Day 2: Dunedin, Otago, NZ; Showers, 21ºC max, 12ºC min.
This was the occasion. The main purpose of all of us gathering in NZ, to attend Shen’s graduation ceremony.
It was a most heartwarming walk down memory lane for J, to be back here in Dunedin, to relive the cherished moments when he himself graduated from the same university in 2003.
How blessed is he to be present today to witness his brother going through all the proceedings of the graduation ceremony, which he has experienced himself before. That is a nice picture of them, captured with the elegant University clock tower behind.
We all woke up to a cloudy and grey morning today, all prepared for the session of photo-taking by Shen’s talented friend, Adeline.
There are so many picturesque spots within the university where Adeline guided us to…
… including this bench underneath the old wise tree after we crossed the embankment.
Here’s the 3 siblings captured candidly on camera. Their love for each other goes beyond what words could describe. I am still amazed at how God has kept Mei Tsin and J looking as youthful as though they are merely 2 – 3 years apart from Shen. God’s love is like a fountain of living water, overflowing from each one of their hearts, keeping them radiant and joyful in Christ.
By the way, the above photos are from our own cameras, the ones that were professionally taken by Adeline includes the following one which we all love! It is such a lovely photo – the exceeding joy expressed in Mum’s expression, Dad’s ever gentle caring demeanour, and Shen’s winsome smile all captured perfectly in this one photo.
After the photo-taking session, we adjourned to the hall for the sumptuous Graduation Brunch, hosted by the University of Otago. Opened to all graduates and their families, it was a wonderful opportunity for us to be part of the grand celebration. We filled ourselves up with the appetising canapés, sandwich rolls, mini quiches, and a variety of desserts served by professional waitstaff circling around the hall to ensure there was adequate food for everyone.
Prior to the graduation ceremony, it is a tradition for the graduates to participate in an informal procession along George Street, walking along the middle of the main street of Dunedin. Roads were closed and vehicles had to wait for the procession to finish, as graduates flooded the main roads.
It was such a grand event where everyone watched the graduates and their family and friends strut down the main roads from the School of Dentistry, all the way through town, and ended at the Town Hall, where the graduation ceremony was held. Of course, we were more than eager to join in the fun of it all! It was also held at a great timing because both Matthew and E were asleep in their respective strollers.
The procession was so full of exuberance that it called for rejoicing and rejoicing in everyone who cheered along for the graduates! Once the last person reached the Town Hall, we watched the traffic marshals ushered people off the roads as they opened up the roads again for traffic to flow once again. That was when we waited outside the Town Hall for the commencement of the graduation ceremony. By then, E has already woken up, while Matthew slept on…
We advanced into the Town Hall to take our seats by the side exits in anticipation that we might have to exit the assembly if E or Matthew needed to expend their active energy outside, in respect to the formal ceremony that required attendees to be quiet. Nonetheless, both Matthew and E did so well, they were quiet throughout most part of the ceremony, as they were kept busy with balloons and snacking away like cookie monsters… hahaha…
Then the moment arrived. Shen’s name was called, he received his certificate and graduation hat, suavely strided across the stage, till he came offstage. The entire process captured on video.
All the years of hard work and study were more than worth it, in exchange for this very special, grand and joyous occasion. Congratulations bro!
After the ceremony, Shen took Mum and Dad and JMIDM for dim sum, while we headed off to Spark Telecom in town to purchase a data plan before driving back to the lodge for E’s 2nd nap. She needed to rest well for tonight’s celebration dinner at Hotel St Claire’s Pier 24 Restaurant & Bar.
Hotel St Clair was where we stayed for 1 night when we were in Dunedin during our honeymoon back in September 2011. It is such a blessing to be back here again, this time for Shen’s graduation celebration dinner. Thanks Shen for choosing such a wonderful venue for the dinner!
The panoramic beachfront by the pier offers stunning views for photo-taking. This beautiful place hasn’t changed a bit since we last came more than 3 years ago. All its beauty and goodness are retained for our pleasure.
At dinner, all of us had the pleasure to choose our own appetizer, entrée and dessert. For appetizers, we each had a choice between the following: (Anti-clockwise from Top)
- Purée Soup of Roasted Cauliflower & Garlic, Truffle Oil, Parmesan & Rosemary Croutons
- Seared Peppered Tuna slices, Red Cabbage & Pickled Ginger Slaw, Miso & Mustard Mayo, Toasted Sesame
- Fine Duck Liver Pate, Crostini, Fig & Balsamic Relish
For entrée, we were offered the following dishes, which were served with roasted seasonal vegetables doused in honey mustard vinaigrette: (Anti-Clockwise from top left)
- Roasted Ora King Salmon, Smoked Sea Salt, Potato Gnocchi, Zucchini, Salsa Verde Dressing
- Tempura Battered fresh local caught Lemon Sole Fillet, Remoulade Sauce, Side Salad, Fries, Lemon
- Char-grilled reserve Beef Sirloin Steak, Mushroom Ragout, Rocket Aioli, Crisp Parmesan & Basil Potato Galette
- Roast free range Chicken Supreme, Oven Roasted Cherry Tomato jam, Pan Jus, Parsnip Purée (not shown in picture above)
For the dish to end things sweetly, we were spoilt for choice for the dessert round: (Anti-Clockwise from top left)
- Black Forest Chocolate Parfait Slice, Vanilla Bean Cream, Dark Chocolate, Sour Cherry Coulis
- Summer “Eaton Mess” Raspberry Meringue, Strawberries, Blueberry Coulis, Passionfruit Cream, Plum Ice-cream
- Orange & Sundried Apricot Crème Brûlée, Lemon & White Chocolate Macaron
All the while as we dined, our children were kept busy with colouring pictures, pasting stickers, etc. from a kid’s goodie bag given by the restaurant.
That was Dianella and E colouring the goodie bag itself. Matthew and E also pranced up and down along our dining table, like child models. They really have lots of energy, considering how little they are!
We were all very blessed with great company and a satisfying delectable dinner. Although it has been a long day for all of us today, we were reluctant to bid farewell and good nights to each other. Thank God we will see each other again come morning. God is so good.
“His name shall endure for ever: His name shall be continued as long as the sun: and men shall be blessed in Him: all nations shall call Him blessed. Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel, who only doeth wondrous things. And blessed be His glorious name for ever: and let the whole earth be filled with His glory; Amen, and Amen.” (Psalms 72:17-19 KJV)