College = High School, birds migrating north, “falling back” with time change in April and other differences in the Southern Hemisphere

Interestingly, “colleges” are “high schools” are names for secondary schools here in NZ. And “universities” or more commonly, “unis” are where students go after high school.  Now, this is not as drastic of a difference as driving on the other side of the road here with the driver’s seat on the opposite side of the car from the U.S.(please note how I specifically did not say “wrong” side of the road – because I am a firm believer that maybe in the U.S. we are driving on the “wrong” side of the road and actually had a rental car employee chuckle when he mentioned that Americans “drive on the wrong side of the road” and I said, “Or maybe you’re on the wrong side” LOL for both of us), but there are some minor nuances in language such as this that can take a bit of getting used to. And can even cause the native Kiwis to ask me to repeat myself when my southern Alabama drawl gets in the way! (Humorously, a year 9 student at school today told me that I “don’t sound like I am from ‘Alley-bammer'” until I continued talking and then said, “OH! I hear it now!”(I was also impressed with this child not only knowing where Alabama was, but that his favorite book is To Kill a Mockingbird!! Awesome stuff) :P) I am just going to list a few of these terms below:

NZ speak                                          U.S.

chemist                                      pharmacy

way out                                       exit

toilet                                           restroom (I know this one is not that different, but it takes a                                                                 repeat if you are asking for directions to one and don’t use                                                               “toilet”)

queue                                           in line (as to waiting in line)

letting                                        renting

heaps                                          lots of

brekkie                                       breakfast

chippies                                      chocolate chip cookies

jandals                                         flip flops

chips                                             fries

motorway                                 interstate (but no states, therefore no “interstates”)or highway

tramping                                   hiking

torch                                          flashlight

gumboots                                 rainboots

bach                                          (pronounced “batch”) beach cottage

timetables or spell tables        schedules for school

sunnies                                     sunglasses

wellies                                        (the original town of Wellington and rain!) rain boots

The food is most amazing here and everything seems more fresh and with less preservatives than you will find in a grocery in the U.S. There is also this lovely fruit, feijoa,


that has a green skin and is just recently getting ripe and can be found in the grocery stores. You may recall from my Auckland school visits blog that I finally was introduced to these after hearing so much about them! They are fruits from heaven. You can cut into the center and scoop out the center to eat the fruit.


The closest thing that I can imagine to compare it to is a very fresh, very light (NOT as sweet or tart), very subtle green apple flavor mixed with pineapple. And these are ripe in the late summer/ autumn. Which leads me to my next notable difference of the seasons. Here in April, time just changed, but opposite to Northern Hemisphere, time fell back an hour for Autumn (more commonly called instead of “Fall” because not too many leaves actually “fall” from the trees), instead of my friends back home just “springing forward” an hour. So while I was only five hours behind, but a day ahead different from home a few weeks ago, I am now seven hours behind and a day ahead than home! Also, when talking about birds “going North for the winter” or “nor’easters being warm weather bearers” because they are coming from the Equator instead of the Arctic blasts from the North Pole it can start to mix things up from what I have been used to all of my life! Which has been another wonderful part of this entire experience here in NZ and that is discovering differences and the similarities whether in science education, in nature or in the language to bring awareness to an appreciation of these wonderful things that make our planet go ’round. Thank you, Senator Fulbright, yet, again for showing me these cultural differences that I otherwise would not have absorbed without living and being immersed here!




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