Are you tired of hearing about New Zealand? I hope not because I have so many more thoughts and stories to share!
Despite being on the other side of the world, New Zealand felt familiar to me. The country’s time zone is “so far away” from us — Pacific Standard Time here in Seattle — that there’s not much of a difference when you travel there. Seattle is just three hours ahead of New Zealand (but New Zealand is already in “tomorrow.”) That’s like traveling to New York from Seattle, which is not that bad!
Besides not having massive jet lag like when I’ve traveled to Asia or Europe, New Zealand didn’t really take much adjusting because there’s just a lot of familiarity.
The language for one, which is huge when you’re in a new county. The main language in New Zealand is English. Sure, there were some Kiwis who had heavy accents and it sounded like they were speaking a different language. And, at times slang was used and then I really didn’t know what was going on … but, for the most part, it’s easy to communicate if you know English.
The radio played mostly American songs. Other than a few Maori stations we would listen to if we got reception, it was either current Top 100 hits (from the U.S.) or 90s classics (from the U.S.) I don’t know what New Zealand pop or rock is but I’d guess it isn’t very mainstream because I recognized a majority of the songs on the radio!
Often times the scenario while road tripping through the North and South islands reminded us of home. We’d be driving down the highway to our next destination and either Bryce or I would say to each other, “This looks like Washington,” or “This reminds me of the Oregon Coast.” We caught ourselves saying this so often at the beginning of our trip that we tried to make a strong effort not to because after all, we were in New Zealand! Sure, some of it may have looked like the Pacific Northwest but we were in an entirely new place on the opposite side of the world!
Feeling so at home in a country that’s so far away was weird. Sometimes it didn’t feel like we were 7,000 miles (or more!) away from home. It’s almost like we could’ve just been a short drive north in Canada.
But, we weren’t.
We were in New Zealand. And, as much as I’m saying “it’s so similar!” there were also a lot of differences to home. A lot of things are “the opposite” from home. I’ll get to that later.
Because of some of the familiarity though, it felt like a home I didn’t know existed. And that was a nice feeling.