Adapt and Overcome

I have been an honorary Kiwi for exactly one week.  As I take stock and reflect on my Kiwi status thus far, I am left with but one revelation.

Pak n Save is scary.

I admit to being naive about this adventure.  Somehow, I was sure that visiting New Zealand a handful of times had given me all of the knowledge I needed to slip seamlessly into the Kiwi culture.  But as I have quickly discovered, it’s much different to embrace the charming idiosyncrasies of a country as a visitor, than it is to realize you will never, ever have an unlimited data plan in NZ.

And that grocery shopping can be classed as a contact sport.  You feel a bit like Mike Tyson bobbing and weaving between the grabby hands and bumping carts as you legitimately weigh the merits of organic ketchup (or tomato sauce, as I have been corrected) versus regular.  Ponder too long, and your cart will magically move away from you, down the aisle, to the left.  Grocery shopping should be a leisurely, calm pursuit.  The aisles should be wide, and the atmosphere nearly anesthetic as Nirvana’s “Never Mind” is turned into tinny elevator music.  And above all else, There.  Should.  Be.  Personal.  Space.

Then there are the battles for acquiring internet at home where the view is stunning but I’m actually too high up to get wireless internet and therefore, special equipment has be to ordered.  The words I should understand (because they’re English) but which make no sense to me at all.  The skirmish over yellow or black trash (rubbish) bags.  Foods I cannot even begin to puzzle out or pronounce.  A bizarre penchant for asymmetrical hemlines (strangely enough, the subject of my next blog entry–Rocking the Unconventional– a droll little tale of one woman’s vain attempt to find a conventional, conservative three-button suit while her luggage decided to take an extended vacation in LA.).  The sheer cliff I have to scale in order to get to a bus stop that only runs on the hour and only between the hours of 7:30 am and 5:30 pm.

Personal space, abundance of instantaneous transportation options, and other things I find myself missing are uniquely American notions.  But, to heavily paraphrase a line from the Wizard of Oz, “Toto, I’m not in America anymore.”  So the dilemma becomes one of holding onto the past–whether old ideas, or old history–or letting it go and adapting.  Embracing.  Overcoming.

To it all, to every trial, tribulation, and test, I say–confidently, defiantly–Bring.  It.  On.  I will figure this out.  I’ll come to love it.  I’ll even learn to live with a 250MB data plan.

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