Life Update from New Zealand

Yes, we are still alive!

Sorry it’s been so long since the last update. Part of our adventure is just living life down here, and day to day life, even in a different country can be a little boring. Most days we do the typical school/work/daycare thing.

  • Scott takes Jake to daycare from 8-1.
  • I drop Luke off at school on my way to work at 8:15. I start work at 8:30.
  • Scott works from 8:30-12:30, then picks up Jake at 1.
  • Afternoon nap for Jake at home.
  • Pick up Luke at school at 3pm, sometimes driving, sometimes walking (it’s about 3/4 mile away)
  • They hang out until I get home from work between 4:30-5. 
  • We typically run together, then dinner, kids bedtime and relaxing on the couch, our bedtime.
  • And then we do it all again the next day!

But here are some of the recent highlights. . .

Running! It has been darn near perfect running weather, typically in the 70s and sunshine. . . although we have gotten a lot of rain in the last two weeks! 

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I taught a boot camp style aerobics class

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these popping up on my instagram feed are killing me

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Luke started swim lessons. And had to wear a swim cap! 

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Typical Sunday afternoon on our back deck

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Laundry.  .. I miss my dryer, but it is nice to get a tan while doing laundry

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Typical lunchtime activity and that is the head physician at my clinic and yes, that is what he wears to work every day!

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Having fun checking out the toys at the store

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We put up a small Christmas tree, I think it looks nice with the view. Winking smile 

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Jake is really loving the kiwi life. . . coat but no socks or shoes!

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The coffee place I go to makes the cutest little cups of hot chocolate for kids, so I try to take Luke before school sometimes..  .

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Rainy Saturday morning at the arcade

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Typical morning before school . ..

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And yes, that is a huge fish. She prepared and cooked it in the clinic break room for morning tea (basically mid-morning break/snack)

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thick as thieves

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It’s currently Saturday morning here. It is supposed to be a cracker of a weekend <—kiwi for awesome weekend! Our big item for the weekend: we have to move houses on Sunday. Our current house was already rented for the holidays when we decided to rent it, but thankfully, we were able to find another house about a mile away and a bit closer to the beach! But, we still have to move all of our stuff to the new house and then back to this house in January. Hopefully, it will go quick and the boys will be helpful!

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Kapa Haka

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{the Maori activity of dancing and singing in groups to express themselves and their cultural heritage}

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Luke got a cool moko on his face. 

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–> Tā moko is the permanent marking of the face and body as traditionally practised by Māori

He learned and performed 6 songs that had both English and Maori words and actions/dancing to go with them.   

I took some videos and it was super cool and inspiring to see all these kids performing. . . unfortunately, you can’t see Luke at all because he’s smack dab in the middle in the back! 

Here are the links to my videos of the six songs if you want to check them out –>

https://youtu.be/12ohvF4meGc

https://youtu.be/EvyZYjn1SRA

https://youtu.be/p_WiGi-ZyP4

https://youtu.be/Q6o64VYodq8

https://youtu.be/4PB1kWrUD2U

https://youtu.be/vbpD-mUtE-w

The most fun though has been listening to Luke sing the songs at home over the past few weeks. He’s really embraced the songs and learning the Maori words! 

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Scott’s initial New Zealand thoughts. . .

This is an email that Scott sent to his co-workers a few weeks ago. I had fun reading his initial New Zealand impressions and thought it would be fun to share on the blog too. . . 

Hi, everyone-

If you’re getting this note, it’s because you’ve expressed some interest in how the New Zealand adventure is going.  If you’re not interested, reply back with ‘unscubscribe’, and then stop reading.

Background:

Our rental house is in Okitu (oak-ah-too), a suburb of Gisborne.  The beach across the road from where our house is (about a three minute walk away).

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Gisborne’s claim to fame is that it’s the first city in the world to see the light of the new day’s sun.  That and they have an active set of railroad tracks crossing their airport’s runway (one of only two such instances in the world.)

Katie is working Monday through Thursday, 8:30-4:30 and is really liking her practice.  There’s less paperwork, less defensive medicine (i.e.: doctor’s running unnecessary tests to avoid getting sued by their patients) and in general the patient population is much more appreciative (no sense of entitlement).  Luke is going to school full time at the Wainui (why-new-e) Beach School.  New Zealand schools have a focus on play-based learning, which Luke is really enjoying.  Jake is having lots of fun attending early childhood education in Gisborne weekday mornings while I take care of my MnDOT work.

Neatest thing thus-far:

Kaiti (k’eye-tee) Hill Challenge.  Sir Edmund Hillary was an Auckland native, so he’s a big deal throughout the county (he’s on the $5 bill.)  There’s a hill in Gisborne (that we’d call a mountain) named Kaiti Hill and from Mid-September through October, there’s a challenge to climb the hill 68 times.  Climbing the hill 68 times equates to climbing Mount Everest.  It’s amazing to see the number of people that are schlepping up and down the hill to accomplish the challenge.  The leader, thus far, has climbed it 351 times.  I’m at 4. 

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Real Estate:

This past weekend, we wandered through a nearby open house for a property that’s for sale (they placed a flier in our mailbox.)  Their real estate system is definitely different down here.  They don’t publish asking prices.  It’s best offer, or by auction, which probably greatly increases the value of a realtor when asking “what should I offer for this property?”.  For the house we went through, an eight year old, three-bedroom, two-bath with stunning views of the ocean,the  realtor told us that they had received an offer of $800k NZD, but the owners turned it down.  It was auctioned on November 10th and I’m guessing it went for ~$1M.  Only $660k USD, which seems like a bargain Winking smile 

They recently passed a law that only citizens or those with resident visas can buy residential real estate.  The goal was to prevent folks from China (for investment purposes), and ultra-wealthy US citizens (for “bolt-hole” purposes) from buying up houses and pricing NZ citizens out of the market.  The law went into effect on Monday, but like any good piece of legislation it has loopholes you can drive a truck through.  For example, you can still buy a piece of land and build a house if you’re not a resident.

Other odd differences between the US and NZ cultures:

· They drive on the left side of the road

o Which means:
-You’d think they’d tend to walk on the left side of aisles and sidewalks, but you’d be wrong.
-The turn signal is on the right side of the steering wheel, causing me to frequently turn on my windshield wipers when trying to indicate my turn.
-I keep walking up to the wrong car door to get in and drive.
-I’m running out of creative ways to play this off as intentional.
-A majority of their cars are imported directly from Japan.  The car we bought (a 2005 Toyota Wish – a minivan with rear passenger doors that open like a car) has a navigation system that only has maps of Japan, and for the first two weeks it kept talking to me in a friendly female Japanese voice.  I understood when it said ‘hello’, but that’s it.  Using Google Translate, I was able to figure out how to mute the system.

· Being barefoot is perfectly normal.  Doesn’t matter if it’s in a restaurant, home improvement warehouse, or school.  Shoes are optional.

o If you have muddy boots, you’re expected to leave them at a business’ entrance, and walk in your stocking feet (or bare feet)

· Z: They don’t say “zee”, they say “zed.”  The bank we’re using down here is ANZ, and man does it confuse people if you say ANZee, rather than ANZed

· Restaurants

o There’s no tipping at restaurants.  At coffee houses, there’s a tip jar, but otherwise there’s no tipping.

o If you want water, you’re expected to get your own carafe and glasses at a cooler or table near the host station.

o Their version of ketchup is called tomato sauce.  It’s thinner, with a citrus note.  It’s good, but surprising if you’re prepared for traditional ketchup.

o Burgers taste more like meatloaf.  I’m guessing it’s because they use fillers to try and make the beef go further.
-Except for at McDonalds and Carl’s Jr.  That food tastes identical to their US counterparts, and they use traditional ketchup.

· Food portions, whether at the grocery store or at a restaurant, are smaller.  And much more expensive.

o It’s more difficult to find junk food here.

o Their deserts have much less sugar in them
-We had a piece of cheesecake at a restaurant which was more like eating a chunk of cream cheese.

· Money

o They don’t have paper $1 bills.  Instead, they have $1 and $2 coins

o The queen is on all coins, and the $20 bill

o The 15% sales tax (what they call a Goods and Services Tax, or GST) is almost always already included in the price marked on the item or the price shown on the shelf/menu, etc.  And, its charged on everything.

o Right now, $1.0 New Zealand Dollar = $0.66 US Dollars
– It helps to mitigate the sticker shock when shopping

o “Scheme”, in a financial sense, doesn’t have a negative connotation here.  Their nationalized 401(k) is called the “Kiwisaver Scheme”.

o Giving your bank account number to people down here (to pay for something) is perfectly normal
– Peer to Peer money apps aren’t needed – the New Zealand banks already have this covered.

· Libraries charge annual membership fees

o They have toy libraries – which has been a huge benefit for us!

· All electrical outlets have switches adjacent to each receptacle (i.e.: each outlet has two small switches).

o Not sure why – unless they don’t trust the switches built into all modern electronics

· Amazon will deliver to New Zealand, but shipping runs $20-$30, and it takes two weeks for shipments to arrive.

· Sustainability is a big thing

o The two big grocery stores in town don’t have plastic bags
– It was super fun having to load and unload our groceries an armful at a time, the first time we went grocery shopping.

o Our kitchen has a bin for organics (that we dump out into the compost tumbler once a week)

o Almost all straws are cardboard

· There’s a firm embracing of the native (Maori) culture.  Most things are written in both languages, and both languages are frequently woven together

o Kia ora (hello, goodbye, thank you)

o Kai (food)

o Koka (name for teacher; loosely translates to respected elder)

o Tarakihana (tractor – Jake’s favorite word)

o Motoka (Car – my favorite because it’s occuponomous)

That’s a lot longer that I had anticipated.  Next installment will feature engineering observations – stay tuned.

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Our weekend trip to Rotorua

We took a long weekend last week and traveled about four hours away, into the middle of the north island, to Rotorua. 

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It was raining the whole way, through winding roads and including a gorge.  It definitely felt like there were more curves than straight sections of road.

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Thankfully, the boys slept most of the way there so no one got car sick! Crazy things – we didn’t pass 1 McDonald’s, in fact, there were very limited options for stopping for places to eat or get gas or use the bathroom. Thankfully, with the kids sleeping, we made it the whole four hours in one trip! 

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We found our house on HomeAway. Complete with hot tub <– probably one of the highlights of our trip for Luke.  The kid spent hours in the hot tub! We brought food from home, so we just had some hot tub time, leftovers and a normal bedtime for the boys. 

This picture –> Jake’s reaction every time Luke turned on the “bubbles” (jets)!

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On Friday, we were up and ready to go. After a quick breakfast at home, our first stop was the Redwoods Treewalk.

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It was super cool!  All of the bridges and platforms were installed without any permanent fasteners into the trees!  *No trees were harmed in the making of this treewalk.*

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And because we were there on a Friday, and first thing in the morning, there were very few people around. The only downside was the fact that you weren’t allowed to carry the little kids, they either had to walk or ride in a special stroller that would fit the tracks/walkways. Jake obviously can walk, but he would have much preferred if Mom carried him, so he was pretty grumpy about halfway thru when I wouldn’t carry him.

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So, in the middle of this majestic, quiet forest, we have a screaming toddler. Thankfully, we were able to get him calmed down and walking the rest of the way. But it was the perfect place for kids because there was no place that they could fall thru or get lost!

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We did a bit of souvenir shopping and wandering around town, and lunch, and then back home for quiet time/nap time. <– key to successful vacationing with a toddler. 

After everyone was rested, we were off to the gondola ride and luge. The views of the mountains, valleys and the lake were spectacular. 

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And the boys loved the luge!

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Back home to get take out and splash in the hot tub! 

Up and ready to run on Saturday. The Redwood Tree forest was just down the road from where we were staying, so we went back there to run around the trails. It was bumpy and hilly but so much fun and beautiful! 

I let Luke loose with my phone to take pictures along the way. . .

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Randomly, I had some cousins from my Dad’s side of the family that were traveling through the North Island and just happened to be in Rotorua the same time we were, so we met up for breakfast! 

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Rotorua has a ton of geothermal activity because it’s part of the Taupo Volcanic Zone, a geothermal field extending from White Island off the Bay of Plenty Coast to Mt Ruapehu far to the south. So, we checked out Kuirau Park, that had bubbling hot pools and mud pools. Due to all the sulfur, the entire town smelled of rotten eggs!

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And back to home to the hot tub. Smile

Sunday morning we went for a run by the lake shore and around town exploring. 

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Packed up, ate lunch, and hit the road back to home.

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A successful first weekend holiday!

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Halloween in New Zealand

Halloween 2018 in the books.

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And we have some crazy memories from this year.

First of all, Halloween is not as big in NZ as the US. There is actually quite a bit of controversy regarding Halloween: Anti-Halloween position:  It’s a commercialized American holiday that encourages kids to talk to, and take candy from, strangers (things we tell kids not to do on the other 364 days of the year).  Pro-Halloween position:  It’s an opportunity to get to better know your neighbors.  Your kids are talking to and receiving candy from your neighbors (who shouldn’t be strangers).

There weren’t any big Halloween or costume displays in the store. One small one in the front of the store and one other small area back in the toy section for costumes. Overall, very limited candy options for handing out and the biggest package we could find to buy had maybe 25 pieces at the most! Most bags had about 12!

Ok. . . onto actual Halloween.

Luke wanted to be a vampire and was super excited about the face paint until he had it on.  .. then he hated it!

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But we told him he had to smile for pictures if he wanted to go trick or treating.

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Jake on the other hand was a very happy dinosaur with whiskers. Winking smile 

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#reallife

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The first thing that is different is that kids get ready after school and then head out when parents get home from work, about 4:30-5.

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On our street you were to hang an orange balloon if you were participating.

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We didn’t get an orange balloon so Scott just sat at the gate and handed out candy. Scott had to prompt most of the kids to say “trick or treat.” Scott counted and he handed out candy to 68 kids!

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People handed out strange things in addition to candy (lollies <—the NZ word for candy), one house gave out strawberries, the old couple across the street handed out homemade sugar free brownie squares and fruit leather. And unwrapped candy, like gummies, were a common thing in the candy buckets too.

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One house handed out the “treats” covered in tin foil – and Luke got broccoli!

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We are living on a “popular” trick or treating street so lots of people from town drive in to go on our street.  This is the view from our house down the street during the busiest time. . . probably about 5:45ish.

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The activities slowed a bit about dinner time. We ran out of candy, so took the boys inside and had dinner and a normal bed time. #parentingwin 

There were still bigger kids out trick or treating, but I think most of them had stopped by 7pm. 

*I felt comfortable letting Luke trick or treat the street with his friends, I don’t think I would have let him do this in Mankato yet. . . 

*most groups had at least one parent with them. just like in the states, the smaller the kids, the more parents were around. 

*I really enjoyed having the trick or treating during the daylight hours. It was easier to see and keep track of the kids and cars and overall it just seemed safer. On a weekday, it was also really nice to have normal dinner and bedtime. 

*I think I ate 1 piece of candy, a Halloween record. Their candy just isn’t as good! But the kids enjoy it and I guess that’s what really matters. . . don’t worry too much about me, to make up for the lack of candy calories, I had ice cream Winking smile

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Weekending in Gizzy

Now that we’ve settled into life in New Zealand, it was the perfect weekend to just have fun adventures together. I hope that we will have many copies of this weekend over the next few months! 

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Saturday morning started out with checking out a new donut shop in town. . . the Daily Donut. And it did not disappoint! Afterwards, we wandered around the shops for a bit. Then, back home and to the beach! 

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The water is still crazy cold, but that doesn’t stop Luke from splashing in it! Jake prefers the warmer water in the holes in the rocks after high tide recedes.

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They are both at such a fun age to play on the beach.

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Scott and I just soaked up the sunshine, the sound of the waves crashing and the beautiful views. 

Sunday was our first race in Gisborne!

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Luke didn’t actually run, just wore my bib number for me.

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We thought it was a 10K, but turned out to be a 10.5K (6.59 miles).

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We rocked it out with both strollers (prams)

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and came in just under an hour at 59.09!

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It was rainy at the start but then cleared up for the race which helped to keep it cool.

Sunday evening ended with apple cheesecake bars (<–so good!) and The Man in the High Castle <– only three episodes in and so far pretty intriguing! 

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Oh, and I had to do some candy sampling in anticipation of Halloween.

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Turkish delight was not delightful, some sort of crazy jelly middle. yuck. The other ones were just meh for me, I did like “boost” though. . . but Reese’s peanut butter cups are still better than anything I’ve had here. Smile 

Full New Zealand Halloween recap coming up next! 

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One month!

Wow! 

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I cannot believe we have been here for a month. 

The time is already flying by. . .

Big things in the last week: 

Luke started school.

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He’s in room 7. I have no idea what that means or translates to in American school, but he’s with other 6 and 7 year olds and they seem to be doing similar things to what Luke was learning in Mankato. .. a couple big changes, the kids go barefoot most of the time here, including at school. They sing traditional Maori songs. The Maori word for teacher is “Koka” so Luke’s teachers are Koka Jo and Koka Jackie. Pretty much every kid has a skateboard or a scooter. –> so, Luke got an early Christmas present. . .

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They actually have a skate ramp at school that kids play on during lunch time and free time.

School starts at 8:55, but is is highly encouraged to get the kids there early. I’ve been dropping Luke off at 8:15 before I go to work and the teachers are already there getting ready for the day.  There are also lots of other kids running around – playing outside, or inside the classrooms doing activities.

There is a “friend chair” in the courtyard. If you don’t have anyone to play with, you sit in the chair and someone will come over to play with you. <– the kids here are so nice and welcoming, seriously, so nice. 

And Luke thinks it’s hilarious that Mom is spelled “Mum” here. Winking smile 

I’ve been really, really enjoying work. My co-workers are also very nice and welcoming. I’ve felt included and part of the team since day 1. They are always giving me recommendations of things to do around town with the family. The patients are overall very nice as well, and are very thankful for the care provided. There is no entitlement or “googling” of symptoms, which is a nice change from things you encounter regularly in America. I have an actual lunch break, not just a time when I catch up on charts…

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I have been going hiking at lunchtime <– amazing. There are also tea (snack) breaks for 15 minutes in the morning and afternoon and everyone really takes the break, we all meet in the staff room for tea/coffee and snacks and talk. I feel a sense of community at this clinic that I’ve never really encountered in clinics at home. 

Coffee. It’s amazing. 

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Jake is still doing really well at his daycare.

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And loves looking for cows (moos), horses (neighs) and sheep (baaas) on our runs.

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Scott continues to do MnDOT work in the morning while Jake is at school. And we’ve been running together most afternoons after I finish with work.

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The toy library continues to be an awesome perk of life in Gisborne.

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We’ve been exploring the town. And yes, it was Labor Day weekend here in Gisborne last weekend, so we all had Monday off of work/school!

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And of course spending lots of time on the beach.

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We’ve definitely settled into a nice routine with work/school/family time and lots of time for the beach.

We have our first long weekend planned for Rotorua next weekend. Excited to start exploring this beautiful country!

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Updates from our first full week in New Zealand

It’s Sunday afternoon here in Gisborne. It was a beautiful sunny morning in the 60s. We went to breakfast at a local café, checked out some shops and went for a run along the boardwalk with beautiful ocean views. It’s supposed to rain all afternoon. The boys are napping (Jake) and taking a quiet time (Luke). Scott and I just finished lunch (grilled cheese and soup). So, I thought it would be a good time to check in and share some updates from our first week here!

I started work.

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And it was tough. .. mentally! The people are very nice, staff and patients. The fellow doctors are awesome. There is a huge learning curve for the health system, computer system, and medications (same medications/different names)! Day 1 of seeing patients was really stressful and hard. Thankfully, I made some changes (asked to move offices closer to more help) and day 2 was so much better. Day 3 of seeing patients tomorrow, so hoping it continues to go well!

Jake started daycare.

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Welcome Jake and Family

03/10/2018

We are all in awe of your family Jake who have traveled all the way from Minnesota to sunny little Gisborne! And we feel rather special that you have picked The Point to be your turangawaewae (place where one has rights of residence and belonging through kinship). A huge welcome to you and your family. Even though you are in a completely different country with people that you have never met before you have slotted in so well and are already starting to develop friendships. When Dad drops you off in the morning you join in with the other tamariki (children) and feel comfortable in your new surroundings. You feel comfortable to communicate to the teachers and children and are starting to understand the centre routines and customs. I’ve watched you at kai (food) time, sitting at the table with the other tamariki and you are independent and quite capable of feeding your self (even if it is an omelet that doesn’t belong to you)

I am really looking forward to getting to know you and your family better and to watch you grow and learn.

From Annie and the team at The Point Early Learning Centre.

We bought a car.

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The Toyota Wish. Basically a minivan without sliding doors. It has enough space for all of us + both running strollers.

We finally found a good grocery store.

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There are two big stores and a bunch of smaller stores. Food overall is way more expensive, with the exception of fresh fruit and veggies!

I found an amazing coffee place.

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And it’s literally the closest one to our house and my work. Coincidence? I don’t think so. Winking smile But. . .that is their “large.”

We’ve been running!!

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We hiked to the top of Kaiti hill.

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Fun fact – if we hike it 67 more times, we will have hiked the same distance as to the top of Mount Everest #goals

We went to the toy library.

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This is a cool New Zealand thing. You pay a membership fee and then a small fee for each toy you rent, but you get to rent each toy for two weeks. This is a life saver for us. I only packed a few toys for each boy.

We survived the end of winter in Gizzy.

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We’ve adjusted to the time change. Both kids slept until 7am this morning!! #hallelujah

I tried my first New Zealand BODYPUMP class. Spoiler alert, it was the same as in the US, just with a kiwi accent. Smile 

We’ve walked to the beach. (4 minute walk from our house)

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We checked out Luke’s school! He won’t start for another week. We came in just at the end of 3rd term, so the kids are off for two weeks before starting 4th term!

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Scott’s been working too! He’s been getting some work done while acting as the home school teacher for Luke, daycare drop off and pick up for Jake and trying to find applesauce and graham crackers at all the grocery stores (he found applesauce, but not graham crackers!). He’s looking forward to Luke going to school, so he’ll have a dedicated four hours to work in the mornings. He has a pretty sweet desk set up in the living room. The view out the window in front of him is the mountain with sheep on it and the window to his left is the ocean view. #toughlife

We’ve settled into our home. . . well Jake has. Winking smile 

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Here’s the link for our house if you’d like to check it out.

https://www.homeaway.co.nz/holiday-accommodation/p20042186

Each day this seems more like life and not just a vacation. .. I don’t think it will ever feel “normal.” But, we are having fun with the experience and looking forward to all of our upcoming adventures!

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The Thompson Family goes to New Zealand!

Hello from New Zealand!!

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Yup! We are in Gisborne, New Zealand for the next six months!

Here are some common questions I’ve gotten when I’ve told anyone that we are headed to NZ!

Wait, how long are you going for? 

Yes, really for six months!

Is your family coming with you? 

Of course! I couldn’t live without my boys!

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What about your job? 

I’m in between jobs right now, I’ll start a new one in April when we get back to Mankato  ..  . but I’ll be working at a clinic in town four days a week as a family practice doctor <—what I normally do in Minnesota too. Winking smile I negotiated to have Fridays off for traveling/exploring/extra beach time.

What about Scott’s job? 

He was able to negotiate to work remotely part time. So, he’ll be working about 20 hours per week while Jake is in early childhood development program.

What about your house? 

Basically, we are being snow birds this year. . . why wait until retirement, right? So, it’s still there, just empty. Scott set up a bunch of cameras to keep an eye on it and we have two friends who are checking in on it regularly.

How did that happen? 

Like I mentioned, I am in between jobs right now, so I was looking for some temporary work. I have been doing some temporary doctor jobs in the cities for the past six months, but it all started with a “what if.  . .” and now, we are here! We started at thinking about coming to New Zealand for a long vacation. Neither of us had been here before. I was deterred by the long flight.. . and then I started looking at potential short term job opportunities, Scott started the process of requesting to work remotely, and slowly it started to fall into place.

Are you coming back?

LOL. Yes.

Where are you living? 

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We found a furnished rental about two blocks from the beach! Luke is most excited about the bunk beds.

Is Luke going to be in school? 

Yes! We are actually going to be checking out his new school tomorrow. I don’t think that American grades translate directly to school in NZ, but I don’t actually know much about it. Thankfully, he’s in first grade, so either way, he’ll continue to learn! The hard part of school for Luke is that they have year round school, so he’ll have a long break (six weeks!) at Christmas. . . his teacher was great and supplied us with some workbooks and activities to keep him busy!

What does Luke think? Is he excited? 

I think his overall emotion before leaving was sad and nervous. He was sad to leave his friends, his room and his toys. He’s nervous about starting a new school. But besides being a bit grumpy from being tired (that jet lag is not fun!), he’s doing great so far!

How do you even pack for a trip like that? 

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OMG. Don’t even get me started. Packing was one of the hardest things. . . and now that we are here, I’m not even sure if I brought the right things. It is COLD here. . . well colder than I thought it would be and I didn’t bring very many warm clothes. But, we each had a big suitcase to bring, then two carry ons, and three backpacks. Plus both car seats and two jogging strollers. Yup, we were a hot mess getting into the airport.

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But, we made it!

and btw, if you are thinking about ever flying AirNewZealand with young kids. . . the sky couch is 100% worth it.

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So, you’re like just going to skip winter? 

Heck yes!

What kind of money do they have there? 

Haha, Sarah. They have New Zealand dollars.

It’s my plan to check in on the blog regularly, so if you are interested in following along on our adventure, I’ll keep you posted!

Jake was up at 3am this morning. And down for a nap at 6:30am. I definitely need all the prayers for figuring out this time zone!

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Currently, Luke is writing in his journal, Scott is setting up his work station, Jake is still napping and I am dreaming about my first cup of New Zealand coffee.

Cheers, <—because that’s what they say here. Smile 

Katie 

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The Great MN Get-Together 2018

Hey!

Remember me?

I’m bringing back the blog to share our adventure yesterday at the Minnesota State Fair!

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I had checked out the list of new fair foods and come up with these 6 to try:

1. General Tso Chicken Taco
2. Nordic Waffles
3. Slider flights
4. Sweetie cakes
5. Heirloom tomato and sweet corn BLT
6. Grilled peaches

And #fail. We tried one new thing. Sad smile 

But it was super good.

The Nordic Waffles.

We tried the All Day breakfast and Raspberry and Cream.

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Highly recommend the all day breakfast waffle: eggs, cheese and bacon in a waffle sandwich.

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Up next, a fair staple for us: Corn. It was good, as usual!

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Then, mini donuts.

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While watching Luke ride the tractors. We tried to get Jake to go but he wouldn’t let me put him down.

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A stop at the Little Farm Hands. . . 

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Two more fair traditions: cookies.

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And U of M dairy barn malts. Scott’s mint was amazing. You better believe I made myself a cookie ice cream sandwich. Winking smile 

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Not pictured: Luke got an ICEE, Jake got a strawberry smoothie and Luke got a popsicle.

And a bag of cotton candy to take home and the threat of rain, we got back to the bus just as it started sprinkling and then ran to the car in the pouring rain!

Another great year! Already looking forward to next year and planning our time better to try more new foods!

Did you go to the State Fair this year?

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