Seven surprising things about New Zealand
Isobel Benesch moved to New Zealand from the United States with her young family.
Here she describes the cultural differences between the two countries and why she loves it here.
Going shoeless is completely acceptable.
We are so used to the mantra "no shirts, no shoes, no service" that when we saw people walk into grocery stores and restaurants without shoes on, we were completely flabbergasted.
I remember being kicked out of Costco in the States because one of my children didn't have shoes on his feet and they were concerned that there might be glass somewhere on the ground.
Kiwi English is different than American English.
We were completely confused when people used aubergine for eggplant, capsicum for bell pepper, togs for swim suit, jandals for flip flops, and chips for French fries.
New Zealand really has the friendliest people in the world.
Tourists in the States are treated with varying degrees of hospitality so despite the fact that I am technically a Kiwi (as both my parents were born and raised here), my husband and I were a little nervous about how receptive New Zealanders would be about outsiders moving into their paradise.
Instead of a "go back home" attitude, people welcomed us with open arms, even telling us "welcome home" on more than one occasion.
Travelling is accepted and encouraged.
We travelled up the coast of California for one month before we moved to New Zealand (see tips for travelling with young children here) and we didn't meet a single person that encouraged us in our journey.
When we arrived in New Zealand and began travelling, everywhere we went, we were met with excitement as people offered advice, shared their own experiences, and generally accepted travel not a foreign concept.
Eggs are not just a breakfast food here.
In the States you will generally have a difficult time finding eggs being served past 10am on the weekdays or outside of a brunch menu on the weekends.
No matter what time of day or what type of restaurant, we have found eggs on almost every single menu we have come across here in New Zealand.
Rain doesn't stop you from living.
We are from Southern California where it doesn't rain very often so when it does, it can feel as though the entire city shuts down.
We quickly realised that rain doesn't phase anyone here and life continues as normal. From mowing the lawn to swimming in the sea to trekking on a bush walk, we have seen Kiwis do it all in the rain.
Nature is your playground.
No matter where you are in New Zealand, you are five minutes away from something spectacular. Whether it's a waterfall, a nature reserve, a gorgeous beach, or just stunning scenery, there is something breathtakingly beautiful around every bend.