When you first move or visit somewhere, it is so easy to get caught up in the newness of it all. It’s exciting and everything about that place can be romanticised. So perhaps I am in that stage now as my first week in Oamaru has come and gone. I understand that this area will become the norm at some stage and I know that every day life with the good and the not so good days will occur here. However, never have I walked down a street (or a harbour ) of an area and felt so at peace. If I could personify myself in a town, I would like it to be a town like this- close to the water, galleries and artists on every corner, bookstores to gander through and the most inviting of cafes with an enthusiasm to meet the taste for any coffee snob. I really have had the warmest of welcomes and striking up conversations with some of the locals has been pleasant. Another thing about being new to an area and culture, is that you are on high alert of all that surrounds you and it feels like you are espeically using all of the senses ( the summer heat on my skin is one I’m enjoying!). Observation is the key and I’m trying to have an open, flexible and learning outlook on it all. I am aware that I am the foreigner and I want to soak in everything that pertains to life here in the south pacific.
Look at the colour of that water!
This past week I have had the time to walk and drive around (so thankful for the provision of a car for the time that I’m here!). From these little excursions, I include a few shots of the town steeped in Victorian history with a flair of steampunk. I have had the opportunity to get to know some of the people who attend Orwell Street Church as well as those that have kindly opened up their home to me ( another provision I am grateful for!). I have had conversations with a few around town and down by the harbour. Whether that be a little chat with a lady working at the gallery or a converstaion with some teens down at the steampunk park. The transition SO FAR (I know its only the beginning) has gone smoothly and I believe by moving to Georgia, USA a few years ago, that it taught me a lot about being new to an area. (blog post on this to follow).
I only want to share a little in this post about Oamaru; in order to give a picture of where I am residing for the year. For those who might not know where it is, its on the South Island, on the east coast and around a three hour drive south of Christchurch. Summer is here and I have enjoyed the heat but autumn will soon be approaching. A relaxed beach life is present here with the unique contribution of having penguins cross on the beach every day!
I mentioned before that I wish to share with you some about what I will be getting up to while I’m in Oamaru. Here is a brief introduction but I will be blogging more about that soon also! As I settle into NZ life, I will be taking part in the youth activities with Orwell St. as well as in the community. That includes a girl’s time of discussion and looking at the Bible as well as a boys and girls group of this called Unleashed. Both of these occur on a Thursday. There is also a youth group that do monthy events and this Saturday we are going waterskiing/tubing at a lake around an hour or so from here. I love the water and cannot wait for the opportunity to embarasse myself and get to know the teens! Today I am attending a seminar in Timaru on New Zealand youth culture and social media and am looking forward to what I may learn at that. As well as this, I have been encouraged by my team at Orwell St. to think of ways that I can get involved that suit my interests and personality. I enjoy coming up with these type of things so just have to work on the confidence to pursue them. I’m thinking along the lines of running a book club and perhaps working towards an exhibition on a collaborative project but I will keep you updated on this. I love the way that the church is enthusiastic about immersing into the community! There is also a youth centre in town that I could potentially take part in. For now though, I will be taking it all in and then taking action from what I have gathered. Did I mention that I am also encouraged to have coffee dates with people so I get to feed into that hobby on a regular basis!
How cute are these cafes below?
All this aside, God has really been enabling me every day to step out and I am open to whatever He desires me to do while I am here. I’m looking forward to building relationships with others as well as going to a deeper place with Him. He is so good!