If you have never heard a Kiwi speaking, I feel it only justified to give you a small taste of how it sounds. Think of it like a ‘tweaked’ version of the Aussie accent – it is surprisingly charming! So, an Aussie would say: ‘gday mate, kan I get sum chips with that burga?’, whereas a Kiwi would say: ‘Giday mate, kin I git sum chups wuth thit burga?’. I LOVE this accent! Though am slightly concerned about the impact it is going to have on my already slightly mangled accent.
Christchurch is home to around 400,000 people. Situated close to the coast, it is the place where you can be surfing in the morning and running in the hills in the afternoon. There are many different suburbs in Christchurch. Most of them lovely, some slightly less so, as with any city. We have quickly developed a wee map of the city in our brains after relentlessly driving around looking for a place to live. Since the huge earthquake in 2011 that destroyed many parts of the city, a lot of brand new housing developments are popping up all over the place. The houses are built to higher standards in order to help them dance more freely as the earth wobbles beneath, without falling down. We are pretty happy about that(!), and have found ourselves a brand spanking new rental which we are excited to move into (once our delayed container finally arrives from Denmark) at the beginning of March)- HURRAH!
Being in New Zealand is so funny for an Aussie, or at least, for someone who grew up in Aus. There are so many similarities – the shops, the laid back way people are, the many-blue-skied days, the type of food you find in the supermarket. The cafe culture. It creates mixed emotions for me, with memories and similar smells causing flash backs and excitement in my tummy at the thought of being back down under, close to my roots.
Coming through immigration was slightly hilarious in a similar way to when we came through Sydney a few years back -on showing the Australian immigration officer my passport, he flicked to the old picture taken of me when I was about 6 years old, front teeth missing, looking a bit disheveled and with a wink, looked at me and said ‘cute!’. He then flicked to the present day picture and looked up at me again. ‘Still cute!’. Giggle chuckle giggle chuckle blush.
We weren’t entirely sure how to fill out the arrivals form for my hubby on entering NZ this time, so we explained our intentions to the immigration officials – that he would come in on a tourist visa, then switch to a partner-sponsored work visa – and although they disagreed with the way we were entering, they threw their heads back and laughed when we expressed concern about being able to stay in NZ …… ‘No worries mate! We are not gonna chuck you out of the country when you have just traveled so far!’. Gotta love the Kiwis!
There are SO many things to love about this country. I love how one is overwhelmed with products ‘made in NZ’ or ‘produced in NZ’ on entering the supermarket – local beer, local honey, local milk, fruits, vegetables, coconut/ avocado/ lime chili oil (yum!), local wines and olive oil… the list goes on and on. I love how a cappuccino with no chocolate powder on the top is called a ‘nude capp’. I love that, despite the proximity to Australia, there are no deadly spiders or snakes to be found in NZ! I love that I can swim every morning during so many months of the year in an outdoor pool. I LOVE that there is SO MUCH in such close proximity to Christchurch (mountains/ forest/ spa towns/ vineyards) that overnight and weekend camping trips (and ski days!) become the norm. I love that there are multiple farmers markets around the city on Saturdays and Sundays where you can buy fresh and local produce. I love that I have found an excellent coffee shop who happens to use coffee beans roasted in Denmark! And I LURVE being able to see the hills from our home.
On a final note, don’t be alarmed when your neighbour asks if you if want to come over for a beer and sit on his ‘dick’. He is merely and innocently asking you to come over and sit on his ‘deck’.