Place: I’ve been told there is supposedly a hole in the ozone layer, making the sun extremely powerful causing sunburns in just 15 minutes. Didn’t think an ozone layer would be able to make me so happy. If you know me at all you know I love the summer, the sun, the heat and, the beach therefore I have no choice but to love the New Zealand weather, which meets all criteria to be perfect. When we arrived in Tauranga on the 18th we were taken to have lunch on the beach at The Mount. At that moment I knew I would love the location. No matter what window you look out you will be greeted by palm trees, hills (mountains by Oklahoma standards) unbelievably green grass, and clear blue skies.
I have yet to attempt driving on the left side of the road and I’ve come close to several heart attacks thinking I’m about to be in a car accident before I realize where I am again. Fuel here is over $7 a gallon so remember to be thankful this Thanksgiving for you $3 a gallon gas prices.
People: a few members of the Greerton congregation who made a lovely banner welcoming Natalie and I to the country greeted us at the airport. They were all extremely nice and so excited that we finally arrived after months of delays. Among these people were Rod and Heather Taylor who we will be staying with through January so we can find our own place and get settled into the culture. Mike and Tammy welcomed us with the pleasant surprise of Mike’s American (Texan) accent. Tammy is a Kiwi who moved to the states and met and married Mike. The two moved to New Zealand about a year ago with Tammy’s two kids (Jon and Laura) to work full time with the Greerton congregation. After being here for almost a week I have met a huge number of people which I would love to talk about individually but I’m not in college anymore and don’t feel like writing a 12 page paper EVER again. In general, the people here are laid back, friendly, love to talk, and most of all give you food. Which will be the segue to my next topic…
Food: The food is one of the most interesting/weird/different things about New Zealand and my mom will be shocked to hear about the food I have actually consumed and liked knowing how picky I am. A few of the bizarre New Zealand delicacies that stand out would be toast topped with a poached egg and baked beans. Call me crazy or just really hungry, but I loved it. Yes, Mom…I ate beans…Sorry for being so difficult the last 23 years. Toast, eggs, and, baked beans are all things you can find in America, but you wouldn’t find them put together but then there is Marmite (New Zealand’s original yeast spread…yeah, YEAST. SPREAD.) You will probably NEVER see that the states. The ingredients are as follows: yeast, sugar, salt, mineral salt, wheat maltodextrin, colour (caramel III), herbs, spices, niacin, riboflavin, thiamin, folate B12, mineral iron, barley, wheat, soy. It is eaten on toast with lettuce and cheese and it’s VERY salty. Looks like chocolate, does NOT taste like chocolate. No Worries, there is of course a McDonalds here along with Wendy’s, Burger King and KFC. When I’m feeling homesick I will visit these places and search the town for Dr. Pepper!
Work: We didn’t waste any time. Getting to work. On Friday after we went to get our own cell phones we headed to the church building for “Kids Fun Friday.” KFF is an after school extended to all the kids in the Greerton schools. This past week there for 20 kids, which is the highest number that has ever attended. The children do crafts, make snacks, and then there is a movie and popcorn to help illustrate the days theme. Right now the kids are learning the 10 commandments. After KFF the high school ages kids came to the building for a movie/devo night where we all made our own pizza. There were only three kids that we able to come because most of the older ones are in the middle of school exams, which time a lot to study and prepare for. We will be involved in a number of other activities that I can’t wait to tell you all about when those things start to take place.
I apologize for how long this is, but I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface. I will try and update as much as possible and will be sending out my News letter at the beginning of every month. Thank you all for you prayers and support. If you would like to help out financially you can do so by clicking the “Donate” button at the top or mail checks to Memorial Road Church of Christ 2221 Memorial Road. Edmond, Ok 73013. In the Memo line put “Becca Smith-HIM”
Love and miss you all!
p.s. This is my address for the next couple of months.
16 Tom Muir Drive