I have been in New Zealand for a little over two weeks now, and I have been learning a lot about living in a new country as well as in a city and living independently. Here is a list of some things I have learned so far while living here in Auckland.
- Traffic goes the other way in New Zealand, so do people when they're walking. When you're crossing a street, look to the right. When you're on a sidewalk, walk to the left.
- Kmart is cool here. They have cheap clothes that look pretty good, so I can see why. They are not like the Kmarts in the US that look like they were abandoned 10 years ago despite still being open.
- The World Cup is a big deal here. If you don't have anything to talk to your coworkers about, get up to date on the games.
- Rugby is very different than American football. If you try to watch a rugby game only knowing the rules for football, you will be very confused. Find a local to watch a game with and have them explain the rules. It's actually a very cool game.
- The buses don't stop at every stop on their route. They have to be signaled by either a passenger on the bus or a person at the stop putting their arm out. If you aren't paying attention and assume other people at your stop are waiting on the same bus, you will miss you bus and be late.
- Most people here dry their clothes on a line to conserve energy which is actually really cool.
- There isn't always A/C or heating in your apartment and sometimes your window has a leak in its seal making your room really cold at night. You definitely should have brought pajama pants from home (this might be a really personal one that most people won't experience).
- It's possible to have a female Prime Minister who gives birth while in office (look it up, she just had her daughter last week).
Maybe this means a female President could get the job done if elected?But I won't say anything about the US here.
- Togs means swimsuit. There are a lot of words that are different here. It can be confusing, but if you ask what something means, everyone I've met has been happy to clarify.
- It is illegal to turn left on a red light (this would be the equivalent to turning right on red for us).
- Flying within the country is pretty inexpensive. In related news, I'm going to Queenstown on the south island in a month.
- Hokey Pokey is an ice cream flavor, but the description on the label is "hokey pokey flavored ice cream." I still don't know what it is, but it tastes good.
- You have to remember to go grocery shopping regularly or you'll wake up one morning and not have anything to eat for breakfast.
- When you do go grocery shopping in a city, it's helpful to not buy much more than what you can fit in your backpack so it's easy to walk up the big hill to your apartment (or take the bus or whatever is applicable to you). This means more frequent grocery shopping so you don't have carry as much at once.
- Kiwis, at least all the ones I've met so far, are very kind and helpful. Don't be afraid to ask someone for directions when you're out walking around. I've gotten a lot of good advice, from what to do in my free time to where to shop for clothes, form coworkers, servers at restaurants, and cashiers at grocery stores.
- Kiwi means the people but also the bird but also anything New Zealand made or owned (example: kiwi bacon is not bacon made from their endangered national bird. It is New Zealand made bacon). The fruit seems to always be distinguished as kiwifruit just to make things a little less confusing.