Let’s start with a super thorough & helpful video on New Zealand slang: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iTS2VfKjC6g
I just found that video and was pretty proud that I knew all but 2 or 3 of them! 🙂 It’s interesting to hear a British person’s take on New Zealand words, especially since I haven’t been to Europe and wasn’t sure which words were uniquely from New Zealand and which were just the European influence.
I miss New Zealand. Like a lot. I have barely started going through the pictures that I took on my nicer camera (everything on my blog is from my phone camera) and every time I go through the pictures, I miss New Zealand a little more. So that’s been going very slowly. I think what’s even harder is knowing that New Zealand is so big and I don’t think I will ever get to go for more than a week or so, which is no time at all for seeing any amount of the country! Plus I want to take my loved ones to see it but it’s so expensive to get there, most of them will never get to see it! I’ve actually kinda decided that I’d prefer to go back to Rarotonga first because it’s so much more manageable to see in a week.
When I think back on New Zealand, these are the top things that stand out to me:
- gorgeous beaches (white sand, black sand, golden sand!)
- super friendly and generous people
- delicious ice cream (so yum! 😉 )
- super well handled tourism (it’s SO easy to navigate and find interesting things there)
- driving on the left side and roundabouts (scary at first but not too bad once you get used to them)
- hard work and tons of new experiences (work dairy farm, help touch up the paint on a ship, work in a hostel, trusting complete strangers, etc.)
- learning how to live super transiently (mostly staying in places for a week at the most, sleeping in random homes, hostels, cars, camper vans, caravans, etc)
- bare feet…everywhere!
- fresh, delicious, yum, fish. sigh.
- flax, and learning the basics of how to weave it
- extremely varied topography crammed close together (we have most of these things in the US but it’s very spread out)
- A helicopter ride to a glacier hike (!!!)
- Christmas being in the summer and coinciding with summer “holidays.” Weird.
- The Maori culture
- The Kiwi culture – a mix of British, surfer, Maori and other cultures that make up a very relaxed and friendly country
Honestly, I could probably write an entire blog (or already have) about each of these points. If I haven’t covered one of them or you would like more detail about one of them, please let me know! 🙂
Down sides/cautions for New Zealand: (because nowhere is perfect and I’m not completely blind)
- Everything is EXPENSIVE – Food, clothes, gas, lodging, etc. etc. etc. I literally met someone in my parents’ church who moved their family to Texas because New Zealand is so expensive.
- Sandflies – They bite, they are about the size of a gnat and they are more annoying than mosquitos. Plus their bites itch for much longer than mosquitos. Just no.
- People who take advantage of travelers who don’t know their way around/how things should work. – I actually only came across a few of these people but they definitely exist in New Zealand (and pretty much every country.) I think some of them did it out of desperation and some of them did it just because they could. The instances that I saw was people pressuring others to work more than was fair/agreed upon. I endured it in my very first week in New Zealand and it was rough but it was a major learning experience and it kept me from getting back into another situation like that. I learned to ask the right questions up front and to make sure that expectations on both sides were expressed. Especially in that situation, you have to stand up for yourself because usually nobody else will.
- It takes forever to get most places – Because there are a lot of hills and mountains and the speed limits are quite low.
- It’s so far from everything – This is the biggest reason why I didn’t consider extending my visa, it’s way too far from my home and my family. That’s a deal breaker for me.
I don’t know when, but I will be back New Zealand. I miss you a lot.