Take Me to (Christ)Church

They told me it would be cold here.

I just thought they meant, you know, a warmer cold. But no such luck.

So, as my back pack is full of shorts and skirts and dresses and things befitting the summer of the Northern Hemisphere and not the winter of New Zealand, I had no choice but to go shopping for essentials.

Oh darn.

My host, Jo, was kind enough to drive me to one of the largest thrift stores in town, and give advice on the warmest options (wool, lots of wool).

Did I walk out of there with any sweaters or jackets for the winter chill? No. But I found a pair of sunglasses! So…maybe I lost focus a bit.

I also found out that our sizing system is different. A NZ 8 is a US 4, for example. I’ll keep this in mind for the next time I try on an already-constricting piece of clothing, such as a turtleneck. I should have known better. My family’s always told me I have a big head–this was just tempting fate.

We are not amused.

Driving around the city, Jo filled me in on life since the devastating earthquakes Christchurch suffered five years ago in 2011.

She spoke so casually of it, of this fact of life that changed the lives of the whole community.

But for all of the piles of rubble and condemned buildings and empty lots, there are signs of regrowth–noticeably the murals on walls exposed by demolished buildings.

That is a sure sign of resilience: to see your home destroyed by forces beyond your control, and to have no guarantee that it won’t happen again, but to still choose to invest in it and to make it beautiful. That’s written (and painted) all over this city.

Now I get to snuggle into this incredibly comfortable bed, think fond thoughts of the Moroccan take away Jo and I got for dinner, and plan for the next leg of trekking around NZ. Sweet dreams travel buddies!


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