Four months into our big leap down under and we are very gradually starting to ease into Autumn (my favourite season! YAY!). Everytime Autumn hits, regardless of where I am, I feel like its more spectacular than I have ever seen before. The air has an edge in a way that is so fresh, you can almost feel it penetrating every cell in your body. Admittedly it feels slightly odd having just (seemingly) been through Autumn in Copenhagen, however, no complaints here! Oh, and when I say ‘gradually easing’, I mean jumping from highs of 23C one day to 7C the next, and then waking to a new day where flip flops (or jandals as they are known here) are the choice of foot wear and sun cream is a must. However, despite the penetratingly warm sun, I still find myself sitting in the car with my flip flops and shorts on, and the seat warmer on full blast…!
Speaking of Kiwi-specific words, here’s a few more…. in Aus it is known as an ‘esky’, in the UK it is a ‘cooler’ but in NZ it is a ‘chilly bin’. ‘Wop wops’ is a place out in the sticks (….!). The corner shop down here is known as a ‘dairy’. And instead of calling your friend ‘mate’, you call them ‘bro’. I continue to LOVE the accent. Yet an attempt to crack a wee friendly joke about the fact that your head is called your ‘hid’ down here, resulted in me being told to ‘sittle, sittle…’ (or ‘settle’, if you don’t speak Kiwi).
Still loving the concept of ALWAYS getting to the weekend before (most) of the rest of the world (WOOHOO!). Wine o’clock on a Friday is bedtime on a Thursday where one sister is in San Francisco – still a strange concept! The cooler weather has decreased the number of nights we spend out in the tent to the level that I am experiencing some kind of ‘tent withdrawal syndrome’. I still marvel at the idea of sleeping in a tent – both for the reason of being so close to nature and all the associated sounds, but especially in these areas of the world where lights from the city can’t be seen and traffic can’t be heard. Cosy and toasty in your sleeping bag, you really have absolutely no idea what type of serene world is out there. However, midnight toilet trips reveal these sensational, mind-blowing visions of more stars than it is ever possible to imagine. Its like some kind of secret, silent fantasy world. And you are only lucky enough to see it if you can be bothered to peel yourself from the warm surrounds of your sleeping bag. I don’t think I will ever get any less overwhelmed by standing under these night skies.
Apart from my love of the accent, I keep stumbling over other reasons to love the Kiwis. Here’s a few…
- Their gentle sense of being
I was amongst others standing staring blankly at the static baggage belt in Christchurch on Wednesday morning around 12:30am, having just flown in from Sydney, when a tall, sturdy policeman walked up to our group holding a duty free bag. He calmly said ‘Giday team! Any of you folks left your booze by the immigration counter?’. I can definitely NOT see this happening in many other countries. Nuff’ said.
- Their choice of words
We were camping on a farm about 1.5 h from Christchurch a few weeks ago and got chatting to the farmer himself. He had been on the farm for about 70 years. ‘WOW!’ I said. ‘That’s a hell of a long time! I would imagine life is pretty tough on the farm, eh?’. ‘Orr…Nah, its pretty cruisy’, he remarked with a wide, cheeky grin.
Parting thoughts and something relevant I came across this other day:
Find patience in uncertainty. Trust in change.
(Featured image: Orton Bradley Park, Charteris Bay – about 30 min from Christchurch)