It just takes time

It’s Friday morning here and the kids are giving me grief for not submitting my final Gisborne blog post (!). We have been running around trying to see friends and say our goodbyes, while also getting the house packed up and things ready on the home front for our...

She’ll be right

I can’t believe it. Our year abroad in New Zealand has flown by, and now we’re getting ready to head home. As a family, we’ve gone through so much, learned so many new things, and become closer than ever. This year has made me into such a better person, and I’m so...

Grateful

Last October, I saw an older man in the Emergency Department who had collapsed while surfing due to cardiac arrest; essentially, his heart had stopped in the middle of a wave.  He was rescued by some teenagers who had witnessed his fall and had the wherewithal (and...

Hard to say goodbye

Friday is my last day of school in New Zealand and to be honest I’m not sure how I feel about it. I’m not going to lie, I’ve made much better friends here than I would have expected.  Since I’ve been little, my Mom has always been telling me about when she went to...

Different Priorities, Different Results

There were two interesting articles published in the United States that highlighted the important differences I've noticed after a year in practice in New Zealand. Both articles are worth reading, as they highlight problems that a growing majority of US physicians...

A taste of Asia

The Irwin’s have been a little lazy with blog lately (except maybe Mom), but I’m excited to tell you about our latest adventure to Asia! We visited Thailand and Singapore, where we had a terrific time. It was particularly cool to catch up with one of our Au-Pairs from...

Whether to stay in NZ

Deciding whether to stay in NZ or move back to the US.

Asia Rocks!

It’s been a long time since I’ve written because we’ve been running around with all our sports and activities. Mostly though because for the last 2 weeks we’ve been traveling in Asia (in Thailand and Singapore.) First we went to Thailand where we got to have the...

The Little Man

Julien hasn’t gotten much ink here on our blog. He’s too young to write his own blogs (he’s 5,) and so he doesn’t share his thoughts or opinions on how this year has been for him – so I thought I would take a pass at doing it for him. Julien has spent his short little...

Running a business from 8500 miles away

Ok friends, let’s talk business. Because to be honest, I’ve been mom’ing hard on this blog. But I had promised I would keep it real in terms of business too. So, here we go. Ten months later … perhaps a few of you are curious to know how my business is faring from the...

A week in a campervan… well almost

We just got back from a trip to the South Island, and it was amazing. I think the thing that we had all been most looking forward to was the week in the campervan. I had already decided that I wanted to sleep on the top bunk and was super excited. The first few nights...

5, 4, 3, 2, 1… BUNGEE!

Bungee jumping in Queenstown

A Global Perspective (on Doctoring)

I’ve recently returned from a trip to Sydney Australia and SMACC, one of the premier emergency and critical care conferences in the world now in its 7th and final iteration.

Sports, sports, and also … sports

Have you heard about the no homework policy in New Zealand? Crazy right? I think that I may have figured out why this might be. Honestly, Kiwi kids are 100% too busy with sports to even think about school at home. Now don’t get me wrong, Kiwi kids are just as smart as...

Deja Vu

Perhaps it is due to the change of seasons, or perhaps for reasons I don’t know, but one thing is for sure – things have changed again. This one crept up on me; I was so proud of how well we were all doing here, how well we’d gotten used to our new lives in Gisborne....

Biscuit: a cookie, a tube, or both?

While we have all gone back to school, and I have started a new school which I really like, I’ve been doing some pretty crazy activities out of school. There is still pretty good weather here, and my friend Summer has introduced me to one of my favorite new NZ...

New School, Same me

It has been a couple of weeks since I started Year 9, and it has been quite the transition. I finished at Gisborne Intermediate (Gisint) around the middle of December and was on a two month break until February. I’m not at Gisint this term because intermediate only...

Accidents Will Happen

It's summer here, which means a bit of a respite from kids with respiratory illness and fever in the Emergency department, but an uptick in injuries.  Falls, motor vehicle collisions, bike accidents, and of course playground injuries have been commonplace. The "flying...

Hobbies

When we first arrived, a very nice man asked me a question that stopped me in my tracks because I had no answer – I was literally stumped. The fact that I was stumped was troubling to me, and dumbfounding to him. He asked me: “Fred, outside of running Her Corner and...

worried

As a strong, independent woman, I feel fearless. Bring it. For real. I dare you. As a mom, in the US, I feel scared. All the time. I worry about my kids … all the time. I tell them to text / call me anytime they get anywhere. I worry about the jerks in the cars...

Sharing our secret

Happy New Year everyone from the land of the first light.  We've had a busy summer, filled with wonderful visits from our family back home and numerous trips that the kids have reported well on.  The ocean is warm enough to swim in without a wetsuit, and the days are...

Behavioral Changes

Understanding what it takes to change behavior fascinates me. Change is da** near impossible sometimes, or at least it seems that way. Until we have a paradigm shift and we suddenly see a new way of doing something that attained an outcome we never believed could...

End of Summer

I had a lot of fun this Summer (in January :)) but I’m surprisingly ready to go back to school. I went to Australia, New Caledonia, and the South Island for the first time in the span of six weeks. You’ve already heard all about that though, so I’ll skip to the...

Vacation in Oz

Recently, my grandparents (Dad’s side) came to visit all the way from New York, and we went to explore New Zealand’s South Island. It was a lot of fun and I enjoyed having visitors from home. Right now, my other grandparents are visiting (Mom’s side) and it is...

Sydney For A Week

When I first arrived in Sydney this week I felt like I was slammed back into reality. It’s a major city, with lots of traffic, lots of bustle, and could not be further from our life right now in Gisborne. Ughh, I thought. I’m not sure I like this anymore. I miss the...

An Irwin Visit

It’s been about six months that we’ve been here and we have only had one visitor, which was Anaelle and her fiancé Julien, and they had come earlier on in our trip. It had felt really cool to share our new corner of the world with them and just recently we got to...

After the Holidays

I worried a bit about the summer holidays, and the Christmas holiday leading up to summer. I’m always on high alert when it comes to my kids – will being away from family on Christmas be too much? Would it feel too lonely here? Would they be sad? And so we decided to...

A Polynesian Christmas

This Christmas was different then all of my others, because there were no stairs to creep down at six in the morning, or sit on my bed and play Uno with Lucas while we wait for it to be 7 o’clock. There was no dashing down the stairs as soon as the clock said 7, or...

Christmas… and Summer?

Happy Holidays! No matter what you celebrate, this month is a very special time of year. Everybody gets together, more and more smiles come up on people’s faces, and really the collective mood of society raises, at least that’s what I see. This year, we’re on the...

Outdoor Adventures!

One of the coolest things about NZ is that there is a lot of natural beauty and really cool places to discover. For example, last weekend we went to a place called Rere rockslide, a natural rockslide. What I mean by natural rockslide is that it is an open slope made...

School’s Out for Summer

We are way behind in our blog writing – not just because the weather here is glorious and we’re finally getting to spend all our time outdoors, but rather, because there was one massive thing I completely overlooked when moving here. In the U.S., I refer to the month...

Go with the flow

Learning to adjust from a private DC school kid to school and life in NZ.

Whāngai

One of my favorite axioms of emergency medicine, and medicine in general, is that patients come for our care, not our judgment.   In times when my empathy meter is running particular low, for example during my recent string of overnights, I will actually repeat these...

I ♡ Wellington!

Hi guys! Last weekend my mom and I went on a trip to Wellington. I have heaps to tell you about. We took a flight at 6:30AM, and arrived in Wellington early in the morning (it's only an hour away). While we were landing, it was so windy that I thought we might be...

The Look

Many of you know how open I am about sharing whatever it is, whenever it is, in the hopes that we all benefit from the brutal honesty. Whether you want to talk about infertility, or insecurities, or anxiety, I am going to be right there with you telling it like it is....

A NZ Halloween

Halloween was coming up and all of us were really excited. Even though Halloween isn’t that big of a deal here, we thought it would be a cool idea if we had a party to give our Kiwi friends a taste of Halloween! We made flyers to spread the word, we all got costumes,...

Getting over perfect

Over the last several years I have developed some pretty bad TMJ. My jaw clicks every time I open it, and sometimes I can’t open wide enough to take a bite of a sandwich. During any sort of business lunch I have learned to order things I can eat with a fork, in case I...

The Stoke

The term “stoke” is an enduring surf slang expression meaning excited, pleased, or thrilled. It’s apparently an English adaptation of the 17th-century Dutch word “stok”, used to describe the rearrangement of logs in a fireplace in order to bring up the flames....

Spring Break In NZ!

Hi guys!   Spring Break is just about over and we have been traveling around NZ and doing ridiculously amazing things like skiing on a volcano, going to glowworm caves, visiting Hobbiton, and whitewater rafting. The weirdest part is that it is October! It feels so...

Good Living

I’m there. It’s taken some time (as you know,) but I have adjusted and learned to really love where we live and how we live. I’m sure this ridiculously cute beach house had something to do with that, but hey, no one wants to know *why* mom is in a good mood. It’s just...

Rational Care

I’ve wrapped up my second month of clinical shifts, including a string of nights, and wanted to highlight some of the practice differences here in Gisborne that many of you have been asking me about.     Warning: this is another more technical post, I hope it’s also...

Auckland Adventure Week!

So I realize that I haven’t been writing a lot of blogs recently, but that was mainly because life here has become kind of normal. Though we have moved into a new house near the beach, most things here have just become regular. Like for example, the mountains...

Whale of a time!

It has only been one week since we moved, and I already feel at home. My favorite part of the new house is that we have a hot tub, or maybe it's that I have my own room! Or maybe, it's that we live across the street from the beach. I'm not sure. It's pretty cool...

Change is the easy part

We’re behind on our blogging, in part because it hasn’t seemed like the right time to share new posts about our lives here. Like so many back home, we have been consumed with the news – there are so many people in distress in NC, and so much anger and hostility around...

Straws Suck

In the states, I never really thought about plastic. I never thought about how terribly bad it is. After being here for about two months, I have learned how insanely terrible plastic really is. For example, did you know that we use enough straws  to wrap around the...

The kindness of strangers

As Lucas mentioned, we recently returned from a week in Fiji. Absolutely one of the best family vacations we have ever had – but not for the obvious reasons. The first part of our stay was on the main island, at the Westin. Frankly, if you make it to Fiji, you should...

Our tropical vacation

I’m back from an amazing trip to the one and only Fiji, and it was pretty much the coolest place I have ever been to, and here’s why. It started when Dad happened to have a week off from work. Originally, we had been planning to go to Fiji for Christmas, but it just...

Pōwhiri

For most of us in the states, new employee orientation is a day to forget... filling out HR forms, getting an ID badge, a tour of the facility, a quick trip to IT, perhaps a few inspired words from the big boss, and perhaps if you're lucky a nice off-campus lunch with...

Unpacking

We're really starting to unpack here - both literally and figuratively, as one hopes to do on a sabbatical year. It's the end of Week 6 (yikes!) We are already seeing the kids picking up slang and sounding like Kiwis - just this week, Julien referred to a beer can on...

Out of the way

I am a morning person. But to be clear, I am a morning person because I enjoy having that time to myself. To plan out my day, to go for a workout, to have some time to think and enjoy the quiet. Since I have arrived here, I have realized my mornings are no longer...

Roadie to Rotorua

After our tramp up to Cooks Cove, we have had a pretty tranquil couple of weeks. School is good and the weather has been pretty nice. The tennis schedule is totally figured out and I’m signing up for the NZ version of out door week, which happens to be a week of...

Safe

Julien looked at me the other day and told me that he didn’t need any NERF guns here because bad guys in New Zealand don’t have guns. And he didn’t need any to protect himself. He’s five. How in the world does he know this? And what has he been internalizing these...

Off to Sea!

Last week I went on a very interesting field trip to a Maori boat called a Waka. A Waka is a large Maori canoe that can get up to 40 meters long. We went on a certain kind of Waka called a double hull. A double hull is basically a double rowboat with a big deck...

Small Town Living in Gizzy

Funny story from this week - I was out surfing on a nice brisk winter morning, when an older gentleman paddled up next to me on his longboard. "Pardon me, but does your board say 'For Ian' on the bottom?" he asked. It turned out it did. (I had bought the board second...

The anxiety of motherhood

For starters, thank you to all of you for the thoughtful emails and messages in response to my last post. I have appreciated them so much. I was asked the other day whether I was “loving it” here. Not yet, I said. I’m liking it quite a lot, but I’m still working on...

No, I am not ah leavin’

Hi guys. I made it through my first week of school. Everyone at school is very nice, and the New Zealand accent is so normalized, that I don't even notice it anymore. Well, that's not totally true. For example, people have asked me how old I am, and I answer "eleven,"...

My first time tramping

Today is Sunday, and school has been going great! I’ve made some friends who have been helping me find my way around school and have been really nice. The classes are super fun, and tennis is right next door for after school practices a couple times a week. There’re...

First ED shift

First Shift! Even on the other side of the world, the ED currency of goodwill for nurses and secretaries remains the same. First off, a warning- this is a medical post.   Some of the nuances may be uninteresting to those not in the medical field.   I've got "heaps"...

See you in the ARVO

I’m on a three hour long car ride home from a tennis tournament in our huge van and we’re trying to get home without driving on the wrong side of the road, again. [video width="1024" height="768"...

Withdrawal

I underestimated what it would feel like to move somewhere where I know no one. And by no one, I mean no women. I had discounted how much I rely on women every single day – for laughter, for support, for reference, for connection. My entire life in Washington DC is...

Here we are

I can’t believe that school starts on Monday. That means I only have three days left of summer. At my new school, all the classes are in different buildings, because the weather is generally warm. They have a bunch of cool classes, like cooking, woodwork, and a music...

Crossing the Equator

Chloe turned to me yesterday and said, “It’s not that hard to get to the other side of the world, Mom. It only takes about a day, and then here we are.” Already she is beginning to realize that our world is smaller than she had initially thought. After a very long day...

First Thoughts

I was going to make my first contribution to this blog an attempt at answering the big questions around our decision to move our family around the world. The "whys", the "hows", the risk assessment, etc. It got long and complicated in a hurry- and I shut it down....

Southern Hemisphere, here I come!

Hi! I’m Chloe. I am 11 years old, and I have been going to the same school since kindergarten. So when my parents told me that we were going to New Zealand for a year I was excited, but I was also a little sad. As you can probably imagine, because I have been going to...

It’s time.

The pieces are falling into place and our move is upon us. Lucas, Chloé, and Julien have finished their school years, in some cases with tears and anger toward Jesse and I for making them do this. They have gone to visit family and friends to make the most of their...

Hi, I’m Lucas.

Hi, I’m Lucas, and I have a pretty exciting adventure that I am going to share with all of you over the year to come. About three months ago, my parents sat me down at a diner on just a regular Sunday and told me something that would change my life, which obviously...

Reprogramming

The other night I was chatting with my neighbor, who was offering to introduce me to the wife of the American ambassador to New Zealand, a personal friend of hers. Of course I said I would love to meet her. And, I told my friend, I can’t wait to hear her thoughts on...

Grateful

Almost every day, I laugh with women about how bad we are at asking for help. The five word kiss of death, I call it: “I’ll just do it myself.” It gets in our way at work, in our businesses, in our relationships. And no surprise, it’s getting in my way in my move. But...

The Corner

Something shifted this week. Perhaps it was the people walking through my house, talking about how they would make it theirs next year. Or perhaps it was signing the final documents with the movers and picking the date for them to come and take our things away—for a...

The third trimester

There are less than 90 days until we leave. I am in a full on panic. The kind where during the day you pretend like everything is under control, but you wake up in the middle of the night tense and filled with anxiety. My dentist says my teeth clenching is...

Oh. I get it. (Maybe.)

Perception is a funny thing. You can spend a whole day just trying to manage it; in essence trying to manage what the world thinks of you. At the end of the day, most people are still going to think what they’re going to think—because it’s based on how...

Big decision. Even bigger decision-making process.

The discussion has been underway for years, maybe even as long as we’ve been together. The idea: What if we lived in a foreign country for a year, as a family? Before it’s too late. Before they’re gone. Before we’re just three of us, with the little guy at...

Are you coming with me, crazy?

For years I have wondered: ”What if I didn’t live in Washington, DC? Would I still be as driven, motivated, and obsessed with work? Are big cities a little bit addictive for people like me?” I’ve wondered about this a lot. I’ve watched closely as friends...

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Frederique

Safe

Julien looked at me the other day and told me that he didn’t need any NERF guns here because bad...