Written on December 28, 2013
An overview of Kerikeri again… considering the fact that we passed by the little town about three different times in a day. Our beach plans were shot since it ended up raining throughout the day (not a crazy pouring, but enough steady rain to make any beach trip un-enjoyable), so we stuck indoors other than errands.
I accompanied Annie to the Play Ground, a small facility in Morewai (probably spelled wrong) where her parents serve as pastors. She explained how the space used to be a pub and was converted into a community building a few years back, which is really neat. We went through the kiddie room collecting colorful pillows, dress-up clothes, building blocks, and other knick-knacks since Annie is babysitting a wealthy American family in a few days and wants to have enough resources. The best finding of that trip was seeing a fluffy white “Santa Seal” plushie on the couch… totally my speed.
She also showed me the tiny house that they used to live in about 17 years ago (Morewai), about a minute’s drive from Play Ground. She talked about how the new homeowners have cut down all the trees and brushery they worked so hard to grow (unfortunately), since the land costs more to own if you grow more plants.
The drive through the towns in the rain was quite lovely, just because it was so peaceful, and looking out the window to see nothing but rolling hills of green farmland (and the occaisional cattle or sheep herds) was pretty neat.
A couple of the Edwards’ aunties, uncles, and their grandparents paid a visit to the house in the afternoon. We lunched with their family and talked about the differences between California and NZ, which obviously is always a hot topic. Annie and her sisters were in disbelief over the absurd costs of weddings in America, which I completely understand. They noted that the average price for a NZ wedding is $2,000 (I explained that, if lucky, that would be the venue fee ALONE for a wedding) total. They also explained that it’s custom for the bride to pay for all their bridesmaid’s transportation, dresses, hair, makeup, shoes, etc…. whereas that’s unheard of in America.
If there’s one thing that I’m extremely grateful for because of the Edwards, it’s an appreciation for minimal resources. Their dad asked me why I seem so conservative (i.e. I’m frugal with money, rarely drink, don’t party much), and I do relate it all back to my upbringing. In essence, my dad was raised the exact same way as the Edwards… on a farm/countryside area in a large family, with just the right amount of things for them to get by. Excessive amounts of toys, electronics, clothes, etc. was unheard of for my dad, and same with my mom. Because both of my parents don’t spend their money carelessly, I was raised to always monitor my savings. If there was something I really, really wanted that cost $100+, I would think long and hard about it and make sure I’d use it for the rest of my life (to which I do with most of my prized items).
Annie’s dad also drive me and the boys out to Kerikeri to the cinema to see The Hobbit 2, which was unfortunately sold out (damn the downsides of small towns with only 50-seat theaters). Instead, we had a delicious feast of a dinner, which turned out to be lamb, grilled potatoes and pumpkin, and peas/green beans. Ironically enough, I was looking at sheep outside the window today on some of our drives and thought how adorable the creatures were and how I couldn’t bear to think of how they became meat…
Of course, NZ sheep. 😦 Clearly, they’re raised on a farm for one prime reason, and humans need to survive. David, Annie’s youngest brother, is a mechanical engineer for Meatworks, and unfortunately mentioned that about 1,600 sheep are slaughtered daily. NOTE: This is not me going PETA-out or anything, uh no. This is me just being sad and learning statistics.
A funny but true anecdote: The family raised a couple sheep when all the kids were younger. There was a weekend when all the kids were away, so their parents thought it would be the right time to sadly say goodbye to Blossom, their largest pet sheep. When they were at the dinner table, the oldest brother asked, “Is this Blossom?” to which silence fell over everyone and no one said a peep… until a bit later, when someone else piped up, “This is delicious,” ha…