Saturday, November 11, 2006


Most of the time, my life in New Zealand is as ordinary as it would be nearly anywhere else. Sometimes, though, life here collides with life in America and the result is a kind of disconnect that can sometimes be surreal.

A perfect example is having a Fourth of July BBQ in the middle of winter, as my partner and I have done. Okay, so we don’t have frost or snow in this part of
New Zealand, and our daytime winter temperatures would make for a nice autumn or spring day in Chicago, but when you consider that it really is winter, and that Kiwis don’t have the same foods at their BBQs as Americans do, it starts to drift into “surreality”.

American elections are another thing like that. US elections are, in general, a mere curiosity to New Zealanders. That shouldn’t be a surprise to Americans; how many of them watch British or French election results or even Canadian results (Shame on you, by the way—you should know what
America’s northern neighbour is up to).

So, it’s weird sitting watching US election results all day on CNN International, while New Zealand’s day goes on outside. I’m used to it now, having gone through five
US elections before this last one. The next day it was back to ordinary life for me, too.

And that means it’s time to move on to other subjects—until the politicians misbehave, as someone, somewhere inevitably will. It’s what they’re good at.


Jessica said...

Yep, I did the same as you and watched the results on CNN. Had a keen eye on Virginia, which finally went Dem. :)

I did have two kiwis ask me to explain what the voting was for this time since it wasn't a presidential election. And one asked Darryl what it was all about. But mostly as you said it's not a big deal.

Arthur Schenck said...

AmeriNZ sez: Several people asked me why, if the Democrats took control of Congress, Bush was still president. From my conversations, and what I read on the Internet, I think people in countries with parliamentary democracy (like New Zealand) don’t get how the US can be stuck with an unpopular president from a party that lost majorities in the national legislature. They understood that Bush was elected separately, but I think some people thought he should have resigned in favour of a Democrat.

Would that it were so simple…