We went to New Zealand. Here is the rest of the story.
17th of November – Sunday – 2013 – entry 136
"How in the world can a massive, heavy, metal bird lift above the earth like this? My first overseas flight since I was two, and I got a good one. It was rainy and overcast on the ground; the same clouds are now under me, golden and whipped into frothy puffs of sunkissed glory. This is wonderfully impossible. This is the stuff of my imagination. Reality has hit the mark that my imagination made in the ether; now I will have to dream up new things(...)"
18th of November – Monday – 2013 – entry 137
"It is hard to feel anything but awe when you are sitting by the shores of one of the bluest glacial lakes you have ever seen. I'm here, cold, in a lovely red jumper that is comfortingly warm, and I have beside me a cup of plunger coffee. I'm on one of a series of boulders that blotch the shore in a beautifully untidy splat, and I am alone. I and God. I always thought that photographers touched up the photos of these lakes to make them look bluer. Now I know God does the touching up before they even take the photo. But you look- I look, and all I see is the arm of God sweeping over this land. Ridged, white-capped mountains edge, bold and silent, around the edge of the lake, and the peaks on the far side are all but obscured behind a heavenly curtain of cloud. How I wish more adjectives had been invented before I saw all these things that cannot – will not be described(...)"
19th of November – Tuesday – 2013 – entry 138
"It is a quarter past eight. A whole quarter past, and the Sun is still up in the sky; it is setting, but it will be nine before it has set completely. The motorhome is much too much too bumpy. I'll finish the entry later.
Today we walked along the Hooker Valley. This is a four-hour round trip trail that meanders this way and that towards a silty little lake, smattered with little icebergs, at the foot of Mt. Cook. The grandeur is incomprehensible, literally. I stood there and wondered, then walked for four hours staring up at the mountains (...) The peaks always looked so close, but I never got closer to them, even with all my walking (...)"
20th of November – Wednesday – 2013 – entry 139
"Lord, help me love. Campervanning is not easy. If ever anything tested my character, it was campervanning with the whole family. Who you are in a campervan is who you are. And when I forget you, God, I am the worst. I love you, and help.
Today, I opened up the window while we were driving along the top of Dunedin. I let the icy wind just whip into my face and eyes while I watched the moving landscape slope and roll all over my vision in the purest greens and further out, the nostalgic blues. I've been reading during our drives quite a lot since our first day, but it was lovely to succumb to the sheer glory of closing my eyes and just knowing that Heaven on Earth was spread before me."
21st of November – Thursday – 2013 – entry 140
"BUTTERFLIES! A beautiful, three-story green-house at the Dunedin Museum; it had a little pond on the first floor, and then steps and bridges spiralled about, and everywhere – butterflies. The room held possibly thousands of them.
I am now so in love with the greens and the blues and the sky and the grass, and the beauty, beauty, beauty(...)"
23rd of November – Saturday – 2013 – entry 141
I don't know how to explain Milford Sound. I have completely run out of adjectives to describe it; I'll try. The cruise we went on was a two-hour ride that went from a dock through Milford Sound to the Tasman Sea...Looking up, these huge, huge mountains towered over us in greens and greys, rising out of the water to heights of one and a half kilometres, and plunging 300 metres more below the surface of the water. The water was deep and dark; looming rock overhangs bouldered out metres and metres above us; spray from the dancing, white waterfalls caught us as the boat went in close. Massive hyperbolas were carved out of the mountains all around, evidence of fearsome glaciers of indescribable weight, mass, depth, channelling towards that great silky mass of water that sombrely and elegantly moves out to sea. I didn't know places like that existed; I didn't dare to hope that I would someday see what I saw today."
25th of November – Monday – 2013 – entry 142
"I got sick yesterday, and I got worse today; this is bad because the feeling of having my head tightened into a vice seems to inhibit me from enjoying and gasping at my surroundings.
This afternoon, we parked the campervan across the road from the beginning of a short but beautiful mossy, foresty track. Even in what I felt was some half-state of delirium, I felt calmed and heart-warmed and loved in the trees. Green bales of moss clung to and hung from the soaked trees, rain pitter-patted through the leafy sky onto my muddy sneakers. My nose was blocked, which is sad because I can imagine that the smell of rain in a forest is one of the best things ever, but I'm sure it will be in heaven, so I do not mind so much. I got to taste it though, when drops spilled off my raincoat onto my lips(...)"
27th of November – Wednesday – 2013 – entry 143
"This morning, we woke up on the side of the road to the almighty noise of a coal train roaring past our campervan. Dad says I mumbled, "I thought for a moment that it was the end of the world!" before rolling over to snore a few times.
We went to the pancake rocks today and got mistaken for locals by asian tourists. They started taking photos of us as Dad confusedly stated, "what...are you...doing?" I played along with peace signs and exaggerated smiles. What they don't know won't hurt them, and hey, all us white folk look the same, don't we? (...)"
29th of November – Friday – 2013 – entry 144
"...We have come to rest at a place just short of Akaroa called French Farm Bay, (and speaking of rest, Jesus promises it if I come to him heavy laden. Where have I been today when I should have been with Jesus for goodness sake?!) The tide is out, leaving a plain of exposed, grey rocks. There are so many shells scattered amongst them and there are crabs underneath that dart back into the ground like shadows if you turn them over, but it is so lovely just to stand at the grey and blue centre of this broad funnel of luscious green landscape and breathe; and then; if I close my eyes gently and be still, I can hear the sound of a thousand little shell-dwellers moving, breathing, opening, closing...I hardly know what to compare it to, except perhaps the sound of rice bubbles when the milk has just been poured in. This God I serve; he creates beautiful things and these beautiful things give fleeting respite from the hard parts of life..."
1st of December – Sunday – 2013 – entry 145
"We are going home. What has been our house for the last two weeks is ours no longer and I will sleep in my own bed tonight. Oh joy. I believe that I will understand now how big and spacious our house is now that I will have something to compare it to. I will not be living out of a suitcase anymore and that is wonderful.
I have loved New Zealand. I will come back one day."