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 directly.

2. Do not purchase ANY travel tickets before you have your visa in hand.

3. The contract the clinics will offer you may not include the same vacation allowance given to NZ residents. Try to negotiate if possible.

4. If you plan to move your furniture, hire an international moving company with a good reputation. We used Rainier out of Washington and thus far, our move has been seamless. The crew took 3 days to pack up what we wanted to move (Dec 18, 19, 20) and we were scheduled out on a ship 17 days later (Jan 6) with an arrival date in Auckland of January 30. The trip would include truck transport to the rail yard, then rail transport to the shipping harbor in Charleston, SC or Long Beach, CA and then ship transport to Auckland. We are told customs in Auckland can take 7-10 days and then our belongings will be delivered to our home address in Waihi. The movers will unpack everything and take away the boxes, etc.

5. We bought insurance on everything we shipped with a $1000 deductible. I've heard stories of stolen trucks, wrecked trucks and containers being lost at sea. It was worth it to me.

6. Consider using a company who specializes in helping your visa be completed. The process is confusing and there are few helpful resources.

7. Read the medical evaluation requirements VERY carefully. In the US, there is a panel of physicians (26 in all) who are certified to do your evaluation. Other physicians' work will NOT be accepted and you will have to do the entire exam again, including the labs and chest X-ray.

8. Plan on all of your family members having medical evaluations. Kids under 12 don't need labs or chest X-rays. Kids 12 to 16 (?) need a chest X-ray.

9. When your family sends in their applications for visa, they will include their passports, so don't plan to travel until they are returned. (The application for work visa can be done online and the visa will be send via email.)

10. Keep copies of everything.

There is a lot more to share, so stay tuned.

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