A Travellerspoint blog

Back in London

overcast 14 °C

Good evening good evening fine people!

And so my adventure has ended, and I'm back in London town.. Slowly falling back to ground, slowly realising the new reality I'm part of, and slowly letting my other reality to become a memory rather than a life.
I'm quite sad to be back because I really really enjoyed my time in Auckland. I enjoyed my work and I loved the people and relationships that I built up over the past 3 months. In saying that, I am glad to be back in London because I'm excited and determined to get back into my studies - I've never been so determined actually!

My last week was spent mostly with Cameron in Pukekohe - meeting the last few folk of his family that I hadn't met previously - that was really lovely. I had my first farewell dinner on Wednesday with the friends I met through Cam. We went for Italian and had a really great night. Thursday I had my last day at St Dom's school with the girls, Thursday evening I went out for Thai as my farewell with Hannah and Leon, the lovely couple I was lucky enough to live with for the duration of my trip. On Friday I spent part of the day having staff training on Mary, then ran some errands and had lunch with my good friend Jo. Friday night was my Logos farewell and about 17 people came out. We had a massive Chinese meal, and then went for drinks at a pub across the street. We had the room upstairs for a time, and we all gathered in a circle, and everyone took the time to give a little speech about me. It was very very sad and emotional, with so many beautiful and surprising things said to me. A couple of friends even played guitar and sang me a song.. Then they gave me my gifts - one being a new hoody with the brand new Logos logo embroidered on it - I couldn't believe it, I was the very first person to have anything with the new Logo on it! Then there was the proper goodbyes, and that too was very emotional. Cam and I drove back to Pukekohe all packed up, and Saturday was his mum's bday, so we took her out for lunch and just had a lovely day together. Cam and I drove up to Auckland for 5pm Vigil Mass, and then drove to say one last goodbye to his nana. Then we drove to the airport early enough for some dinner and have a proper goodbye without being rushed.....

All very emotional, but here's some photos from the last few days:

Me and Jo with the Logos sign (that will soon be the old Logos sign)

Maps, me, Cam and Tom at my Chinese farewell

Cam went to the toilet in the airport, and came back in a kilt!

Our last wee photo together

My last day with most of the Logos crew

And so, this marks the end of my New Zealand 2009 Travel Blog. No doubt there will be another opportunity to use this blog in the future, but in the mean time, I want to thank you all for taking the time to read my posts and leave comments. I'm glad I got to share a small part of my life with you :)

God Bless,

Posted by cheryl.j. 15:27 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged round_the_world Comments (1)

11 days until I leave


overcast 14 °C

Wow I haven't updated this thing in ages - sorry everyone! The last fortnight I've just been extremely busy helping run retreats in schools, more meetings, more visits to schools and generally not being anywhere near a computer to be honest.

So I leave in 11 days, something I'm very sad about and for several different reasons. I've loved every bit of my time spent out here; working in the schools, getting to know the kids, building up relationships, learning about the cultures, having a routine of doing particular things that it becomes the norm to me, meeting new people, hanging out with folk, seeing different parts of the country, and so on and so forth....

At the moment I'm planning the Spring Festival which is this Saturday. I'm in charge of the thing so I've got loads to do with the organising, delegation of tasks, rental of equipment, etc etc. Weather permitting we'll have a BBQ so hopefully the nice spring sun will stay a bit longer.

At the weekend I headed to Hamilton with Cam and his family to go to two weddings at the Cathedral. It was a great day and night - you know me - up dancing and having a rare time. Even decided to dress up for the occasion :P


Then on Sunday Bishop Pat was doing a talk for our youth group, so headed along to that, then went to a particular Catholic Mass to film it for my dissertation (and had to introduce myself to the congregation at the beginning), and then after that, Cam and I headed to my last Theology on Tap night who had a dutch priest talking about podcasting and all sorts - he was very entertaining, and it was nice to see a priest in his clericals for a change (NZ priests tend to wear their normal clothes out and about). So a very good weekend was had by all.

I'm beginning to mentally prepare myself for my departure, and have decided that I'll have my farewell with Cam's mates next Wed, and my Logos farewell next Friday, and have also requested that no one comes to the airport on the Saturday cause I'm terrible at goodbyes. I'll stay with Cam on the Friday night, spend some time with his family, and then head to the airport as my flight isn't until midnight.

I'm also really happy that Dan will be coming to get me at Heathrow airport when I arrive back (thanks again Dan!). It's going to be good seeing a friendly face, and will be great having a big catch up. I'm actually really enthusiastic about getting back and starting back at uni, now that I have an idea what my dissertation will be on. Life is good, I'm a very lucky and blessed girl!

Not sure when my next update will be, but I'll probably get one in before I leave the country.

Lots of love, God Bless xx

Posted by cheryl.j. 14:10 Archived in New Zealand Tagged events Comments (0)

Back in Auckland

It's been a wee while since I last updated, sorry family! I've been kept busy and having loads of fun so it's all good.
I had a great time in Queenstown hanging with Alex and all the Cameron Clan (I was living at Cameron Place). I got a couple of days boarding in at Coronet Peak and The Remarkables, spent alot of time just hanging out in QT, sitting on the beach, reflecting and thinking, and drinking beer. Last Sunday to Tuesday we went on a mini road trip to Wanaka (pic included of the beach). I used the time just to chill out on the beach on the day all my mates went boarding (the ski pass was real expensive so I didn't bother going), but it was a great time nonetheless.
As soon as I got back I was straight into helping lead a retreat at work, and the next day I went on a weekend camp retreat which was all about Leadership and Confidence building. I had a great time, and yesterday involved abseiling and a confidence course/obstacle course of climbing and running and rolling through massive puddles of thick mud puddles that stank of pig crap! But it was so much fun! Afterwords our team had a swim/rinse in the river - soooooo colddddd but so good!
Today I was back in school with a really nice group of students. I'm having a meeting today about our Spring Fest which Im in charge of, and then back to school this evening to hang with the kids and help them prepare for chapel.
I leave 3 weeks on Saturday-very sad, but I'm just making the most of each day and loving every bit of it.
Lots of love, God bless xx
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Posted by cheryl.j. 00:20 Comments (1)


Another beautiful day in Qtown

sunny 8 °C

Good morning all! I hope you're all doing well!

I've been having a rare time in Qtown - still absolutely loving it, enjoying my time with Alex and the Cameron Family of Cameron Place. It's so amazing how many people you meet in life, or really, the potential for the amount of people you could meet if took the time to speak to a stranger. In this scenario, where everyone seems to be travelling, everyone is on their own journey through life, everyone has their own unique story as to how and why they are or are doing what they do. I've always been conscious of people you pass by on the street, or sit next to on the bus etc, that you'll never meet them again; that that person has flickered into and out of your life is a short glimpse. Quite extraordinary really. My time here has been spent getting to know so many new people, and it's really opened my eyes up to a deeper sense of 'life'. I don't know why I'm going on one of my rambles, I suppose I want to document exactly how I'm feeling, what I've been experiencing, and my reflection on it. Back home, you don't go on the tube and start talking to a random stranger, they'd think something was wrong with you, but over here it's the norm. I suppose everyone is searching and exploring life, and life becomes more meaningful when you can share it with others, or meet others that want to see and do what you want to do. These past few days spent in Qtown have been great, and I've met so many different, unique and interesting people - it really makes a difference being able to chat to people and find out about their travels and inspirations and journey.

Last night Alex and I went round to one of the ski patroller's houses and had a few beers and watched the guys play ping pong. We watched a DVD of the ski patrollers working in the states last year and then looked through his photos of living in India. It was so fascinating to see what other people have done with their lives, some people just want to get out there and just 'do', and I admire that so much, it's fantastic!

Anyway, now to properly update you of what I've been doing. The past couple of days have been spent going into town, sitting in wee cafes drinking bowls of latte, and doing uni work. Drinking beer, and yesterday I went boarding up Coronet Peak for the day. Alex had spare boots that fitted great, and I borrowed my mate Kate's board, money well saved! I really need to get my own board gear, works out so much cheaper in the end! So yeah, it hasn't snowed up the mountain in ages, so it's really quite compact and icy, which is bad conditions.. As soon as I hear that scraping sound on ice my confidence drops and the ride becomes more cautious than fun. Working at my 360 turns though which was good. Alex was working at the First Aid centre, so when I was thirsty I dropped in there for some water, and managed to grab a cheese toastie too (saving the pennies mummy dearest). After boarding we headed home, got beer, fish and chips, got ready and headed out for ping pong, then to a pub with all Alex's work mates. It was a really good night, and the only dosh I spent was on doner meat and chips at the end of the night - pretty good! There was a band playing in the pub last night, and when live music is on, I usually gravitate towards them, somehow I ended up playing tambourine for one of their songs, that was a laugh! I think Alex got some photos so I'll get them up at some point. I've actually got loads of photos to put up but I can't find Ailie's memory card reader. So after the awesome grub, we headed home, and then I sat up with the Cam Fam til the wee hours sitting by the fire and chatting about astrology and travelling and trying to steal Jen's hat cause she has some awesome hats!

So that was a huge update!
All my muscles are sore from boarding, always a good thing. Not sure what the plan is for tonight, but tomorrow we're driving to Wanaka and staying there for 2 days an hopefully getting a day of boarding in up at Cardrona. Should be fun!
Then I'm getting a 5 hour bus ride to Dunedin on Wednesday morning, do a tiny bit of sight-seeing there, then flying back to Auckland on Wednesday night (booooooo!!!) I'm going to miss Queenstown and all my new chums.... But I know I'll be back one day :)

Speak soon, love ye's, Gb xx

Posted by cheryl.j. 16:03 Archived in New Zealand Tagged events Comments (2)

Queenstown joy!

Ahoy hoy!
It's so good to be back in Queenstown, my favourite wee gem of New Zealand. I arrived on Monday and got picked up by Alex, Kate and Ailie, some of the girls I'm living with. Came back to our house on Cameron Place, Fernhill QTown. The view is awesome, directly overlooking the lake and snow-capped mountains. Monday night we had a few beers then headed to the pub then to a club which involved lots of face paint, it was a real laugh! Tuesday we got up early and headed to the slopes at The Remarkables. It was a really good day up the mountain. I thought I'd be falling over the shop but I only fell a couple of times, mainly due to me trying to 360 spin (no not jumps!) I managed to borrow a board and boots from Jen's work so saved some pennies, but a day pass is real expensive so I'll not be boarding as much as I wanted to :( Thanks to my lovely father dearest for giving me a loan of money so I could at least get a couple of days in.
Today I had a lie in then walked into town via a wee nature trail - was absolutely beautiful - spent some time sitting in a forest by a river in the sun, overlooking the lake and snow capped mountains..... Pure bliss! I continued into town, found the wee Catholic Church, headed back into town, chatted to Jen at work, bought some fluffy purple slippers out of the $3 shop, then sat in Starbucks with a Hot Choc doing uni work. I actually really enjoyed myself despite chilling on my own. I just love this country so much, there's not
much I can't do without feeling very happy :) Ive put loads of shots on my Facebook, but here's a few (it's more complicated to upload photos to hear than Fb)
How's everyone at home?? Love ye's
Gb x
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Posted by cheryl.j. 23:30 Comments (0)

Queenstown part 2

I forgot to include my Irn-Bru shots!!
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Posted by cheryl.j. 23:45 Comments (2)


I'm hereeeee at my favouite place in all New Zealand! Arrived this avo and the lovely Alex came got me at the airport. Its awesome to be here, Ive missed the place so much and the view from our wee house are to follow-check it outtttt!!
Currently sitting having some beer and chattin with Alex, check it out too! I spent some time earlier sitting on the beach then had a wee hot choc, totally love it and it's great to have a wee break from work.
Going snowboarding tomoz, gony be good. Oh and Alex has wifi so I can update and Skype whenever woo hoo!
Speak soon xx
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Posted by cheryl.j. 22:10 Comments (1)

Heading South


Tomorrow I'm off to Queenstown for 9 days!

Can't wait!

I really feel like I need some time away from work just to get my head around everything that's been going on in my life recently. A week of snowboarding should do just the trick.

I'll update again when I'm there!

Gb xx

Posted by cheryl.j. 05:12 Archived in New Zealand Tagged events Comments (1)

It's been a wee while

overcast 14 °C

Hi everyone!!

My apologies first for a very very late update, I've sort of abandoned my wee blog recently due to a topsy turvy past couple of weeks. Many things have happened, many life changing things for the better I feel.

I've been really busy working too. On Friday I helped out at St Doms girls school where there was 12 baptisms and 16 confirmations, it was really awesome!

I've stopped taking my laptop into work since my bag got stolen, so I've not been online much to update or add any photos-but I will try to put some online later.

On Saturday Cameron and I took the ferry over to the Island of Waiheke. We had a great day, sun was shining-it was like a Scottish summer-and we had fish and chips on the beach!

I'm now half way through my trip, 6 weeks in and 6 to go. This makes me extremely sad as you can imagine as I love it out here, but I'm hoping to come back for an annual Catholic Youth event in January, God willing.

I've been making lots of really good friends too, and last Sunday I went to the monthly Theology on Tap session with the Bishop talking about the priesthood. BTW, Theo on Tap is a Theo sort of discussion held in pub, was a good night and I got to meet some other priests from the diocese.

I've started doing some reading for my masters, there's a module I'm doing which I'll write an essay on this pastoral placement, use Logos for my experience, so trying to get some reading started which is good. Also started thinking about ideas for my dissertation, but I'll keep stewing over that.

On Monday I'm flying down to Queenstown to go snowboarding for 8 days! I'm really looking forward to it and it'll be great to hang out with my Greenockian friend Alex, she's letting me crash on her couch and have a discount on the mountain. Awesome!

Yesterday I headed to Pukekohe to stay over with Cameron and his family. He lives about an hour away on the train in a rural town surrounded by fields, it's really quite a nice wee place. He made some awesome french toast with nutella, syrup, banana and bacon, so filling but so good! Then I made a Thai green curry for him and his parents. His mum finished hers and Cam's leftovers, I was well chuffed! (Although Lindy, it wasn't quite perfect, it needed another 30 mins to simmer but I had to just serve, bad!) Today we got up and drove to the Tyburn Monastery which is nestled in farm land overlooking rolling hills, absolutely gorgeous.

Got the train back to Auckland and headed to work were we had a staff meeting, and then celebrated Fr Kev's 26th year of ordination, it was really nice to be gathered around the table. We sang one Maori Mary Hymn, and a few tears came to my eyes, it was so lovely to be part of it and experience such a community of friends and love.

I've just finished reading some more papers for uni, tomorrow I'm at school all day and at a meeting tomorrow night, and then on Friday I'm hopefully going along to a Confirmation Mass with the Bishop and Fr Kev. Should be a great experience.

So I think that's a good enough update for now-I will try to get the photos up soon!!

Love and miss you all, thanks for the prayers, God bless xx

Posted by cheryl.j. 01:58 Archived in New Zealand Tagged events Comments (2)

Happy day

Just letting you know I'm still very much smiling!
Love and blessings Cx
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Posted by cheryl.j. 16:20 Comments (2)

Sunny day

Hiya everyone!
I realised this morning that Ive been quite quiet on the updating side of things, but Ive been extremely busy otherwise.
I've spent a lot of time in prayer and discernment, trying to understand the meaning and purpose of what's going on in my life right now. Very pensive, I know! In truth, I'm putting everything of me into my experience out here, and the more I do that, the more I love it, and the more I love it, the more I feel God letting me put more into it, and so the circle repeats.
I've been really busy the past few days, going to schools, leading group discussions, getting to know the youth and the people I work with. Saturday I went to an oblates meeting for the Community of St John (now that Fr Dominique has left, those that are interested in the community gather monthly to further the discussions). It's really interesting and heaped in theology and philosophy.
Sunday I was working. We started our Eastern Lights program and we had about 15 people come along. It was really really good! And I feel my faith getting stronger the more I realise that losing things and leaving things behind, allows us to refresh our faith trust and love for God. Leaving the old leaves room for new, and newness helps us widen the space in our heart which allows the Holy Spirit to enter in. Well, this is what I have found.
So I am on a journey of discernment, and I am loving and losing and living and loving it. The more I give of myself, the more God gives back to me. I just don't want this journey to end, and I have full trust in Jesus that I will grow and be strengthened in every situation he allows me to be part of.
I'm off to school soon, then meeting, then school tonight. Tomorrow and Wed I'm helping run a 2 day retreat, and Thurs and doing a Sacramental program at school.
I've added a few photos from my past few days. The girls who were making their first Confession made the blu-tac crosses :)
I love this :) Thank you for all your prayers, God Bless x
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Posted by cheryl.j. 14:20 Comments (3)

Things are on the up

Hi everyone! Ok so I'm feeling much much better than my last entry. Thank you for all the kind words and prayers you've sent me, they've really helped and cheered me up. I spent a good half an hour sitting in the Church across the street yesterday, there was no Mass but I spent the time just getting my head straight and clarifying stuff. The time spent in prayer helped me focus and see that, yeh bad stuff happens, and some times it can be really bad and seem impossible to get over, but, and it's. big but, God never gives us too much on our plate, and when we offer up the bad with the good, he helps us and makes us stronger when we always remember to keep our eye on Him. By emphasising the bad, we focus onto a tiny piece of our lives and forget to zoom out and see all the rest. All the rest, for me, is this awesome opportunity that I still have to experience; the fact my first month is nearly over and there's still so much to enjoy. I'm done with my moping and feeling sorry for myself, and last week is truelly last week.
The past two days I've been at different schools and doing different sessions in prayer and reflection, I've also been to a couple of meetings for the Diocesan Youth Mass for this Sunday. I'm keeping myself busy and focussing on what's good in life. I forgot to mention that my bible, breviary, note pad and diary were in the bag, (and mum, I pure loved that wee diary, and heather, unfortunaty it was the note pad you bought me) and my gran paid for the bible and breviary, BUT, I can get new ones, it's no big deal-Fr Kev has given me a loan of a bible, and Cameron's giving me a loan of a breviary, the iPod can wait, and works buying me a cable for my laptop. So it ain't all bad eh!
I'm going for dinner with Cam tonight, probs to the seminary. I've got meetings all avo so I won't get any gardening done but maybe tomoz.
Thanks for the prayers everyone, there's no doubt they've made me stronger and helped me in this process that is part of life.
Photos of Auckland from my phone I took today, as it's a lovely day, and a photo of me lookin all smart and to show I'm still smiling :)
Lots of love, Gb x
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Posted by cheryl.j. 16:25 Comments (1)

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