There’s lots of cool stuff I want to tell you guys about New Zealand, but it’s hard to know where to begin. The past few weeks have been a roller coaster of highs and lows: fun nights out with new friends, lonely nights alone in a hotel 13,000 km away from the people I love, attempts at wrapping my mind around the concept of a kilometer, awe-stricken moments gazing out at the skyline of a new city, panic-inducing run-ins with immigration services (upon discovering that the name on my passport is misspelled), terrifying nights of not knowing where I’m going to sleep in a few days’ time, exciting evenings of adventure planning …
Though there have been some trying moments, on the whole, this trip has been incredibly gratifying. Even beyond the crazy-awesome aura of adventure that this experience holds, I know there are many life lessons to be learned from this opportunity. During the rough moments, I remind myself that if I just hold out for a few more hours, I will inevitably stumble upon something that will leave me both in awe and hungry for more.
Some days, though, the excitement lies in the small details. Sometimes, the most enriching moments are unexciting, perfectly ordinary, boring, forgettable things. So I’ve compiled a list of totally boring yet somehow interesting facts about New Zealand:
1. The eggs are hella amazing
I’m a pretty avid fan of eating meat and eggs from humanely raised, grass-fed animals. The trademark symbol of high-quality eggs is the color of their yolks. Yolks from free-range chickens should be a dark orange color due to the diverse nutrient content the chickens are consuming. It works the same way vegetables do: The higher the nutrient content, the darker the color. (So if you buy for ‘free-range’ eggs and the yolks are a sad pale yellow, you know you probably over paid.)
In the U.S., I usually have to pay like $10 at Whole Foods or the farmer’s market to get really good eggs. I can’t afford that on my solo salary here, so I bought the cheapest eggs I could find at the grocery store. LOOK AT THEM:
So orange! So tasty! I really do love eggs.
On a related note, if you ever come to New Zealand and order eggs at a restaurant, don’t ask for them ‘over easy’ or ‘over medium.’ You will be met with a blank stare.
2. There’s no such thing as a small coffee
When I order coffee in the U.S., I usually just get a small black coffee. NOPE! Everything is espresso here. The first time I ordered a coffee at a restaurant, they asked me “What kind?” … to which I responded “Umm … black?”.
The most popular coffee drink seems to be a ‘flat white,’ which I understand to be espresso with a lot of milk. I’m honestly not sure how it’s different from a cappuccino or a latte. My preferred drink is a ‘long black,’ which is kind of like an Americano (espresso and water).
3. The call McDonald’s ‘Macca’s’
I plan on doing an entire blog post someday about all the crazy words they use over here, but this is different. This isn’t just a weird word choice or a cute nickname a la ‘Mickey D’s’ – this is an actual re-branding. McDonald’s literally uses this term on commercials, signage and advertisements:
4. No one wipes down their yoga mat
No one cleans their yoga mat here. I’m not talking about personal mats that people bring with them to class. I’m talking about communal mats that people borrow from the yoga studio. In the U.S., it’d be really bad form to use a studio’s mat and then proceed to put it away after class without sanitizing it. Not in New Zealand! I asked my instructor where the spray bottle was so I could wipe down my mat after class. You’d think I’d asked her for an over-easy egg.
(I’ll share this again, as I’m quite fond of it and I don’t have any photos of yoga mats.)
5. They are wild about ‘beetroot’
Kiwis loooooove their beets, it would seem. They call it ‘beetroot,’ which is a little redundant, but I won’t hold that against them. I love beets myself, and was happy to discover that they are everywhere here. Not just in salads, but in casseroles, at Subway, in pita rolls, on pizza – everywhere. I’m in beet heaven.
That’s it for now, folks! It’s Saturday morning here, and I have to get stuff done. I need to be in bed early tonight because I’m going bush walking tomorrow. I’m not 100% sure what that means yet, but I’ll keep you guys posted.