February 8, 2005

Living in New Zealand is a lot like living anywhere else in the world except that people seem to think it's more exotic and therefore are baffled that I don't send out more mass emails full of daring and exciting exploits. I love New Zealand, don't get me wrong, but once you settle anywhere for a time life has a way of dropping you into a vague semblance of routine and ceases to be the "omigod this is the most amazing thing I've ever done" series of adventures that it once was. Case in point. I'm broke. Which is exactly what the status of my life was like back home in Canada. The difference now is that I'm broke in NEW ZEALAND. It only sounds better if you're buried in snow and -37 degree temperatures back home. The reality of it is actually precisely the same. No money here is like no money there. Not enough jobs here is like not enough jobs there. Not discernable way out of credit card debt here is like no discernable way out of credit card debt there.

Fine, you say. That's fine. We understand that. Life has a way of echoing itself after awhile. But still. You're in NEW ZEALAND. What are the ways in which it's DIFFERENT? Alright, I'll tell you. But I warn you, you asked for it.

Ways In Which Life In New Zealand Is Different From Canada

1. Cost. As everything here is imported from everywhere else, it costs ten times as much. CDs at home are $12 or $15 a pop. $20 is outrageous and should only be spent if, like me, you absolutely cannot exist without the Japanese export version of NSync's Celebrity album. CDs here are $30. $20 is an outrageously fantastic deal and you should buy no less than ten albums for such a low price. Insert "movies", "shoes", "clothes", "food", whatever in place of "CDs" and you have an idea of cost differential. Economics. I never took it but I imagine it sounds something like this: The farther away from the States you are geographically, the more things will cost to fly in FROM the States.

2. Peanut Butter. They don't do peanut butter right here. It seems so simple, so brainless, so totally unable to mess up. Smash the peanuts, add the sugar, cram it into a jar. But for whatever reason the process goes horribly awry here and peanut butter takes on a distinctly un-peanutty flavor totally unique to New Zealand. You do get used to it, though. I actually now think New Zealand peanut butter is superior to Canadian peanut butter which just goes to show that I'm losing touch with North American reality already.

3. Movies. Here's how New Zealand is far far superior to Hollywood and how Kiwis will one day rule the world side-by-side with artsy Korean filmmakers and Quentin Tarantino (without whom we'd never have learned that artsy Korean films are worth watching). New Zealand filmmakers understand that life does not always end happily, people are rarely flawless, tragic things don't always make you a better person but sometimes just make you bitter, and huge fireball explosions every five minutes isn't actually viable as an art form. New Zealand films have a raw, angsty, tragic bent to them that no amount of Hollywood influence can erase. No matter how much vaccuous shit Hollywood exports, New Zealand films insist on being real. A short list includes (but is hardly limited to): Once Were Warriors, Rain, In My Father's Den, Broken English, and a whole ream of brilliant shorts like A Game With No Rules and Accidents.

4. Actors. New Zealand actors are hot. As my brother-in-law would say, they have Teh Hott. Marton Csokas. *dies* Craig Parker. *dies* Karl Urban. *dies* I have a secret to surviving Hollywood movies. Go to any random Matt Damon or Vin Diesel film and watch the bad guy. xXx. Marton Csokas played Yorgi. Yes, the sexier-than-Vin bad guy. The Chronicles of Riddick. Karl Urban played Vaako. Yes, the sexier-than-Vin necromonger bad guy. The Bourne Supremacy. Marton Csokas played Jarda and Karl Urban played Kirill. Yes, the sexier-than-Matt bad guys. It's a daring ploy but it works. *thumbs nose at Hollywood* Only Tom Cruise has proved smarter than my theory. He knows that Karl and Marton are both taller and sexier (and by far have more talent in each of their pinky toes than he does all told) so he never acts with them. Coincidence? No. Because Tom Cruise, whatever else he may be, is SMART. Too smart to go up against New Zealand actors on film.

There are other ways in which life in New Zealand is different from Canada - more earthquakes, more wind, more sheep, etc - but I'm bored now and also out of money for a longer post so I'll call this list complete for now. Feel free to post comments in defense of Vin Diesel's sexiness if you like. I'll collect them and send them all to Marton Csokas' and Karl Urban's agents so they can have a good laugh. *giggles*