It is an enormous task to prepare to take a family of nine from New Zealand to America. It did help that I made lists, over the last couple of weeks, of jobs that needed done before taking off, and on Saturday before we left we started a list of what needed to happen each of the last three days. On Monday, I finished the sewing that had to be done, while Gayle and the boys got things done outside. There were also a lot of little jobs to do, and nearly everything was accomplished. Tuesday, I thoroughly cleaned both refrigerators, and we packed clothes. It took about three hours to do that, even with all the older children packing their own! Then, we left the suitcases open so we could put things in as we remembered them. Wednesday we cleaned house and did all sorts of other miscellaneous jobs to get ready. By evening, everything felt ready to go; it sure helped to have done the packing a couple of days ahead of time. I was relaxed enough that evening, feeling like everything was ready, that I was actually able to sleep that last night! Here is our lineup of suitcases—and Little Miss dumping mine!
We had six bags to check at the airport, so took a picture of them in case it would be needed. Thankfully, nothing got lost!
Taking off on the first flight!
It was clear when we took off from Christchurch, and we had a beautiful view of the Waimakariri River from the air.
There was a heavy cloud cover at times, but I believe the sandy area in the lower right in this photo is where the boys and I went to a beach with our homeschool group a couple of months ago, near Amberley.
The Kaikoura Mountains were spectacular! I think this sharp-pointed one is Mount Manakau, which we can see all the way from Christchurch.
This is near Blenheim.
We enjoyed seeing Picton from the air. We’ve been on both sides of the peninsula sticking out in the middle of the bay in the center of the picture. You can see a log yard on the closer side of that peninsula, and on the other side, the big white things are the ferries that go to the North Island.
The Marlborough Sounds from the air.
A mountain on the North Island.
Sunrise over the Pacific. There were clouds below us all the way across. It was beautiful, with a full moon shining on them, but the sunrise was even more beautiful. This flight took 13 hours, which seemed to be about forever. The three youngest slept fairly well, and I think Gayle got some decent sleep. Esther and I only slept an hour or two each, and the three big boys didn’t do well at all. We were all glad to land on the ground in Houston!
We had seven hours in Houston. Some friends who live about 2 1/2 hours from there met us at the airport and took us to a park, where they fed us. It was so good to get out of the airport and have fresh air and room to move—not to mention the wonderful fellowship!
We spent a day in Ohio resting and recovering and spending time with Gayle’s family, and then took off for Michigan! We have been loaned a van to use by a family who are serving as missionaries in Africa, so we have our own transportation, which is wonderful.
The children enjoyed seeing sights that are so different from New Zealand. We don’t have barns and silos like this back home!
We saw a couple of large wind farms in Ohio and Indiana.
Michigan! For you in New Zealand, these are typical highway scenes in this state.
Mr. Diligence has had some culture shock. He was only four when we moved to New Zealand, and hadn’t been back. He is marveling at the large vehicles, and the tall buildings we saw in Cincinnati, and the tall electric poles. We keep telling him, “Everything is bigger in America!” He also had a hard time adjusting to being on the other side of the road. I’m not having much trouble driving here, although I told Mom yesterday that her car likes to go the New Zealand speed limit, which is a bit higher than the speed limit here. We are loving being with our family and getting to know them again.