Ohmygosh, take a deep breath, today it’s one month until we leave on our big adventure. Life at the moment is pretty crazy and seems to alternate between moments of great excitement and surreal feelings of wow we are ACTUALLY doing this not just talking about doing it, and mild panic about how much there still is to do before we go. Here’s a roundup of our world at the moment:

Our house is rented

Big sighs of relief all round, we got the rental contract signed last week for the entire time we’re away and it’s worked out pretty perfectly. We are renting our house to a family with kids of a similar age to ours, plus one on the way (we’re hoping that means no raging parties going on with a new bub in the house!). They’ve recently come back from overseas, so bonus, they want to rent our whiteware, some of our furniture and all the kids outdoor play equipment which will save us a lot of $$ in storage. Not to mention ending the head-scratching about what we were going to do with the trampoline and agonising about how to get our big double-door fridge freezer out without mucking up our freshly done kitchen floor…

Thank goodness there’s no more keeping the house unnaturally tidy for open homes, and the dreaded task of culling stuff and packing can now begin. We’ve already sent a few box loads full of stuff to the Red Cross for the new refugees coming to NZ, and sold quite a bit on TradeMe but there’s a bit more that can go. Then there’s all the organising storage, cancelling phone/SKY/electricity, sorting out insurances etc etc.

School / kindy / work nearly done

The kids have 1.5 more days of school and kindy left, then that’s it for 10 and a half months! We had a great meeting with Soph’s principal last week to cover off the final details of what we need to achieve while she’s away. The school has been so supportive, we’re really thrilled and grateful with their attitude towards us taking her out of school. Apart from keeping up with reading, writing a journal and maths she has to write a weekly email story with a photo about what she has been doing and send it to the principal and her teacher who will share it with her class. We’re also going to set her up some space on this blog to tell it how she sees it. Should be interesting, I promise not to edit! I’ve finished my contract work and am now in the role of chief-sorter-outer but Mike is working pretty much right up until a few days before we go.

Travel vaccinations

A few people have said that the blog should be warts and all (thanks guys!) and I agree, so here goes. The travel vaccination side of things has been hideous and we’ve hated every minute of it 🙁 Causing your kids pain and stress is bad enough when it’s necessary through the routine immunisation schedule, to subject them to a whole lot more injections and medicines because you’re choosing to venture through a bunch of developing countries can make you feel pretty shit, and subject to a whole heap of parental guilt.

For us there was never any question that we wouldn’t immunise them, we just weren’t prepared to take the risk. So we went and saw the most excellent Dr Hoosen at the Travel Clinic North Shore, who we’ve used in the past for trips to Sth America and India, and he put together a detailed schedule of what we needed and worked out the timings over 4 visits. He was very good with the kids and didn’t skip a beat when they were *less than keen* to let him near them with a needle. Or when Jack moved during one of the rabies injections and the precious and expensive vaccine sprayed all over him, me and the clinic floor, oops. I’ll put my hands up and say I broke every parenting rule in the book and used a combination of bribery with new toys, lollies and trips to McDonalds afterwards to get them through it.  Apart from the drama of getting it done, there were no side-effects for any of us.

Thumbs up outside the travel clinic. Thank f*ck it's nearly over...!
Thumbs up and no tears outside the travel clinic, Soph with an armful of typhoid, cholera and malaria medication. Thank f*ck it’s nearly over…!

Here’s what we’ve had:

-1 x Hepatitis A shot for the kids
-1 x Typhoid shot for the kids – Mike & I are taking 3 x tablets orally because we’ve had 3x shots before and immunity begins to wain via injection apparently
-3 x Rabies vaccinations spread over 3 weeks for the kids. Mike and I got a booster shot only as we’ve been immunised previously
-1 x Meningococal for all of us
– 1 x Tetanus/Diptheria/Pertussis/Polio – booster for the adults only as kids get this through their childhood immunisations
-2 x Cholera / E.Coli – via a *delicious* raspberry flavoured drinks for all of us, blurrrgh. Nothing to eat 1.5 hours prior to and afterwards, we were all starving and grumpy!


Post-travel clinic celebratory noodle practice after the gross cholera/e.coli drink
Post-travel clinic celebratory noodle practice on the weekend when we were starving after the gross cholera/e.coli drink!

If there’s one small consolation out of all of this, apart from them not contracting a life-threatening disease, is that most of these vaccines will give the kids immunity for life or a quick booster top up shot. So if they ever end up in the back-blocks of Timbuktu, they can thank their crazy parents for the investment they gave them back when they were little. Cos it’s expensive to get all this done. Like thousands of dollars expensive, argh ……!!

The final one to go is a shot for Japanese encephalitis, but the cost to have it done in NZ is just outrageous – $2,200 for the 4 of us! Something to do with a monopoly on importing it here. So we are going to have it done at a clinic in Malaysia for a fraction of the cost when we first arrive.

We’ve also got a bunch of malaria test kits and will be carrying some Malarone prophylaxis just in case – we’re steering mostly clear of any malarial regions so this is hopefully super-overkill-precautionary.

The cats have a home

Our beloved pussycats are going on an extended vacay to Nana and Poppa’s house while we’re away, thanks Nana and Poppa! The kids are fully expecting the cats to Skype us 😉

Finalising bookings

It’s a fine line between over organising and being organised, but a good chunk of our accommodation and flights are now booked. In some cases we’ve had to do it all now, like organising our European lease car. Good old French bureaucracy means we have to have everything paid and original paperwork in triplicate issued before we leave NZ, even though it’s not until May that we’re picking up the car. C’est la vie.

That’s probably enough for now, suffice to say there are about 4 different ‘to do’ lists floating around the house and probably a few late nights ahead of us. At least the Christmas shopping is done and dusted!

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