Happy 6 year Anniversary to me!!!
On 3rd May 2010, a Lufthansa flight departed Düsseldorf International Airport, final destination New Zealand – with a few (4 in total) stopovers, of course. On board was one of many Germans heading for their one year (365 days) Working-Holiday-Visa adventure. Fast forward 2190 days later and this very German gal has now exceeded her stay.
But why? below I have listed just some reasons why I have fallen in love with this country and filled out literally hundreds of immigration forms to be able to permanently call this beautiful part of the world my new home.
And yes, I am aware that today’s blog has nothing to do with my training.
New Zealand might seem quirky to foreigner – but you’ll grow to love it.
KIWIS ARE ASTOUNDINGLY FRIENDLY
After I spent a year working & travelling around Australia, I thought the Aussies are friendly – hence the reason why I wanted to head back and life there. Little did I know that there is a country just 3 hrs flight away across “the ditch” from Australia that is able to top all this.
New Zealanders are the most laid back, welcoming and friendly nation ever. Everyone is just so friendly and when you move so far away it’s so nice to feel so accepted into the Kiwi way of life.
NEW ZEALAND HAS THE BEST COFFEE IN THE UNIVERSE
Oh man. The coffee. It is just so good. The Kiwis have perfected the art of coffee making.
Kiwis are just as obsessed with coffee. They invented the flat white, a type of espresso coffee in New Zealand. A new favourite.
I’ve learned a lot of new coffee vocabulary. For example, when I get a nonfat or skinny latte, here they call it a trim latte. Makes me feel so classy.
Once you’ve had Kiwi coffee, you don’t look back.
PEOPLE GO BARE FEET. EVERYWHERE
And I mean everywhere. From the supermarket to restaurants and bars. During the summer months, shoes are just simply not a requirement.
There’s nothing wrong with going to the supermarket barefoot.
THERE’S NOTHING MUCH THAT CAN KILL YOU
New Zealand has no harmful animals like poisonous snakes, scorpions or venomous insects, no lethal spiders.
THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS TIPPING
Yep that’s right. New Zealand doesn’t have a tipping culture. Leaving money behind on a table is seen as accident as opposed to a reward. Apologise to all waiter/waitresses for not topping when travelling overseas: not because I am a ‘tight-with-money-typical-German-tourist’, I am simply not used to it anymore and forgot.
GROCERIES ARE EXPENSIVE
Now this may or may not be the reason why people are barefoot, but when you have to pay $40 per 1kg of limes I can understand why footwear may take a back seat. Not that I’ve ever bought 1 kg of limes, but I’m just saying if I wanted to then they are bloody expensive.
But it’s not just limes, $3 for one pepper, $10 for some cheddar cheese! Food is expensive in New Zealand and I think we can all agree #thankgodforpaknsave#.
And it doesn’t stop at groceries. Beauty products like body lotion, face creams, body wash, shampoo/conditioner etc. are costly – to put it nicely. However, thinking about it, my favourite Nivea products are ‘Made in Germany’ and not ‘Made in China’ like the majority of products here. Lucky-me, my mum cares about my beauty more than I do and sends care packages on a regular basis. #thanksmumloveyoulongtime#.
NO ONE USES CASH
Unless you are getting on a bus, everything is paid for with your card. I couldn’t even tell you what New Zealand notes looked like as I hardly ever see any. Even if you are buying a packet of chewing gum, you gotta ‘pay wave’ that purchase.
THERE ARE EARTHQUAKES ALL THE TIME
New Zealand experiences about 15,000 earthquakes per year but thankfully most of these are so deep they cannot be felt. However, about 150-200 earthquakes are felt up and down the country each year, some much more severe than others.
In fact, they are so prevalent, many Kiwis I’ve met have an earthquake app on their phone that let’s them know about them. Can I just stick with Candy Crush?
Most buildings are now designed to rock with the earth to absorb the impact so they physically sway from side to side during an earthquake. Due to Wellington being right on a fault line, this factor is just a normal way of life here. #livingontheedge#
While other countries have fire drills (we do too), New Zealand also does earthquake drills – even on a NATIONAL scale!
I know there are more and more bigger earthquakes happening in New Zealand, and let me just preface this by saying I am SO not ready for a big one. During my time in New Zealand I experienced four and they are scary.
KIWIS USES WEIRD NAMES FOR EVERYDAY ITEMS
Although of course, English is the national language there are some words which haven’t translated over.
For example, courgettes are zucchinis, cling film is glad wrap, a cool box is known as a chilli bin, a dairy is a shop, swimming shorts are togs, flip flops are jandals and sweets are lollies. There really is a whole new vocabulary to learn. Oh and “piss” is alcohol.
RUGBY IS NOT JUST A SPORT IN NEW ZEALAND
Rugby is a way for Kiwis to come together, feel national pride and they are bloody good at it. It’s a fundamental part of the country’s national identity.
IT TAKES A LOT LONGER TO GET PLACES THAN YOU THINK
And not just because of the unscheduled photographic stops. New Zealand roads can be windy, narrow and cover hilly terrain. There are also heaps of one-way bridges.
This would be the one time where I say: I miss Germany. Going 160km/h on the Autobahn is just simply not possible. Seeing from the bright side: less speeding tickets 🙂
THERE ARE A LOT OF FOREIGNERS IN NEW ZEALAND
New Zealand has a very open working holiday scheme which means many people from around the world can come and easily get a visa to work and travel around the country. Also New Zealand is a popular travel destination. Pretty much everyone I’ve met has New Zealand on their travel bucket list.
RENT IS PER WEEK AND NOT PER MONTH
…and so are gym membership prices #justysaying#
Completely random but for those curious-minded folks, apartments are listed with rent prices per week not per month. It’s a confusing but interesting phenomenon which somehow makes the extremely high cost of living more palatable.
And speaking of apartments, they are called flats and the deposit is called a bond. Speaking English is hard.
SOME PLACES ARE SERIOUSLY HARD TO PRONOUNCE
Some places in New Zealand have almost unpronounceable names for newbies in the country, although once you learn them they are so satisfying to say. Take the town of “Paraparaumu” – I used to want to go where just purely so I could say the word in conversation. There is also “whakapapa” pronounced “fukapapa” and “Tawharanui” pronounced “Taf-ra-nui”. Good luck asking for directions to any of these towns!
THE WILDLIFE IS SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT FROM WHAT I AM USE TO
Whether it’s seals, penguins, dolphins or whales, New Zealand’s local wildlife always made me feel like I was on a David Attenborough show than a five-minute walk from my apartment.
WHY WELLINGTON, WHY?
And this is why I choose Wellington over the ‘big smoke’ (aka Auckland).
COOLEST CAPITAL IN THE WORLD
Proudly named the 2011 Lonely Planet “Coolest little capital in the world,” the buzz around town actually lives up to expectations. In short, Wellington rocks, and I am so so SO happy I decided to make it my home.
WINDY WELLINGTON LIVES UP TO ITS NAME
Wellington is nicknamed “Windy Welly” and let me just say, a more accurate epithet never existed.
I’ve been to some windy places over the years, but nothing could have prepared me for Wellington. Most days it’s just average level of winds that will mess up your hair and might blow your skirt up. However, I’ve witnessed some wind storms that nearly blew me off my bike.
YOU LEARN A LOT ABOUT THE DIRECTION OF THE WIND
In Wellington, not only does the wind direction matter but you can actually tell which direction it is coming from. Welcome to what is known as a “Southerly”, and how do you know it’s a Southern wind? Because it is fricken freezing. Winds from the South come straight from the Antarctic so be sure to wrap up!
Just a normal windy day in Wellington.
And if you need more convincing, read here and here: New Zealand won best country in the world for 4th year in a row…
I drink to that and my (nearly-upon-me) 6 year Anniversary – Cheers!!