Working in a different country is a very interesting experience to say the least. Even one that speaks English, or at least their version of it.
Every day I am learning new lingo when people rock (walk) into the shop and I am addressed as their mate (friend?).
When the place is super busy, it is referred to as chocka.
Customers come in and ask are you chocka? I used to glance at my co worker with a what the hell look, but now I simply reply, fully chocka mate, I can put you on the list if your keen (eager, enthusiastic) to hit some balls.
Boom, kid learns fast.
No one mistakes me for a kiwi, but strangely a few were sure I was from Ireland, it’s anyone's guess why.
Every day I am learning more about this country and their endless quirks, and I hope that I am broadening their view of the United States because I will say a vast majority generalize my massive country from one person’s story, or a specific tiny experience.
Which is a bit ridiculous, because the United States is utterly massive and diverse and to base it on perhaps a week visiting NYC, Miami or Los Angeles would be an egregious error.
Which I tell every single person that asks me questions about the U.S. of A.
Please go to the national parks in Utah, visit Boston and step along the freedom trail, walk the historic district of Savannah, have a bag of Garrets popcorn in Chicago, drive the pacific coast highway along the edge of California, and do a million other things, which I will gladly suggest should you desire to visit.
Please don’t tell me, you spent 3 days in the New York City and you think the US sucks, is crowded and expensive and on and on. It’s a big place, there is a bit more to it than that.
My co workers are quite curious about certain things, I get asked endlessly about guns as they seem to think the entire country walks around with AK’s and Oozies,
I just smile and shake my head.
It hit me that a lot of American’s live in a bubble about what they believe to be real based on things they hear, not things they have seen. The world does the same to America, based on what propaganda they hear and are told, not by what they have seen for themselves.
Let’s face it, opinions are quite personal. I might not like a place, or maybe I simply had a bad experience. That shouldn’t stop you though, it really should have no effect, it was simply my take on it. You need to see what you need to see for yourself.
I have spent 2 months living in Auckland, a decent duration, and I have learned a lot. However I’ve seen almost nothing of this entire country.
Even for a small country it’s quite a big place. It would be quite unfair to make a full on assessment with out having experienced other cities here, met other people and had conversations, walked some of the 9 great walks, seen the nature and wildlife, tried multiple types of food and drinks, and so on.
Even then it would be simply my opinion, I can offer you advice, but you really should see it for yourself if you want to know.
I learned today that every person here says the letter Z, as Zed. Seriously, this has blown my mind, I had perhaps a half hour conversation about this one as I’m fairly well traveled and have never heard this being used. Apparently it is quite common, certainly anywhere that has had a British influence.
They look at me like I’m crazy for not saying this. Dumb American
Everything that I do different, which is a lot, is simply me being an American and being different.
That is what we do as Americans, isn’t it? We created new ways of doing everything. People ask me for the temperature, and I pathetically have to answer I don’t know what it is in Celsius. They use meters instead of feet, they drive on the left side of the road, walk on the left. It’s a nightmare, to learn all these new ways of things.
But I must.
You see its important for me to learn different ways of doing things, to understand different cultures and to continually open my mind and learn.
The way we do things in America can be popular but it is not the only way and it’s important to understand that. It’s a vast world out there, and they cater enough to us by using English as the world language, for which any American should be endlessly thankful for by the way.
I do my best to open my views on topics, through out the world because the way I have learned to things does not always fly across this world, nor should it.
Daily I am stumped by certain interactions and words being used, but I smile and realize I’m in a country across the world with a whole different way of doing things, different customs and different people.
I do my best to learn and to explain to my co workers, why I do certain things and about American culture. They explain their way of things and how they were brought up and we both learn, we both grow.
Travel enables this for me, because I let it. I don’t go to a place and think no, my way is the best. That would be narrow minded and ignorant, and I hope never to be accused of being those two things.
I try to patient and learn about this culture, and I explain that perhaps America isn’t all you have read in your newspapers.
If they can have an open mind, and I can have an open mind, then perhaps we both can gain something and grow. To me, that would be a wonderful thing.
It’s not easy, but the best things rarely are.
It’s a big world out there, there is more than one way to do things, and chances are, your way might not always be the best way.
Just don’t get me started on South Korea, that talk is for another time.