Tramping in the Wop-Wops… And Other Kiwi Lingo

New Zealand does speak English, but even a native English speaker like me can have a bit of trouble when it comes to understanding Kiwi’s when they speak.  Not only do they have accents, which are lovely by the way, they also use words that we simply don’t use in the US.  I’ve made a compilation of words and phrases I’ve heard/learned while in New Zealand so far. Feel free to use this post as help for your future travels to New Zealand, or simply for amusement!  I personally find it fun to attempt an accent while saying these words/phrases out loud to myself!

We will start with some of the easy and more common words and phrases.  These are pretty easy to understand, and sometimes used in the US as well:

Kiwi: a person from New Zealand

Mate: friend, buddy, pal, etc.

No worries: not a problem. People often say this to me when I say ‘thank you’

Bro: pronounced like ‘brew’ this means bro or good friend

Tomato Sauce: Ketchup

Some words or phrases I’ve heard in New Zealand I would have no idea what they meant unless someone told me.  Here are some examples:

Tramping: hiking

Wop-Wops: basically means the middle of nowhere

Togs: swimsuit

Jandals: sandals or flip flops

Dairy: corner store or convenience store

Sweet as: cool, awesome, no problem, etc.

She’ll be right: no problem, it’s fine

Choice: good, cool

Yeah nah: probably not, ummmm, etc. An indecisive way to say something.

So those are some of the key words and phrases I’ve heard a lot while in New Zealand.  I still get thrown off by them sometimes, but it helps knowing what a person is trying to say when you’re not familiar with a word!  Thanks for reading!


Good links for more NZ slang:


Wellington Botanic Gardens: Part 1

I recently visited the Wellington Botanic Gardens for the first time, but since I was only there for an hour or two I didn’t get to see all of it (hence the ‘Part 1’).  I wanted to write a bit about the parts that I did see and show some of the pictures I took of the beautiful place!

Lady Norwood Rose Garden: After walking along a path leading from close to where I live I first came upon the rose garden.  It was very beautiful and seemingly well kept, and there were many varieties of roses to look at.

Begonia House: Next to the rose garden is the Begonia House, which houses tropical and temperate plants.  There were of course Begonias, but also Orchids, Lotus, and Lilies as well!

Herb Garden: Walking uphill away from the rose garden and begonia house I found a small herb garden.  There were signs every so often giving information about the uses of herbs throughout human history…very interesting!  I noticed that a lot of what they had in their herb garden were plants I am familiar with from home as well.


Peace Garden: Before going back up the trail towards my house, I sat awhile in the Peace Garden.  There were a few ducks swimming around, and it was a very tranquil place to be. In the small pond there was what they call a ‘peace flame.’ This flame was gifted to New Zealand from Japan after WWII because of New Zealand’s commitment against atomic weapons.


Learning The Kiwi Way

Kia Ora!  I’ve been in New Zealand for a little over a week now (sorry for anyone who has been waiting for a post!) and I feel like I’ve already taken in so much and learned so much about Kiwi culture, and about New Zealand in general.  This beautiful country is similar to where I’m from in a few ways, but much more different than I expected!  Here are just a few things I have learned during my first days as a Kiwi…

  • I am loud: At home I am considered very quiet and reserved, but in New Zealand even I feel loud and obnoxious sometimes.  I notice it in the way I order food or coffee, or the way I talk with my new friends.  I’m talking how I think is normal, but compared to the locals around me I’m very loud and it makes me feel kind of uncomfortable!  I guess I’ll have to work on being… even more quiet?
  • Opossums are bad: At some point Opossums were introduced to New Zealand from Australia, and they have since caused lots of problems.  Since New Zealand does not naturally have mammals (besides a few bats), the native species never built defenses to survive against such predators.  Birds like the Kiwi bird are often in danger of being found by an opossum when they are young, and until a few years old they do not have any defenses to help them survive.  I was also told that opossums carry diseases that can cause entire herds of cattle or sheep to be quarantined and, as one person put it, ‘destroyed’.


  • Tea has multiple identities: Apparently here in New Zealand the word ‘tea’ is used in a few different ways.  If someone asks if you’d like morning or afternoon tea, that usually means drinking some tea in the morning or afternoon.  Makes sense. But if someone asks if you want to have tea in the evening that means you are being asked out to dinner or invited to someones house for dinner. Tea is usually not involved at this point.
  • Kiwi’s like food too: I’ve had a lot of great food while in New Zealand!  Nice restaurants and street food alike both have great options, and while sometimes a little expensive, it never disappoints the tastebuds!


These are just a few of the interesting things I’ve learned and experienced while in New Zealand, and I can’t wait to see what other things I will learn about while I’m here!  Keep checking back for new posts, and thanks for reading!

Finals Are Upon Us

The inevitable truth about being in college is that at the end of every semester there will be finals.  While some very obviously have it worse than others, I think most college students would agree that finals suck.  They are extremely time consuming, and anxiety producing, and that’s just not what anyone needs at the end of a hard semester of classes. Do I have a solution to making finals easier for us?  No. But I can at least offer a little bit of advice to those of us struggling to find the light at the end of the tunnel that is finals week.  Here are some tips to help you (and me) get through:

  • Take care of yourself, mind and body: NO grade is worth getting sick over.  Take the time to eat and drink like usual, and don’t go too crazy with energy drinks.  They may help for a while, but in the long run they are pretty bad for you.  Make sure to get sleep.  Short naps can really help if you are in need of an energy boost.  If you’re feeling stressed or anxious (which is common and normal), make sure to take a break, relax, and talk to your friends, family, or classmates.  I found a great blog post called Misconceptions About Selfcare…It has some great insight on what self care can look like and why it is both hard and important for us!
  • Take Study Breaks: Constant work can put a lot of strain on a person, so make sure to take breaks every once in a while.  I have found that going for a walk can really help clear the mind while also getting me up and moving instead of sitting at a desk. You could always take a break to take a short nap (I love napping), or take the time to eat a meal or snack.  Breaks don’t necessarily have to be fun-filled, and they can definitely be used to make sure you are taking care of your body’s needs.  Here’s a helpful blog post about The Ideal Study Break.
  • Have Some Fun: It’s important to remember that, even though finals are important, so are you.  Make time for some fun, whether during a study break or when you have some free time.  Remember that your friends and classmates are also going through the stress of finals week, and that they may also need time to decompress and have some fun.  It’s always a good idea to get a group of friends together and do something fun, but something that won’t take you from your studies for too long.  Going out for coffee or supper is a good way to do this.  It will give you each the time to vent about your stress, but it will also get you spending time with people who make you happy. And being happy is important!

These are some of the things I’ve learned over my years in college.  I hope they are helpful to you during this stressful time!

What kinds of things do you do to help during finals week?  Or during any stressful time? Feel free to comment!  Thanks for reading!


I’m worried about our world…

So I wasn’t planning on writing anything today, but after spending just 20 minutes looking through the news and my social media, I felt like I needed to say something.  I’m so concerned about the world we are living in right now.  Have we always had such violence and hatred in our lives?  Has it been there, just not as visible?  What is going on?  How do we stop it?  How do we live at peace with each other when horrible things are happening?

The first thing I saw when I logged into Facebook were images of a woman who had gotten hit by some sort of grenade.  Her arm was basically destroyed, and from the images shown, I’m guessing it had to be amputated.  This women was protesting the DAPL pipeline and is just one of too many that have been seriously harmed during these protests.  I am by no means an expert, but I do not think that anyone deserves to by physically harmed for standing up for our earth.

Next I watched a video and read an article about men reading ‘mean tweats’ outloud to two women news reporters.  The messages to these women varied from mean to violent and outright disgusting.  I will not type any of the things said, as they are extremely offensive and horrible, but I just wanted to say that what people say to other people on the internet is horrible and it should not be happening.  Click here is you are interested in the article.  I think it is important to read about, because even though it is sad and disturbing, it is important to be aware that this is happening in our society so we can try and stop it.

The last thing I saw before deciding to write this post was a video of Richard Spencer giving a speech at a conference in Washington D.C.  Spencer spoke using rhetoric which could be found in Donald Trump’s campaign, but he also used rhetoric reminiscent of Nazi Germany.  There were screams of ‘Hail Trump!’ and people doing Nazi salutes.  To me, this is horrifying.  How could anyone think it is alright to portray our future president as Hitler?  How can people be supporting this kind of rhetoric and action?  I am deeply concerned…

I don’t know where to go from here, but I needed to get those feelings out and into the world.  I do not think it is important or necessary to share all of my feelings, but I feel that at this moment in time our country is going through something strange and scary.  I see so many people struggling with what has happened this year in our country and around the world, and I’m hoping that something good will happen to end all of the bad in the world. I know this is naive thinking, but I also think it is hopeful thinking, and maybe that’s what we all need right now.



Who Really Feeds the World?

“Nature is living and she is intelligent.”


I had the privilege to listen to environmental activist and eco feminist Dr. Vandana Shiva speak at Drake University this week. I had no idea what to expect from her speech, but I am very glad I attended!  She was insightful, inspiring, and hopeful for our worlds future.  Her topic was “Who Really Feeds the World?” and I wanted to write down a few things she said that were inspiring to me.

  • You can learn so much about the earth from people, especially people who society calls ‘illiterate’.
  • “We forgot it was insects who pollinate our crops.”  Instead, we have been killing them with chemicals.
  • Diversity should be celebrated in every context, including our food!
  • Nobody invented plants or animals (aka life).  We may have modified something, but nobody deserves a patent on life.
  • “Hunger is in the design of industrial farming.”
  • We seem to have declared life and diversity as our enemies.
  • “We need to build relationships of love, not relationships of capitalism!”
  • “A system that is killing the planet cannot give us food.”
  • Farmers are incredibly important.  They are the last people who are working with our earth, and they have the ability to turn back some of our harmful practices.  Their work is important and should be used to heal the planet.
  • “Nature is living and she is intelligent.”
  • “Every human process we have put in place is reversible.”

Dr. Shiva was very knowledgable and she does a lot of work to help farmers get out of the struggles that come with industrialized farming practices.  She helps farmers turn to completely organic practices, teaches the art of seed-saving, and works to promote diversity within crops.  She had so much insight on how industrial farming has affected everyone on the planet in some way, but she is especially focused on how it has affected farmers in India.  She spoke of a suicide epidemic among farmers because of the horrible financial stresses caused by industrialized farming.  This is a very sad reality, and one that I was completely unaware of.  I am saddened by this, but also hopeful that the work that Vandana Shiva and many others are doing will work to end this trend.


Dr. Shiva delivering her speech at Drake University (11/16/16)

To My Fellow Bloggers

Hello fellow bloggers! Thanks for anyone taking the time out of their busy lives to take a look at some of my (still probably mediocre) blogs!  I wanted to write a little bit more about the intent of my blog and who my intended audience is, though I appreciate anyone who is the least bit interested it what I’m writing about!  Connecting and helping people with similar interests is very exciting to me, and I can’t wait to connect with all of you!

I am intending to write for an audience who can connect with my experiences in college and travel.  I will be writing about my experience while studying abroad and will try to give tips and ideas for you (my readers) to learn from.  While going through all of the struggles that come with college, I will also try to give some helpful tips and insight to my fellow college students.  I like to think that after a few years already done with, I would be able to help new students get a better perspective on college life!  And if there’s anyone who is still trying to figure out life, I understand you and want you to join me in sharing my interesting adventures!  Together we can figure out life and what the heck we are doing!

And for anyone needing a little pick-me-up or inspiration: