I was surprised, since there’s so much America on telly.
I talked too slowly. And I had a nasty habit of pronouncing the “r” at the end of a word, like dollar. Kiwis say, dol-lah.
I’ve tried to stay true to my accent. Besides, I'm a horrible mimic.
And I don’t want to be like my mother’s cousin, who went to England and came back to Ohio with a British accent. So pretentious!
But I guess, after six or seven years in New Zealand, it’s not too affected to use a few local idioms and colloquial phrases.
Here are a few things that I find myself saying:
- Yeah, no. This all-purpose goodie is used to answer questions. It’s a non-committal way of agreeing or disagreeing with someone. Kiwis love to use lots of words when just one will do.
- Mate. I usually only call kids “mate.” It still feels weird to call a friend “mate.” But I love it when my friends call me mate. So affirming and chummy, in a colonial sort of way.
- Cuppa. Even with a Starbucks on every corner, there is a serious lack of hot drinks in American culture. It’s so civilized to be having a cuppa at all times of the day. Every time I get home or someone pops in, I put the kettle on. And electric kettles? So much better than boiling water in the microwave.
- Tea. Another word for dinner. Okay, I admit it. I feel a bit silly when I ask, “What’s for tea?”
- Tomato sauce. The Kiwi version of ketchup. I try to say toe-may-toe, but sometimes toe-mah-toe slips out.
That’s right. I’m still all Ohio, with maybe just a little Kiwi polish.
The amazing electric kettle.