Oh, you’re from New Zealand!

Sheep, but not in New Zealand

This is a short post because I’m not actually here today.

I’m a Kiwi (New Zealander for any ignoramuses out there) but some time ago I spent six years living in the US.

Americans seemed to think Kiwi accents are adorable, though I was frequently mistaken for being British or Australian.

When I pointed out I was in fact a Kiwi, in 99% of cases I got one of two responses:

Either: I loved Lord of the Rings!

or: Oh, you’re a Kiwi! Do you know So-and-So?

So-and-So, of course, being the only other New Zealander they knew. (I guess the Lord-of-the-Rings-responders didn’t know any other Kiwis.)

I’m always mightily offended by this response.

New Zealand, let me point out, is an entirely respectable-sized country with a good 4.5 million inhabitants. And that’s not even counting the sheep.

It’s not like I come from an island of five families, and I find the implication that I do a trifle offensive.

So in the spirit of utter honesty and not putting up with rudeness, I respond, “Yes, I used to work for his dad.”**

Do you get any weird responses when you tell people where you’re from? Are the stereotypes people hold about you correct?

Get more of my ramblings right in your inbox. All the way from New Zealand.

** This was just one example. Other true examples include, “I used to work with him,” “I used to work for her,” “We’re coauthors,”… You get the picture.

Author: A.S. Akkalon

By day, A.S. Akkalon works in an office where the computers outnumber the suits of armour more than two-to-one. By night, she puts dreams of medieval castles, swords, and dragons onto paper.

20 thoughts on “Oh, you’re from New Zealand!”

  1. I am from the US. Yeah, sorry about that. Not that I’d be able to identify the different accents, either, and we have a division in the UK. Heck, the folks in the UK office can distinguish between different accents in the UK. Who knew there were any?

    1. You’re from the US? I’m sorry to hear that. I hope you’ve had better luck in other aspects of your life. 😉

      Hubby’s always commenting on the different UK accents but they all sound about the same to me.

  2. I am chuckling. Back when I was in college (which was some time prior to the Punic Wars) there was a student in the theater department at my Northern California university. He was a Kiwi, and I found it amusing that he would become frustrated when nobody could figure out where he was from. Also he resented being coached to pronounce “r” like an American. I confess I sniggered. And then I left CA to go to grad school in the Midwest, where nobody would believe I was from California because I was neither blonde nor tan and I did not surf. I found it frustrating.

    By the way, maybe you know my fellow alumnus?

  3. When people find out I grew up in Colorado the next statement is always “Oh, you must be a great skier!” Okay, truthfully I did ski a lot until I was a teenager, but I haven’t been on skis in 19 years so. . .

    The next question is usually “And you moved HERE?! Why?!”

    Perhaps the approach we should all take is to ask “Oh, what is/was that like?” The we don’t look like idiots broadcasting our assumptions and utter lack of knowledge about the places other people are from.

    1. Ah, people from Colorado are all skiers!

      *Saves up that bit of knowledge to throw at the next person from Colorado she meets*

      Your idea is an excellent one, but I think some of us like broadcasting our ignorance. 😉

  4. **checks map** Yes. I see. According to simplified American geography, that’s a part of Mexico. And they’re called llamas, not sheep. Other than that, you’re doing just fine.

  5. We had a visiting professor from New Zealand when I was at college, so I learned a little about the Moari culture from her, which I thought was great. Since I’m from Texas I had several people ask me if I rode a horse to school. Sadly, I rode the bus.

    1. I’m not from Texas, but I get the horse thing. The answer…and I’m not joking… is that my school had an actual sign up forbidding dogs and horses, but it had been there for a really long time.

  6. I have to laugh at this. I’m from NZ and I get the LOTR thing all the time from my international friends. As for the second question – there’s a good chance I do know the person named, or I know someone who knows them, or I went to the same primary school as them. It’s been calculated that there are generally only 2 degrees of separation in NZ. I commonly have conversations with people only to find out we’re connected in some way.

    At least its better than it used to be. Back before we caused such a stir by going nuclear free, half the world didn’t even know we existed. 🙂

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