Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Cultural Differences Down Under

It has now reached close to two months of living down here and I have noticed some interesting differences between our American culture and the Kiwi culture. This is only natural for me, seeing how I am a anthropology major. I have taken the emic (solid anthropology word meaning view from within) approach to understanding the ways of the kiwis and have noticed some things. I implore you to understand that by no means are these differences wrong or backwards, simply different. Why am I posting these differences? Well for a few reasons. 1: I haven't posted anything yet so I figure it is about time. 2: Why not, maybe some people will be interested. Then again, maybe some people will think it is a stupid post. But ultimately, aren't all these posts really meaningless. Alas, here are a few differences...

1. Sprite is called lemonade. Everywhere. Working at a bar, this proved to be one of the quickest things I learned. Orders for "vodka lemonade" or "bacardi lemonade" proved daunting at first. Now it is old hat. Also along the lines of lemonade, orders for "lemon, lime, and bitters" are common. It is simply sprite with lime cordial and a couple dashes of bitters. Quite a popular non-liquor drink. So, you might ask, what do they call lemonade? Homemade lemonade (pretty straightforward, but I have yet to see it anywhere).

2. The 21st birthday is a HUGE deal here. Even though the legal drinking age is 18, the 21st is the biggest birthday. Most families rent a function room and have a huge party where there is an elaborate cake and numerous speeches by family members and friends. There is also a presentation of an oversized key. I heard that it used to be when you turned 21 the parents gave you a key to the house. But nowadays everyone moves out when they are 18, so it just became a tradition for the parents to present a large skeleton-like key to the son or daughter. There is still quite a bit of drinking involved, similar to the American 21st.

3. This is a text-friendly country. What I mean by that is that hardly anyone uses their cell phones for calling. It is mostly texting each other. Part pain in the ass, part convenient, it has taken a little while for me to get used to. It is just cheaper to text people than it is to call them. Oh, and most phones are pre-pay, which is pretty good actually because you know that you will be getting your money's worth each time.

Well, I believe this is enough for now. I will certainly post again with some more interesting aspects of the kiwi culture. Have no fear! I will continue the emic perspective of the fascinating Kiwis and reports will continue to inform and astonish you with such bold differences! With my classrooms consisting of popular bars and restaurants, I will always bring the truth to you.

Signing off,
Resident Anthropologist Charlie


Nadja said...

Charlie, an epic emic post. We are all glad to see you weighing in.

kevin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kevin said...

Charles and other American bartenders,
Mix this one up for your patrons: Abs. Mandarin, red bull, and a splash of OJ...appropriately called "The Smartie"...use a tall glass, 20-23 oz works best, on the rocks...for a unique twist use 180 energy drink sub red bull...origins: West Bowl Bar & Grill

-Go Bears

Haley said...

charlie I love you

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