Living temporarily in the United States, I’m following what’s going on back home in New Zealand by checking Facebook and Twitter and online news. To be honest having access to all of this information is a blessing and a curse. A blessing because I love NZ and when I hit those what-the-hell-am-I-doing here moments or craving a glass of something other than a sav blanc (kudos to the sav blanc exporters, you’ve done a stellar job, but where are the pinots and the chardies?), it is immeasurably comforting to jump onto Facebook and see photos of people doing what they typically do in NZ in summer.
From the outside side, you would think that everyone is drinking wine from sparkly glasses bathed in glorious technicolor from the setting sun, or smiling at the in satisfaction at top of another spectacular mountain, or showing off their painted toenails on an empty sandy beach. I’m glad they are all sun kissed and gorged on summer fruits, really I am, but it’s hard to be too generous when my (white) car is lost under another fall of snow.
The daily newspaper, is the NZ Herald. It’s published in Auckland, NZ’s biggest city and therefore is the most read paper in the country. It cops its fair share of criticism, mostly from immigrants used to weightier papers, but Auntie Herald as she is affectionately known, is an expat Kiwi’s lifeline and the recipient of a big shoutout in recognition of the absence of paywalls and being able to read an article to the end without that annoying “click here for more” button. I understand the economics of providing free online and why so many papers don’t do it, and I’m grateful that the Herald does.
I like to see the weather forecast although it’s depressing that the daily highs are often the same in NZ as they are in Virginia, just that one is in Celsius and the other in Fahrenheit. And it’s fun to see how quickly the Herald picks up on the important stuff from US media – the primaries, the first episode of The People vs OJ Simpson, and of course the moronic but endlessly fascinating shenanigans of celebrities. Overall I’d give it a 9 out of 10 (one point knocked off for focussing on the really trashy stuff).
But the serious news from New Zealand worries me. I’ve noticed that the first headline is often an armed hold up, a drowning, a late night attack, a police pursuit. Even the NY Times can’t match that, you have to go deep into their site before you hit a crime story headline. You’d think that NZ is ridden with nasty people doing terrible things to each other every day but that’s not true. Bad things happen, of course they do, but NZ is still one of the safest countries in the world. Trouble is you have to be on the inside to know it.
Categories: An American Adventure