I would like to dedicate this week's post to all world travelers. Hopefully, through my mistakes and discoveries, your time exploring this wonderful country of New Zealand will be a little less embarrassing and much more predictable.
Notes to self:
1. While attempting to hang clothes on an outdoor line for the first time in one's life, begin by hanging clothes on the back line working towards the front. Beginning in the front only creates an obstacle course to duck underneath and around, and causes injuries due to wind-blown articles.
2. While grocery shopping for cooking ingredients, ask the kind employee to assist you in finding the "shall-oats" are. Not "shall-ots."
3. Be prepared to request one mayonnaise (American), over the other... (?) (differentiation, yet to be determined).
4. When considering car rental as a means of transportation, remember that on May 9, 2011 it cost $124.82 NZ to fill 57.81 L of petrol.
5. Become familiar, and fluent, with the phrase "top up." For internet, you must "top up." For cell phone use, you must "top up..."
6. "Hockey" does not equal ice hockey.
7. Although poor language is frowned upon within the classroom, be prepared to chose your battles when 10 and 11 year old students use the words "damn" and "hell."
8. If traveling to NZ to teach: Do not fear the idea of either substituting for a class, or having a "relief teacher" cover for you. These teachers receive just as much respect from students as long term teachers do... if not more.
9. Clarify adults' expectations of children when contradictions are observed. E.g. While wearing shoes in school may not be required, playing in the rain is absolutely unacceptable.
10. Public school teachers, please note: it is a common thought that "New Zealand's curriculum is so broad you could drive a bus through it."
11. With minimal, yet timely effort, it is highly possible that you will be considered "brilliant."
12. "Past-tolls" = "pastels"
13. New Zealand children have the same stereotype of Australians as Americans due, as proven by mockery and impersonations including "G'day mate" and "put another shrimp on the barbie."
14. A jumper does not reference a thrill seeker, but instead, simply a sweatshirt.
15. "Plaster" = Band-aid
16. Study or download a reliable conversion application. Pounds, fahrenheit, miles, MPH, and gallons do not exist in this country. Not when referencing weight. Or temperature. Or liquid measurement. Or speed. Never.
17. Prepare to experience all seasons of the year within a three hour time frame. Always have a sweater. And ALWAYS have an umbrella.
Please. Please, please, please. Consider these notes if planning to travel to New Zealand. My mistakes can only result in your increased expertise.