Monthly Archives: March 2019

I’ll miss. . .

It’s our last night in New Zealand. . .

And I’m feeling very bittersweet. I am excited to get home to Minnesota, but there are so many things that I will miss. . .

Dropping Luke off at school.


It’s a relaxed vibe at school in the morning. School officially starts at 8:50 but students are encouraged to get there early to play. I will drop Luke off at school on my way to work around 8:15 and there are always kids hanging out, both outside and in the classrooms.


The teachers are “around” but not supervising in any specific way, and the kids do great at finding activities to do. Some days they’ll be playing soccer or reading books, playing Legos or other games. And Luke always jumps right in. It just felt good. 

Starting the work day with karakia. I’m not going to lie, I felt completely out of my comfort zone when the singing and prayers started my first few days of work, but now I look forward to starting the day together. Everyone who is working in clinic that day comes out of their office to be together for about 5 minutes each morning before starting the day. How often do we just get to work, go to our office and stay in our own little world each day in the US? I’ll miss this. 

I’ll miss the coffee. Yup, it’s not like Caribou and their large is laughable, but it’s good. 


I’ll miss work. Crazy, right? It’s the same job as at home, but it’s less stress, paperwork, etc. It feels less like running a rat race everyday and more like taking care of patients and helping families, while having time for morning tea and actually having a lunch break. 


I’ll miss morning tea. And afternoon tea. And having a proper lunch break that allows me to go for a walk and eat lunch. Basically, morning and afternoon tea are our 15 minute coffee breaks. Most of the staff come to the break room to have a bite to eat and take a quick break from the day. 

I’ll miss Jake’s daycare. Especially Koka Trish <– his favorite. They have an amazing outdoor play area and they spend a ton of time outside, which is perfect for a little boy. 


I’ll miss the ocean and the waves. 


I’ll miss peer review. At 2pm on Wednesday for an hour, the doctors have a meeting (typically at the local coffee shop), to discuss interesting or difficult cases, issues with the medical community in town, new information to share, etc. This is invaluable and makes such a difference in connecting with the fellow doctors at the practice and working together. 


I’ll miss watching Luke jump his little heart out with his friends on the neighborhood trampolines. 


I’ll miss sitting on the deck in our front yard, soaking up the sunshine and the view of the mountains, watching Jake and Luke play with their scooters. 


I’ll miss the people.


The friends that I have made. There are some special kiwis here. –> specifically my co-workers, there are some amazing people at Puhi Kaiti Clinic doing wonderful things for the whanau (family) and the local community. 


I’ll miss wearing yoga pants to work. 

The Indian food. It’s on point. Mango chicken + onion and cheese naan makes everything better in Gisborne. 

The word “keen.” As in, I’m keen to try that new smoothie place in town. Or, are you keen to keep taking the medication? Try it, it’s a fun word. Smile

I’ll miss hiking up Kaiti Hill at lunchtime. Those views never get old. 



It will be so nice to get back to MN, to be in our own house, sleep in our bed, put kids to bed in their own bedrooms, see friends and family, to resume our “normal” life, but this experience has changed me. I will always miss New Zealand and our life here. While Minnesota is our home, somehow New Zealand has managed to feel like our home too. 


We will be back New Zealand.

I’m not sure when and for how long, but we will be back.

Thanks for the memories. 


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Day in the life – typical New Zealand weekday

6am up +workout *I’ve typically been doing a CXWORX workout in the mornings before work.


7am breakfast + make lunches + shower and get ready to go


8:10 out the door to Luke’s school 


8:15 drop Luke off 


8:30 to work, karakia –> morning song and prayer together


8:45 start to see patients, typically one every 15 minutes, but on a busy day it can be more than that. . .


10:15 morning tea –>basically morning snack


10:30 back to work 

11:30 finished with patients (or nearly finished), admin time to finish up notes, or go thru results 

12:00 lunch time = walk + lunch


1:00 back to seeing patients


2:00 peer review 


3:00 more patients 


4:30 finished with afternoon patients, finish up last minute prescriptions, etc., out the door by 4:35 on most days. 

4:45 home + snack time


5:00 Run 


6:00 kids dinner + Popsicles on the back deck


7:00 kids bedtime 

**while both kids go to bed at 7pm, thankfully, they have separate bedrooms, so we let Luke stay up later and read before turning off the light. . .


7:30 finish making our dinner and eat

** depending on what’s for dinner, sometimes we have a family dinner together and sometimes we feed the kids first and have our dinner after they are in bed. . . because those who have young kids know that it is almost impossible to eat/enjoy your food while trying to encourage them to eat/not throw food/use your spoon/etc.


8:00 Couch + TV time 

9:00 brush teeth, crawl into bed + reading


9:30 sleep! 


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The Pro list of NZ

Alright, like I said in my last post, it isn’t all rainbows down here. . . but the rainbows they have are pretty darn amazing.


First of all, the weather is amazing. At least in their summer. It has a good mix of HOT HOT days and nice warm days.  And a 0.02% chance of snow. Not bad.



The beach.


The running has been phenomenal. While we haven’t been able to run on the beach (the sand is too soft!), you can’t beat the beach views while running.



The kiwi sense of humor is on point.



General lack of overreaction.  Folks here are willing to discuss and politely debate controversial topics without getting inappropriately worked up. For example, the Auckland waitress that referred to a group of customers as ‘Asians’ on their receipt, in lieu of a table number. Was the customer, and were her associates, of Asian descent? Yes. Is that a bone-headed way of describing a group of customers? Yep. As to whether it was racism, that question was debated on national TV and radio. Regardless of opinion, there was no picketing of the restaurant. Nor were there calls for the employee’s firing, or  public shaming. Most folks recognized that even if a poor choice, it wasn’t done with malice, and that we all make mistakes.

Tolerance. Along the same lines as the last point, it’s acceptable to have a differing political opinion and for there to be an open discussion about those differences without anyone calling for the others’ incarceration or impeachment. They don’t need to be politically correct. Heck, their football team is called the “All Blacks.”

Work is less stressful. Less paperwork. More thankful patients. Awesome co-workers.


Fresh fruit and vegetables. The plum tree in our backyard was amazing.


Lack of stop signs. Kiwis love yield signs and more common sense driving… which I am going to miss!

Kid friendly. I never dreamed that I would be able to tell Luke to ‘…stop playing with the neighborhood kids and come home when the street lights turn on…’ but you can do that here with a very high level of confidence that kids will be safe
despite not having an ever-vigilant parent’s eye watching over them. School is also more laid back and fun. There’s still work, but the kids aren’t being taught with the end game of passing a standardized test.


Scenery. Everywhere you look you see something beautiful. Ocean, mountains, waterfalls. Sheep. Sunrises and sunsets look like an ultra high-definition version of the Hotel California album cover.  The beach, ocean and waves. It just does something right for the soul. 


**thanks to Scott for his help putting together and writing some of this post with me. Winking smile

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It’s not all rainbows in New Zealand

So, I’m not going to lie, living in New Zealand for the past 5 months and skipping Minnesota winter has been pretty amazing.


While there are a ton of good things about living in New Zealand (spoiler alert: post on that tomorrow), there are some things that aren’t so great.

So, here are a few things that I didn’t know or expect when coming here.  . . 


Summer is great and they definitely don’t have mosquitoes like we do in MN, but man they have some crazy black flies. Thankfully, they don’t bite but they are annoying AF. 

We bought a car when we got here and will sell it back when we leave, but as part of my contract, I have a clinic car to use. .. BUT, I have to share it. The social worker uses it during the day. Which means that I have to either ask for the keys back at the end of the day or wait until he gets back from his rounds before I can head home. It’s basically like being back in high school and having to ask your Dad for the car to go somewhere. . . 


As you know, we are renting a furnished house. While it is a very nice house and fairly well equipped, I still miss our house. I miss our couch, big TV, my bed and my kitchen aid mixer! 

Living two blocks from the beach and going there all the time? Amazing, right? Yes, BUT the sand is SO sticky. And even if we go just for a bit, the kids come home covered in sand, which necessitates showers and/or baths and makes a quick trip to the beach so much more. . . 


Which brings me to the next issue. We are on a water tank here. Which means that we collect rain water, which then goes thru a filter and that is the water we use for drinking, cooking, bathing, brushing teeth, etc. But it also means, that if it doesn’t rain and we aren’t careful, we might have to pay $200+ to fill up the tank. Thankfully, we’ve had our fair share of rain in addition to being careful about our water usage, but it’s been a fairly constant worry.


We also have a compost bin here. . .Now, I know that some people use compost bins, but I am not one of them. And honestly, I don’t like it! I am looking forward to getting home to my garbage disposal. 😉 

Warmer weather = bigger bugs. I have seen (and killed) more spiders and bugs (including cockroaches) than I ever have in my whole life. And yes, I still call Scott to kill the extra big ones. 🙂 

Oh man, do I miss my dryer. It isn’t as bad as I thought it would be. . . but it will be nice to do laundry without having to check the weather forecast or put shoes on to go outside. And to have soft clothes again. 


Food! This is probably the biggest one. It just isn’t the same. They don’t have restaurants like we do, nothing similar to Chipotle or Panera. They have Subway, Pita Pit, McDonalds, etc. Hamburgers/steak/meat in general is just different, not as good overall. When you order a hamburger in a restaurant, it is almost like a meatloaf burger because they will add fillers into it and that is just standard here. 

**exception – fish and chips are always awesome


And desserts should probably be it’s own category. The level of sweetness here is not the same for desserts. Most of the time when we have gotten dessert, it is missing sugar. In ice cream, cakes, milkshakes, etc. 


I miss teaching BODYPUMP! They have BODYPUMP down here. Les Mills is actually based in Auckland, but because I am here for a short time and the two places in town that teach it have strange class times that don’t work with my schedule, I decided not to try to join and start teaching. But I miss it terribly and am looking forward to getting my strength back soon! 

It costs an INSANE amount of money to ship things here. The boxes that we have been sent have been at the cheapest $78! And it’s the same to send stuff from here. Even a padded envelope was $25! 

The toilet paper is just not good. We’ve tried a bunch of different brand/types, but it’s just thinner, not as plush? Again, not a huge deal, but it still makes a difference. 

Transportation here is cray-cray. There aren’t “close” towns. To get to the next nearest town is 3 hours for us. And it isn’t a straight, get on the highway, set the cruise control and go. It’s craziness of curves and twists and turns. Basically a nightmare for anyone who suffers from any car sickness. I have lost count of how many times Luke has thrown up in the car here. Sad smile


As you’d expect with living on an island, stuff is expensive. Like $10 for a block of cream cheese and $10 for a pound of chicken. 

In the grocery store and the Warehouse (sorta like Target), it’s not uncommon to have shelves be bare and not restocked frequently. Like Jake’s diapers were out of stock for 3+ weeks. And then sometimes instead of restocking, they will put in a “similar” product in that spot instead. . . which is frustrating! 

That they don’t have Target. 

The metric system. 

Driving on left side of road. It has not been as bad as I thought it would be. And honestly, you get used to it pretty quick, but it’s still weird. Even stranger is the windshield wipers going the wrong way. . . that makes you do a double take!


The break room always smells like fish. like always. 


And the biggest con to NZ, we don’t have any family/friends close by. Looking forward to having grandparents to babysit, having my sister over to bake together and watching The Bachelor with friends. Smile 

Ok. whew, you made it . . if you are still reading – nice work!

And before you cross New Zealand off your list, check back for my next post: all the amazing things about living in New Zealand!

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Two more Thompsons in NZ…

A few weeks ago, Scott’s parents, Lee and Way, came to visit for 10 days!

We were able to meet them right at the airport as they got off the plane on the runway! #smalltownnewzealand


We took them for a walk up Kaiti Hill to enjoy the views.



We drove north up the coast to Tolaga Bay to look at the long wharf.


Luke tried to boogie board in the waves but the wind was super strong with a storm coming in. . .



We did lots of fun things that I didn’t get pictures of during their time in Gisborne. . . they were awesome and watched the boys many nights while Scott and I went running. And one night for a nice dinner out. We took them out for donuts, coffee, pizza, fish and ice cream. And of course, beach time!

Then, we took a road trip together for their last few days.  . .

First, south to Napier.

Spent the afternoon eating traditional NZ “pies.” And exploring downtown. And a fun splash pad for the boys.

A nice dinner out for Valentine’s Day with a fish pond. .. 


Then, we hit the road again the next day to drive inland to Taupo.


We had fun soaking in the lake views during lunch and wandering around the downtown area.





Then, north to Huka Falls. <—SO cool!



And drove a bit further north to stay in Rotorua.



We had a busy day of exploring downtown, riding the gondola to check out the views and riding the luge a few times.

We also checked out the Redwood Tree Walk at nighttime. While the lights weren’t as impressive as we were hoping, it was still a cool experience. And shout out to Way for doing the tree walk despite previously saying that she was never going to do it!


The next morning, we were up and on our way for a quick stop in Whakatane and stopped for lunch and beach time at Ohope beach.





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