New Zealand Wrap Up

Most people woke up Wednesday morning with a feeling of: first of all relief that their bed bunk and shared bathroom life was soon ending, but second of all that the trip of a lifetime was coming to a close. Which is really really sad. Unlike a lot of other students in my group, I am extreeeeemely lucky and get to continue my travels in Australia with another program starting tomorrow. If my adventures were over today I would’ve been even more upset about leaving New Zealand, so I can’t imagine how everyone felt boarding their painfully long flight back home to America. Don’t get me wrong I LOVE my family and friends and miss them terribly, but I’m still ready to go and see more while I can! I know I probably sound like a brat saying a month in New Zealand wasn’t enough but I promise that I did work really hard on organizing everything and finding a way to help pay for it all. So I’ll continue… New Zealand was a dream come true in every single way. Sometimes it’s hard when you’re missing home and the comfort of knowing where you are and what’s happening at all times, along with actually getting a good night’s sleep. However, I think the general conclusion for the trip is that these 3 and a half weeks went by wayyyy too fast. In some ways I feel like Ilanded in New Zealand two days ago, but when I look back at pictures, I can start to see just how many things we managed to pack into that short amount of time. My time in New Zealand was definitely one of the most exciting and memorable trips I’m sure I’ll have in my lifetime and I’m so incredibly grateful I have all these adventures to remember. Before I left for the international terminal yesterday, I said my last goodbyes to my new friends. It’s sure crazy how close you can get to people after just a few weeks. Thankfully I’ll be able to see most of them again at UF but some go to other schools and are going to be required to come visit me or I’ll be really really sad. I told myself I wouldn’t sob in the airport…. But that didn’t happen. New Zealand was everything I hoped for and more, and although it’s extremely sad to say goodbye to the people I met and places I got to visit, I can’t wait to see what Australia has in store for me!

So here I am sitting in my note loom in Australia waiting for a whole new adventure to begin tomorrow, and I thought why not reflect on how awesome New Zealand was and what I learned? Here are some cool new Kiwi phrases I’ve learned and will probably be implementing in my everyday vocabulary (watch out friends from home).

How ya going?
Like “how are you doing” but just… more New Zealandy

Good as gold
“Couldn’t be better” or “I’m doing awesome”

Sweet as
I really don’t get this one but I think it means “yes,” “agreed,” or “great”

Ka pai
It’s like saying “Good!”

Jandals/ thongs
Flip flops (this one took me a while)

Ya reckon?
Just so much cooler than “Do you think so?”

Good on ya
Substituted for “congrats” or “go you!”

Cherrio
“Hello/ Greetings” or “Let’s go!” It’s so British I love it.

Cheers
I hear this sooo many times a day. It’s like saying thankyou and your welcome in one phrase because it works both ways!

No worries
Just a chill way of saying your welcome.This one is coming home with me.

Mate
Used for “friend or pal.” I guess it’s not just British and Australian!

Heaps
Just lots and lots of something. Gets the point across yaknow?

Kia ora
“Welcome” or “greetings”

Maccas
Cool way of saying McDonalds

Tramping through the bush
Hiking through pretty much any area of forest, trees, or bushes

Some extra info I’ve gathered from living in New Zealand for a few weeks:

1) First and foremost, those kiwis loooove rugby. The All Blacks is the most well known, but any time we go out to dinner as a group, rugby on the TV is guaranteed. People come from all over town to meet up at local pubs and watch the game. Kinda like a mixture of football and soccer and wrestling? Who knows… but it’s pretty fascinating!

2) It seems like phones are a whole different idea over here. You can go almost a full day without cell phone service. Wi-Fi is the highest luxury. Unlike the US, signals are extremelyyy low pretty much no matter what you do. If you’re lucky enough to find any, it usually costs $5 for a few hours or a day’s worth. Many of the accommodations we’ve stayed at have been gracious enough to give us free Wi-Fi, however, it rarely works and if it does you usually only have 200MB which goes by pretty fast. I’m not attached to my phone at all, but even here it can get annoying when you want to text a friend for just 5 minutes and you can’t. Or post on a blog and you can’t. But hey! You’re in New Zealand so who really wants to think about technology struggles anyways?

3) Everyone seems like they know each other. Maybe it’s because there’s only 4 million people in the whole country. Maybe it’s because we’ve spent a lot of time in little towns where all the local farmers get together for a rugby viewing at the pub. But it sure seems like everybody knows everybody, and that us teenagers are certainly not locals. Apart from Queenstown, the majority of the population seems to be 40 years old and up. Where are all you young Kiwis hiding? What if I wanted a penpal, that’d be cute right?

4) The size of New Zealand is pretty small. It’s about the size of Colorado… but it has the ecosystems of everything from Switzerland to Costa Rica. Only 4 million people… and a whole lot more of cows and sheep to take up some of the extra space.
5) There are practically no public trashcans. Trashcans are a service Americans definitely take for granted. Malls may have trash cans in the food court, but anywhere else just forget it. Street corners? No. Hostel/ motel kitchen? No. City parks? No. Bathrooms? No. National parks? No. Not to hate on the US, but if we have public trashcans every block yet  trash is still left everywhere on tables and in gutters… how does New Zealand have virtually no public trashcans and a “carry out” policy yet no visible waste. Another fun fact: they call trash “rubbish” which is just so much better don’t you think?

6) Driving is all together different. Guardrails are pretty much nonexistent. You may be lucky enough to see a couple scattered on the scariest of hazardous roadside cliffs, however most roads just go without whether there’s a ditch, a lake, or giant drop off the side. Livin on the edge! Another thing is that any town larger than a small village has roundabouts. Soooo many roundabouts. I’ve about got the whole driving on the left side thing down besides the minor heart attack when you look up after a corner and see a car coming at you from the “wrong” lane, however crossing the road is the greatest of fears. I’m pretty sure we almost died several times in Queenstown trying to cross the road. Imagine trying to walk across the street at a roundabout with cars going clockwise around the circle and pedestrians just looking between left and right every 2 seconds because its just too confusing. We were walking a long some outdoors shops in Queenstown and caught an American girl shouting “I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT”S HAPPENING” as she stayed frozen in the middle of a roundabout with all the cars zooming around her. I know how you feel girl… Yet another difference in NZ driving is the presence of cows. I’m sure in our farming towns in America this is a regular occurrence, but from someone coming from the suburbia of South Florida I was pretty amazed… Because cows are everywhere along the roadsides, farmers oftentimes think the easiest route when moving cows to other fields or their milking stations, is along the road. With one farmer on a tractor and several hundred cows in a herd, they all just kind of mosey down the middle of the road at their own pace. This of course annoys our bus driver who basically pushes them a long with the front of our coach to give them a little motivation. By the time the end of the line of cows gets off the road and through their gate, the farmer usually just gives a nice little honk and we’re on our way like nothing happened! That’s seriously happened like 4 times. So bizarre…

7) Money is way more convenient. Kiwis don’t tip and the tax is always included in the price of something. They also don’t have any coins with a value less than 10 cents. They even have one and two dollar coins instead of bills. The one thing that isn’t convenient and actually quite annoying is having to go up to the bar to pay. The server doesn’t make any attempt to give you your check which no one told us the first time we went out for dinner so we awkwardly waited for way too long at our table. You usually pay at the bar or front counter which is extremely annoying when it’s right inside the door and people are filing in waiting to be seated.

8) Bathrooms/ restrooms are called the toilets. All of the toilets are double flush so yay for water conservation! (We really need these in the US) Some of the individual bathrooms have cool sliding doors instead of hinged ones which I guess is cool? Their sink water is either freezing cold glacial temperature or scalding hot to the point where it’s actually painful. I’m not sure how they do it but the group consensus is that it’s not appreciated. They take water usage very seriously. For example, one motel we stayed at had 6 minute showers but when you reached the 5 minute mark it would blast you with ice water. Sooo it was therefore considered a 5 minute shower. Go green or go home Americans!

9) There are virtually no animals to be afraid of. You’d think with all of this forest and land set aside for conservation there would be the occasional bear or wolf or something, but no! There are birds, rabbits, weasels, opossums and ferrets in the wild as well as farms for cows, sheep, and sometimes deer/ elk. With no squirrels, no turtles, no snakes, I feel like they’re kinda missing out but I’m not complaining! You can walk through the woods in the middle of the night and never have to worry about anything scary which is pretty darn cool.

10) Media is really different. They love soap operas and they’re absolutely hilarious but I guess so are the US’ if you actually watch them. Their newspaper covers are ridiculous stories and controversies like a new kiwi chick with a hedgehog hairdo and their favorite brand of hot chocolate Milo suddenly changing their recipe. Those are real life examples I actually saw.

11) Language and spelling are mixed up sometimes. Cutlery and crockery= silverware and dishes, Colour (just added a “u” because why not?), Realised (maybe they have a think against the letter “z”?), Tyres (okay why? Your cars have “tires” people…), torch= flashlight (sounds pretty medieval if you ask me)

12) Food is yum yum yummy. French fries are sooo much tastier and that’s not just my opinion everyone agrees. They have the perfect relationship between wedge and shoelace fries and right between soft and crispy. Too add to that, bacon is just so heavenly delicious here. Well done, New Zealand. They also put barbecue sauce on lots of random things. Pizza never comes plain it always has bbq sauce and peppers and corn and other randomness which keeps it interesting. Another thing different about NZ is the fact that restaurants and shops close super early… Like at 5pm. So finding more than 3 restaurants to chose from for dinner is quite shocking.

13) NEW ZEALAND IS BEAUTIFUL IN EVERY WAY. That is all.

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