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Contagious Enthusiasm

I've really come to enjoy telling friends, family and even strangers (not at random, mind you, I mean people I'm otherwise connected to) that we are moving to New Zealand. There is a wonderful two-second pause where their faces scrunch up at first as if they misunderstood me and then wide eyes and huge smiles. I should keep better track, but my guess is that 40% say "What??" and 40% say "Really??" and 10% say some version of "Oh my goodness!" Everyone has a story to tell about a friend or loved one who has gone to NZ and to the person, everyone I tell wishes me well, tells me how beautiful NZ is and shares in my excitement.

There are few instances in my life when my announcements have been received with this much support and glee. I love it.

Chase and Smith's Thoughts - 06 November 2017

Me: "What do you think about our move to New Zealand?"
Chase: "Not very good. I'm gonna miss my friends at school. Do they know that we're coming there?"
Me: "Yes, Daddy has a job there."
Chase: "Oh. I'm gonna be shy."

Smith: "I'm gonna miss everyone in my class and in my neighborhood."
"I'm excited that we're going to live on an island because there is an ocean around it and I like going to the beach. I like seeing the palm trees and the pretty flowers."

Me: "What do you think about meeting new friends?"
Chase: "No. When did we make Frederic and Felix our friends?"
Me: "When you were four."
Smith: "I want to make new friends."

Me: "What about your new school? You know you have to wear a uniform."
Smith: "I think it's gonna be good. I hope Chase is in my class."

What other questions do you have?
Do we have to pay money to bring our costume…

Making Progress

It's been a couple of months since we made our decision to move and we have been busy applying for visas and donating clothes and furnishings to charity.

A list of what we've accomplished:
- Checked out towns in New Zealand online - parks, fun stuff, roads, crime, etc.
- Wrote to NZLocums and some clinics directly to see about available jobs
- Narrowed the job field to three options in Waihi, Rotorua and Warkworth
- Compared the schedules and towns and chose Waihi for its location and the clinic schedule
- Negotiated the contract for time off, salary and moving expenses

- Sarah at NZLocums started Rick on his path to a visa and privileges including telling him he had to have an FBI evaluation done
- Joined multiple online groups for physicians in NZ, expats in NZ and international travel
- Talked to and emailed with multiple expats in NZ from the US including physicians and asked about life, work, school... everything!

- Made multiple lists of things to keep, things to donate …

The Big Purge

For the last five weeks, I have been sorting through the contents of our cabinets, boxes and containers, determining the value the items inside have to us, people we know and the world in general. The bottom line? We have a lot of stuff. I'm ashamed of none of it and only regret not working this kind of analysis into our calendar more often prior to today. (That was a recommendation to you, dear friend! Heed it before you decide to pull up roots and move halfway around the world!) I'm rediscovering fantastic long-lost tokens and projects and ridding our home of the meaningless stuff we "may need someday."

At dinner, Rick and the kids and I talk about our big move and the questions we have about life in New Zealand. Smith asked recently if there were dental floss sticks (flossers) there. Dunno. I've read their ketchup is not the same as our ketchup. The realization that nothing that plugs into the wall here will plug into the wall there was jarring at first, but t…

A Difficult Reality to Accept

In March 2017, I was a bigwig at a big, fancy financial firm in St. Paul, Minnesota. I had left clinical medicine six years prior because of the growing mountain of bureaucratic hassles involved with taking care of people. I had dabbled in medical media and found that while I did not enjoy the game of television, I did get a lot of satisfaction out of explaining medicine to non-physicians. I landed the job at the financial firm in 2011 and I thought "Why not?" Over the first four years in that job, the way medical information is used to determine the cost of financial products was taught to me by experts. I analyzed cases and reports and presented scientific conclusions intended to improve the business and increase profits. My performance was rewarded with a promotion to Chief. It all seemed natural at the time, but very quickly, as the time I had for case review dwindled and the administrative tasks increased, I hated my job.

I didn't know I hated it. I knew performance…