Sunday, July 13, 2008

NY vs NZ

I definitely prepared myself for a culture shock before this trip. I went from a small island crammed full of everything one could ever need or want to a village where every building is within walking distance. Despite that, life in New Zealand is surprisingly similar to life in Manhattan, with a few distinct differences:

1. A good pair of walking shoes is absolutely required.
In New York mine were generally a good pair of black heels.
In New Zealand they look more like this:

2. Someone else cooks all of my meals for me.
In New York they’re superb quality, delivered to my door and generally overpriced.
In New Zealand they’re served in a cafeteria free of charge, and surprisingly good quality.

3. I’m surrounded by people from all over the world speaking many different languages.
In New York it’s generally Spanish or something European.
In New Zealand it’s English, Scottish, or Kiwi English and I’m still constantly asking for clarification.

4. A car is optional.
In New York I can go anywhere I want on the subway or in a taxi.
In New Zealand I’m subject to the whims of any friend who drives, and the nearest town is about an hour away.

5. You can’t always drink what you want.
In New York I would get upset if the local deli ran out of lo-carb Monster energy drink on my way to work and I had to walk a block out of my way to get another.
In New Zealand I get annoyed that the water supply was contaminated and we to boil it to have access to fresh drinking water or brush our teeth for 24 hours.

Despite the differences, I’m feeling pretty comfortable here. My access to phone, internet and amenities may be limited but I’m surrounded by friendly people with a job and a roof over my head. And the most common question to start a conversation is the same here as it is in Manhattan: “Where are you from?”

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