven.  I think the part that hurts the most is that he never met Jaden, Tucker, Johanna or Annabeth.  I know he would have loved on them and it breaks my heart that they have no grandfather to show them grandfatherly love.  However, I know that God's plans are greater than my own and one day this will make sense.  I know my dad would be proud of me and would want me to live life to the fullest.  He would be excited about the adventure we are on and would probably have joined us for some of it :)  I am beyond blessed to have had such a loving father who I had a very deep and meaningful relationship with throughout my life.

 First day of school
 Jaden was so excited about his first day at Liberton.  He was very happy :)
Trying to capture the beautiful view I have from our apartment.  Pictures just don't capture it.  The dark blue in the upper right is the Pacific ocean.