When you think about Australia and New Zealand you often are drawn to two siblings squabbling over every little thing that they can in a way that outsiders would assume they hate each other.
Constant fights about which country is the home of a certain celebrity, disagreements about where food originated from (Pavlova is ours and that’s a fact) as well as just which country has the best quality of life.
There is even debate about who has a better Prime Minister, but we all know that Jacinda has that title hands down.
But how does everyday life compare for an Australian who takes the leap across the Tasman and decides to make ‘eastern Australia’ home for half a year?
It’s safe to say that all comparisons between both countries are fairly accurate for the most part. Day to day living in this part of the world really doesn’t change from Australia, and once you get used to the ‘accint’ here it is often hard to tell you’re just not in a rural Australian town where there are just a few more sheep than you’re used to.
But that part is actually quite different. The sheep.
And no I’m not about to go into some joke filled rant about how our Kiwi friends over here get a little bit too close to their beloved farm animals (that is perhaps a separate post for another day). I will say however that one thing that makes me love kiwis a lot is their willingness to play along with stereotypes. There are A LOT of sheep over here. Everywhere you drive, you will see them. And the best part of this is the fact that if you want to buy yourself some cute and funny souvenirs of your time over here, it will generally have a sheep on it. Or a kiwi. Or something to do with Lord of the Rings. In fact those are pretty much the only three things you can buy for souvenirs over here. The point is there are a lot of sheep, and I appreciate New Zealand making the most of the fact that there are a lot of sheep. A whole lot of sheep.
This leads me to another aspect of New Zealanders having a laugh. The Australian accent. Yes, that’s right. New Zealanders actually make fun of OUR accent in a similar manner that we do with theirs. A prime example of this saw me calling a call centre to get an update on an account of mine, with a conversation that went as followed:
Me: I’d like some help please
Operator: Sure what’s your account number?
Operator: (laughs) You’re Australian!
Me; Ah…yes correct
Operator: I could tell by the way you pronounced your sixes incorrectly!
Here I was with my perfect pronunciation of the word SIX, only to be laughed at by somebody who pronounces it as SUX. The things you learn.
Other aspects around this involved me being told be a radio station here that I would have to “get rid of that annoying Australian drawl” if I was to make it on radio over here, as well as answering a phone with a simple “hello” only to be responded with “can’t half tell you’re an Aussie can you?” It certainly makes for interesting conversation.
Two of the more frustrating things over here involve sport and prices. Sport in the form that there is no such as thing as sport on free to air TV over here. Everything has to be paid for if you want to watch it. The only time I manage to catch any form of sport on free to air TV here is on the amazing Maori channel, where I can watch basketball from time to time in the incredible Maori language. That for one makes up for it sometimes. Prices however are definitely far more frustrating. Petrol (currently at more than $2 a litre) and general groceries are the big culprits here. Being so used to paying $2 for 2 litres of milk and then having to pay close to $3 for a litre of milk is not that great. And don’t get me started on how expensive cheese is over here…
You have to definitely comment on the scenery over here though. Especially on the South Island where you are met with stunning snow capped mountains and vast landscapes which belong in framed photos. Driving from Hamilton all the way down south to Invercargill is an experience I will never forget, and one that was definitely worth the trip.
The people here too are also incredible. As nice as you can imagine them to be while being just as relaxed and laid back as you are used to in Australia. There is a sense of pride in the place they live in and one they are more than happy to share with you as they showcase their beautiful little country floating in the Pacific.
And while I could also use this post to go into more boring details about my time here in New Zealand, ranging from some nightmarish job situations through to just how bad the driving can be in Invercargill, I think it’s important to end this post on the positives rather than the negatives as I continue my first ever overseas stint in a place that already very much feels like home.
Now let’s just get working on improving that accent shall we?