|Look, we made it to Dunedin! I swear!|
Our original schedule contained a few errors in planning, as the “6 Lessons Learned” post details. Our first error was assuming we could do 90 k a day and still sightsee. After one day where we missed our goal and had a terrifying run across a bridge, we decided to re-think our plan. At lunch on day 2, we considered options.
Tuesday 6th– Pick up the bikes in Christchurch and bike to Ashburton.
|Plenty of time for play|
While sitting in a MacDonald’s in Ashburton, we were faced with a choice; haul down the coast doing 90 k or 6-8 hours a day on the bike and sightseeing from the handlebars because we said we’d bike to Dunedin, or do we catch a bus part of the day and scale back to 40-50 k a day and 4-5 hours on the bike to take time for wine tasting, scenic photography and a more relaxing vacation. We chose to slow down and see New Zealand. We could have made it, but it seemed silly. So, we jumped on a bus to Oamaru and biked the hilly part.
|This is the airplane we take to Pentecost. It has 16 seats.|
My mother is a preschool teacher in the Minneapolis Public Schools. She gets summers off, unless she decides to teach summer school. This is a great time to do work on the house, catch up on projects, make Milk Carton Boats and go on vacation. She decided a vacation to the South Pacific was in order.
|This is the luggage carousel in Santo. We’re high tech here…|
|We went snorkeling .|
|It was a damp kind of week|
|Relvie and kids from Londar/Wanur in the south|
So far, most of our training has been about being flexible and rolling with whatever comes our way. I think our swearing in epitomized this lesson nicely. The original plan said that we would all wear island dresses/shirts and sit in neat orderly rows while various people spoke, including one soon-to-be volunteer as a speaker and one with a short reading. We added in me to present a plaque to our country director. After, we would finish up and go eat and say goodbye to our training host-families. That was a great theory that started to go wrong rather quickly.
Around noon, the man who was going to the trainees’ speaker came down with a bad case of something. By 1 pm, there was a question about whether or not he would be able to make it to the swearing in at all, and he was definitely not speaking. By 1:30, we were on a bus heading to swearing in without a speaker. Because I was already planning on speaking, I got nominated to just talk a little longer. Then that plan changed when another woman came forward and said she would do the thank yous. We had a plan again. However, by 2:45 we still didn’t have our clothes. At 3:00, still no dresses or shirts. At 3:20, ten minutes before the ceremony was supposed to start, the last of the host families come rolling in with our clothes. There is just one hitch. Jason’s shirt doesn’t have buttons. I go running to the bathroom to change into my dress and Jason starts looking for a solution. It turns out that little girl’s hairclips work wonders for closing a shirt in an emergency. By the time I got out of the bathroom, I couldn’t tell that he didn’t have good buttons. Then, the ceremony was delayed because the Minister of Internal Affairs was tied up trying to get an immigration bill passed. He ended up not showing and sent his second in command instead.
I believe this is a fitting swearing in. Roll with it and don’t get stuck on a plan, that’s the trick of the next few months and the next few years.