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The Universal Language – Issue 5

Granted, I’ve stopped fiending for that all elusive party of the week for many a week now, I still remember my first parties in the Land of the Long White Cloud. During my first few months in New Zealand, I found it difficult to understand the Kiwi accent, add to that the slur-rey, slow, unintelligible blabber that is a result of consuming unholy amounts of alcohol. 


Conversation at parties didn’t hold for long, if not for the ol’ ‘nod and smile’ and the casual giggle I don’t think I would have made it more than an hour into any party from the start. Thankfully flat parties are notorious for having a thousand drinking games all taking place at once. Whether it’s a game of King’s Cup with a chalice large enough to ensure that the poor soul who loses isn’t going to town that night or an intense match of beer pong that goes down to the last cup. Then there’s the music that eventually evolves into a sing along, which a quick Google for the lyrics and a glance or two to my phone has helped me. 


One thing I have learned from all of the 21sts and Crate Days I’ve been to (the history of which, I’m blown away by) is that easing up and winding down is always going to help me get going at a party. I’ve had my fair share of wild nights and the Kiwi’s affinity to alcohol and the entertainment they get from pushing the limit of what a party needs to have (having witnessed a bonfire born from the remains of a couch and a few old mattresses) has never failed to amuse me. From the ragers on Hogan Street or the (not so) quiet nights with the boys, I learn a little something about how to best relate to Kiwis each time. 


I remember thinking to myself at the beginning, parties are woven into the very fabric of what it means to be a kiwi. The parties here are spent bonding with the people I know and making friends with the ones I don’t. For the most part, kiwi’s have been welcoming and y’all really are a jolly bunch.