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2007 July » Philoxenos


finally something familiar

23rd July 2007

finally something familiar

I went to the supermarket today. By myself. A place called Food 4 Less. I could have written 10 blog posts by the time I left, I had that many things happen. But I’ll settle with just one for now :)

I needed to buy apples. I looked at all the apples. All the unfamiliar apples. Did you know that there are different varieties of apples in different countries? I never knew that until I left the United States when I was 21. I always thought there were just Red Delicious, Golden Delicious and Granny Smith. And those horribly tart ones that always grew on our tree.

Anyway. Apples.

I finally found a familiar apple - Royal Gala. I looked at the little sticker and, lo and behold, it was grown in New Zealand. I bought the most expensive apples in the store because they were familiar.

And folks, that’s what we call culture shock. I think we’ll be having a lot of posts like that in the coming weeks.

Next time I should write about the look on my face when I realised that there are TWO ENTIRE AISLES of a GIANT supermarket dedicated to frozen dinners of some description - fried this and that, pizzas, entrees, burritos, chicken stuff, fish stuff. All so that we can avoid cooking. And the irony is that there was only one variety of brown rice. I had no option to price-compare with. Just one lonely bag of brown rice.

I guess I don’t need to write that post after all because I think I just wrote it!

posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

23rd July 2007

The great blog giveaway, Kiwi style

Comments are now closed. Draw to be done approximately noon Pacific Time.

In honour of our recent move to the United States, I am giving away a combination package to include the best of both of my countries. For the lucky winner I will post away to you a package of Pineapple Lumps, fresh from New Zealand on Saturday, along with a package of Butterfingers purchased here in the US. My giveaway is open to anyone in the world. I’m happy to ship overseas.

What in the world are pineapple lumps? Here’s a picture:

Some Kiwis would say they’re just pure heaven in a chocolate wrapper. I think they’re pretty tasty, too. And no, they’re not really pineapple :)

Butterfingers are my favourite candy bar available in the United States. Wow. They’re good. Really good :)

So, leave a comment and join the draw, which will be held on Friday. For lots more blog giveaways, visit Shannon at Rocks In My Dryer. Should be lots of fun!!

posted in Uncategorized | 285 Comments

23rd July 2007

Letter to Air New Zealand

I wrote the following letter to Air New Zealand this morning:

I am hoping that this message will get to the appropriate people as I want to write of the excellent service I recently received from Air New Zealand.
I am a mother of three children under 4 years old and we flew on NZ8 from Auckland to San Francisco on 21 July. Although my husband was supposed to fly with us, he was detained and so I unexpectedly was flying alone with my children. I love them, but that was still a challenge :) When I checked in at the airport I let the customer service rep know that I was a mother with three children and the first question she asked was if I needed help.  She explained to me where the special assistance desk was and that someone would help me with a stroller and would walk me through security and immigration and onto the plane. Because of this special service I was able to bypass very long lines. We pre-boarded the plane and from the moment I stepped on I knew that we would be okay. The head of the flight crew, Craig Johnson, saw me coming down the aisle and he has obviously been forewarned about us because he said “You must be the mother of three children.”

Throughout the flight I was regularly asked if I needed anything. The flight attendants helped my daughter, who was sitting furthest from me, with her food when needed. At the end of the flight one flight attendant even help her get her shoes on!

But the icing on the cake was when we were leaving the plane after the 12 hour flight was over. My nearly two-year-old was at the end of her patience and was clinging to my leg, begging to be carried. We had exited the plane and had a long walk to the arrival hall. I was carrying the infant and could not have carried her. The flight attendants were walking behind us and one of them stepped up and offered to carry her. Because of the long walk and the weight of my daughter, a few of them alternated carrying duties until we reached the immigration area. This was obviously above and beyond the call of duty, but done out of the kindness of their hearts.

From this point a member of the ground staff met me and escorted me through immigration and helped me retrieve our many bags and then arranged for a porter to help me through customs and out to where my family was waiting.

I have always enjoyed my flights with Air New Zealand, but NZ8 was by far my best experience. I appreciate the willingness of your staff to go above and beyond what was necessary in order to provide me and my family with what we needed to make our move to the United States a little bit easier. I want to again mention Craig Johnson and his flight crew. Please let them know that I think they deserve a raise :)

posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

22nd July 2007

I left on a jet plane

…and arrived in San Francisco this morning. It’s 8:30 at night and I’m pooped. The kids are all asleep (hopefully for a very long time!) and I’m headed to bed. Just wanted you to know that I arrived safely and all is well, other than missing Handsome like crazy. I will soon write a brilliant review of the super services of Air New Zealand. I walked on the plane and the head flight attendant looked at me and said “Are you the mother with the three children?” They were forewarned and they were fantastic.

I’m off to slumberland and hope to be able to blog more details tomorrow. Thanks heaps for your prayers and all your comments. I promise I’ll start to respond!

posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

20th July 2007


Obviously I’ve not been posting very much the last week or so. We’re in the throes of finishing up packing for our flight to the US tomorrow (Saturday). Handsome has not received his green card (still waiting on the police report from PNG) so it will be just me and the kids and hopefully Handsome can join us next week.

So, hopefully the next time I post I will be doing so from sunny California, in the air-conditioned office of my parents’ house. I appreciate you sticking around and checking every once in a while :)

posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

17th July 2007

Blog giveaway

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Rocks in my dryer is hosting a cool blogosphere giveaway carnival. And I’m going to participate! I’ve never done anything like this before so it should be fun. Go here to get the lowdown, but to summarise: Starts next Monday (I’ll be living in the US then so my post will go up American time), runs until Friday, leave a comment on the post and you’ll be in to win! Of course now I have to come up with a really cool prize to giveaway that won’t cost a fortune to ship overseas in case one of my international readers wins! You’ll want to go to Shannon’s blog to get the complete list of who is participating. You can enter all of them if you want. It’ll be fun to find out what other folks are giving away.

Remember, starts on Monday! I’ll be posting a few reminders. And if I can figure it out I’ll put the little blog button on my sidebar. I’m not that sophisticated yet :)

posted in Uncategorized | 0 Comments

15th July 2007

The home stretch

Handsome and I, along with Little Buddy, spent the weekend in Christchurch. We’ve only recently arrived back home. The kids are all asleep. The girls spent the weekend with their grandparents and they are worn out! As we were making the initial descent into the Hamilton airport I realised that the next time I descend in an airplane will be in six days when we make our way to the United States. My stomach got a little bit nervous at that point.

When we got home I realised that we didn’t have enough milk for breakfast tomorrow, so I went to the supermarket to pick some up. I also got a few other things so that we left some food for our friends to eat when they arrive home on Thursday. As I walked the supermarket I looked at all the things and wondered if this was maybe my last trip to the supermarket in New Zealand. It made me want to buy everything, even though I didn’t need anything else, but just because it might not be available to me later.

No visa for Handsome yet. We’re waiting. I appreciated BecomingLikeHim’s comments in this post . The waiting is not about me. Nothing in this life is about me. It’s all about Him. I need to be sure that my attitude and behaviour is glorifying to God, even if I think (and I do!) that leaving my husband behind to travel with our three children alone to the US really bites. And I know that everything that happens is not a surprise to God. So I look forward with anticipation to what I’m going to learn during this experience.

Posting may be very sporadic over the next week as we pack up and take off. Or not. :)

posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

15th July 2007

Answers to your questions

You asked, so I will answer!

1. What is/are your spiritual gift(s)? Definitely teaching. I would also say evangelism, but sadly, this is a gift that I’m not exercising as I should be.

2. How long have you lived in New Zealand? I arrived in New Zealand for the first time on 8 January 2000, three weeks after getting married.

3. How old are your children? 3.5, 22 months, and 4 months

4. Lots of questions about Korea: I lived in South Korea from March 1998 to December 1999. I went there after finishing university as a missionary through International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. They have a programme for university graduates to allow them to spend two years overseas to get a ‘taste’ for mission. At that time, over 35% of journeyman eventually become career missionaries, so it was a good investment for them.  I lived in Kwangju for the first four months but then had to move because the missionaries I was working with were reassigned and I was left alone in the city and that wasn’t allowed. I then moved to Taejon where I worked at Hannam University in student ministry. I offered free English classes, using the Bible as our main tool. It was an incredibly humbling experience and when I look back to my time there I regret all the opportunities that I didn’t take advantage of. But I know that God used my time overseas to change me for the better. And if it wasn’t for living in Korea, I never would have met my husband.

And in anticipation of someone’s question…

5. How did you meet your husband? I met Handsome on the internet :) While I was living in Korea I just wanted to speak to someone in English. There were other American missionaries around but I didn’t really see them very often and I got lonely. I found a Christian chat room (this was back when IRC was big) that was moderated, so nothing nasty was allowed, and I would pop in there a few times a week. One night I had a conversation with someone called Kiwi99. Turns out he had grown up as a missionary kid and we talked about mission and… the rest is history :) We were totally just friends in the beginning. We never thought we’d be able to meet in person. It’s a bit crazy, but that’s us!

posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

12th July 2007


I’m disappointed. As you know we’re still waiting for Handsome’s police report from Papua New Guinea. Early last week we thought it would be just a few days. Then there was an election somewhere and the staff were redeployed. Then we got a fax earlier this week to say they needed fingerprints. We thought that was it. Then, nothing. Handsome rang our lawyer friend in Port Morseby today to get an update only to be told that he’s out of town, not expected back until Monday. When I heard that, I deflated.

Monday?? Monday?? Our flight leaves a week from Saturday people! We need that stupid piece of paper. I figure even if we don’t get it until Wednesday we can probably still get the visa in time, provided that my security check is complete. This afternoon I was sitting down, thinking all kinds of depressing thoughts - travelling with three small children; living apart from my husband for weeks, dependent on my parents’ generosity; continuing to be in limbo; a little baby growing everyday and a daddy missing out on it because of bureaucracy!!

So, I’m disappointed. I know that God knows everything that’s going on and he knows how it will end. I kinda wish he’d clue me in. In the meantime, I’m going to go to bed early and hope I wake up to a miracle.

posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

11th July 2007

Ask away

Have a pressing question that you’ve just been dying to ask me? Then ask! I’ll answer it. Please remember, this is a family-friendly blog :) But be prepared because I might just ask you a question too!

posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments