The first kindness we experienced came in an unexpected place, a taxicab. We strode up to the first cab in line outside the Auckland airport. Our instructions were to take a cab to an short interview Jared needed to attend, have the cab driver wait, and then proceed to our hotel. The slightly awkward part of this is that the boys and I waited in the taxicab during Jared's 15 minute interview. The driver was kind right away and we found out he is from India. We chatted a little and discovered he has two kids and recently travelled to India to attend his brother's wedding. I commented how much Jared and I like Indian food. He quickly pulled out some homemade treats he had brought with him from India. The boys and I all accepted one and then he proceeded to put the bag with the rest of them in my protesting hands. I gratefully accepted. He then asked me if I would like a cup of hot tea. (One of the things I love so much about NZ is all the hot tea drinking.) I curiously said "sure" wondering where he would produce hot tea in the midst of a parked taxicab. He walked around to the truck and pulled a large thermos out of the back. The only cup he had to offer was his own thermos cup and I felt like I was in too deep to refuse at that point. He shared with me one of the most delicious cups of authentic chai tea I have ever had. He told me how his wife prepares it with boiled milk and ground up cardamon and other spices I can't remember. It was piping hot. Jared was baffled when he arrived back at the car with me drinking a cup of tea. I shared it with him.
When the driver (his English name is Singh) dropped us at the hotel a bit later we were very appreciative. We told him we were going to take a cab again in the morning back to the airport and he offered to meet us out front at 6:30am. As he promptly pulled up the next morning and we started chatting, he shared that it was actually his day off! He shared that he would be back home before his kids were awake. The first person we interacted with in New Zealand showed us incredible kindness.
One of the sweet friends we made in New Zealand last time is Frances Goddard. Her and her husband Andy have ten kids. We met them in the Taupo homeschool group. They live an hour south of the town we are going to live in this time. She told me that their family wanted to greet us at the airport as we arrived. We were thrilled. I didn't realize at the time that Andy was traveling with their oldest to college in the South Island. So lovely Frances met us at the airport at hour from her home with nine of her kids in tow! They transported some of our luggage and had homemade cookies, fresh plums, and tea and milk for our new home. The kids instantly started playing and she gave me a ride to the grocery for the first time, then took Jared to the hospital to receive the car we would use. We have been very challenged by this family since we met them last time. They are so thoughtful, hospitable, love the Lord, and others so well. It is a joy being around them. Their kindness made our hearts happy right away.