Living in New Zealand comes with a lot of perks. For starters, the landscape is absolutely stunning, the people are friendly, and the coffee is damn good. It’s pretty amazing how quickly you can adjust to life in a new country, it feels like I’ve been here for ages.
But now that I’ve been in New Zealand for ten months (can you believe it!), I’ve had a bit of time to reflect on my time as an Expat. Most of my takeaways have been positive though I can’t help but miss a few things from home.
Here are the five things I miss about living in the U.S…
1. Cheap Petrol
Thinking about a spur-of-the-moment road trip in New Zealand? Think again. With gas costing around $2.12 per litre right now, weekend adventures can quickly turn into expensive endeavors. We moved to the South Island to explore New Zealand’s beautiful terrain but sometimes a flight to the North Island is cheaper than road-tripping down South. It’s hard to believe that a year ago I was paying around $3.50 per gallon, I didn’t know how good I had it.
2. Free Shipping/Amazon Prime
Gone are the days of free overnight shipping and one-stop shopping for everything I could ever need or want all on one website. Amazon isn’t really accessible here yet (though they’ve just launched Prime in Australia so fingers crossed!!). I recently tried AliExpress for the first time, which seems to be the closest equivalent. Their prices are cheap but shipping is notoriously unreliable. I opted to buy my wedding veil and some wedding accessories through their website and delivery took about two months.
3. Affordable Makeup
No matter how many warnings I got from friends before moving, no one could have truly prepared me for the insane price of makeup in NZ. I was shocked the first time I saw a drugstore mascara on the shelves for $35 NZD. Thankfully, my very supportive family has sent me a few things to hold me over until my next trip back to the States. I just can’t justify spending $70 on a foundation.
4. Chatting with Strangers
One of the best things about traveling is chatting with interesting people. As someone who can pretty much talk to a wall, I’ve found Kiwis tough nuts to crack. If my accent wasn’t already a dead give away, my chattiness around strangers pretty much puts a big ol’ “She’s Not From These Parts” stamp on my forehead. Sometimes I miss the ease and openness of Americans. I’ve noticed that alcohol seems to be a really important social lubricant here which kind of explains the heavy drinking culture you find around NZ.
5. Being in the Same Time Zone as Friends and Family
More than once I’ve gone to call my mom on my way home from work only to remember that it’s midnight in Chicago and she’s sleeping and I can’t tell you how many times my dad has sent a stream of messages at 4:00am NZST just checking in. Living 15-17 hours ahead of friends and family is a pain in the butt. Since I work standard businesses hours Monday to Friday, catch-ups have been limited to weekends and usually require a lot of messages back and forth to schedule. I miss being able to pick up the phone and just call spontaneously.
In a lot of ways, this move has forced me to look at my own habits. I’m happy to have left behind the consumer culture of America, I buy less now that it’s not just a click away.
Instead of wasting the petrol on a 10-minute drive, I take the bus to work which actually makes me feel a bit better about my carbon footprint.
Sure, the time zones are frustrating and family and friends can sometimes feel very far away, but I know that I’ve gained more in moving to New Zealand than I’ve lost in leaving the States. Plus a trip home is only a flight away…
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