The best part about living in a small town is the community. Everybody knows everybody and, undoubtedly, everybody knows about the American students living in The Old Convent. Kaikoura only has a population about the size of Hope’s, so throughout the last 6 weeks, we’ve had the opportunity to meet members of the community through BBQ’s, churches, and local shopping. This past weekend, though, we had the opportunity to live with some of these families and learn a little bit more about the New Zealand culture.
A Calvin student, Sadie, and I stayed at a widowed woman’s home who recently returned from 4 years teaching in Tanzania. She’s probably the coolest lady I’ve ever met. We spent our weekend going to all the best lookout points in Kaikoura, shopping the local market, eating ice cream, coloring, watching kiwi T.V., and putting temporary tattoo lips on just because.. so pretty much the greatest weekend ever.
Sadie and I expanded our kiwi language learning new words like “wops,” “service stations,” “flannels,” “teatowels,” “stubbies,” “jersey,” “cuppa,” “tea,” and “gummies” (boonies, gas stations, handtowel, drying towel, shorts, sweatshirt/sweater, coffee/tea, dinner, and rubber boots). A couple common phrases you’ll hear include “no worries” instead of “it’s alright” and “ssssss okay” instead of “you’re welcome.”
It was also Seafest this weekend in which people from all over come dressed in crazy costumes to socialize at the marque in town. Seafest tends to mark the beginning of tourist season in Kaikoura. Around 6,000 people (2,000 more than the population) arrive for Seafest but over 1 million tourists come to Kaikoura each year as it is one of the most sought after tourist destinations for its whale watching. This quaint little town can pack a lot of people.
We came to homestay with a backpack full of clothes and expectations for a great weekend but left with exceeded expectations, a new kiwi mum, and a key to her home so we can visit anytime. Plans for weekly dinners and coffee time are already in the works. There truly is something so special about Kaikoura and its people.