Kiwis are Killing Me with Kindness 🥝

Okay, not literally, but figuratively! Imagine a world where everyone is kind, perpetually on their best behavior, and smiling. In every realm of society. Through every type of stressful day-to-day situation. And in a big city.

Can you imagine such a world?

I sure as f*** never could. I spent my formative time in early adulthood in New York City, practically worshipping the attitudes of independence and city smarts, understanding that sometimes there’s just too much going on, too many potentially crazy people in your immediate surroundings, that you can lose your will to talk to even the kind, lost people asking for directions. I get it. (And this is not implying that New York is not filled with kindness. I love New York.) But Wellington–and all of New Zealand–kindness is out of this world.

Some examples, you ask?

Nearly everyone who rides the bus greets the driver, who greets them back, and nearly everyone exiting the bus, even from the back, yells, “Thanks, driver!” Also, passengers are always offering advice on directions, even just by overhearing where someone is going. In a lot of big cities, people keep their gazes down, headphones in, and keep to themselves. (And I am totally guilty of that same behavior, so no judgment here.)

When hiking (tramping–still can’t get used to that word 😂), people stop and chat as they cross paths.

When driving, more often than not, drivers will let you sneak in front at tricky spots, when you might be waiting for a long time during peak traffic.

When you show up to yoga and don’t know where to park and can’t work out the parking meter, strangers will offer help and parking money if needed.

Basically, the message I’ve gotten is that Kiwis are almost always looking out for one another, offering help even when they aren’t asked. And the overall vibe is happy. Lots of smiling, lots of positive chit chat, with a laid back attitude to match. It’s pretty cool.

I realize I have the perspective of growing up in the Midwest, where the overall vibe is also very friendly and very helpful. So I’m noticing those similarities as well. I just find it striking that a city as big as Wellington (~300,000) can maintain so many qualities similar to Midwest towns and still be a cosmopolitan, seaside, foodie-paradise metropolis.

One last point on this: even the kinds of tasks that can turn a day from good to bad reallll quick in the U.S., like a visit to the DMV {insert horror film music}, can go pleasantly. After applying for my NZ license, after not waiting long in line, and having a cheery conversation with the clerk, I almost forgot I was at the DMV (called VTNZ here). Craziness.

I wonder where all the kindness traces back to: if it’s from being a pure island nation, heavily influenced by Maori culture, with over-stressed U.S. culture being an influence that hasn’t sunk in all the way (thank goodness). Or if it’s because of the beautiful country that New Zealand is: moutains, sea, fields, everything stunningly gorgeous, with weather to match. Maybe the reason for Kiwi friendliness is all of these things: the environment, combined with rich culture, combined with an intrinsic attitude of kindness that is continually spreading positivity. Either way, I’m not complaining. 😎

IMG_1259

With views like this, it’s hard to not be in a good mood. 🙂

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2 thoughts on “Kiwis are Killing Me with Kindness 🥝

  1. I’ve only spent a week in New Zealand but can certainly relate to this post. It started immediately when we picked up our car at the airport: the rental company didn’t try to rip us off (a first) and all the other drivers were super patient while we got used to having the steering wheel on the right side (kept turning on the window wipers instead of the blinkers) 🙂 -Verne

    Liked by 1 person

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