Three months in… here are the things I will never understand about New Zealand:
Sidenote: All of the below are my opinions. Please don’t hate on me. I’m very open to new cultures and lifestyles, which is why I tried to immerse myself in New Zealand in the first place. However, it’s also amusing to reflect on certain differences between American and Kiwi cultures.
- Why screen doors do not exist. We may not have poisonous bugs, but it’s very pleasant to have giant flies throughout the house.
- Why bacon is always undercooked and sausages taste like plastic.
- Marmite. Seriously, what is that?! Definitely had a gag reaction to that.
- The accent, sometimes (depends on the region). Conversing with some Kiwis on the phone still proves difficult for me… “*silence* Excuse me, can you please repeat that?” Don’t get me wrong, they’re all so lovely, but I feel terrible for butchering names and locations (mistook Auckland for Oakland twice already, as well as wooden pegs for pigs).
- How it seems to be stuck in the ’80s. Maybe the country is so laidback, it just never moved ahead with the rest of the world… 😉 “Baby One More Time…” and “Bye Bye Bye” music videos play in the supermarket I frequent downtown, after all.
- How cars will literally stop for you and never run you over if you’re at a crosswalk or particular intersection. Coming from America, this is incredibly polite and just unheard of!
- Why Kiwis criticize the Wellington public transportation system. Seriously, it’s amazing. Clean, safe, efficient (for the most part)… what more could a traveler want? And if you miss the bus, you can just walk. No big deal. Los Angeles, on the other hand: public transportation is basically a yakshow compared to anything here… and walking?! Fo’getaboutit in LA unless you want to wind up in potential great danger.
- Why the WiFi sucks so much and why it’s never free (or if it is, it cuts out). Is it because we’re practically on the brink of the southern hemisphere, bordering Antarctica?!
- Why shoes, clothes, food, petrol, makeup, accessories… EVERYTHING… cost so much here. I feel sorry for the astronomical prices that Kiwis are required to pay on certain items! $50 for a thin paperbook book?! WHY.
- The chillax culture. I mean, it’s so chill. As a naturally organized, slightly uptight person, it’s been one of my largest obstacles in attempting to relax out here. I admire Kiwis, much like Hawaiians, for just going with the flow and never worrying about anything, really.
- Why commas always seem to be left out of Kiwi e-mails. It’s little, but still gets to me. Grammar, people!
- Why dates are written in the day/month/year rather than month/day/year format. I always have to stare at the ceiling before I write the date in fear of always messing up.
- Coffee obsession. I’m still not a coffee fan.
- Cricket. Explained my by flatmate: “Cricket is the most boring sport ever, don’t waste your time going to a match!”
- The barefoot Hobbit look. Man, you can seriously wander into any store, market, public area and not wear shoes? Those are some tough-skinned footsies out there.
- Why certain restaurants are closed on Mondays. Hmm.
- Happy hours. They’re not that happy if appetizers still cost $12 and drinks are still expensive. Silly Kiwis.
- The party/hookup culture. Perhaps it’s the liberal culture out here, but wow, it’s a bit scary how youth as young as 12 yrs. old are used to the whole “going out” scene.
- Auckland: Why bus drivers are so rude. Ugh, Auckland.
- Jetstar: Why their customer service sucks balls. You get what you pay for. I do not recommend this airline…
- How it can be so beautiful. It’s like this country hogs all the most gorgeous views in the world… share some with the rest of us, yo!
And lastly, if you ever come across a rude Kiwi, they’re most likely a jafa or a rare 0.000001% of the population here… and probably everyone knows and hates them. 😉