Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Let me Compare thee - 9 months in

Okay, so it has been long enough for the "holiday" feel to wear off, I have gotten past the major feeling of home-sick-ness and now being here is every day life...
Although I'm still eating and drinking as if I was on holiday : p

And while no one likes the person that says "well, at home we do it this way".. Believe me - I found that out the hard way in Australia. I do still have a list of some differences that either caught me out at first, still catch me out, or that I just think are weird. We are lucky enough to have friends here who told us a lot of things to watch out for but you can always get caught out. Hopefully if anyone from here is heading down to New Zealand or Australia for a trip, they can use this list to lessen the surprise they come across!

The VERY first thing I noticed was at LAX the first time I arrived in the US. And it still puzzles me. TOILET DOOR GAPS - it is super weird. Let me explain, when I walk into a public restroom, I would far prefer to have the ladies waiting for a vacant stall to not be able to watch me. But the gaps in the doors here are so wide. I actually measured it once. Some gaps are as big as 1 cm! At home they are mms at the most. I still can't get past it. It s very unsettling making eye contact with another human being while peeing. I'm sorry. It just is.

And speaking of restrooms - I have never seen PAPER TOILET SEAT COVERS in New Zealand or Australia. Maybe that is gross to people who have always had them. And I get why they are there. But like, I dunno. I don't get how they work. Or what you do with them after. Anyway, that is like something that is totally lost on me, lol.

When you order LUNCH here, 9 out of 10 times you get offered chips and a fruit cup. It is very handy, but I have never had that before in my life. I guess it is good if you need a little snack after your sandwich. But I have enough trouble with calories without a big bowl of chips.

And since we are speaking of CHIPS. No one ever knows what I mean when I say chips. At home chips mean both fries and chips. But generally, the context is such that it isn't an issue. Fries with a meal and chips for a snack or at a party. Terminology also seems important when it comes to take out. At home, any hot thing in a bun is a burger. Whether it is a chicken breast or a meat patty. But here, "burgers" with chicken in them are sandwiches. Which I am alright with, because that makes me feel like I am being healthier lol.

SEASONS AND HOLIDAYS are a much bigger deal here. Which is awesome, I have had a lot of fun helping friends decorate for fall, and go trick or treating. But it does essentially mean you have a lot more stuff. Someone asked me the other day if we decorate with pumpkins and I cracked up. Cos, we just don't. No one really celebrates Fall/Autumn coming - cos that means its about to get cold up in here lol. But yeah, I like the funness, yesterday spent 3 hours at a craft store buying Christmas things to take home!

This would be odd at home lol.

Steph told me once that when she got to New Zealand, she was shocked by how small the SUPERMARKETS were. And when she went to buy cereal she was like "is that all there is to choose from?". However, when she moved back to the States, she was, in her own words "paralyzed by choice" and couldn't believe there was so many types. I totally understand the second half of that. I can never get over how many pickle types there are, or how many varieties of BBQ sauce are available. It totally blows my mind. And then there is Costco and Sams Club - but that would be like a whole other blog post. My favorite thing about this giant super market phenomena is - giant jars of jalapenos!

A photo of me while my mind was being blown at Costco.

VALET. This is odd to us. But I can see two very big positives. First of all, if you have valets you are creating employment. Second of all, I hate looking for parking. And that solves the issue. But seriously, we do not have valets at bars and restaurants the way they do here in Houston.Another thing we don't really do is TIP, but I really don't mind tipping someone who gets paid $3 an hour. When we first got here, we didn't know that you had to wait for the bill to be bought to your table - we went to pay on the way out and the staff thought we were gapping it. Pro tip - if you go to NZ and wait for the bill to come to your table - you will be there all night lol.

There must be something in our ADVERTISING rules back home, that say when you are discussing your product, you cannot name another company to compare it to, or to criticize. And, there must be something in advertising rules here that says, "destroy them" lol. Because, companies go to town dissing their competition,. They even get famous actors or sports men to talk about how shit the other companies are. Its kind of funny, kind of sad, kind of mean. Probably effective though.

And while I am mentioning ads. Wow. MEDICATION ADS. What the hell people? When we first got here, we were kind of horrified. Then amused. Then bemused. Now we just love quoting the ads to each other. My favorite one depicts a man who is sick, and then gets this medicine (which he is warned could lead to liver failure), it then shows him getting better from the medicine and taking a trip to New Zealand (woo hoo) to see the Hoiho penguins. Love it.


So anyway, these are some differences we noted. Luckily we have friends who are patient and willing to help us learn a new way of doing things. Every now and then we come across someone who won't explain things or looks at us like we are stupid. But I have to say that people here are super friendly and lovely, it is really true what people say about Texan hospitality. And, people love to hear about where we are from, and what life is like back home.

It has been a fun and crazy year, I love being here, and I can't wait to see how weird New Zealand will feel at Christmas time when we head back and can't buy a bunch of different chillies in the supermarket!

Here are some words to leave you with, they might help you interpret my posts haha..

Coriander - Cilantro
Capsicum - Bell Pepper
Bathroom - Restroom
Loo - Toilet
Daggy - Lame
Jandals - Flip flops
Gumboots - Rainboots/galoshes
Naff - see Daggy
Undies - Panties
Knickers - Panties
Eftpos - Debit card


  1. I love this! Bathroom door gaps freak me out as well. I just don't understand. Every now and then I'll find a place with an actual ROOM in place of a stall and I'm like: yay! I can give you a whole tutorial on seat covers. ;)

    1. Haha I'm glad you liked it, it is pretty funny when people don't know what Im saying half the time :P

  2. So THATS what cilantro is. I would have lived the rest of my life wondering.

    Having always known thongs as footwear it amused me greatly the first time I read about someone wearing a thong. Or calling thongs flip-flops.



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