Marry a beautiful girl and steal her away to an exotic island. Check.
By God’s grace we’ve arrived and are settling into life in Dunedin. The following is a quick overview of what life has looked like this week as we’ve worked very hard to get settled.
On Tuesday we arrived in Dunedin after three smooth and on-time flights. The only real scare was on the final leg of our journey, from Auckland to Dunedin, where we realized that they were going to enforce the 16lb weight limit policy for carry-on luggage even though they hadn’t on any other leg of the trip. What do you do when you have between 17 and 23 pounds of stuff in your bag but can only board the plane with 16 pounds? You improvise.
In the end, our suitcases only weighed 16lbs. However, the coat Stephanie was wearing had pockets stuffed with products and shirts and socks stuffed down both sleeves. I had at least 25 dvds in my coat pockets, a book snugged into the back of my belt, and was literally wearing Stephanie’s purse while keeping it hidden under my coat as I smiled and handed my boarding pass to the check-in lady. You improvise.
Descending on Dunedin was beautiful as you can see. We were very fortunate to be welcomed at the airport by friendly familiar faces we know from Denver. In addition to picking us up, our friends, the Heims, put us up in their lovely home for 3 nights and took us around the city to get a feel for it. (This is also in addition to tons of helpful advice on how to prepare for our move)
Tuesday we opened a bank account and met some other students in the theology department at the university. I (Luke) was also able to pop in and say hello to my supervisor, Paul Trebilco. Wednesday was a holiday here in New Zealand, which limited what we could accomplish, but we were still able to buy a pay-as-you-go cellphone, get another tour of the city’s different suburbs, and begin calling rental listings to set up viewings.
Thursday was the day we needed to get some wheels. Peter took us down to a place in Dunedin called the Kaikorai Valley in which there are a number of used car dealers and dropped us off with a warm ‘good luck’. Thankfully the process didn’t take long and after only a couple test drives (with a few minor curb-checks to get used to driving on the other side of the car and road) we drove away the proud owners of our little Nissan Pulsar. Within 20 minutes we even had insurance purchased for the year on the car!
It’s amazing how getting the car gave us a sense of ownership and belonging here in Dunedin. Before the car, we were visitors, people at the mercy of anyone who would give us a ride. After the car, we had a place to put our stuff, we had the means to go and to make things happen and get settled. And since the car, it’s been off to the races.
We’ll spare you the details of our house hunting process. Let’s just say we are extremely happy and thankful to have found, after probably 8-10 showings and countless hours of looking at houses online, the place we’re going to call home in New Zealand. We’ll post pictures of the house another time.
It suffices here to say that God has been extremely gracious to us. Every step of the way he has met our need and seen that we are provided for through family, friends and even strangers. With this house, we are more than provided for. We have found what will be our home.
So with that said, it’s a chocolate fish kind of day. You see, here in Dunedin there is one of the Cadbury chocolate plants which produces the many candy yummies that are exported around the world. One product is a chocolate covered, marshmallow fish. A very New Zealand practice, we’re told, is to give someone who has achieved something a chocolate fish. And so we, the proud owners of new bank accounts, a phone, a car, and now the renters of a great house, have bought and given ourselves a chocolate fish for getting settled so quickly here in Dunedin.