I've finally got a cool story to share! Or at least, I think it's pretty awesome. So here in Kawhia they hold whaleboat races once a year. There are three clubs that participate. Kawhia boating club, Oparau boating club, and Waitere boating club. The boats they use are something like 150 years old, and the races date back just as far. There's three different sets of races, each held by one of the boating clubs. Since there's not a whole heap of stuff for us to do every single day, one of the things that we've been doing is supporting the Kawhia club. Mostly just showing up for practices and pulling the boats in and out of the shed, grabbing the oars, and so on. Simple stuff, but it's been really good for us to get to know a few more people that live out here. Sadly, we were only able to attend the Oparau race day, since Waitere is across the bay, and the Kawhia races were held on transfer day, so we were stuck in town. The awesome part of the story comes from yesterday. The manager for the Kawhia club happens to live on our street, as well as one of the ladies that rows for the veterans team. For the most part, they pretty much just keep to themselves. However, since we've started going down to the boat house, they've really opened up. So yesterday one of the ladies popped around to our house and invited us to a block party that they were hosting for dinner. We were a little bit nervous about whether it would turn out to be a good thing or not, but we ended up going, since we were invited and it'd be rude not to. When we showed up, some of the people looked at us like maybe we were lost, and I thought "oh boy, here we go, turns out we're not welcome." Then, those that we know from the rowing club came over, introduced us to everybody, and all of a sudden everybody was totally sweet with us. We ended up sticking around for a little over an hour; chatting with all of the people that were present, getting to know our neighbors a wee bit. Had some really good food, too. That's the first time that anything like that has ever happened to me. The first time that I've ever experienced being welcomed into the neighborhood.
It hasn't exactly been the most fruitful area that I've ever had, but it by far has been the most accepting and kind. Out of everything that's happened here, I just hope that when I go, I've been able to leave a good impression. In a little town like this, everything gets around, so hopefully the rumors that we contribute to the mill are ones of how we help out where we can, and how we're not crazy religious nuts but regular guys that want to be loved just as much as the next person.
I love all of the emails that I get from everybody back home. Sounds like people are doing pretty good, and that's what I like to hear.
Arohanui! Elder Kurt
That's Elder Tu'ipulotu. A view of Aotea
One of the many beaches around here.