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So, New Zealand!
I don't think I have any New Zealanders on my friends list, though I used to know 3 back in my Tad Williams message board days. Now I only know Australians. *waves to the Australians*

So, I'm learning a lot about New Zealand. Like, I always thought it was really close to Australia. And I was excited when I decided to move to New Zealand, because I thought, I'll get to see my Australian friends, too, hooray!!!!

But, get this. At it's closest point, it's 900 miles away from Australia. That's a really long way! That's how far Wisconsin is from where I live now. I used to travel to Wisconsin, summers with my grandmother returning to the now-defunct family farm. Sure, it's a manageable flight, but it's not exactly the easy breezy weekend trip I had planned. I mean, right, I think about a little zip-over to Wisconsin all the time.

Then again, I guess New Zealand is as close to Australia as anything can be. Who puts continents all the way on the other side of the world, anyway? Not very efficient.

Also, I thought of New Zealand as a quiet little country. Maybe a cozy city or two about the size of my own Richmond, but lots and lots of towns and quaintness on the way to the majestic beauty of the wilder-than-wild wild. (Speaking of the wild, do you know one of my favorite things? There were so few ground predators that birds decided flying just wasn't worth it, so they evolved not flying. I just love that! It's so human of them. "Oh, well, it was just too much work to go off and see the great wide world. I'm just going to sit here and watch TV.")

ANYWAY. Point being that Auckland, the city I plan to move to... I pictured it quite small, like Richmond. Well, I actually wasn't too far off there. The Greater Auckland Area has a population of 1.2 million, and the Greater Richmond Area has about that,, too. But all the pictures of the city center show a bustling city. Richmond doesn't look that bustling. Maybe it's just because we don't have a marina. Not like theirs, anyway.

By the way, did I mention I've decided to move to New Zealand? I decided last week, and now I'm completely obsessed. You would think I was packing my bags and going next month, the way I've been talking non-stop about it. My brain thinks so, too. But I won't be able to go for 5 more years, when I'll be a legitimate occupational therapist and, therefore, actually have a job when I move. (One that doesn't involve cleaning hotels or watching children, you see.)

So this has taken a lot of pressure off my shoulders, really. Now I'm obsessing about things like how to get rid of everything I own and move around the world, how to get group fitness certifications that will allow me to teach at the local gyms (you know, where the Les Mills gods live), how to spend my minimum four weeks vacation per year (OMG I may never come home!!!!), and how to take my cats with me.

This is all five years off, but that's what I'm doing now. Instead of obsessing about the next year of getting prerequisites and volunteer hours and trying to get into the OT master's program (and what if they don't take me???!!!) - then 2 and a half more years of work. So I've stopped worrying about that. Now it's when I've graduated from grad school, as if it's a sure thing, written in stone.

And all I have to do is land my NZ job and buy a plane ticket! It's really much more fun to spend my days thinking about that. Sooooo much better for the soul.

So if you see me walking around with a giant smile on my face, that's why!

I'm moving to New Zealand.

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I <3 you!! Go for your dreams, gal. :)

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