Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Reentry Update: What Now?

We have been slowly readjusting to Colorado, savoring the gorgeous fall weather, reconnecting with friends and deliberately not rushing back into the work life. The planner in the family (yours truly) has been plan-less for once. A bit unnerving yet totally liberating.

We posted all the photos we took over the summer, then we asked ourselves the question many have asked us: what now?

When you live on a boat for months, you realize how little you actually need. So every time we come back from a sailing adventure, we have the urge to clean and declutter. After our 2007 sailing trip, we even had a case of Tom Hanks's wife in Apollo 13 "I can't deal with cleaning, let's sell the house", and went as far as selling the darn thing. Not this time! While on Alizée, I read The Happiness Project, a fun read, highly recommended for women (for its great tips on relationships). The author enjoys decluttering her life and even the lives of others. I was looking forward putting her decluttering techniques to the test: first what you want to get rid of, then what you are keeping but really don't need, like 4 pairs of black pants, and that pretty sweatshirt I never wore - maybe it was not pretty after all. We have done more cleaning the past 2 weeks than in the past 9 years we lived in the house. As a working mother, I read once "the kids won't remember how clean the house was. They'll remember how unavailable you were because you were always cleaning". That was the day I stopped cleaning the house.

As we drove back from Maine, as the fog lifted, something became very clear: our kids are fully emancipated with their own job, place, bank account, credit card, cell phone plan, and even their own sweetheart. Our responsibility to raise responsible young adults has come to an end and we are now entering the third chapter of our lives: post-kids and pre-grandkids. With that realization, we vowed to make the best of that time. A recent event is helping pick a direction....

Over the summer, we received notification that we had been granted New Zealand residency. Bill had made it a goal to get NZ residency before turning 56, the age after which we could never be more than tourists in New Zealand, restricted to 3 month stays. Every circumnavigating sailor we met picked NZ as the place they wished they could have stayed longer, and that was enough for him to set that challenge for himself. I have to say it was a bit amusing to see him go through the application process, until I had to go along with him for a medical appointment. Ugh. I got lumped into the process when the NZ government saw the mate had a long-standing wife and they rightfully assumed I would be unlikely to stay behind. "Don't mess with the wrath of Cath" as Bill would say!

Who in their wildest dream could turn down the opportunity to go experience the land of hobbits and kiwis? We kept looking for a reason why we should not do this, then we stopped looking and started planning. We have learned a ton the past two weeks about requirements to rent a house in Boulder, US naturalization for the frog in the house (yours truly is still a French citizen), NZ housing options and quirkiness (rent looks cheap until you learn they are quoted by the week!), and how to dispose of all kinds of stuff. Anyone in need to recycle old lightbulbs and batteries? contact me!

We are marching through the steps to get outta here in November. I never liked history in school so having to learn about the US constitution was a deterrent all those years. But, after 30 years on a permanent resident green card, I finally applied for the US citizenship so I don't run the risk of having US entry denied would we find ourselves staying abroad longer than 6 months. We decluttered, cleaned (the whole 9 years worth of cleaning) and put our house for rent. Probably the hardest part is finding a nurturing home for our aging cat. The Humane Society says that Boulder residents favor adopting senior cats but so far no luck. Know of anyone who could fall for our 17 yr old sweetie? My agilist friends will appreciate that we are using a Trello board to track our relocation progress and not get overwhelmed by the litany of details - medical insurance, cells plans, cars, housing, medical checkups, etc... Oh and I gotta find a job when I get there so we have enough MULA to travel in the dream land.

After living a quarter of a century in France, then a quarter of a century in America, it seems fitting to move to a third continent. I just hope I don't bring bad karma to NZ. France was great when I was there and it went to pot over the years. The US was great 30 years ago when I got here. This year's presidential election would be enough to make me relocate anywhere, so timing feels about right to leave. Auckland, here we come!


  1. Hi Guys,
    I've been following your blog for a while and finally decided to comment. You've done great job on Alizée. We hope to do just as good of a job on Maroro our Didi40cr when we begin in ernest next year (I've been cutting bulkheads in our apartment..)
    Would love to talk more about Alizée and your experiences building and sailing her.

  2. You have achieved so very much over the past six years. As a friend who has watched and taken joy in your Alizee adventures, I'm thrilled that you are stepping out in a new bold direction, er, hemisphere! . And you're departing at a great time in so many ways. Things will be waiting for you-- when and if you return -- and we'll be here to greet our adventurous Connors home when you do. Wish we could take the cat -- but you know . . (-;
    xxoo C&J

  3. Hi Randall! I'd be happy to chat about Alizée. You can ping me at @blueholesoftware.com. The user name is cipherbill (sorry, have to trip up the bots or I'll get spammed.) Cheers!

  4. A new adventure - good for you! When will Alizee be joining you?

  5. Happy to report that kitty found a new loving home!


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