Monday, 28 March 2016

2016 - Life as an OT - "but not as we know it"

Hello Everybody,

It's been a few months since writing the last post, mainly due to there having been quite a few significant life changes recently, and this has meant it's been hard to find a minute to stop and take a breath!

One thing that does remain constant though, is the beautiful wonder of these Islands and the constant reminders of how the lifestyle in New Zealand is so closely connected with the physical land. Recreation time in NZ is spent walking, swimming, cycling, tramping, caving, diving, and th elist goes on and on. Even for the less adventurous person, with almost all of the major towns / cities being located by the coast or a short(ish) drive from a snow covered mountain, there is no escaping the visual and physical effect of nature.

The photos below show how even just getting around can be an adventure:

Whilst out walking with my 15-yr old step-son and trying to encourage him to enjoy the 'free' & healthy lifestyle on offer in NZ, we headed to the Red Rocks walk (Wellington's South Coast).  Whilst usually full of seals during a few months of the year, on this day we were treated to a free dolphin show. A pod of Dolphins arrived along the coast line and played around for 15 minutes much to our surprise and enjoyment.

Wellington also has a number of events throughout the year that have fireworks linked with them. This latest one (Chinese New Year) coincided with us having access to a friend's car. Making the most of some the hillside we headed up Mount Victoria to enjoy the spectacular views over the city. It was my wife's and step-son's first 'proper' firework display here and what a lovey reminder of the beauty of their new home.
The added beauty on the same night, was a late summer sunset as seen from Mount Victoria. The colours generated due to the hillside setting were further reminders of the free star and 'light shows' on offer here, all through the year. Sights like this just make you stop, look and admire your surroundings. As with many things in life, seeing things through the eyes of others (whether it's the first time or not) has always been a powerful experience for me, and a wonderful one when it's a sight like this.

For anyone's who's followed my adventures or career to date, you'd probably be a little surprised to hear that I have move into the private sector - and now work for an INSURANCE company of all things! 
I've never been one to dismiss an opportunity to consider doing something a little different. Having worked around the world and usually in face to face settings with people in a variety of health settings, a move to INSURANCE has been different to say the least. The skills required to work more remotely (not in face to face contact with clients), analyze medical information truly objectively, and apply that analysis to any given condition and policy definition, are complex. Working alongside non-health trained colleagues who can hold a very different set of work values and ethics - has been a great challenge too. My outlook has been forcibly widened, and not in a negative sense. Initially I wondered how much REFLECTIVE PRACTICE would occur, and how would I feel about any conflicting professional (OT) ethics verses workplace expectations.
The over-riding sense of working to help people return to employment and assess their functional abilities has been positive and full of learning for me so far. It has also been a really good reminder that Health Workers do not have a monopoly on understanding the perspectives of people in health-related difficult and emotionally challenging situations. Some of my colleagues, who don't have a 'Health Care' background have inspired me with some of their insight and understandings of different client's issues.  
So this experience of working within the Insurance Industry in New Zealand, is a far cry from my experiences in Vietnam & Romania: but my learnings have been similar. People are made of stern stuff. People can surprise, inspire and grow no matter what their history, job title and beliefs. People anywhere and everywhere have the potential for personal growth and make positive contributions to others. 

'NOWHERE BEATS WELLINGTON ON A GOOD DAY' - This is a phrase that many Kiwi's know. It's a polite way of saying the weather can be really crap a lot of the time. This summer however, well actually since I returned in October, the weather has been pretty amazing! These next pictures have been 4 years in the making and I finally had a camera with me when spotting sting-wrays in the lagoon!

IF YOU HAVE AN IDEA - TRY IT! - Kiwi's are not afraid to create and try new things especially adventurous ideas! It doesn't take long of living here to see this spirit in people and it's no surprise to learn that bungy jumping originated here. It my short time (well 4 years now) I have seen and played a few interesting sports with Turbo - Touch, Frisbee-Golf to mention just a couple). The latest new 'sport'' we decided to give a go was Football-Golf! 
Basically, instead of hitting a golf ball with a club, you kick a football in the least number of attempts possible from the 'tee' to the hole! (Obviously the hole for the football is bigger than for the golf ball). The 'course' is a golf course, so you do need to watch out for golf balls flying by, and the general looks of horror from the golfers!

ALL IN ALL..... Life is changing quickly with a wife, teenage step-son and changing job role. With a number of other things going on life is certainly busy. Therefore as time is flying by, the ability to stall time a couple times of day it would be most helpful. As I've not quite developed that skill yet I need to learn to just 'pause & reflect' 2-3 times a day to ensure I'm not getting pulled away from those things that are most important to me...

Regards from New Zealand

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