Sunday, February 6, 2011

:: 10 Years Ago ::

Long before the days of digital cameras or fancy SLR's (or at least before I ever owned one), I jumped on a plane with my point and shoot camera ready for a new adventure, as you will see in the scanned photos below. Yes, I said scanned. Remember...the days before I ever owned a digital camera?! I had to scan these out of my Creative Memories album - from ten years ago.

It was a lovely February day, ten years ago that I arrived in New Zealand for the very first time. Little did I know that the six months I was planning on attending Capernwray Bible School would change the course of my life forever!
These are the dorms that we called home

I expected to thoroughly enjoy living there for a while - learning new things, and having fun adventures. I expected to be challenged and grow in various areas of my life. I expected to see some amazing places and meet some nice people. But, there were quite a few things that happened that I didn't quite expect.

I didn't expect to build deep friendships with some of the greatest people I have ever known - friendships that are still going strong today - ten years later.
This is the extraordinary group of people that I spent a majority of my time with. Growing. Learning. Laughing.

I didn't expect to be able to drive a short distance to see places like this...
90 Mile Beach at the tip of the North Island

Or to take a ferry to the South Island and come across scenes like this...
Lake Tekapo with Mt. Cook in the background

I didn't expect to that I would be able to kayak on water like this...
Able Tasman National Park

And I sure didn't expect to enjoy wearing a kayak skirt!
I never expected to be among the first in the world to see the sunset on March 10, 2001 and among the first to see the sunrise on March 11th at East Cape.
East Cape is the Eastern most point in New Zealand and one of the first places in the world to see the sun rise each new day.

I didn't expect to spend my 25th birthday skydiving...

But I am SO glad I did!
Falling towards the earth at 200km/hour is windy folks. That is not a vein on my arm, it is my skin flapping in the wind!

I didn't expect to see New Zealand from 12,000 feet in the air!
This really is me...the profile gives it away!

I didn't expect that I would climb a glacier in the middle of a NZ summer.
In a little ice hole on the Franz Josef Glacier

I didn't expect that one of the very first beaches we visited after arriving in New Zealand would forever hold a special place in my heart.
Raglan Beach

You see, between all of the expectations I took with me to New Zealand, and the amazing unexpected things that I was able to experience, nothing could have prepared me for the twists and turns my life would take after arriving in that tiny country ten years ago.

Arriving at school, meeting amazing people, skydiving, beach trips, kayaking, rappelling next to 200 foot high waterfalls, seeing thousands upon thousands of glow worms deep in the Waitomo Caves, the breathtaking scenery of Milford Sound, hiking the Tongariro Crossing, growing leaps and bounds in my faith - all of these fun excursions and life changing experiences were preparation for the next great adventure in my life.

After my six months was up at school, I was asked to stay on and join the staff. I initially declined and returned to Santa Cruz for a year and a half, only to return and join the Capernwray staff in January 2003. But, that is another story for another time.

All of this is to say that had I not ventured out and gone to New Zealand ten years ago, had these experiences, met these amazing people and trusted that I was where God wanted me to be at the time, even when it didn't seem to make sense, there is a very good chance that I wouldn't have gone back there in 2003. And if I hadn't gone back in 2003, there is a very good chance that I wouldn't have met him...And because of this adventure that began to unfold ten years ago, my life was changed forever. Remember the picture of Raglan Beach up above? Here is another picture of the same beach taken exactly three years later.
What God had known all along, I didn't know. I didn't know that this beach would be the very place that Markus and I would begin our adventures together three years after the first time I set foot on the sand - ten years ago.
I wonder what the next ten years will hold? Where were you ten years ago?


Anonymous said...

ten years ago...sitting in Germany and being very amazed that my "little" brother met THE woman and decided to marry her!!!! xx

Anonymous said...

ten years ago... we got this very special phonecall - "SHE is the one"
and we trusted him and HIM. Great to have you in our family Nini says heihei

Sally said...

I have recurring dreams that I go back to NZ. Buy I always forget something... my husband, my son, etc... haha.

It was and, I imagine, still is an extraordinary place. For obvious reasons it will always be tremendously special for both Aaron and me.

Remembering Capernwray is one of my favorite things to do. :)

Nini said...

Heidi and Claudia...I am so thankful to be part of your family! It was actually 8 years ago that Markus and I met...had I not gone to NZ the FIRST time ten years ago, I may not have met him two years later...or you! I am SO glad God knew what He was doing!!

Stef said...

wow! this post surprised me by making me cry. Just to see how God lays all these things out for us. We get so anxious over things and think its in our control and its not.
AND, New Zealand is GORGEOUS!!! Wow. Took my breath away, beautiful pictures. You did an awesome job snapping, even with a point and click :)

10 years ago I was 21 and working at a computer software company :)

Anonymous said...

Nini! Thanks so much for this post:) It brought tears to my eyes. I'm so thankful for 10 years ago and meeting you and what a special friend you have been. I love you!

izzyg said...

i LOVE this post nini. i read it a few times through and it resonates so well with me. I am selfishly very thankful you came back in 2003 - not just for Markus but so I could meet you! Miss you friend.

Stephanie said...

Wow - you were quite the risk taker, Nini! I can't believe you went skydiving. I'm not sure I'm quite that bold. ;)

P.S. Happy Anniversary! You two were clearly meant for each other.