18 August 2011

Cast of characters

I've mentioned that I've been out with friends, spent time with friends or had friends visiting me. You might be thinking, "Hold on, Jen, I'm confused. You've been in the country for about five minutes and you have all these friends. How did that happen?"

Or maybe you weren't thinking that at all. Anyhoo, I thought I'd do a post introducing my New Zealand friends and explaining how I met them.

First up, the friend I've known the longest. I met Amanda at church when we moved to Cape Town when I was three years old. We were best friends when we were little but drifted apart in high school. She moved to the UK pretty much straight after high school and then moved to New Zealand shortly before Grant and I arrived in England almost twelve years ago. She lives about 50 minutes' drive from me now, is married and has four children. Amanda is creative, positive, enthusiastic and is a fantastic parent. I only wish we lived closer to each other.

Next up is Taryn. We met in primary school when we were six years old. We went to the same high school too, and we were close friends then. Taryn has traveled here, there and everywhere, including some time in England, before moving to New Zealand. She also lives further north than I, closer to the city. She is usually upbeat, positive, funny and sunny but has recently had her heart broken. She adores animals more than anyone I know. She is a great singer too and used to entertain us in high school with renditions of Broadway classics.

This is Nic. Yes, the Nic Howard, international scrapbooking celebrity! I met her through the internet over a year before coming to NZ. Although I don't scrapbook much anymore I thought that a scrapbooking group would be a way of meeting people in Pukekohe. I was doing an internet search when I stumbled on her blog. I followed for a while without commenting until November 2009 when she posted a layout about what it was like to live in NZ with of the beaches, mountains and bays on their doorstep. I posted a comment in response, saying, "Love the layout, especially the journaling as we're planning on moving over to NZ (and Pukekohe specifically) next year." She emailed back and we chatted back and forth and got to know one another a bit. When Grant came out to NZ in January 2010 Nic and her husband showed him around for the day. She has three lovely children. She was incredibly helpful when it came time for us to find a house in Pukekohe before we were even in the country. I can't begin to express how grateful we are for everything she's done for us. She's down-to-earth, generous, friendly and cheerful.

Ruth is a friend of Nic's. She was reading my blog for about a year before we emigrated and she would leave lovely comments. We started emailing back and forth and I got to know her a little. When we arrived in NZ and visited our house for the first time she'd been there before us and left a gift of some roses and a beautiful handmade card. She also lent the boys some toys to see them through until our things arrived. She has a husband and three kids, who are a credit to her. She is hospitable, kind, generous, calm (I'm always impressed by people who are tranquil, as I so am not!) and friendly.

Next up is R, who prefers to remain anonymous on the internet (how clandestine!) It's ironic as I met her through the internet! I'd posted on an international message board that I would be moving to NZ and she emailed me. We emailed back and forth and shortly after we arrived here we met up at the library and clicked right away. She lives in a neighbouring village and has a beautiful family. She is very creative, passionate, enthusiastic and faith-full. She is so loving and patient with her kids. We have a lot of interests in common.

Well, that's a little outline of some of the wonderful women in my life here in NZ. I'm so grateful to have friends, and to have made friends before even arriving here. It's made settling in so much easier than it would have been had I not had them in my life.

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