A few things tell me that I am fitting into the Kiwi lifestyle pretty well:
- The other day I actually used the word "heaps" without realising it. An American friend called me out on it.
- I listen to Maori radio in the car (mostly because my radio is set to Japanese tuning and I can't get any FM stations above 89.0), and can actually understand a lot of the stuff they're talking about. Not when they speak fluent Maori, but when they throw Maori words into the English conversations, I can follow reasonably well.
- The one I'm most proud of: the other day a Kiwi friend of mine called me "bro". It's a term of endearment here, more or less, kind of like "dude" or "buddy" in the US. I could tell my friend didn't mean to do it because it sounds kind of weird to me, but there she was ending a sentence with "Eh, bro?" I have been accepted.
But some things remind me I am still an American:
- I cannot for the life of me understand cricket. I am trying, I really am. I watch it with my flatmates, but I completely zone out. I can watch for, like, half an hour and all of a sudden realise that I don't even know what teams are playing (although I can recognise the Black Caps uniform now. On the other hand it's not that much of an accomplishment to be able to spot players wearing all black)
- I am still wearing shoes. I went to Piha, a black sand beach, on Sunday and could not bear the scorching heat of the sand for more than a few steps. The soles of my feet will really have to toughen up before I can consider myself a true Kiwi.
I talked to one of my friends back in the States yesterday and he said I don't have an accent yet, but who knows. By the time I come back, I may be babbling about "fush and chups" and saying "yees" to all "youse fullas". We'll see.