Wednesday, August 26, 2009

An American Adjustment to New Zealand Life

So I've been around these parts a time or two by now but I still love, love, love all the little things that make this place unique and so absolutley different from back home. Instead of wondering why people take their shoes off at the door I love the fact that I now know that you always take your shoes off when you go inside someone's home. I love it when you see someone familiar you kiss their cheek. Forget the awkward hand shake business-it's all about the cheek. Don't worry I'm still super awkward about it. In some instances you know that you actually do kiss the person's cheek, other times you just kind of lean in to their cheek. Sometimes I screw up and turn my face the wrong way or lean the wrong direction and it makes for an awkward moment. Kind of like when you go in for the side hug but the other person goes for the full blown hug. priceless.When people say thank you it's followed by the word "ta". I don't really know what it means or why people do it but you know if you hear it then they really are thankful.I still love the whole hot drink thing. If you aren't a coffee/tea person then you still appreciate your Milo. I recently learned that by law, an employer must provide these essentials for your break time. I have to admit that every once in awhile a Milo does me good. It's not quite hot chocolate but has the same warm effect.NZ drivers are surprisingly courteous. I've seen people hold up an entire line of traffic just so we can pull out onto a main road at rush hour. Isn't there some unwritten rule that no one has to be courteous at rush hour? wow contrar-not on this side of the planet
.I'm still a sucker for the accent. You'd think after dating, marrying, and now living with a kiwi that charm would wear off. NOPE. I still smile when he says things. It's just too good.I love Pak N Save. We buy our groceries at a chain store called Pak N Save. The whole idea behind the store is saving you money by packing your own groceries. They don't provide plastic bags (actually most NZ stores don't) and you are at liberty to use the cardboard boxes laying around near the exit. It's quite exciting for me to do it. I don't why I just think it's cool.
I'm still not driving. That's mostly because I don't want to learn stick shift. It wouldn't be so bad if I had to learn on a dirt road outside Winslow like everyone else in my family. Instead I'm in a mega hilly big city on the other side of the road. Thanks but no thanks on that one. I'll hold out for the automatic car.
Funny story about Americans and their flags. So Jason and I have this ongoing battle about Americans and their flags. If you live in America and you are reading this you are probably not aware that somewhere in the vicinity of where you are sitting right now you can find the American flag. Go ahead and try it-am I right? If not a flag, then for sure something patriotic. I've had several items of business at the Embassy lately with a name change, passport change, etc... Here we are driving down town Auckland searching for this embassy and not knowing what to really look for. Don't worry, a huge skyscraper on the right hand side of the car has a jumbo size American flag hanging off the building. Only America would hang a huge flag in the middle of a foreign city. I don't care who you are...that's awesome.
And last but not least...the sarcasm. Oh yes this is a good one. So in America you all are aware that sarcasm is a common way of laughing, joking, etc... It is a classic. I have run into a dilemma here. Sarcasm does not fly that well here. Anytime I use sarcasm it is usually followed by the courtesy laugh that implies the person has no clue if I am being serious or if they are supposed to laugh. At first it annoyed me but now I just find humor in knowing that no one gets my humor.
All in all I am making the adjustments. Sometimes I get so homesick that I cry, other times I
look around and remember how awesomely cool it is to live in another country and that I have an opportunity to try it. Somehow I will learn to cook without salsa and green chile every single night. The great thing about all these silly differences is that I have a husband to be there through it all.
he adventure continues...


Kerri said...

i'm at home. the flag is hanging in our room. can't directly see it, but i know it's there. sorry you get homesick. i cried yesterday because i was homesick and i'm even in usa. it usually last a couple days for me, teary eyes and emotions. i hope your spells are shorter. it is cool that you get to experience another country. i love reading about your experiences!

Brittany said...

Larissa, oh man i miss you. I can't help but get sad thinking of you in NZ with Carol so close and Utah. I want to come visit you guys SO SO SO bad. I seriously think of NZ every day!!!!!

{kim} said...

nz is a bust...just kidding, but it sucks that you have to be so far away. please tell me you have an american flag hanging somewhere in your apartment and that you practice the pledge so you don't forget it.

Bryan and Jamie said...

Sounds like you are having quite the adventure! Someday I will visit NZ... dont worry, I cant cook with chiles either in Pitt. it really sucks to try and make mexican food because they don't even have tortillas! (only nasty whole wheat ones...YUCK!)

kalli said...

appreciate everything you have day you will miss it.
Agree with Kimmie...practice the pledge. LOL

Youre not missing anything here. Everything the same. :)

Go my son...go and climb a ladder...

Katie Petersen said...

SOunds like you are loving it there! If you think Americans love their flag you should try Texans! I am glad you wrote about the awkward side hug. Gotta love it. MAybe one day Tagg and I will be rich enough to come visit you!

amber said...

I can just picture you trying to drive a stick. Not only on the dirt road in Arizona, but even better, on a busy road in NZ. I can see those courteous drivers now... following behind,in front, and on both sides of you with flashing lights and big signs that say, "CAUTION... SCARY DRIVER!" Love you!!!