Chase and Smith from California

What’s been the best thing about our trip so far?
Chase - Going to the beach. I got a gun! (Bamboo washed up on shore with a handle) And going in the pool.
Smith - Nothing.

Which hotel or house have you liked the best?
Chase - Great Wolf Lodge ! (But that was a different trip) Oh - Embassy Suites Hotel! I got to watch basketball! (5 TVs in the restaurant)
Smith - This one! It’s like a house. I liked Inn By the Harbor a lot too because there was a kitchen.

What has been the most fun thing we’ve done so far?
Chase - Shooting my gun at a garbage truck and a train.
Smith - Played on our iPads!

What’s the best food we’ve had?
Chase - Noodles! And chicken.
Smith - Lay’s potato chips

What else do you want to say?
Chase - I miss my daddy.
Smith - I got nothing.

What do you think about our plans for the rest of our stay in California?
Chase - It is good because we get to walk around a lot, we may go back to the museum and we can see where hotness is (thermal-touch fabric). I like cereal. I wan…

All explorers cry, right?

Today was tough.

I’ve never claimed to be a Supermom, but I did feel like I could handle this challenge - hang out in California for a month with my kids alone. How hard can that be?? I love these kids with every fiber of my being. It’s a month.

The 24/7 of it, with no friends for any of us and no school or diversions for them has proven quite challenging. It took me three hotels, even “suite” hotels to figure out we needed more space if the four of us were going to co-habitate, so this time I rented a house. Still, the call to squabble was apparently too strong for my darling boys to resist.

My mother offered to fly Grant to DC and to keep him there for 10 days. He is in full tween swing and instigates the majority of the arguments in the house, so with those things in mind as well as his never-dying devotion to his Lola, I agreed, thankfully. But the minute he walked with the flight attendant down the jetway by himself in his pink unicorn pajamas, I cried.

Prior to arriving at the a…

Things I Have Learned

Rick's visa came through today.

I'm relieved and excited for him but at the same time the uncertainty of what is to come is playing a larger role in my psyche than it did yesterday. He will fly out tomorrow and land in Auckland. If all goes well, he will buy a car and drive to Wellington in time for his orientation course. The boys and I will stay in California and wait for our visas to be finalized.

Three weeks with three boys. The words Adventure, Busy and Discovery come to mind, as do Arguing and Whining. The challenge facing me is minimizing the negative. I'm on it.

We will explore parks, beaches and cliffs.
We will sing and read.
We will include alone time in each day and will end each day with kisses.

Before we set off on our swan song on the Pacific Coast, let me share some tidbits of knowledge...

1. Do not rely on the locums companies to find opportunities for you. Look into the different areas of the country and email, call or write to the clinic/hospital managers…

a sticky situation

In the spirit of the hanger...

There was no hint of the mental images she had created of warm beaches and fresh fruit. The exhilaration that had often accompanied her thoughts of this incredible move to New Zealand was nowhere to be found. Replacing those idyllic sentiments were intense feelings of contempt. No, anger. No! Fury.

Double-sided tape had been a Godsend when she was single and spent her free time crafting and organizing photos. It melded all of her memories with the crisp scrapbook pages easily and with such simple elegance! As she prepared those albums for posterity to commemorate her children's quaint moments now, though, she didn't realize small eyes were tuned into her activities with curiosity and sparks of ingenuity were flying.

"What?! Who did this??!!" is what she remembers yelling the day she noticed the new artwork on the wall. Chances are there was a considerable bounty of expletives involved as well, but just as she liked to fancy herself quit…

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 …