In early August I flew back to New Zealand. Peter welcomed me in Wellington and we took a lovely weekend at a ‘bach’ (their version of a cabin) and then drove back to Whanganui in our station wagon. Although the plane had landed me successfully in this country of hills and sheep after being airborne for 20+ hours on 3 different flights, everything was still ‘up in the air’. Would we be able to stay in New Zealand? Would we find a good midwife? Would we like it here?
It took awhile, but eventually we found a midwife, our work visas came through and we were approved to stay in New Zealand! There are about 30,000 people living here in Whanganui, it is considered a city but doesn’t seem like a city to either of us. We live in what they call the ‘suburb’ of Whanganui East, although I would call it a neighborhood. Our house is directly across from the railroad tracks, which makes it hard to tell when there’s an earthquake. But we have a pleasant yard with a lemon tree that seems to be constantly fruiting and we’ve put in a little patch of garden so we can grow our own fresh veggies.
Since I came back in August we’ve been trying to make connections in our new town. We’ve met many very generous people who have invited us for lunch, given us things they didn’t need anymore (like a bike!) and have been genuinely caring and friendly. I found some part-time work as a substitute teacher’s aide at a nearby high school through a connection Peter had made before I got here. I don’t work all the time, only when needed, so when I’m not working I’ve been doing some writing, going for walks or bike rides, and cooking and baking. Peter is still enjoying his job, even with its challenges.
On the weekends, we go to the Saturday River Trader’s Market. It’s part farmer’s market, part flea market with something for everyone. We try to get outside as much as possible, and enjoy being close to the ocean, the river and on a clear day we can see ‘the mountain’- Mt. Ruapehu. We’re settling in to this new place, new house, new customs and getting ready for the new baby that is coming in only about two months now… Hopefully we can make it a good home for our new family.
Here is a song by a famous Kiwi artist.