Friday, January 3, 2014


I've decided I'm going to start this new blogging madness by jumping back a bit and recording the journey that led us to New Zealand.  I'll get us caught up from there, and then, when time allows, go back through the past two years and add in a few blog worthy posts (like maybe the birth of our second born.  Sorry Quinn, I promise we do love you!).  The next few posts will undoubtedly be quite boring as I record the process of what brought us half way around the globe.  If there's anyone actually reading this blog, sorry in advance!

The whole idea of moving to New Zealand started because Brett and I are poor at making decisions.  That's really what it all comes down to. :)

One year ago, Brett was 6 months out from graduating from his Family Medicine Residency at St Joseph's Hospital in Phoenix, AZ.  It was time to start figuring out what we wanted to do when he graduated from Residency and became a free man.  One of the perks of going through pre-med undergrad, medical school, and finally residency, is that 11 years of your life are essentially planned out for you, without many decisions to make.  It feels as if school will never end and you can just follow through all of the programs in a non-decision-making bliss year after year after year.  The problem is that one day Residency does end, and you are suddenly left wondering how 11 years of schooling has already gone by and where the next school counselor is to guide you down your next path.  Unfortunately that counselor doesn't exist any more, and you are instantly a part of the real world, making real adult decisions, all by yourself.  That is what led us to New Zealand.  We were finally free to make our own choices, and we simply could not make the monumental decision of where to set up our family.  Utah and Arizona both pull at our heart strings and we couldn't come to a conclusion about where we needed to be.  Solution: we decided to just postpone the inevitable by moving away.  Mature, right? :)

Brett started looking into working as a locum tenens, which is a physician who works temporarily for another physician on leave or compensates for a physician shortage in a specific location.  We soon realized there were needs for locum tenens doctors not only all over the country, but all over the world!  One night we were discussing what it would be like to move to another country for work, and I concluded that as long as we went somewhere that spoke English and was safe, it could be the adventure of a lifetime!  New Zealand instantly came to Brett's mind (I think he's had a secret desire to visit since he saw the first Lord of the Rings movie in 2001) and the idea was born.  Just. Like. That.  Because of their temporary nature, locum tenens positions usually do not become available until a month or two before their start date, and so (bonus!) we were able to postpone our decision-making for 6 months and vowed to start looking into positions once he graduated in June.

June came, Brett graduated (HOORAY!!!), and we started contacting locum tenens agencies.  We sifted through many different opportunities, including one in a town with a population of 4,000 people that was 3 hours from anything, and one in a run-down coastal city that was gravitating toward slums.  The positions were either not what we were looking for, or we were not what they were looking for.

For 2 months we sorted through positions and researched areas of New Zealand.  We got the kids passports and looked into things like long term storage, shipping across the globe, international banking, international insurance, etc. etc.

At the beginning of September a position in Hamilton became available.  Hamilton was centrally located on the North Island, which would be perfect for the endless exploring we were planning on doing.  It had a population of 150,000, which was significantly more than many of the other positions we had been offered.  The only temple in New Zealand was located in Hamilton, which meant that there was a strong church presence there.  Brett liked the non-traditional work hours they were requesting, and, after just a bit of discussion, we applied for and received a contract. We sent back our acceptance from a house boat in Lake Powell, and just like that we were headed to Hamilton, NZ!

The next few weeks we spent working on the endless forms of proof of identity for our New Zealand Visas and getting our house listed on the market (sad sad day).  Gulp, this was really happening!

Wednesday October 30th is a day I will never forget.  That afternoon all of the New Zealand stars aligned and we were informed, within hours of each other, that our Visas had been approved (which was much quicker than expected!), AND that we had an offer on our house!  What a blessing!  Our house was set to close on December 6th, so we booked our flights for December 8th.  It was a bit of a reality check when we purchased those tickets.  We were really truly leaving.

From that point on, the month of November and first week of December were somewhat of a blur.   Those last 5 weeks were spent sorting through every.single.item in our ENTIRE house to determine what we were taking with us (almost nothing!), what we were storing (not much more), and what we were selling, or donating, or throwing away.   We held a very productive garage sale, and tore up Craigslist.   It was pretty surreal to watch things we'd been holding on to for 9 years disappear out of our lives forever.  It was liberating as well though.  We sold our car in one morning, while on our way to St. George, which is a story for another post, but let's just say it was a very crazy, but efficient morning.  When we weren't sorting and selling, we were packing for two different lives. We had to box up everything that we had decided to keep and store while we were away, and we had to strategically pack what we were going to live off of for the next 10 months.  Thar whole process was not something I would wish upon anyone.

In the midst of all our New Zealand packing and prepping, we had so many amazing last hurrahs with friends and family.  Nothing was as hard as saying goodbye to those we love, even though we knew it would only be 10 months (or less) before we could squeeze them tight again.  And as much as we are loving New Zealand so far, being away from those we love is still the hardest part.  We are so so blessed to have so many that we love and care for.  To all those who in big or small ways helped us through this whole process to make a dream become a reality, we thank you, and we love you.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A Revival

Two years ago this March we took a trip to Utah, where a social media-savy sister-in-law introduced me to Instagram.  After a little Insta-browsing and some Insta-stalking, I made my first Insta-post.  And I was insta-hooked.  The speed.  The ease.  My trusty phone, that I carted everywhere anyways, was suddenly all I needed.  Over night, Instagram became my way of recording our lives and sharing our pictures.  My $$ expensive Canon camera instantly disappeared to a top shelf to collect dust, and I tried to pretend that I had forgotten what Blogger was.  And yet, every so often, I found myself opening up my Internet browser and reading through some of my old blog posts.  I would laugh.  I would smile.  I would cry.  And I would realize that this is my journal, my family history, that I've been ignoring.  And so I would make a vow to catch up and start over.  Yet as soon as I would think about how long it takes me to make a post (because I SUCK at writing but have serious OCD issues), and about how much catching up I had to do (years!), I would just as quickly abandon that vow and turn back to my oh-so-easy Instagram.  And so the moral of this story is...I blame Instagram, and not my trend toward laziness (ok, maybe that does have a bit to do with it!) for my two year hiatus from blogging.

But new countries and new years are all about new beginnings, right??  So I'm choosing a new beginning.  I'm vowing (for real this time!) to catch this blog (somewhat) up to date, and then to keep it up to date as best as possible.  Because I know, a few years from now, reading these posts will again make me laugh and bring me to tears in a way that Instagram just can't.  (And also I want to remember what our lives were like behind the Insta-curtain. :) )

I know that no one reads blogs anymore, which is probably a REALLY good thing, because I won't have to stress as much about my horrible grammar and my uncanny ability to not.make.sense.  I'll record our lives for us, and those few who actually choose to read along will just ignore my ugly writing.  In the words of Dr Seuss, "Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."

And so I begin this blog again, almost two years later and on the opposite side of the world, with a new expectation of what this will become.  It is a recording of our lives, for us.

Now pardon me, while I try to figure out