This is going to be a slightly different type of post. I’ve already written about my experiences with each of these people (except the Perry’s, who I’ve written about in this post), but I wanted to take a moment to reflect on some of the great people I’ve met so far. I’ve really met dozens of others, but these are mostly the folks who I’ve stayed with, traveled with, or who have helped me along my journey.
Khalid Shafar from Dubai, UAE
Lane and April Perry from Oklahoma, USA
I met Lane working with the Gap Fillers in Christchurch. He and his wife April have a great story. They both finished their degrees at the University of Central Oklahoma. They got married, bought a house, two cars, a dog, and had great jobs. They were there! But then they thought….are we really there??
They decided on a change. Each of them wrote down on a piece of paper the top 10 countries they would like to live in. New Zealand came in the top three for both; they researched doctorate programs, cost of living, moving expenses….and they picked up and moved to Christchurch. Now they are Dr. and Dr. Perry (almost…good luck finishing this spring April!), and living the dream. Their motto: pay it forward, and walk humbly.
About five minutes after meeting Lane he offered me to stay at their place (subject to approval, of course, by April, but more importantly their golden retriever Riley), and the next day I was there. We had a great four days together. I really enjoyed the fellowship and great company, as well as an American perspective on living in New Zealand. As hard as it was to say goodbye to Lane and April, it was just as hard leaving Riley behind!
I hope to repay the favor to them someday, but in the meantime I’ve simply promised to pay it forward.
Florence Annon from New Zealand
Dwayne Groves from West Auckland, New Zealand
Maciek Wcislik from Warsaw, Poland
Arnie Aston and his family from Lower Hutt, Wellington, New Zealand
This list doesn’t include anyone who I met in Australia, so I’ll have to save them for next time. Here’s to some great connections so far..