One of my colleagues from work was sharing his experience on traveling overseas. He said it was interesting because the culture was very different, people tended to touch each other and be very close to each other talking. I thought this was a bit odd. He then mentioned to me how New Zealanders are supposedly scared of this and how we really like our personal space. My initial reply was, “I don’t have a problem with personal space but touching whilst talking was taking it a bit far buddy.”
A few days later while talking to a guy friend I thought it was really odd when he was literally like 15 cm away from me. I took a step back because, “Woah! you’re too close“, and then he took a step forward and I took a step back, this continued until I couldn’t move back any further without attracting attention and had to converse with him whilst his nose was literally touching mine (I am exaggerating but it sure felt like it!). This is what played out in my head:
How odd!! Why is he trying to come so close to me?
Oh my god is he hitting on me?
Okay how do I end this as soon as possible.
SOMEONE TELL MEEEEE.
Then it hit me, I do want a large amount of personal space. I had never noticed it because the majority of others around me are like that too. Hell, I work up a sweat if someone wants a hug. I mean why do we need to hug? It’s like lets push my boobs up against your chest/boobs as a means of embrace. I’ll pass thanks.
I thought if that was a ‘New Zealand’ thing, surely there must be more habits we have that are odd to others. So I hopped online and what do you know.There are so many things I discovered about myself and I thought I’d share them with you in case,
A. You wanted to see whether you’re the same
B. Judge me
C. Laugh at me
D. Learn about the odd quirks we New Zealanders have
E. I have run out of options so ‘Other’
1. We need a large amount of personal space
I feel like I have explained this pretty well. I just want my space okay. I need you to be standing at least two feet away from me while you’re talking to me. I don’t even hug many of my close friends. It’s just not me.
2. We don’t want you to make a peep after dark… or ever
I had really loud neighbours who would party every Friday and Saturday. It really pissed me off. In fact, I remember calling the noise control on them a few times. It is really offensive to make loud noises, even if it is in your own home.
I mean I do not want to be hearing you tooting the horn at your friends whilst you’re dropping them off after a night out in town. This is a suburban neighbourhood. I am trying to sleep! I have to wake up at 7am for a lecture!! (Never usually happens – maybe because your damn horn is so loud!) In fact, it’s actually illegal to use your car horn after 10:30pm and before 7:30am.
We are just used to our little cities and our quiet environment. So, we don’t particularly like it when you are yelling at your kids or having annoying conversations from across the road.
3. We love our Humble Pie
I came across the pejorative term, Tall Poppy Syndrome whilst watching an interview Lorde was doing and she mentioned how Americans aren’t afraid to show off their wealth unlike New Zealand. A quick google search of the term and I could already relate to it.
I know some amazing people, who are really quite rich and successful in their fields. But, for some reason you will never see them boast about it. Like ever. And perhaps it is because you will be viewed snobby and resented if you stand out and show off your achievements, even if you have worked your arse off to get where you are.I don’t know the answer to that but what I do know is New Zealand is a nation of modesty and I love that. We have some great achievements in our pockets, but you will never see someone shoving them down your throat. It’s just not us.
I suppose every country will have its very own culture and quirks that they don’t realize. It’s almost like the glass-shattering-moment from How I Met Your Mother, where once you know what it is you can’t stop noticing it. Nonetheless – we have to embrace all our little quirks because it makes us who we are.