Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Kiwi words and phrases: give 'em a go

Planning a trip to New Zealand? If you're like us, it's going to take you a while to get used to the language. There's not only a bit of an accent to contend with, but heaps of new words.

Here's a round up of our favourites and what (we think) they mean. (If you're a Kiwi, please feel free to leave a comment and let us know if we've misinterpreted anything! Or let us go on embarrassing ourselves – it's up to you.)
  • how you going? – common Kiwi greeting
  • jandals – flip flops
  • toilet – even in a fancy restaurant, it’s perfectly appropriate to ask where the toilet is. I still have a hard time with this one.
  • wee squiz – quick look, as in “I’ll just need to take a wee squiz at your report before sending it to the boss.”
  • as you do – used when you’re joking that something out of the ordinary is actually common: “We were drinking wine out of a two-litre bottle … as you do … because we forgot to bring cups to our campsite.”
  • sorted – figured out, as in “no worries bro, it’s sorted.”
  • suss – similar to sorted, as in “I’ve got it sussed.”
  • dodgy – bad, unreliable
  • cardie -- cardigan
  • jersey -- sweater
  • jumper – also sweater
  • eh? – pronounced “ay”, to be added to the end of certain sentences whether or not you’re asking a question. “He was pretty pissed last night, eh?” or “I'll take some tomato sauce, eh.”
  • fizzy drink – soda
  • happy – this is my new favourite word that I use several times a day. As in "are you happy to meet for a drink?" "I'm happy to schedule a meeting" and "please advise if you're happy for me to proceed."
  • flat tack – full speed, as in “we were going a flat tack on the jetboat before he pulled a 360”
  • good on ya -- well done; good for you
  • heaps -- lots
  • reckon – this does not have the slightly redneck connotation it has in the States, and is perfectly appropriate to use in a professional setting: “I reckon the business requirements specification document is ready for the executive team’s review.”
  • long drop – outdoor toilet built over a hole in the ground
  • knackered – exhausted
  • right – as explained to me by a colleague: you'll hear this after there's been discussion followed by a pause, then someone sighs and says "right" with a certain amount of emphasis. It indicates "okay let's make a decision" or "okay let's get started."
  • bugger – exclamation similar to damn
  • pissed – not mad, simply drunk
  • pissing down – raining hard, pouring
  • fillet – same steak, but the “t” is no longer silent
  • ta – thanks, most commonly used for simple things such as when someone holds a door
What are your favourite Kiwi words and phrases? Tell us in the comments.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Winter weekend with wine and wheels

It's winter now and lots of the trees have changed colour. It reminds me a lot of how autumn feels back in the Midwest. Thankfully our winters don't get quite as cold as they do there. We're enjoying a long holiday weekend thanks to the Queen's birthday, which is the first Monday in June, and so we threw a suitcase in the car and drove up to Martinborough for a couple nights.

Martinborough is this wee town (see how well I'm using the local vocabulary?) just an hour or so north of Wellington that is known for its wines. Just like most areas in NZ, they do the sauvignon blanc and pinot noir best, but this weekend I really got to know the pinot gris a bit better. Yum!

Martinborough is small and flat and easy to navigate, so the best way to visit the vineyards is by bicycle. We pedaled around to four of them on Saturday.

The vines are pretty sparse at this time of year, and we saw sheep grazing between some of the rows. I don't know about the wine regions of France or California, but this seems like something you'll only see in New Zealand.

After a ride around town and dinner at the local bar, we went back to our B&B and sat in the hot tub. The weather on Sunday and Monday turned a bit wet and chilly, so we spent a lot of time hanging out with the housecat in front of the fire. Also had an amazing dinner at Brasserie One on Sunday -- we started with snails, then Jake ordered the lamb and I got the goat's cheese and hazelnut souffle. Delicious.

And we have to include this shot of Jake representing his school in front of a street sign in Martinborough. He was so proud.