Monthly Archives: November 2011


Being from New Zealand, Thanksgiving is one holiday that we were looking forward to experiencing. Thanksgiving in the U.S. (it is also celebrated in Canada but on a different day) is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November and is a day where families gather and through food and fellowship, they give thanks to God for the blessings they have received throughout the year. The day is a bit like Christmas in that it has a very festive feel about it and of course, there is mountains of food.

Although the Thanksgiving Day and the day after (called ‘Black Friday’) are national holidays, the Seminary breaks for the whole week. I assume they break for the week to allow students who are from out of state, time to travel back to their respective home states and spend Thanksgiving Day with their families.

Today, our family and the Burlings were invited by the Hoglos, a family from Placerita Baptist Church, to their house to celebrate Thanksgiving Day with them. We are very grateful to Chris, Georgina, Wyatt and Luke for their kind hospitality.

The meal was a traditional turkey meal with all the trimmings followed by pumpkin and apple pies for dessert. As usual, we ate far too much but the food, especially the turkey and home-made cranberry sauce was fantastic.

After the meal, we sat down to watch a recording of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, which is a traditional parade stretching all the way back to 1924. It is a massive three-hour long event featuring many floats, balloons and performances by current Broadway shows.

After the parade, we had a very entertaining game of (boys vs girls) charades which the boys won with relative ease followed by some general blobbing out.

Of course, Thanksgiving Day cannot be complete without reflecting upon the things which we are thankful for, especially in a year that has seen a lot of change and upheaval for our family.
We are thankful for our family and for our wider families and friends back home in New Zealand.
We are thankful to be in California and living out an experience that we will cherish for the rest of our lives.
We are thankful for the new friends we are making here in the U.S. and for the wonderful hospitality of the Americans.
We are thankful to the Lord who, despite our many flaws and failings, bestows upon us His overflowing, abounding and abundant grace.
We are thankful for His daily provision and care.
We are thankful for the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, who by doing so, became the propitiation for our sins and took upon Himself our punishment that is ours by right.
We are thankful for the inheritance that is being built up for us.
We are thankful for the privilege of serving a wonderful and gracious God.

It’s been a great day.


Santa Clarita Trails

One of the things that we loved to do as family back home in New Zealand was to walk and/or cycle around the trails that lined the Hutt River. We lived so close to the river that it was a favorite evening activity for our family to head down there in the summer months. When we moved from Lower Hutt to California, we didn’t think that we would be able to do that. Imagine our surprise while out walking one balmy evening, we stumbled upon a whole system of bike and walking trails only half a mile from our house.

The city of Santa Clarita has more than 60 miles of interconnected trails that are purpose built for cycling, walking or if you are really mad – jogging. It is a safe and scenic area, seemingly miles away from the built-up areas, where we can stretch the (old) legs and take in some of the local scenery.

We bought the girls second-hand bikes a few weeks ago so they can cycle around the trails with us.

For just a moment, Santa Clarita has a touch of the Hutt River.

South Seas Apartments

Today was the last day of classes for a week as the Seminary breaks for Thanksgiving for all of next week. I am grateful for some respite as it allows me to catch up on assignments and go over some things I need to review before Finals week.

I came home tired and in need of a change of scenery, so I thought I would take my girls out on a mystery trip (Denise was out at a Fellowship lunch).  The destination? – South Seas Apartments in Reseda, CA.

Now, for the very knowledgable and for those who possess exquisite taste in movies, would know that the South Seas Apartments was a movie location and is famous for being the residence of the Larussos in ‘The Karate Kid’ (1984). One of my very favorite movies.

I have a tour of all of ‘The Karate Kid’ movie locations around L.A. lined up and I plan to visit them all at a later date, but for now…

Below are some pictures we took today (I have also taken some screenshots from the movie for comparison). It was very exciting…



The apartments today.




The front of the apartments as seen in the movie (1984).



A view through the front gate as it looks today. Still looks the same (except the pool had water in it!). The Larusso’s apartment was situated at the top of the far stair case.


Down the side of the apartment complex is the parking garage and the field opposite the parking garage. The parking garage is where they built Miyagi’s workshop.


Here is a screenshot from the movie showing the parking garage and where Miyagi’s workshop (the green doors to the right of the picture) was built.


This is the parking space today where Miyagi’s workshop was located. Notice the gate where in the movie Daniel exited to find the workshop.



This is the same gate in the movie.



The field opposite the building parking garage was the scene in the movie where Daniel took a beating. Here is the field today (looking decidedly dry).


The field as seen in the movie showing Daniel running toward the apartment fence (which still exists today).