Archive for November, 2012

This is the first post of many from a new installment to the blog. In ‘Miss?… or THIS!’ I will be examining things that I have noticed to be missing in New Zealand and that I very well may miss and then looking to see what similar things I’ve found while in the country that I find to be similar to the things that are missing.

I know the title may sound a bit cheesy… but I thought it would be fun. 🙂

So, our first missing item in New Zealand is not really completely gone, but are very sparse and are so hugely replaced by something else that I thought I had to include them here. They are dandelions. In the midwest, dandelions are vehemently present in many lawns. I personally think, and always have, that they are a beautiful addition to springtime and summer. This is to the chagrin of my grade-school teachers years ago, when I would collect them and blow their seeds all about the school property, perpetually continuing the saga of dandelion ancestry into the future.

Well, I have seen a few lonely dandelions hiding here and there, but they are completely superseded by… daisies! Oh the joy… For little daisies are far more whimsical that dandelions. I made a comment about them to my house mate the other day and found that they are similarly overlooked as an uneventful weed, being mowed over as quickly as possible when trying to make a good impression. But I still love them, and am thankful to see them everyday. It would be a hard choice to pick only one of the two, but I think I’d have to go with the more whimsical daisy.

Another item that is missing from New Zealand are Robins. Robins are the friendly birds of summer, with their characteristic song heard first in the early morning hours. I miss their red bellies and their cheeky disposition.

While the bird that most closely reminds me of Robins are not actually native to New Zealand, I hadn’t really thought about the Robin being missing until I noticed the behavior of these creatures. They are simple black birds, native to Europe. They are not like any black bird I’ve seen in the US though. They are fatter and are just as cheeky as any Robin. They hop about, looking for worms. The males are black  orange beaks and with a yellowish orange color around their eyes, while the females are a dark dingy brown with a faint speckling on their breast. I was watching one the other day from my bedroom window. She was sitting on the fence looking about when all of a sudden, she flew up and out, right into the window! It gave me quite the startle. She was fine, flying back to her perch on the fence, but I wonder what she had been thinking when she did that, because she clearly should have seen me in the room. I’ll never know… Anyway, I don’t think I’ll ever stop missing Robins, despite their possible New Zealand counterpart.

Another bird that is not native to New Zealand that is living in my backyard is the Welcome Swallow. There is a family of them that like to sit out on the laundry line, waiting to be fed by their parents. They are so adorable, with their wobbly countenance.

Most of the birds I’ve seen are not native to New Zealand. I hope to see some natives soon.

To wrap up this post, I would just like to say, please check out the new pictures I’ve posted. Just click the ‘more photos’ on the right hand side of this blog, (after you click the title if reading this in an email). Some things that I’ve done since I’ve been here are:

1. Drive a stick shift car, on the left side of the road, only being honked at once and stalling about 20 times. (I’m learning! there is progress…)

2. Went grocery shopping. Things are more expensive here, but not too bad. Thinking in dollars per kilogram is interesting…

3. Found an ‘op shop’ (second hand store in NZ) that was actually called ‘goodwill’ and bought a delightful navy skirt for $5 ($4.11 US)

4. Purchased a sewing machine for $120 ($100 US) on Trademe, which is a NZ version of Ebay.

5. Planted two tomato (pronounced tom-ah-to here) plants and some parsley plants.

6. Got a library card and checked out three books.

7. Set up a mobile phone with a great summer deal they are doing right now.

8. Dried my laundry on the line.

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I know the last trivia post I did was only half finished, but I wanted to mix it up a bit. I’ll get back to the history of New Zealand a bit later. I thought since I’ve just arrived in the country, the appropriate trivia topic would be geography. The little town where I’ll be living is in a pretty flat area as most of the country is not flat, so it will be pretty interesting to go and travel around to see the less flat areas when I get a chance.

  1. New Zealand was the last major landmass to be populated (with the exception of the polar regions).
  2. New Zealand is 1600 kilometres north to south with an area of 268,000 sq km (103,483 sq mi). It comprises two major islands: the North Island (115,000 sq km) and the South Island (151,000 sq km), and a number of small islands.
  3. This country is the size of Colorado or the UK and would fit into the Caspian or Baltic Seas.
  4. New Zealand has 6000 kilometers (3728 mi) of coast line and nowhere is more than 120km (175 mi)  from the coast.
  5. New Zealand is actually some 1,609 km (1000 miles) from Australia.
  6. In the US, you can take several roads to get out of just about any town, no matter how small. Here, every place has basically two ways to go if you are trying to get to the next city.
  7. Population: 4,115,771
  8. The city of New York has twice as many people as the whole of NZ.
  9. Total area: 268,680 sq km (103,737 sq mi)
  10. Frying Pan Lake, in the north island, is the world’s largest hot water spring.

    Frying Pan Lake

  11. Curio Bay in Southland has one of the world’s largest petrified forests.

    Curio Bay Petrified Forest partially submerged in Pacific

  12. Lake Taupo, the big lake in the middle of the North Island, is the worlds largest volcanic crater.

    Lake Taupo

  13. The only place in the world where two different sea levels can be seen at the same time is at French Pass, on the northern side of the south island.

    French Pass

  14.  Each year New Zealand has about 100 to 150 quakes that are big enough to be felt.
  15. If you live in Gisborne, you are living in the first city to see the light of a new day.

    Gisborne first to see dawn

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I finally was able to purchase a ticket for my trip. My plane leaves Sunday the 18th at 3:29 pm and arrives in Palmerston North New Zealand at 11:00 am on Tuesday the 20th. Total flight time is about 24 hours. To figure out what time it is in New Zealand, just look at the weather located on the right side of this blog. (This only shows up after your click title of the post if you received this as an email) Or, you can just subtract 6 hours (5 if in Central Time Zone) and then add a day. New Zealand is 18 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time.

I think I created this video back in August. It’s been so long, I can’t even remember. But, I can finally show it to you now! I’m very excited. The video lists a few names at the end, which are those who helped make the video. If you wish to contact me in an email instead of in a comment to this blog, you can send me an email here: katherinejustine (at) hotmail.com.

It’s almost unreal, that I’m finally leaving. I kept setting dates in my mind for when I’d be gone, so it almost feels strange to actually leave! One aspect of expecting to leave for so long and then repeatedly having to wait longer, is that I feel that culture shock will possibly be a bit less. I might be completely wrong and receive a wake up call when the shock sets in. But, I feel as if I’ve been learning about and thinking about what it will be like for so long, that the novelty has worn off in a sense. We will see.

Hoorah hoorah! I’m finally off! 🙂 I am thankful to God for His timing, as there are probably reasons for the delay.

If you would like to see a video of what it’s like to fly over New Zealand, I’ve linked to one here. You can also click the Awesome Box on the right (if you are reading this in an email, just click the title of this post to find the Awesome Box)

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At my part time job I’m creating web pages for some online classes at Griggs University. I was reading through some of the material in one of the classes and came across something that I thought I’d just post here for you to read as well. I found it encouraging.

God’s love for His children during the period of their severest trial is as strong and tender as in the days of their sunniest prosperity; but it is needful for them to be placed in the furnace of fire; their earthliness must be consumed, that the image of Christ may be perfectly reflected.

One aspect, or principle, for knowing the will of God is a most exciting venture of faith. In my own life, I have often had impressions or promptings that I could not really explain except to say, “The Lord was in it.” But not only does God work through “the still small voice” (I Kings 19:12) of gentle and persistent impression, He also communicates through rather striking “providential” events or happenings in our day-to-day experience.

When I use the term “providential,” I am referring to the manner in which God over-rules in our day-to-day experiences to markedly open or shut doors of opportunity. These open and shut doors can take the form of very fortuitous and positive surprises, or they can take the form of what, at first, appear to be shocking reversals. Time, however, usually tells the tale. In other words, subsequent events will often demonstrate the blessed nature of what initially appeared to be a stunning setback.

I would urge great patience, especially in the face of apparent setbacks. Very often when God allows such a seeming reversal of fortune, He is merely clearing the staging area of our lives for a much more blessed coming advance!

Too many, in planning for a brilliant future, make an utter failure. Let God plan for you. As a little child trust to the guidance of Him who will “keep the feet of His saints” (I Samuel 2:9). God never leads His children otherwise than they would choose to be led, if they could see the end from the beginning, and discern the glory of the purpose which they are fulfilling as coworkers with Him.

Our heavenly Father has a thousand ways to provide for us of which we know nothing. Those who accept the one principle of making the service of God supreme, will find perplexities vanish, and a plain path before their feet.

Still waiting for Visa. Will update when I hear news.

Just a note, if you have received this blog post in an email, please click the title of this post, and any post, to open it in your web browser. Trust me, it’s way better that way. You’ll get to see all the other cool things I’ve included in my blog such as maps, weather, more photos, and a better viewing experience.

Also, I’ve added some new pictures to my flickr site. Once you open the post in your browser just click the more photos link on the bottom right hand side, below the Awesome Box. I took a trip to the upper peninsula of Michigan and saw Kitch-iti-kipi Big Spring with my friend Emily. It was gorgeous. 🙂

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