Christchurch.

It has been a few weeks since my week in Christchurch, but it has taken that long to really process what happened during that week.  In short, I went down on school break to volunteer at Grace Vineyard Church in New Brighton, a suburb of Chch. I stayed with a couple from the church,  people that I could (and did) listen to for ages tell stories of their lives, within and without NZ. I saw the city, the people, the damage, the hope, the heartbreak, the optimism and the beginning of a new normalcy.  Here are a few passages that I wrote while staying there.

18 April 2011: I was able to see the physical damage in town today, and it is just like the TV’s have shown–liquefaction, broken fences, cracked walls, moved foundations.  On the other end of the spectrum was the old man, Ken, who personified the optimism that is talked about on the news and immortalized in the best kinds of characters in books and movies.  In his eighties, he had just come home from the hospital where he was visiting his wife whose leg was amputated after the quake.  That part was no big deal for him.  He accepted the frozen dinners we provided and then said he’d no longer be needing them, that he and his wife were getting on now, in large part because of the continued support from Grace Vineyard.  He said he’d come to Grace sometime to personally thank Sam (the pastor).  He wished me well in NZ and back in the US as well.  He lived on 45th in New York, right off of Times Square for several years.

19 April 2011: Day two in Christchurch has passed.  I’ve now felt several earthquakes.  There are several aftershocks per day.  I’ve felt one each of the previous nights as well as one today at the church.  They’re a bit unnerving, but I’m glad to have experienced them.  John, a fellow volunteer and housemate for the week, felt his first today in the supermarket, and overcame with excitement at finally feeling one, he shouted out a loud, “Yahoo!” at the checkout counter.  Probably not the best response, especially since he was wearing his red, CREW t-shirt, but memorable nonetheless in the most “shake my head” kind of way.  Met an old man named Bernie today-still kicking even with a limp and still no sewage/water at his house.  I’d have liked to stay and chat with him, but he wasn’t the guy on our list, just a helpful neighbor.  He walked us over the sidewalk and onto the heaps of silt that gave way underfoot, like the wet part of a beach nearest the water, to show us the way to the house we were looking for.  His action stuck out to me for some reason.

21 April 2011: After door knocking in a pretty rough area of town, I met a guy who was in pretty rough shape.  He was an ex-competitive cyclist who had neuro surgery a few years back, prohibiting him from any power rides, which he loved for the challenge, endorphins and stress-relief.  He had recently broken off a nine year relationship with a drug addicted, alcoholic woman who cheated on him with another man.  He is bi-polar and has been on and off of suicide watch for some time.  The the September earthquake happened.  Then the February earthquake.  Whew!  I wasn’t qualified to be doing anything for him except listen, so that is what I did.  I could give no brilliant fix, for there is none, and had no life-altering words, but I could listen.  So I did.  I hope more people do.

We dropped leaflets in shops and mailboxes in the neighborhoods surrounding the church today and I felt like God was saying about the week and experience as a whole that people matter, places don’t.  I feel like this applies to physical, emotional, and spiritual “places.”  God sees past all those things and still cares.  We, me, persons of God seeking to carry out his work, are called to do the same: be radical, be blind and see people’s hearts.  This can only work if done through insight and provision by God since we are a people plagued by oir own sin, issues, and problems.  However, we are not called to know everything, just enough, and then are empowered through acknowledgment of our own humility and brokenness to act and see what God is calling us to do in the lives of others.  For me, today, that was handing out “Grace Vineyard Easter Services” flyers to local shops and mailboxes.  There was a surprising number of boxes with “No Circulars/ No Junk Mail” signs on them.  It got me thinking about the houses that did get the flyers.  Some of them are bound to find the flyers annoying, a waste of paper and their time, and cause them to question for the millionth time why they haven’t installed their “No junk mail or I will end you” sign, hand-crafted in Russia and forged of hardened, weatherproof, bomb-proof steel.  I think besides lading a person to the service, that is the best possible scenario: annoyance.  I think junk mail is annoying and think most people would share this view.  The fact that people might get ticked at finding this sheet in their box encourages me because it is a normal thing to do.  Since the quake, people have been seeking normalcy.  All have had to adopt a new normalcy, so for me to deposit a flyer in their box and have them respond with the very normal response of scoffing and souring at its sight, well good on them for ripping it to shreds, or making a grocery list on the back of it, or folding it into a beautiful paper crane.  All of these are normal responses, so if I can be a functioning cog in some great machinery serving something beyond me, then I will leave junk mail.

24 April 2011:  Easter.  Worship was a glorious cacophony (my favorite word).  New tradition: Easter fish’n’chips.

I said goodbye to my incredible hosts, a brilliant couple that I will not soon forget. Christchurch is bad, supremely so, but there is an extreme optimism on the part of the people that has not, and will not be extinguished.  Five, ten, fifty years from now, what will this city be?  Great, with work.

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Christchurch preview.

It’s been quite a week in Christchurch.  Here is a preview.  More soon, and Happy Easter!

Catholic Cathedral.

Looking down on Christchurch from Summit Rd.

Near the CBD.

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There and Back Again

Is that a Lord of the Rings reference you say?  Why yes!  Yes it is!  This past weekend, three friends and I packed our bags, rented a car and headed for the Tongariro Alpine Crossing.  After navigating the left side of the road, stocking the necessaries for a meal of champions, and driving through gorgeous country, we arrived at the Crossing Backpackers, our home for the weekend.

Our morning began early at 6:45 AM when the shuttle picked us up to take us to the beginning of the 19.4 km track.  We were headed to Mt. Doom.  The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is made of of three peaks: Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe (Mt. Doom), and Tongariro.  Considered one of NZ’s most popular single day treks, the trailhead was buzzing with people excited to tramp through Mordor.  The sun was bright, the skies were clear, the wind was still, and while the air had a chill, it also held the promise of warmth should the sun decide to climb higher into the sky.  In other words, the weather was perfect.

The trail was crowded as we began, but thinned out gradually as the track went on.  There were several incredible vantage points of Ngauruhoe (Nair-uh-ho-ee), so naturally, everyone stopped to snap the perfect shot.  Several days prior to our arrival, snow fell on the peaks, so the summits of all the mountains were white-capped and very photogenic.  I liked to pretend that the snow was lava.  Oh yes, Ngauruhoe is an active volcano.  The track followed a stream for awhile before it broke away and headed uphill and towards the looming Ngauruhoe.

Mt. Ngauruhoe (Mt. Doom; 2287 meters)

The sun finally broke away from behind Tongariro and it got warm pretty quickly.  Layers are key.  We had many (they had to add Alpine to the title of the crossing because people were getting hurt getting caught out in fast-changing, inclement weather).  We had a 4:30 shuttle to catch, so we had to ration our time pretty carefully, especially since summiting Ngauruhoe is not part of the track.  It was quite surreal approaching what I knew was Mt. Doom.  Before getting here, I knew about LOTR, Flight of the Conchords, and the kind of Australian accent, so seeing such an icon was cuhrazy.

We made it to the point where the trail breaks off for the summit and headed up and up and up.  The trail quickly turned to a “trail” and further dissolved into loose volcanic rock, scree, snow and ice.  Pictures hardly capture the scale of the mountain and the steepness that we climbed, mostly hand over hand, stepping from one unreliable foothold to the next.  The snow was almost easier to climb through than the rock since you could dig your toes in and create leverage, when it didn’t give way underfoot.  Crampons anyone?  We set a goal of two hours to summit, and after taking a few breaks to take in the breathtaking scenery and fill the air with Hobbit talk, we made it to the top in 1:53.  I like climbing mountains because it is a clear goal with a clear ending.  The fact that this particular mountain was also an iconic volcano covered in fresh snow made the experience almost numbing.  What box do I have to out this experience in?  It was a mountain, but also a volcano.  It was in Mordor, but I was there instead of Frodo.  It was a joke from friends wishing me well to be careful on the trail to Mt. Doom, but I was actually at risk of getting hit by falling rocks and getting exploded on by burning, hot lava (not likely, but it could have happened. And what a way to go! “How’d you die?” “Oh, I choked on some pie. You?” “Volcanic eruption.”)

I’m reading a book by ND Wilson called Notes from the Tilt-A-Whirl and this passage speaks to me about the nature of experiences and sights such as this.  “There is a crushing joy that crackles in every corner of this world.  I am tiny and yet I am here. I have been given senses, awareness, existence, and placed on a stage so crowded with the vast, so teeming with the tiny, that I can do nothing but laugh, and sometime laugh and cry.  Living makes dying worth it.”  Beautiful.

 

View from Ngauruhoe summit.

The trip down the mountain took all of twenty minutes.  Those snow covered streaks from the picture were our way down.  I’ve been bred in seeking “shortcuts” whilst descending mountains, and this experience was no different.  There is no growth on Ngauruhoe, so there is nothing to stop a person from heading straight down the side at speeds that are borderline inhumane.  The trip down was just that: running, falling, skiing, bounding, leaping, sliding, bracing, rejoicing.  The feeling was incredible.  It was one of the craziest, most dangerous, yet freeing things I have ever done and I would not trade it for anything.  Once we all met up at the bottom, the feeling was of awe, disbelief and total joy.

After that high, we had a deadline to worry about as we realized that time and tide (and shuttle drivers) wait for no man.  We set off on a ridge that we thought would meet back up with the trail, but ended up having to bail off it down a treacherous rock face that was more stressful and dangerous than thrilling.  The flatland where we ended up was moony.  A lunar landscape to be sure.  Saluting the 1969 American flag as we passed by, we headed for the trail after an exciting three hour detour.

The rest of the track was beautiful, if rushed.  Crater lakes shined with colors unnaturally vibrant due to the mineral contents of the water.  A distant lake Taupo was visible for the majority of the downhill trek to the shuttle.  After a timing error which had us positively running the last 6k, we realized we were an hour ahead of schedule.  As if to reward us for our hustle, the trail gods provided a gorgeous waterfall to gaze upon and cool our legs and aching feet in until the real 4:30 came.  Incredible trip, and one that will not soon be forgotten.

Jon, Tom, Alex, Glenn.

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Hungry as.

I must be growing again, because lately, I’ve been hungry.  Very hungry.  Maybe it is because my body is constantly working to keep up with the hills, but whatever the reason, I need some good fix’n’s to satiate my hunger, to slake my thirst, to stop mah belleh from a’grumblin.  Luckily, this was a very productive week in the food department.

Roti chenai.  Some new kiwi friends of mine took me to a place called Satay Kingdom with high praise for the roti chenai.  I didn’t know what it was, and they didn’t really know either, but that didn’t seem to matter to any of us.  Off the main drag of Cuba Street (lots of bars and restaurants), sat this little restaurant that was certainly lacking in presentation.  The outside dining area was a tarp strung up with a few plastic tables beneath it, surrounded by pigeons and the inevitable caca de pigeon.  After awkwardly placing the order with the older Malaysian lady at the register, we waited.  Not a long wait, though, before the orange-ish colored soup and heaping pile of bread was ready.  I was told it was best not to ask what was in the soup, but sweet goodness it didn’t matter what was in it.  It was absolutely delicious.  I followed suit and dipped the bread (I think that was the roti part) and soaked up the deliciousness as best I could.  We positively inhaled the meal.  Cheap.  Satisfying.  Mysterious.  Delicious.  Pretty much the perfect recipe for an adventure of any kind.

Lollies.  AKA: candy.  Sometimes, I get a real jones for some sweets.  Sometimes, NZ introduces me to delicious sweets that makes me ask one question, “How do I get that goodness in me?”  Pineapple lumps.  Little gummy bits of pineapple covered in chocolate.  I do not think actual pineapple juice is used in the process of making them, but they still taste like what I imagine a real pineapple might taste like if it were squeezed out and gummified, dipped in chocolate, and sprinkled with magic delicious pixie dust.  Chocolate fish.  The official currency of NZ.  Pink, marshmellowy fish covered in chocolate.  These guys had to grow on me, but there came a point in our relationship where I just knew that we were made to be together.  Things moved pretty quickly after that when I found out that I could put two of them on a piece of peanut butter toast for a folded over piece of wonderment and delight.  We’re very happy together.  Chocolate fish just get me, you know?  Squiggles.  “HOKEY POKEY flavoured biscuit, with hokey pokey pieces and flavoured CRÉME topping, fully ENROBED in milk chocolate with YELLOW squiggles,” reads the package.  I’m not one for tattoos, but if ever I were to get one, I would get that inscribed across my chest, right next to a giant rhubarb pie with the rising steam spelling out, “GMA knows best.”

Meal of champions.  The same fine gentlemen that introduced me to Satay Kingdom imparted some more wisdom about a fabled meal known as the meal of champions.  The recipe is simple: pasta, mince (ground beef), and Wattie’s baked beans.  Prepare all in heaping proportions, combine and eat. It was a Friday night, the time was 1AM the first time I ever took part in the meal.  We had talked ourselves into a feeding frenzy and the only solution was to prepare the meal of champions.  Such a hearty meal, with everything nature has to offer.  It is a superfood.  It is filling.  It is simple for anyone to prepare.  Heaps of leftovers are encouraged (to be grazed upon throughout the entirety of the following week.  Heaps of leftovers).  This meal was the perfect pre-race meal for me, and no fewer than three subsequent post-race meals as well.

The Mt. Lowry Challenge.  Not a food, but something that made me hungry as.  The race was a 12k race that started at the nearby Day’s Bay.  The first 4k were along the road that ran alongside the beach waterfront.  Beautiful harbor.  Perfect temperature, not too hot or cold.  Plenty of people to get the race day spirit flowing.  Then the trail turned and headed for the hills.  After an initial climb, we were told that we would run along the top of the ridge until the last 1-2k where we would hit the “belly buster” and come careening downhill to the finish below.  The first climb was not too bad.  On par with the running I’d been doing on my own so far.  I tucked into a pack with a kid my age and an old vet who resembled the spirit of a mule, or a load-bearing llama.  He set the pace and up we chugged.  I hope I can still climb like him when i get to be his age.  At the ridge, we headed across what we assumed would be a breeze across the hill. We were mistaken.  This ridge did not end.  It went up and down, much like a spastic stock market graph might look if superimposed onto an elevation chart.  There were times where it was impossible to run uphill, or do much more than swing from tree to tree as a brace going downhill.  When we did reach the dreaded “belly buster” it was cake compared to what we had been doing the last many k’s.  I managed to fall down twice, getting some nice scratch action on a leg and both butt cheeks.  Nice little reminders every time I sit down.  Pretty wicked race.  I finished 28th overall out of 200ish people and did it in 1:21:03, but I’m not quite sure what that means never having run that distance before, or really done any kind of trail running.  The closest thing I can compare it to would be running up LeConte or the Chimney trails down in Gatlinburg, TN.  Still, very cool.  Very fun.  And it made me very hungry.  Remember those leftovers I mentioned earlier?  Yep, they tasted great.

Wainui Ridge

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L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N.

Like the title of the new Noah and the Whale single states: life goes on.  I’ve been here some weeks, and while there is always plenty to surprise me (Wellington has a zoo [I found it when I got lost running last week]), and much to see (planning my semester break trip to the south island next month), the fact remains that life goes on.

Essays need written and books need read.  The flat needs cleaned.  The cupboards need stocked.  The laundry needs done.  The usual stuff still exists.  This realization has been expected, and it has been gradual, but now that these very ordinary tasks are present, it is a reminder that these seemingly menial activities are what make life go.  I would rather write incredibly exciting accounts of adventure and mysteries unfurling all around me, but to be honest, that is not the reality.  It has taken being in this place for more than the length of a typical, or even extended, vacation to realize that life has parts that are necessary, if uneventful.

Having said that, I am still having a changing, forming, new, wonderfully fantastic time here.  The intangibles are hitting me right now, the “You had to be there” moments, and I think that is where the gold is.  Whew!  Just some introspection.

One cool thing about Stafford is its proximity to Parliament.  The hub of NZ’s government, the beehive (the building looks live a beehive), is just another site on my way to the supermarket, the rugby stadium, and the church I’ve been attending, Capital Vineyard.  It is a block away and open for tours daily.  A friend of mine always very awkwardly and obviously gawks at passersby near Parliament on the chance that they are important politico.  She’s working on scaling down the obtuseness of her stares and audible identificatory inquiries.  They offer free tours daily, with walk-ins welcome.  Our tour featured thirteen people from seven countries: Philippines, Germany, France, Denmark, Canada, NZ and USA.  “It’s a small world, for the win, please.”  How cool.  While I might not always remember that the Prime Minister’s office is on the 9th floor, or that the designated duration of the bell toll signaling the opening of debate was decided by the length of time it took for the oldest member of Parliament to walk from the farthest office to the farthest seat in the chamber, I will remember sticking around in the Legislative Chamber as the tour was ending and firing off a few quick cartwheels with the Filipino man next to me.  Come on, anyone can say they’ve toured the beehive, but why not do something worth remembering?

Ohio State has made it to Wellington: I watched the Buckeyes smash UTSA in their first tournament game.  A kiwi initiated OH-IO when I said I was from Ohio.  I met a man wearing a Buckeyes ballcap on the street who was visiting Wellington for six weeks on vacation from sunny Columbus, OH.  Ohio, hiyo!

For those wondering about the cave tunnel from my previous post, I ventured in.  I took a torch (a flashlight [some might know it as foxfire]) and a buddy, and in we went.  The ceiling was low, maybe four feet high, the perfect height for noggin smashin’.  The air was cool, the ground was wet.  Light quickly disappeared as the opening shrank down to the size of a penny behind us.  The tunnel did not pop out on the other side of the hill or turn and plunge into the depths, and there were, fortunately, no creatures of the deep lurking in wait.  After two hundred feet or so, we reached a sudden, rocky wall coated in water droplets that shimmered like golden bits as the light from torch bounced off of them.   Our breath was visible as our warm exhales hit the cool cave air.  Who knows what created the cave or what had gone before us into that place.  We may never know, but probably it was a proud old dwarf seeking to reclaim his youth when his loving dwarf wife found out what his “bowling league” entailed and discovered his little excavating adventure.  Or maybe…Best leave it at that.  Happy day!

 

 

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Classy papers.

First week of classes: done!

I’m taking three classes while I’m here, a pleasantly manageable load.  To make sure that I am not too far behind when I get back, I am taking one English class that will count for my major, a Pacific lit class.  The class has been humbling.  I know next to nothing about the Pacific.  I do not recognize names, places, events, or people, and can pronounce even less.  One of the issues we have been discussing is the idea of representation, and how the Pacific people have been fighting against attributions placed on them by Westerners and Europeans.  Finding the true Pacific, even amidst battles of orthography, is one of the aims of having classes such as this.  However, I find myself caught as a Westerner.  To contextualize any of the information I am being introduced to, I am having to receive it through those same Western eyes that have supposedly disrupted the true Pacific.  Context seems to be the key here.  And that can be said of this whole trip so far.

My second class is a class entitled, “Jesus, the Gospels, and the Coming of God.”  I think it will be an interesting time, coming from an academic standpoint about matters concerning this famous first century Palestinian Jew.  The professor can talk. And talk. And talk.  However, at this point (having one lecture under my belt) I’m still at the, “Man this is great.  I wish I was more sponge-like.  I can’t write fast enough” phase.

Lastly is a class that is dedicated to the histories of different music genres.  My first assignment: “Critically compare and contrast an issue of either Rolling Stone or NME magazine from the 1970s-1980s with a contemporary issue.”  I’m pretty keen on this class.

Outside of class, I’ve been enjoying some of the most delicious sushi of my life.  There’s a place that I call the “top alley” (there’s a giant sculpture of a top. in an alley) and in the top alley is this sushi place that goes half price after 4:30.  I first noticed it because of the long line stringing out the door and spilling into the alley.  All types of people: businessmen and women in nice suits, longboarders, a homeless man, and a guy who looked strikingly like Cristiano Ronaldo.  Sights such as these I take note of. They must know something good, and I want to know exactly what it is.  Secret’s out: the sushi is delicious. And cheap.  And delicious.  I’ve eaten there four times now, and have added afternoon sushi dollars into my budget for the duration of my stay.  I can only hope that the seaweed wraps remain adhesive, the rice filling, and the fish fresh.  So yum.

On a run the other day, I bounded into an old quarry site that featured a cave.  No more than five feet high, the rocky outcrop opened up into what was clearly a cave.  I did not go in.  I do not know if it was the ominous rain clouds that loomed overhead, the remoteness of the area, or the way that the winds moved through the surrounding trees like they were passing whispered wagers as to whether or not the human would dare venture inside, I decided to forgo passing through.  I will return, however.  With a torch, just to be safe.  As Gandalf once said, “Be on your guard. There are older and fouler things than Orcs in the deep places of the world.”

On an unrelated note, feeling dancy?  Say hello to Disasteradio.  He was playing a show at a place called the San Francisco Bath House last Saturday and totally unexpected was what came next: fun, poppy, dancy tomfoolery.  I thought he was the stage crew setting up the mixing board, mini synth and laptop, but no! He was Disasteradio, and he was entertaining and contagious.  The place was almost a hipster bar, so it felt a bit like home.  The cast and crew of the iuka house would have felt right at home.  Good times!

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Welly.

I have been in Wellington for more than a week now, and I can tell that soon I will be comfortable calling this place home.

The city is first and foremost hilly.  Very hilly.  My flat is at the bottom of the hill from uni (look at that kiwi jargon!), so I have been exploring, seeking the most efficient routes to get to and from places.  Often the more interesting routes are longer, but here time is not a thing to worry about.  So I take the fun paths.  There might be some bigger life lesson there…My apartment is nice and cozy, without much superfluity, a theme of this trip.  The view is not great, unless you’re into very orange buildings, but it doesn’t take many steps outside to see some wonder.

My first day here, I went for a run down by the nearby harbor and it felt quite surreal.  I passed many people along the way: walkers, bikers, schoolboy wharf divers, and I couldn’t help but feel that all was well with my world.  I ran to a spot away from the main city that had me surrounded by water on three sides while across the bay the surrounding mountains loomed like silent watchers over the land below.  I could not help but stop, smile, and give many thanks for the chance to be in such a place.  I’ve ran almost everyday since, and each day I find new paths to explore, hills to both curse and conquer, and sights to remember forever.

Figuring out the basics has been challenging, but not impossible.  Remembering how to cross the street safely since the traffic patterns are reversed (look right, left, and right again for good measure).  Communicating with people with new accents and expressions.  Some of my favorites: “sweet as,” “choice bro,” “sweet beans,” “take the piss.”  One of my favorite activities, grocery shopping, has been incredibly fascinating.  Items are much more expensive, for one, and called different names, but are basically the same.  Everybody is dressed incredibly nicely all the time.  Tailored suits, swanky shoes, fitted dress shirts, nice dresses, the whole deal.  For all occasions.  I’ll need to kiwify my wardrobe a bit, fo sho.  Going to bars has been an entirely new experience.  Having very limited experience to compare it to, going out for drinks has been fun.  Anticlimactic 21st birthday requirement, but “when in NZ,” right?  Cheers.

We were told that the kiwis would be a reserved, and seemingly disinterested people, and that getting on their good side would be a difficult task, but so far, I’ve been welcomed with nothing but open arms, big smiles, and a willingness to include me in whatever might be happening.  The same can be said for most people so far.  One day last week some folks from Stafford (the name of my apartment building) and I were down by the harbor jumping off the wharf when I realized the company I was in.  Three Americans, four Frenchies, four kiwis and a Brit.  A week prior, none of us knew any of the others even existed, but there we were, all having a good time in the bright kiwi sunshine, making plans for the evening between dives into the harbor.

The earthquake.  A bizarre and bewildering experience to be sure.  I was in absolutely no danger whatsoever, Wellington being 200 miles and an island away from Christchurch.  One of my flat mates told me what had happened after my run last Tuesday and I could not believe several things.  That a second devastating earthquake in six months had hit Christchurch.  That I was in the country where it happened, so far from what I know to be home.  That I’ll always have this story to tell.  The coverage was very grim coming in from the news reports.  Shots of the destroyed cathedral, confused people crying and wandering amidst the wreckage, and newer, ever higher death toll estimates.  Every kiwi I have talked to knew somebody in Christchurch.  Thankfully, all have been safe, but that doesn’t mean that their lives were not rocked.  A few Australearn people headed down to the south island to explore during our free week before classes begin tomorrow, and were in Christchurch just two hours before the quake hit.  After contemplating an extension in town, they decided to head out.  Thankfully.  Miraculously.

Seeking the silver lining has been tough, and always is in times such as these, but reading about Mayor Bob Parker after seeing him interviewed gives me hope for the people, city, and country.  And then miracle stories surface.  People such as Ahsei Sopoaga make me glad for humanity.  Continue to pray for Christchurch.  For the people, the rescuers, the survivors, the families of those lost, the political leaders.  For miracles.

After the quake, I headed north to the city of Napier for a few days with some Stafford mates for a beach that wasn’t, art deco, sheep, wineries, sunrise and dirty backpacker life.  Classes, here called papers, begin tomorrow.  I’m ready for some routine and structure.  Who knows what this next week will bring, but I am ready and waiting for adventure, and much, MUCH more.

The world.

My world.

 

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