Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Dear Family!

Well I have had another great week here in New Zealand but I am afraid that it was rather uneventful. Unfortunately Sister Gunnell was really sick for a few days this week. She had a bad sinus infection and due to the constant rain we were forced to stay inside for two whole days. I thought I was going to go  crazy! I wanted to go to work so bad but it was really important that Sister Gunnell stay in and rest so that she could recover quicker. She is completely fine now and everything is great I just feel like nothing happened this week. It was still fun though.

So we are still working with the family and they are preparing for their baptism. We are also teaching two daughters of a less-active who is coming back to church and they are great. One is eleven and the other one is nine. During the lesson yesterday they wanted to know who Satan was and so we explained what happened in the pre-mortal world and stuff like that and we told them that he is here on the earth now but that he doesn't have a body so he goes around tempting people to do bad things and one of the girls said "Oh that makes me so mad. I just want to punch him in the face." so I said "Well remember you can't because he doesn't have a face." then the other little girl piped up and asked "If Satan had a face do you think Heavenly Father would punch it?" and we all just burst out laughing. It was so funny. Anyway these girls are going to get baptised in a few weeks and we are excited for them. We have quite a few baptisms coming up actually and I am very nervous because transfers are next Thursday and I don't know what is going to happen. I wish they would just leave us alone! But I know that no matter what happens I will be fine. I will love it! 

So I figured because I don't have much to report this week that I would make a list of things that are different about New Zealand or that I have learned since I have been here. 

1. Now I have said this before but I feel like I need to say it again. New Zealand is the most beautiful place on earth! Everything here is so beautiful from the rolling green hills to the flowers to the rain. Everything is so amazing. Everyone needs to plan a trip here someday because it really is incredible. 

2. Kia Ora means "Hello" in Maori and it is how every New Zealander greets one another. This is something that I say now more than I say hello. I didn't even do that on purpose. It just happened. 

3. Here in New Zealand they sell these really big kit-kats that come in different flavors like mint, caramel, and cookies and cream. I will have to take a picture and send it to you so you can see but they are amazing. They call them kit-kat threes and they break into three different pieces that have different fillings. I'm addicted. 

4. Another thing is that New Zealand has AMAZING chocolate! Now it's not a secret that chocolate was never really my favorite. Well that was before I tasted NZ chocolate. I tell you there is nothing like it. It is so rich and creamy and it melts on your tongue. I don't think I can ever eat American chocolate again. 

5. The ice-cream here is just as good as their chocolate. Here it's actually made with real cream so it is really rich but it is so good. It never freezes solid and it's so easy to scoop out. I am scared for the day when I have to eat American ice-cream again. 

6. New Zealanders also love their cream. They pour cream on everything. Now I am talking heavy cream that back home we would whip up to make whipped cream. So imagine pouring heavy cream on a chocolate cake and eating it. Yup that is what happens here. They can't eat any dessert without putting cream on it. This is something I haven't quite picked up yet. I prefer to just eat the cake. 

7. Shoes aren't requited here. That's right you don't have to wear shoes if you don't want to. As the weather if finally warming up here I see more and more people waling around without wearing any shoes. Kids can even go to school barefoot if they want. 

8. When people talk, if they want to add an emphasis to a word they are using to describe something they say the word "as" so for instance if I were to describe the spider we found in our flat this morning I would say "We found a huge as spider this morning." Weird I know but I have accidently picked this one up too. 

9. Here there isn't a limit on how many houses that can be built on one lot. Its ridiculous because there are these huge houses built right in front of or behind each other. It makes finding addresses a nightmare too beacuse the address will say something like "32A Bell rd" or "56C Gordon" and then we have to determine which of the unmarked houses are A, B, and C. 

10. The waste management system here is awful too because you get to fill up one rubbish bag per week and its just like a paper bag that sits in your house until the day it's scheduled to be picked up. The smell sometimes is awful and we can't even put it outside because our land-lord has a dog that will get into it. Yes we learned that lesson the hard way. 

11.Another cultural adjustment is everyone takes off their shoes before entering a home. No one wears shoes inside and so I have had to get use to taking off my shoes. Now you can imagine as missionaries what that must be like because all we do is go in people's homes. 

12.It's is illegal here to spank your children. That includes a little pop on the hands. Parents aren't allowed to physically discipline their children in any way. Obviously this is one that is tricky to enforce but it's still a law. 

13.Because the taxes are more here if you're married, people here don't get married. They just live together and have families but never get married. Honestly only the mormon couples get married. This is hard too because most people live in broken homes. 

14. In five years it will be illegal to smoke cigarettes here. This is unfortunate for the 85% of the population who smokes. I tell you I have never seen so many smokers in my life. Even as I writing this there is someone smoking right outside the email shop and I can smell it. Mom you would not be able to survive. 

15.Here you have to great everyone with a hug and a kiss on the cheek. As missionaries this is only the case with women but still it took some getting used to. You know me I don't like to be touched and so I really had to overcome that. Now I don't mind it at all. In fact it is just a habit. Twice non-member men have shaken my hand and then leaned in and kissed my cheek. I wanted to die and then throw-up both times. 

16. The tattoos that women have on their chins here is called a "moko" and it tells a story most of the time about that persons genealogy. We have a few women in my ward here that have them. I will try to get some pictures with them so you can see. Tattoos are huge in general here though. Pretty much everyone has them. They aren't like the stupid ugly ones in the states. Most of the time they are some kind of cultural design that also tells a story.

Well those are all the things I have time to write right now. I will keep adding to the list though. This country and the people here are absolutely amazing and I am loving every minute of being here.

I hope that things are all going well for you! Have a great week!


This is my beautiful green New Zealand.

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