It’s very rapidly creeping up to my one year anniversary in New Zealand. It’s been one helluva year with a lot of crap, adventure, growth and yummy good things in my life. While many aspects about living in NZ drive me insane (mostly due to prolonged culture shock), I’ve also been amazed at how many things New Zealand has perfected the rest of the world hasn’t caught on to yet. For example…
Pavement markers/lane dividers – In New Zealand, they put bumps between lanes to keep you from drifting over. We have ridged roads on the side of Connecticut highways, but only to warn you you’re drifting off the highway itself, not your lane. These things are brilliant I tell you! Despite New Zealanders being crazy drivers, I reckon this keeps the streets much safer.
Transferring money – In the States, any time I’ve owed a friend money I have to pay them back in cash or through PayPal. In the wonderful land of New Zealand, that is silly talk. Almost no one carries cash here and I’ve split dinner bills by simply paying directly into someone’s account. No fees, no weird routing numbers or bank addresses. A simple account number and you’re good to go. And it’s free. Imagine that.
Coffee – Why oh why in the name of sweet baby Jesus does America not know how to make a proper coffee? If you’ve never tried a flat white, you haven’t yet lived. For those who’ve never been to Australasia, I’m afraid you just can’t understand. It’s heaven in a cup and I dread the day I return to the States for this very serious reason.
TradeMe – TradeMe is set up almost exactly like eBay with more of a local, Craigslist feel. New Zealand also has the luxury of taking great ideas from around the world and making them better. The first time I used TradMe I lost out on a great couch because I placed a high bid during the last few minutes (like I was trained to do on eBay). But on TradMe, if you bid during the last two minutes, the auction extends by another two minutes. This pissed me off to no end because it means the auction can theoretically go on forever. But I slowly realized how amazing this is for sellers. It means if someone is willing to pay more, they should get it (real life auctions don’t just run out of time). It’s obnoxious as all get out as things can become expensive, but it also means it’s a great marketplace for sellers. I listed a phone for $50 and made $150 because the auction kept extending. Keeping it classy, TradMe.
Being happy with what you have – Americans are rarely 100% pleased with what they have. I don’t know if it’s my generations or Americans as a whole, but even what I have: an amazing job, the ability to live in this amazing, unique country, being young and health and active. But no. It’s always more more more. New Zealand is famous for it’s amazing quality of life. It’s consistently voted as one of the top cities to live in the world.
Things NZ Can Learn From the States
The things that have always bothered me about this country (expensive groceries/cosmetic/clothing, weird opening hours, bad phone reception) are mostly just adjustment things that are actually starting to grow on me. Still, there are two “quirks” that Kiwis can seriously learn from the States:
Customer service – It’s shocking how bad the customer service in New Zealand is. The funny bit is, people are hugely friendly here, so they always fuck up with a smile. We had no internet in our house for weeks, paid for it, and got zero support from Orcon. I’ve had Jetstar flights cancelled with no notice. You’ll get a burned coffee and won’t get your money back. It’s definitely the American in me that gets so pissed off with this because we expect to get what we pay for. I’m learning to deal though as the bank tellers here ask about your day and people smile on the streets.
Insulation – There’s not much I can say about this. I have yet to be in a house in New Zealand that actually has insulation. This is NOT a tropical country, folks. It gets cold. Insulation should be part of the world. The end. Period. Donesville.