One month already gone by. I vividly remember writing a post about my first week in Dunedin, and now that seems so long ago…. and just like yesterday.
Today is the perfect anniversary of being in Dunedin one month. This morning I walked to the hospital, surprised it was so warm outside. I had worn, as I have every day, my grey ‘hoodie’ which I picked up at Costo just before I left California. I didn’t need the extra warmth this morning, and I was overheated by the time I climbed the nine flights of stairs to the 8th floor. But it was habit to put it on the morning, and the morning’s weather doesn’t always portend that of the afternoon. After my long weekend of call, we had 19 patients to see today. It all went well at the hospital, and as I walked home at about 5pm, it had started to drizzle. I knew there was a reason I brought a jacket.
Shortly after I arrived back home to my cosy little apartment, I went to down to the reception desk to check out. The hospital had paid for my first three weeks, but I was on my own (financially) after that. Two weeks ago I rented a home in Waverly (a district about 5-6 km from here), and tomorrow is my move in date. So, on my one month anniversary I am spending my last night in this apartment, and tomorrow start a new life at a 3 bedroom home. How appropriate.
This is a photo of the Harbor, looking out towards the Peninsula and near Waverly (where I’ll be living as of tomorrow). It’s only a five minute drive from downtown, but as the thick low lying cloud cover shows, every single kilometer can mean a big difference in weather. I’m told Waverly is a sunny part of Dunedin, and that my home, which faces North (if you look at real estate ads, “facing North” is a big seller!), gets plenty of sun.
As I sat down to write this post, it was dark grey outside. It had just rained hard for about 20 minutes and the clouds, seemingly emptied of their water for the moment, hung heavy overhead. The grey began to turn lighter in color and the clouds thinned. The light was fading as it was nearing 7 o’clock, and the lights of Dunedin began to appear. I stopped writing, and just watched the day fade into night. It was so peaceful and calm, a stillness you could feel. And I thought about the last month.
I thought about how much I’ve missed my family. We see each other and talk almost every day without fail, thanks to Skype. But it’s not the same as being there, and I miss the closeness only a warm embrace can satisfy. One month down, three to go.
I thought about Dunedin, and how I’ve growth to love the people here. The medical students, house officers and registrars are delightful. My consultant colleagues could not be nicer. Last Friday I covered for one of the other consultant’s team while she did ACLS recertification for a half day. Over the weekend she made biscotti and chutney, and today presented me with a jar of each as a thank you. And people I care for in the hospital still amaze me with their easy going, take whatever you are given, cheerful attitudes. Today, we discharged the patient I wrote about earlier who had the hemorrhagic stroke, who can now fully raise both arms, and walk with really no assistance at all. I’ll never forget the smile (and not just today, but every day, even the day of the stroke).
I thought about the character of New Zealand, and how so many things here are so simple. The post office, for instance. Want to register your car? You do that at the post office. Need to get an IRD number (like the IRS in the US) so you can get paid and pay taxes? You get that at the post office. Want to pay any bill? You can, at the post office. They do EVERYTHING there. It’s amazing. And yes, you can mail things there too.