Everyday life

Meanwhile in New Zealand

Moving into another country is one big adventure. Everything is slightly or completely different than what you’re used to. You might experience culture shock while getting used to new place.
My personal culture shock happened about 8 years ago when I visited New Zealand for the first time. It wasn’t the frightening one, it was a pleasant culture shock. I just finished uni when I left for New Zealand. It was assumed that I will find a job, later on a husband, built a house or buy apartment and have children. I remember that look in my relatives eyes when I told them about my plans which didn’t involve nothing that was mentioned above. They probably thought that I went insane after all the stress from final exams and were hoping that it will pass. When I bought a ticket to New Zealand, my insanity was official and it was too late to call the doctor.
My adventure started in South Island and I have to admit that every time when I’m going back it feels like coming home. Home is where the heart is and I left a considerable part of my heart there. One of the first things to experience here is the accent. Yes, Kiwi English is a wee (that’s Scottish I think) bit different. Every English speaking country has it’s unique accent and you just have to get used to it. Many have been written about Kiwi accent and I’m not going to add more to this topic. Google should help if you want to find out more. Maybe just one small note: listen carefully and don’t confuse ‘six’ for ‘sex’ so you don’t get in trouble.
Weather. It’s chapter on its own. New Zealand has a mild climate – not too much rain and enough sunshine. Like in every country in the world they have weather forecast on TV. I don’t know why. Weather can change so quickly here that weather forecast cannot cover it. If you decide to go hiking and travel guide warns you that you may experience all four seasons in one day, take it seriously. Verified by me many times.
Fashion. Are you thinking about holiday in New Zealand and wondering what clothes to take with you? Take what you want, anything you like. The other day I was with my son at gas station and we were watching people that were coming inside. First was a girl in jeans, those fluffy wooly shoes, warm jumper and wooly hat. Second was a girl in shorts, tank top and flip flops. Third was a woman in something that looked like a housecoat. It was a housecoat. Fourth was a guy in shorts (nothing else) and with no shoes. Wearing shoes in this country is a bit overrated. All lovers of ‘healthy barefoot lifestyle’ have to go to New Zealand at least once in their life! You can wear here what you want no matter what season it is. No one will really care.
Smiles. People in New Zealand are literally ‘all smiles’. You meet a stranger on the street, he will smile at you. You go in the shop, shopgirl will give you a smile and ask you ‘How are you/How was your day’ and after that will come common phrase ‘How can I help you’. Where I come from people don’t smile that much. It takes them some time to open up to someone. So if someone smiles at you on the street, you’ll start to wonder if you have something on your face or toilet paper on your shoe. If the result is negative, you’ll wonder what’s wrong with that guy. In New Zealand not only you’ll get a free smile but also help if you need any. Years ago we needed to find a bank or shop so we asked elderly couple for help. They showed us where to go and when we get there and turned around we saw that they even went little bit of their way to make sure that we’ll find a place.
I can carry on, but I’ll leave it for another time. It’s all little things that make a big difference. I’m still getting used to that ‘How are you’ question (it’s quite a while since I’ve been here last time), so excuse my raised eyebrows please.