A Tale of Two Alps

I’m looking forward to seeing the Swiss Alps again, but I’m cherishing every day with a view of the Southern Alps. Yesterday I had the joy of hopping in a car with two friends and seeing some stunning new views – one of which some might recognize as the film location for the capital city of Rohan in The Lord of the Rings. Barely a two hour drive from Christchurch, but with about twenty miles of gravel road at the end of it, we trekked to the beautiful landscape that temporarily hosted the legendary horses and humans of Rohan several years ago. Today, no dogs are allowed, but people can hike around on the pristine land and enjoy the breathtaking views surrounded by hills and high mountains.

Liz, Jen, and I made a day of it as we also stopped at a few nearby lakes to see the natural beauty and the birds, and for Jen to find some of the native weeds she and her colleagues are studying. The terrain wasn’t super easy for the wheelchair, so we didn’t do much more for me than a hundred meters or so to get the epic selfie of us in Middle Earth, but I snapped some incredible photos from the car when we pulled up next to the lakes. It was incredibly windy, so I wouldn’t have wanted to spend much more time out of the car anyways, but I was so struck by the majestic view of the untouched nature.

Today at church, my friend Jasmine asked me how I was feeling about leaving, knowing that my departure is barely a month away. “I knew leaving would be hard, but that doesn’t make it any easier,” I told her. Of course I’m excited to go back to Germany, but I’ve been so blessed to spend time reading and walking and responding to dozens of student questions and prayer requests. This week I also got to chat with my friend Cindy for a few minutes, and we confirmed plans to have lots of long walks together when we both move back to Germany this summer. This is the paradox of my life because I’ll have to leave behind the Southern Alps and all the people I’ve come to love in order to return to my Kandern friends and the views of the Swiss Alps in the distance.

The coming weeks will still have lots of walking, workouts, coffee stops, and theological conversations as I wrap up my time in New Zealand, and I would love your prayers to finish my time well as I head back to Germany via an adventure soon to be booked.

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