what I love about NZ…

Truthfully, I an enamored with this country. Really, everyday that I am here I let someone else that lives here know how awesome their country is. They usually want to know exactly what I love about it. So here is a short (but not exclusive) list of what I love about living here so far…

1. EVERYONE here is extremely nice & helpful & friendly – they go out of their way to help you & make sure you are ok. When we first got here our landlords were out of town. They sent their friend, Moira by to check on us. Wouldn’t you know that she came by everyday to see if we were ok! Most of the time she brought magazines for me, candy for the kids, maps, etc. Amazing hospitality!

2. laid back lifestyle. No one is in a hurry to get anywhere – they seem to just enjoy life. A lot of the mums walk over to the coffee shop after primary (elementary) drop off & hang out & drink coffee. If you are not there then you are more than likely at the bay on a run or walk. There are tons of people just walking up & down the waterfront drinking coffee, walking their dogs, or chatting with friends.

3. they don’t kill themselves working (hence Chris went in to work Monday & did not have to go back until Thursday last week – sweet!!)

4. they love & value children. I took Payton to the doctor & they told me that her doctor’s visit would cost $16 & “of course” all of her medications would be free b/c she is under the age of 6. WOW!

5. there is a bakery on every corner. And yes, I do stop at one almost everyday (sometimes twice/day:)

6. they have the best words for things… mum, mate, cheers, getting along (how are you doing), togs (bathing suit), people mover (mini van), flying fox (zip line), nappies (diapers) etc.

7. good morals. We bought a bed off of trademe (a website like ebay). The girl emailed me the next day saying that we had overpaid her & how could she get the $$ back to us. Amazing. The only story I have had so far or someone here being dishonest came from our friend, Capo. Apparently when he first arrived here he bought something & the clerk gave him his change in chocolate golden coins & mini batteries. I guess he figured he wouldn’t know the difference – ha ha – I think that is histerical!

8. It rains everyday at the drop of a hat. I know this is a strange one but after not seeing a good rain for 1 whole year in San Diego, rain is very welcome.

9. my kids love it here

10. I see my husband – everyday. He takes the kids to school a few times/week (school starts at 9) & has even been known to pick them up at 3! For those of you who know us well back in the states & what our life was like there, I am sure you are freaking out about that one!

11. We get to travel. Currently we are planning or vacations to the South Island where Lord of the Rings was filmed & then to Fiji & Australia – so cool!

12. You don’t see people checking their phones all the time (except for me of course). It reminds me of the days before iphones were around. You just don’t see people on their phones very often here.

13. SAFE. when the school bell rings at 3pm, all of the kids run out of their classrooms. There is no checkout system, no waiting to see if they are with the correct mum, nothing. They just get out of school & it is expected that they are safe. No notes home if you wanted a playdate with a classmate – the kids just go. SO UNBELIEVABLY SAFE! I see so many kids walking to school alone or playing outside alone at a young age.   Love it – reminds me of when I was a kid!

14. police don’t even carry guns here

15. Everyone has time to stop & speak to you. This is no exaggeration – EVERYWHERE that I have stopped to speak to someone, they all are more than willing to stop & start up a conversation with you. The bank, the butcher shop, grocer, park, etc. We have been here for a little over 3 weeks & everyone at the bank knows me & my kids by name. I even walked into the local coffee shop yesterday & before I could get my order out the barista already had my order going b/c she remembered what I like – enough said!

16. I don’t have a dryer. This again is another odd thing to like. In fact, before we left I spent hours researching & picking out the perfect dryer for our new home in Greenville. However, here we line dry all of our clothes – and I like it. Makes me feel a part of the culture. A bit difficult with school uniforms, but nevertheless it is fun to do what the locals do.

17. Finally, the scenery. It truly is beautiful here. I feel so blessed that God has laid out these adventures for our family to first live in San Diego for a year then to live in New Zealand. What an amazing experience  – one that I will never take for granted. On that note, several of you have asked for pictures of where we live, scenery, etc. SO sorry it has taken me a while. I am just now feeling like I am organized enough to even bring my camera around. I carried it with me this weekend so you could get a glimpse of God’s country (sorry, Greenville – NZ def. trumps your version of “God’s country”:) Enjoy & PLEASE come visit!

the beach is at the bottom of the village - we play here all the time

St. Heliers village

veggie stand where we get a lot of our fruits & veggies

the bakery - my personal favorite shop in the village:)

P loves the bakery too:)

beach at St. Heliers village

the Chase man

their favorite thing to do is to climb on these rocks

not a great pic but basically impossible to get all 3 together


Rangitoto - volcano across the water from St. Heliers


the crew


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  • Laura - Love all the updates Hope!! It is absolutely gorgeous there!! Love all the pics! Hugs to everyone!

  • Rose Marie - So amazing! Love seeing photos. Miss y’all so much! XO

  • joanne ellison - Honestly it makes my heart sing as your “Mum” to read this and see the pictures. I LOVE that you love it so much there. An answer to prayer for sure!

  • Maggie - OMG WOW. Could NOT be happier for the Bray crew to be loving their new temporary home so much!!!! LOVE reading the updates and the pictures so much, makes it feel like you are NOT so far away!!! Really really happy that Chris has a reasonable schedule after his last 6 years!!! FABULOUS!!! Love and miss you all so much!!

  • anne - love love this hope. you are so fortunate. can’t even get over P. she has grown so much and has 5X the hair as eve. thanks for the pics!

  • Tiff - How beautiful is that!! Your children are absolutely beautiful and they look like they are having a great time! I’m so glad you like it as much as you do. It sounds like an amazing place. Keep sharing, loving it! Hugs!