With many of the larger arrival decisions made, we’ve transitioned to the process of settling in, really settling in. Being that this is already our fourth move in just 20 months of marriage, we’ve gained experience which helpfully expedites the process. While this move is bigger and more exotic than the others, it still involves some of the usual necessaries, such as cleaning.
However, since this chapter of life in New Zealand is to be our longest yet, we’re more intent to cultivate an environment within which we can really flourish. Exactly how one successfully cultivates such an environment, I don’t know, but for us it means a good amount of intentionality on the front end. We’re working hard to establish a routine that will benefit us both time for growth and time for leisure. Time for labor, time for rest; time for reading, time for walks.
Below is a picture of the new environment which we find ourselves in. Before coming to New Zealand we were told it was a place with beauty that can’t be captured by a camera. Whoever said that is right. From our deck we can see the ocean, with its hourly changing shades of blue, we can watch the inlet fill up and empty out, and we can hear sheep ‘baa-ing’ as they graze on the slopes to our west. We truly are in a place of astounding natural beauty, and I hope we never get over it!
Part of settling in, and really the reason we are in New Zealand, is my (Luke) beginning my studies. So, on Monday last week I completed the final necessary paperwork and officially became a PhD candidate at the University of Otago. On Tuesday I met with my supervisor for the first of what will be regular meetings every three weeks throughout my time here. I’m very excited to have finally begun this program, as it’s been a very long time in the works. Below is a picture of some of the buildings on the campus, which, for good reason as you can see, was last year listed as one of the 10 prettiest campuses in the world.
A final part of our settling this week has been getting to know some new people and begin what we hope will be some friendships to help enrich and sustain our time in Dunedin. We’ve already been invited over to dinner by two different couples who too are in NZ for PhD work, and by one of our new neighbors for a BBQ (the people in NZ really are as nice as they’re rumored to be!). Perhaps this, the people, is the most important piece of the puzzle for settling in. After all, part of what it means to be human is to be in relationship.
Below you see some pics from our most recent adventure to Tunnel Beach with our new friends Josh and Anna Hurd. We’re really running out of categories to describe the beauty here!
And so the weeks ahead will involve establishing a cadence that is not only sustainable for the long term, but nourishing in the here and now. Steph is back to work part-time and I am back to my studies full-time. Beyond those things, we’ll be exploring more beaches and watching the sheep graze on the hills around us.