Sweet-as Auckland

Ah the big city! After a week and a half in the countryside, communing with nature, doing yoga every day, shooing chickens out of my room and playing with cows, Auckland is a breath of fresh air.

The country was incredible — big rolling hills (all grazing land), the Hunua waterfall and the Correy Dam within walking distance, a convenience store and an Indian restaurant… and that’s it. Plus I had a yoga room in addition to my bedroom and “heaps” of space. It was a wonderful way to start the year, but I’m glad to be back in the middle of action.

Auckland is a bustling city with killer people watching and so much stuff to do. Tons of ethnic diversity here with all kinds of restaurants. The city is easy to get around and not intimidating at all. People are so friendly here and I haven’t felt unsafe a single moment. Yes you’ve got your usual crazy element, but you keep a strong pace and try not to dawdle and you don’t get hassled. I don’t feel like I stand out physically, but once I open my mouth people are real interested in where I’m from. Most people guess Canada first, but I discovered they throw out Canada first on purpose – because apparently Canadians get downright pissy if Kiwis peg them as Americans.

The flat I’ve rented was such a lucky find – I got on NZflatmates.com and found this loft in the heart of the city rented by a young couple who run a nonprofit called Sustainable Coastlines out of the spot. It is a work in progress, the walls just went up last week, they installed their own skylights, and a deck is getting built this weekend. It’s incredibly inspiring to be around the positive eco-energy created and perpetuated in this space. Plus the two and all of their associates are very friendly and hilariously entertaining.They are really making headway in their mission to raise awareness and significantly reduce beach dumping, especially with children. They got front page New Zealand Herald coverage of the coastal rubbish issue and a feature in the National section the following day. My kind of eco-warriors!

It’s my first week back on the mat and I’m loving it… I am reminded what mat burn feels like and to be sore in places you didn’t know existed. The BJJ experience is simultaneously empowering and humbling. The highs and lows of it are constantly a revitalizing force to the soul, challenging your physical and emotional self. The guys at this academy are really cool, very friendly and (mostly) respectful of the fundamentals learning curve. The practice has definitely given me some grounding amidst all of the crazy changes I’ve experienced lately. I am eternally grateful to my friend Carlos for “jumping” me into this gang. Ha.

There are all kinds of silly little language things I’ve tried to remember to share with my peeps back home… since there are so many Aussies and Brits here, the lingo is a tickling kitchen sink talk that is quite amusing.

Let’s see what I can member:

– Something that is annoying or frustrating is “niggly”

– a “batch” is a vacation home

– “bugger” is like “shit”

– “heaps” is used instead of “lots”

– “hoary” means “ghetto,” like cheap or shitty quality

– “cheers” as a hello and goodbye is used by everyone, and the goodbye one usually comes out like “chur, bro”

– “dodgy” is like “flaky” or unreliable

– “agro” is mad/irritated

– eggplant is “aubergine” and peppers are “capsicums” and sweet potato is “kumara”

– a car trunk is a “boot”

– “bugger all” means very little

– a cordial is like a fruit soda without bubbles

– an “entree” is an appetizer and a “main” is a meal

– “full tit” means to go balls out, very hard n fast, also “flat out”

-“gidday” is hello

– a handle is a pint of beer

– a “hard case” is a funny person

– flip-flops are “jandals”

-“ming” is like poo/dirt/nasty gunk

– people say “that fucks me off” instead of pisses me off

– “lolly” is candy

– “motorway” is the freeway

– diapers are “nappies” ha

– “naff off” is “go away”

– college is “Uni”

-“don your glad rags” is to get gussied up for going out

– to “perve” is to stare

– beer is called “piss”

– it was a “piece of piss” means it was easy

– “rark up” means to tell someone off

– “rattle your dags” means “hurry up”

-like in Hawaii, trash is called “rubbish”

– you ring someone, not call them

– a “sheila” is a hot girl

– men call their girlfriends their “misses”

– “togs” is a swimsuit or trunks

– everyone has a “jug”, an electric pitcher to heat water for tea, “shall I put the jug on” is asking if someone wants to come in and “have a yarn”

– an apartment is a flat, roommates are “flatmates”

– to “flog” is to steal

– “footy” is rugby

– a “green-fingered bro” is a bloke who regularly indulges in cannabis

– “hen fruit” is slang for eggs (I like the egg brand name “Henergy,” ha)

– “mate’s rates” is special prices for friends

– “mean” or “choice” is like “sweet”

– “as” can be used at the end of any adjective to provide extra emphasis… “sweet-as” is most common, but you could say “that was a big-as fish” or it’s “hot-as” in here. It’s funny cause it’s so common it’s used for everything like school kids’ stuff… I saw a kid with a hat that said “Sweet As Summer Reading Program”. I have to laugh cause it’s so close to sweet-ass…

– Mr. Whippy is an ice-cream truck

– Australia is “Oz”

– “pissing down” means raining hard

– “she’ll be right” means it’ll all work out/don’t worry

– “snarky” means sarcastic/mean-spirited

– “suss it out” means to evaluate/check it out

– the letter “z” is prounounced “zed”

Thanks for reading, I’ve got 3 1/2 weeks left in Auckland and I hope to have some beautiful shots of the baby islands off the coast here, Waiheke and Great Barrier, and possibly Rangitoto. BIG FAT LOVE to all my friends and family whose positive thoughts and safe wishes I definitely feel, even all the way on the other side of the world. Chur, bro…


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