The GoGlobal Blog

Crash Course: Auckland

Crash Course: Auckland

Greeting from Auckland, New Zealand! It’s around 72F here, but it feels so much hotter…as do most days. It’s humid, and there is LITERALLY a HOLE in the ozone later above us. No, that’s not us trying to be cute and make you put on your sunscreen. There is a hole. right. above. us. So put on your sunscreen, dammit.

I guess I started my post off a bit negative. Hot is great! It beats Chicago’s snow! Plus, the people are so wonderfully friendly here! We hold doors open for each other just like at Loyola! But that is just a standard for NZers. Too bad it’s not a standard for Americans.

Something about my experience so far: I’m in a homestay with 2 wonderful parents (Samantha and Jacko [pronounced Yah-ko]) and their 2 hilarious kids: Bella who is 9 and Pim who is 6. Pim calls me “his student” and gives me a hug. It’s freaking adorable. Sam’s dad comes over a lot with his little dog, Mister (who certainly helps when I’m missing my doggy!). Mister follows him around like, well, a dog. It’s the cutest thing you ever did see. The neighbors are also super welcoming and wonderful! Even the neighbor kids greet me when I get home with “Hannah’s home!!!” and give me hugs!! I just get little mini hugs all day. What’s not to love??

Some other facts, I’ve accumulated so far:
-Auckland drivers are the worst. I’m not being overdramatic. Please look both ways several times before you cross because even Auckland drivers admit that they’re bad. **Take special note of this if you’re biking around Auckland. Heavy Traffic + Crazy Drivers + Bike Lanes = Still Dangerous.** At least helmets are required by law?
-The bus drivers are on strike to keep their jobs. They have scheduled strikes where they don’t work. No one bothered to tell me this right away, so I thought they would have an indefinite strike like in the US. In that case, I would be SOL in getting to uni (university). Now they’re operating, but striking in such a way where they follow the rules to a T. That includes stopping the bus to “stay on schedule,” taking their time to switch out bus drivers, or sometimes they just don’t show up at all. You can just imagine the grumpiness. **Always allow at least an hour to get anywhere if you’re taking the bus.**
-Portion sizes are smaller than in the States. A large coffee is about the size of our small, but the coffee is the best I’ve ever tasted. And chockfull of caffeine, too. It’s a bit smaller, but it gets the job done.
-There is a very high population of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean folks, so really good sushi is never far!
-Being “PC” hasn’t really come to NZ yet, so don’t be too surprised if people say something that someone would freak out over in the States. It’s just not a thing here. As an Anthropologist, it’s confusing but also refreshing.

One other (sort of related) note. I was talking to the other American in my home stay (Alex) and a NZer (Heide) who was babysitting the kids. I don’t know how it came up, but Alex and I were talking about how we (unfortunately) always have to be on our guard when trying to make friends because maybe they only want to use us, or they’re a fake friend, and so on, so we have to be careful what we tell these people. And Heide chimed in with “Wow. You guys are really over-thinking this. That has never even crossed my mind.” Damn. How refreshing. Think about it. Really.

TL;DR: NZ is different. Drivers are crazy, and they’re not very politically correct. People are just freaking nice. I love it here.

With constant sweat and smiles,


Comments are closed.