Things I Miss About New Zealand

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

When something is part of your everyday life, you almost always take it for granted. It takes much awareness and practice not to. Oh, and especially so if you don’t particularly like your everyday life and are more focused on the future. Or the past! Not that I recommend thinking solely about the future to come, but lingering to the past is a bit problematic, I would say.  

I should know: I spent a year in the country that many feel is the most beautiful in the world, and I was pretty much focused on living elsewhere when the time is up. I missed Europe and couldn’t wait to leave, which I now feel bad about. Back then, I would never have believed it, but there are indeed things I now miss about New Zealand.

Crossing the Road Diagonally

This is the only place I have been to so far (I've been told this happens in Japan too) where you don't have to wait for the green light twice in order to get to the other side of the road. I haven't put much thought into the traffic light system in Auckland, but obviously, if pedestrians can cross diagonally AND left and right, it means that throughout that period all vehicles are waiting. I think it also makes the waiting time for the pedestrians much longer. Think about it: while you can let pedestrians move in all directions at the time, you cannot do that to vehicles! So yeah, there's something strange about this, but oh my how I LOVE being able to cross diagonally! Though there is another issue about it: people bumping into each other, which I feel doesn’t happen on “normal” European crossings. Not tragic, but not convenient either. But I still miss it!


Brunch culture in New Zealand is super strong! I loved going for a brunch with my girls on Saturday or Sunday. Popular options are omelette, eggs on toast, eggs Bene, any sort of eggs, really... or avo toast and colorful salads for vegans. It’s possible to get brunch in some places throughout the city I now live in, but I wish it were as common as grabbing coffee with a friend!

The Gym

I’ve been an on-and-off gym goer for the past several years, but never have I felt so at home at any gym like I have in Birkenhead, Auckland. I got to know all employees and enjoy our daily chit-chats, as well as other people who came regularly after work. It was such a cool and uplifting community. I follow some of them on Instagram to this day and feel genuinely happy for their kids, engagement rings, and, of course, new Personal Bests.


I’ve always considered myself a coffee lover since my sophomore year in high school. However, you only discover great coffee when you relocate someplace where great coffee is the only coffee there is. Before living in NZ, I had only heard about flat white. In NZ, the flat white is basically the default choice of coffee, and the one I grew to love. I’m not sure why it’s not so common over here in Europe. Only a handful of coffee shops in Belgrade offer it, and some of those don’t even have it on the menu, but you need to ask. And it’s okay, I guess. But I miss just popping into a random place and knowing I’m about to drink a divinely good cup of joy!

Asian Food Markets

I’ve mentioned this before about Berlin: the more immigrants, the more colorful the range of national cuisines you can taste! Because of its geographic position, New Zealand is an immigration destination for many Asians, and that means that having Chinese or Indian for lunch or dinner is a no-brainer. But I especially loved food markets, where you could try endless options from so many cuisines. I really miss that concept.

Saying Hello and Thank You to the Bus Driver

At first, it baffled me that people say thank you for the driver doing his or her job. But of course, there are other professions where you thank the ones doing them; for example, a waiter. I’d never seen this anywhere before, and it’s such a dear example of how New Zealanders are. And really, I wanted to say hello to the driver so many times ever since, but it’s just not done over here. 

The Beach

They say that people living by the sea never really appreciate it the way we tourists do. Well, not me, I thought! I would go to the beach every day after work, for sure! I love the beach! Then two things happened. First, life did: it seems that people living by the sea don’t really appreciate it the way tourists do. But more importantly, before having moved to NZ, I had only had one concept of the seaside in mind: the Mediterranean one, with beautiful beaches, lagoons, warm and calm sea, made for swimming and sunbathing. I honestly had no idea how different the ocean is. The total of the time I swam in the ocean is lousy: it’s 2 (two!!). It does have to do with me, as I’m scared of waves and having my head underwater, but still... Yet, what I do miss is just the option of being able to go and take a walk along the beach, if not swim, and cross the bridge and enjoy in the sight of dozens of boats scattered around. 

Do you miss anything from a place you lived in or visited? The mind is such a strange creature sometimes! 



1 comment:

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