It’s been 2 and a bit years since I left home. I’m a few days shy of 2 years in Toronto. I don’t know if it’s some divine coincidence, but lately people have been asking me a ton about homesickness. It must be beeeeeauuuuuuuutiful back there. You must miss everyone so much. What are you doing up here? Aren’t you chomping at the bit to get back? Each time I politely rebuff them, stating that if I wanted to be back home, I probably wouldn’t have come. I’m not remotely interested in going back. There’s nothing pulling me. When you’re so far away from it, everything there seems so small, inconsequential. Major news stories break over bullying on NZ X-Factor or a popular chocolate milk selling out too quickly. You think I joke, but lest we forget Marmageddon happened. I’ve got family back home, but they’ll still be there when I visit for whatever wedding (or funeral, let’s be real) commands it. A good proportion of my friends left the country anyway. They’re either in Melbourne or London. Chances are they’re even making their way around North America, so I’m probably closer here.
The idea of this post wasn’t to shit on good ol’ Aotearoa, so here are some things I do miss about home (that I’m sure my girlfriend NEVER tires of hearing about):
- Non cash society. Seriously, the fact that in 2015 I still need to withdraw money every week to pay at small stores, bars and many restaurants? Insane. What incentive is there to spend physical money if you’re just gonna have to withdraw more? It’s a pointless exercise. It’s not the 90s, shouldn’t we be past this?
- Tipping not existing. I’ve ranted about this enough, but it’s as simple as pay your employees more instead of making patrons do it. Since 15% tipping is basically mandatory, you’re not giving incentive for better service. People who think otherwise are buying into a dumb capitalistic dream. I’m keeping it short. That’s it.
- Tax inclusive. Just add it into the price. Fucks me off every time.
- Mild weather. The extremes back home (at least in Auckland) weren’t too extreme. Winter got down to maybe 5ºC and summer barely got above 30ºC. Easy living.
- Consistent metric system. Why are some things metric, some things imperial? I still have no easy conversion for miles, feet/inches or pounds.
- Clever advertising. It’s really in the minority here. Going to the movies, watching ads makes me feel like my face is being pounded by a sledgehammer. It’s that dumb. Tone it down, learn some subtlety. Not everything has to cater to the lowest common denominator.
- Dairy and lamb. Ontario, your pork is of the highest calibre. Still, I come from an agricultural island and the lamb doesn’t quite rack up here like it did back home. As far as normal commercially available cheeses, they’re bland and tasteless. Everything tastes the same, there’s nothing with a sharp bite. What the fuck even is marble cheese? Blending two colours of bland to make something equally as grey. You can’t taste colour and this cheese doesn’t taste like anything.
- Coffee. It’s not like there’s no good coffee to be found here in Toronto, because there are a bunch of really great places. It’s just that your margin of error is much wider. There’s so much shit coffee and a few places that’re the crème de la crema (see what I did there?). Fuck brew, it’s shit. Keep your hogwash. Sorry Mr Horton, but your product is garbage. Stick to donuts.
Seriously though, that’s about it. Considering quality of life and everything, I love it here. There’s something happening at all times. So many diverse groups and opportunities. Bands who’d never tour the southern hemisphere. Public transport that works, despite how everyone bitches about it so relentlessly. Canadian people are pleasant, friendly and generally thoughtful. Social services are pretty damn good, not to mention benefits. Holy shit. The fact that practically all of my basic medical, dental or physical needs are met for a mere $400 paycheck deduction each year? Insane. It’s not like I even hate the weather. It’s exciting to see the extremes. To sweat in the sun, see the leaves colourshift and fall, trudge through the snow and smell nature coming back to life all in one solar rotation? It’s a marvel. Make no mistake, I’m glad to be here. Hence why I’m not sick for home at all.
Just the Marmite.