Monday, January 29, 2007

The Long Winter

Ian and I are moving to New Zealand for a time. He’s accepted a job counting fish for an organization there, and I’m going to go and see what a dilettante can find to do when her husband, who’s been a student as long as she’s known him (minus 48 hours or so), suddenly becomes gainfully employed. I’m looking forward to it very much.

We’ll be living in Wellington, the capital city. The weather will be much like Seattle, although not quite so extreme (cooler in the summer, less bone-chilling in the winter, although pretty much just as damp year round). The latitude is more or less equivalent (although opposite) to Eureka, CA, but the proximity of Antarctica will keep us from getting too hot or, indeed, bored from lack of wind. The wind is significant enough that pilots have to have a special endorsement to land at the airport there. Yay.

In a stroke of genius on our part, we’ve managed to be friends with a brilliant person who’s living in Wellington right now, and blogging about it with great flair. We’re looking forward to making her show us around town in April when we arrive.

Yes, that’s right, we’re leaving Seattle on 15 April.

There are three challenges to this date, so, so soon, so rapidly approaching.

Challenge one is the Visa application process. The lovely and brilliant Chiara filled out the one-page on-line Working Holiday visa, and was accepted within two days. We, on the other hand, are filling out the standard 32-page work visa form. We each have to apply, even though I have no intention of working in any traditional sense. And, in fact, I could theoretically be denied a visa. Sixteen of the 32 pages are an exhaustive medical examination and report, and mine says I’ve had cancer. Recently. New Zealand, having socialized medicine, isn’t interested in new residents who are likely to put a huge burden on the medical system. It is also, naturally, not interested in people with TB, or HIV, or Hepatitis B, or syphilis, or people who need dialysis. We understand this. In a country of only four million people (and 60 million sheep), two more can have a significant effect. Fortunately, 98% of my medical form shows me to be the extravagantly healthy person I am, and since I will be, from now on, cancer-free, we’re not worried. And so we’re boldly forging ahead with our other two challenges (we’re not even giving a moment’s consideration to the possibility that our FBI records—yes, that’s right, we’ve been fingerprinted and everything—are anything but clean).

Challenge two is finishing a doctoral dissertation, which lies primarily with Ian, with encouragement and minor editing from me, as well as a willingness to take on Ian’s habitual household tasks.

Challenge three is cleansing our house of a combined 66 years’ worth of accumulated craps (both our parents have already bequeathed our childhood projects and stained math club T-shirts to our own long-term storage in our own basement). I’ve taken on this job, and have been surprised at how much I’ve wanted to cull. We were watching an episode of Seinfeld the other night and Jerry said something about people keeping books they’ve read, for example. “Why do you keep them?” he asked. “They’re like trophies. ‘Look what I’ve done!’” Bingo, I thought sheepishly. More evidence of how Seinfeld mirrors life. So, books, many many many of you, gone. The 26 matching glasses we bought at Goodwill for our New Year’s 2005 party, as well as the various unmatching glasses left over from years of collecting glassware? Gone. Any cooking apparatus with Teflon or an off-brand non-stick coating? Gone. Strange knick-knacks given to us by people who don’t know us quite well enough? Gone. Piles and piles of clothing that either 1) works best with two boobs or 2) I won’t want when we finally get summer again, 18 months after the last time? Gone.

Yes folks, that’s right. Since we’re moving to the southern hemisphere in April, in early, early spring, we’re going to miss the glorious Northwest summer. And we’re missing the evidently not too shabby Wellington summer right now. And we won’t actually get a summer until one year from now. Sigh. Although Ian’s right; I don’t like spring all that much, and I do like fall, so I’ll be trading one for the other pretty neatly. And, being that Ian’s job is not in the US, he’ll be getting about five weeks of vacation per year. And Fiji is very, very close.


Joel said...

Does the FBI know about your subversive "red" tattoo??

CMT said...

Shhh! Not in the public comments!

Ian said...

Do I know about your subversive red tattoo? Is the giraffe named Fidel or something?