The same, but different

I’ve been in NZ for three months now (three months today!) and I’ve noticed quite a few differences between here and home. Lots of things we have are the same…but different:

1. Drinks

When I’m not cleaning toilets at my current job, I spend the day serving drinks to people. At home, most people would order a Coke or a Diet Coke, right? Here, Lemonade (which we in North America call “Sprite”) is the big seller, with Raspberry & Coke coming in second.

What’s Raspberry & Coke, you ask? It’s Coke with a splash of raspberry cordial. To me, it tastes just like cough syrup. They simply can’t get enough.

Another huge drink here: Lemon, Lime & Bitters. It’s massive. Bitters is this slightly alcoholic (and also slightly posionous) brown liquid. A few splashes of that, a few splashes of lime cordial (real lime is too expensive down here, so we just use fake lime) and lemonade. It’s massive. LLB for everyone from the ages 6-96.

Also comes with a weird piece of paper around it.

2. Metric System

Canada uses the metric system….but not really. Like, we know it’s 25 degrees C outside, but we don’t talk about kilograms or meters or anything. Here, though, they’re all metric all the time. You walk 500 meters down the road. You cook at 175 degrees. You weigh 75kg.** I’ve always known about the metric system, but I’ve never really used it, ya know? America!

3. Scurvy is Rampant


Not really. Vegetables are just STUPIDLY expensive. I think I saw a guy trying to trade an iPad for some tomatoes the other day.

4. Snow Chains

It doesn’t really snow enough here to have snow tires (which they spell ‘tyres’), but the mountains do get snow that sticks around. Instead of tires, though, they use snow chains. Kiwis are so fucking hardcore!

5. Hardcore

It’ll be zero degrees out and while I’m walking down the street in a fleece jumper, a scarf and some mittens, your typical Kiwi dude will be hanging out on a patio, drinking a beer, in shorts. Shorts! Add to that the fact that Kiwi kids play outside, get dirty, and still have wooden play structures in the park…dudes, Kiwis are tough.

6. Coffee

Free coffee = best part of the job

Much like Australia, we don’t do drip coffee here. Don’t be disgusting. Everything is espresso and made fresh. It’s the best.

7. Locking things up

This is most definitely a small-town thing; we don’t lock things up here. The house I was staying in was never locked, people leave their cars running while they pop into shops…once, I went to the bar with some friends and this guy left his bike and helmet just leaning up against the fence. Three hours later it was still there. 


….most people lock their houses and stuff. Please don’t come here and steal things from my friends.

8. The “just don’t be an idiot” thing

When I went to visit this frozen-over dam, I couldn’t help but run up a few concrete steps to get a better view at a lookout. In North America, that lookout would be well-maintained, fenced in, and would have signs with pictures of stick men falling to their untimely deaths. Here? The fence looked like this:

“Careful LOL!!!1”

A few pieces of rusted metal that would do nothing more than give you tetanus if you fell on it. And this is my favourite ‘difference’ between home and here; this country is so open,  untouched and rugged…and it’s kept that way. Trails might be marked with small signposts, but it’s rare to find a fence that is meant to keep more than sheep out. It’s almost as if people here are saying “hey, we all love nature. Don’t litter, be respectful, and don’t be a dickhead and fall to your death. Just be chull, bro.” I love it.

I know these differences aren’t huge, but they’re the little things that constantly remind me that I’m not at home. These differences have become my new normal, which is pretty cool! I’m totally Borg.   ….like, assimilated. Right? Get it? Do…guys? Where’d you go?


*I’m assuming lion season exists
**I wish


5 thoughts on “The same, but different

  1. I found the whole LLB craze a little odd too! I was surprised I hadn’t at heard about it in the UK. You have to give the Kiwis and Aussies credit. It’s a tasty drink, don’t you think?

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