When a space capsule returns to the Earth, it has a heat shield to protect it from burning up in the atmosphere.  As I walked into our newly renovated house in Los Gatos I wondered, where is my heat shield?


Boxes and boxes everywhere!  I, like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, wanted to tap my heels and say, “There is no place like home (Dunedin)”.  Actually, I did, but when I opened my eyes I only saw more boxes, and I was still in our garage.

But, I’m ahead of myself (as usual).

I left Dunners on a beautiful sunny (16C, unseasonably warm) winter day.


My heart was aching as I said goodbye to Dunedin, and the Otago Peninsula.


Air New Zealand plies you will pretty good fare to eat and drink, and plenty of good movies, so the long trip home wasn’t too painful and I even managed a few hours sleep.

After I had my wits about me at home I ventured to our local grocery store.  Of course, when I left Nz it was winter and I returned to summer in the agricultural center of the US…so what did I expect?


Beautiful stone fruit, plums…..


Tomatoes, avocados……


And fresh, wild King Salmon (a product of the USA!).

And from those still in Nz who are reading this (and who just paid $5 for a green pepper……)


That really hurts.

It’s quite strange to be back here after a year away.  Things have changed (new neighbors, new streetlights….heck, our whole house was remodeled) but then it was eerily the same.  After only hours it felt like I had never left.  And this, coming from someone who in many ways didn’t want to come back to the hustle and bustle of Silicon Valley.  I was so conflicted.  Then, as the warm California sun lowered in sky, all the neighborhood kids came out of their homes after dinner (there are, seemingly,  dozens of new kids on our block), and then their parents came out, and we struck up conversation after conversation…everyone so curious to know how the year in Nz was.  It felt good to be back home…….and yet I still longed for my little Dunners.

And I think that’s how the next week will go.  I’ll reconnect with my many friends here, enjoying the warm sun, hiking, enjoying the amazing fresh produce and salmon.  I’m heading out to see my grandmother tomorrow, who turns 99 years young next month!  (Now THAT will remind my of Dunedin….since last week I had 8 people on my hospital service who were over the age of 90).   I don’t think I feel completely at home for awhile.  And it’s always good to know there’s an Air Nz flight leaving San Francisco each night….just in case.



Published by dave clarke

I am different things to different people. Husband, father, doctor, teacher, friend, or if you're a fish, a fly fisherman. But really, I'm just a guy trying to learn about life, and if I'm lucky, maybe teach a little bit along the way. If I were a golfer (I'm not) I would be on the back nine of my life, or if I were a book, there would be more pages turned than not. Any yet, I'm far from finished creating chapters of my life. The goal of Next Chapters is inspiration, and I'm hopeful the traffic goes in both directions.

8 thoughts on “Re-entry

  1. #@%$^&*( this is Houston. Welcome home and nice re-entry. Keep us posted on the debriefings from the old hospital and your observations. Can’t wait…..the journey continues I hope.

  2. Dear Dave, Happy birthday. Hope you are happy and back to work (are you?)I am looking forward to new stories!
    What’s your next destination?

  3. Hi Dave. I’m one month in New Zealand now, and loving it!! – a sentiment I’m sure you’re all too familiar with 🙂 I was thinking back last night to how this whole adventure of mine came about and just have to say again how instrumental your blog was. You fed me dreams, and I doubt my story would have happened without you writing yours. For that I’m so grateful. All the best to you and your family. – anita

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