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Life as an expat is weird. Here are a few things I’ve learned about Auckland so far.
1. People are kind. And they’re genuine about it.
2. Everyone says thank you when you step off the bus. They will shout a ‘thank you driver’ even from the back of the bus. However, the buses do not announce their stops, so pay attention.
3. Places are a bit more casual. I happen to have gotten a job where I still have to dress business professional (sigh), but over all Kiwis are much more laid back in their mentality and their dress.
4. They’re serious about their coffee. We are serious about coffee in Seattle too, but it’s different here. And ordering coffee is different, so be prepared.
5. People love to jog here. At all hours of the day. Being active is a pretty big part of the Kiwi culture, but at least half of them have the weirdest stride I have ever seen.
6. They really love their Sauv Blanc. I’m typically a red wine or rose girl, but New Zealand is apparently known for their Sauv Blancs (simply called saaav). I’m happily endulging.
7. Ice isn’t standard. They may be insanely kind, but these weirdos don’t really use ice. It’s not standard in home freezers, they don’t drink ‘iced coffee’ and the only time you’ll get ice in a drink you’ve ordered a cocktail.
8. It is fucking beautiful. Everything you’ve heard is true.
9. But its humid. It’s still an island on the South Pacific which means my hair and my skin are doing crazy things here.
10. Things are very walkable. Yeah a car would be nice, but there are shops along every main road. Plus I’m hitting my FitBit steps pretty much every day.
11. There are green spaces everywhere. New Zealand does an amazing job conserving the natural beauty here. That means parks and nature reserves are available at the same rate as a Starbucks back home.
12. A lot homes are lacking sufficient insulation. So if you’re traveling in the winter, pack and extra blanket. You’re going to want it.
13. The weather is more unpredictable than back home. It may not get quite as cold or quite as hot, but it will do everything in between in one day. And by that I mean 15 times in one day.
14. I haven’t found an actual ‘dive bar’. Everything here is just a little nicer. While that’s great and all, I’d love to find a local little bar with cheap beer, maybe a well loved pool table, and some salty old dude chain smoking in the corner.
15. Z is pronounced Zed. (and other random things)
16. There is no real Mexican food. For those of you who know me personally, you know this is already killing me. I haven’t fully given up hope yet, but I have warned my new flat mates that Taco Tuesdays might have to become a thing. Recipes welcomed.
17. Many crosswalks are a free for all. Well, in the city at least. When the light turns for the crosswalk, it turns for each direction. This means you can walk diagonal to get to your location instead of waiting for 2 lights.
18. People don’t really use dryers. Even if people have them, most things are on a drying rack. Which in reality is way better for your fabrics, but bad if you’re not planning ahead.
19. Rent is paid weekly. Which may seem a little odd, but wages are also paid weekly. It makes a lost of sense, especially if you’re trying to budget.
20. The housing crisis is actually worse than Seattle. I heard a statistic that 700 people move to Auckland each week, but that there are only 500 places available to live. Which means when you’re trying to find a new flat, there are 10 other people looking at it that same day.
21. It doesn’t have to be expensive, you just have to be smart. Yes, Auckland is the most expensive city in New Zealand. But they still have some super inexpensive places to shop, as long as you understand you’re not getting top of the line items. If you go out to food and drinks all the time, yeah you’re going to spend a lot. But the grocery store will be your best friend. Snag yourself a bottle of Sauv while you’re at it.
I’m only scratching the surface of what Auckland has to offer. Let alone what the rest of the country can teach me.
Cheers to all of the new things!