Friday, June 22, 2012

Becoming more Learned in Auckland

3.15 am...not a very happy time to get out of bed, but with a two-hour drive to Christchurch to be on a 6.45 Auckland-bound airplane, it had to be done!  I had planned to just shower, dress and have breakfast before leaving, with plenty of time before departure to do make-up at the airport...but the walk from long-term parking to the terminal was longer than I had anticipated so when I walked into the departure area they were already calling my flight.  Eeek!  Had to get through a long queue at the security check-point; walked straight through boarding and onto the plane - not even five minutes to spare for the toilet!  Felt naked.  Couldn't wait to land and get myself sorted out :)  On landing I realized I could rather catch a bus into town instead of driving a hire-car through unfamiliar traffic-laden streets; thank the Lord for that particular prompting as it saved much stress.  The point of this whole exercise was to spend two days doing training on a new payroll system the education department will be rolling out country-wide.  I was volunteered to be in a small group of 'specialists' - while everyone who administers payrolls and timesheets in schools will have to undergo on-line training, we were doing it a bit more intensely with the intention of feeding back to the developers about what works and what we think can be improved.  I soon realized that I was out of my league with a lot of senior office admin ladies (and a few men) with many years of experience!  Didn't struggle with the actual training or software; a definite advantage of falling into the the younger generation is less resistance to change.  It was extremely interesting all in all and a great opportunity.  By 6.30 pm, after browsing shops on Queen Street and having a solitary McDonalds wrap, I was in absolutely finished and ready for bed.  To be honest, being in the throngs of people walking up and down the street was utterly depressing (Mom, I understand now).  Everyone is on their own plane, with their own artsy thing happening, and most of them absolutely lost and wandering in darkness, spiritually. I thought how extremely difficult it must be to have any kind of ministry here, where peoples' hearts are hardened to the truth and beauty of the gospel, its simple message of Jesus' saving work on the cross sounding like foolishness.  Back to my hotel room around 5; it was great to not be needed by anyone - no hockey matches to oversee, tea to make, homework to check or togs to hang up.  I spent the evening quietly with boring shows on TV and a book.
Day 2 of training - Friday - was also good although I think towards the end we were all getting a bit weary.  We had many, many questions for the developers to go and scratch their heads about, which means we did our training well!  We finished earlier than expected, getting out before 3.  Their original agenda had indicated that we would finish at 4; my flight was a few hours later as the earlier one would have cut it too fine.  If I had only but known!  Ah well.  What's a girl to do with a few hours to spare on Queen Street but shop??!  But with a 10kg luggage allowance nearly at maximum, I was pretty restricted (not that funds were unlimited either!). So much fru-fru and bling in this shop, it was difficult to concentrate :)
Took an early bus back to the airport and waited there for a very long time.  Landed Christchurch around 9.20 pm, retrieved the rental car and paid the $50 parking, and nearly got myself lost getting onto the highway.  I'm not a very good night driver at the best of times; this was probably the worst of times after the last two days of activity.  The highlight of the drive (and probably the best thing that could have happened to keep me awake) was a breath-test by the police in Ashburton.  I burst into tears when I walked into the lounge into Nick's arms at nearly midnight! 

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